As we wrap up the Advent season and prepare to begin a New Year, take a moment to reflect on all the smart money decisions you’ve made this year! No seriously, go and add up that extra income you earned this year from cashing in your clutter on eBay. Review your accounts online and look at the money you were able to save by reducing your monthly bills. Pat yourself on the back for the credit card or loan balance you reduced this year by making a few extra payments. And how about a high-five for the debt you didn’t incur because you resisted the temptation of an unnecessary purchase!
The discipline and patience exercised to save money or to reduce debt can be very restrictive and can mentally wear you down. Allowing an occasional financial celebration can be like a “cheat” day when you’re dieting. Similar to a diet, a financial cheat purchase only works when it is enough to feel indulgent, but not so much that you end up overspending into a major setback. As an example, my financial celebration may include small indulgences on items that were once a significant part of my budget, like a tall caramel macchiato from Starbucks once I reach or exceed my monthly savings goal. Another example would be making a larger investment into an Omega watch or David Yurman bracelet when I receive a bonus above and beyond what I anticipated.
As you reach your financial milestones, it is important to celebrate and treat yourself as a reward for your hard work. Celebrating your financial success can be a welcomed break from ongoing, daily denials and it provides an added incentive to stay on course with your financial goals. Having a specific treat to look forward to can help you avoid temptation and stay on track from month to month and keeps you sane from the limitations and boundaries often set in our personal budgets.
I want to hear from you. How do you celebrate your financial milestones, yet keep the momentum going?