I’ve heard it so many times: A friend (or even myself, in some instances), stops off to make an impulse purchase with the justification that they “deserve it.” Whether it’s a new pair of pricey pumps or just an extra large latte, this way of thinking can be very dangerous to your budget – and your family!
Read on for the 3 reasons you really don’t deserve it, and how you can correct this way of thinking for the future:
Most moms I know don’t take very good care of themselves. Whether it’s a lack of sleep, not enough exercise, or refusing to sit down and have a healthy meal, we sacrifice our own well-being for our family’s, often leaving us feeling deprived. It’s understandable that when we find ourselves with a little extra time and a few dollar in our pocket, we sometimes splurge in the name of making it up to ourselves. We work hard, so why not buy this sale-priced blouse? We rarely buy anything for ourselves, so what’s wrong with swiping the credit for a neat new gadget?
The problem with this behavior is threefold:
1. It doesn’t address the reasons we feel deprived. I’m going to guess that an unplanned purchase for the sake of “owing it to yourself” didn’t make you feel good for very long. A new outfit, some ice cream from the corner shop, or a handbag from the boutique will not replace getting to bed a bit early or carving out time for a hobby you enjoy. And so your quest for feeling better never really ends.
2. It doesn’t usually fit into the budget. As much as you may “deserve” to buy yourself something, there usually isn’t a place already earmarked in the household budget for this kind of buying. The worse you may feel, the more you could end up spending (causing major havoc to your finances!).
3. It can lead to bigger spending problems. One little guilty pleasure here and there isn’t that big of a deal. With practice, however, buying because “you deserve it” can allow us to throw all planning to the wind, ending up with a cycle of emotional spending and debt.
So how does someone as overworked as the typical mom (or dad), nip this in the bud? These strategies can help:
1. Remember how you got there. Take a deep breath and focus on your true needs. Ask for help. Take a nap. Make long term goals toward rewarding yourself in a more relevant way. Never assume that spending will equate to relief of a stressful lifestyle.
2. Place value on your work. Buying a $50 pair of jeans may feel like an emotional release at the point of purchase, but it can, in fact, cause you more headache than it’s worth. Do you know how many hours of work it will take you to earn that $50 back? You may be better off enjoying a free walk in the park, a $1 Redbox flick, or some “me time” in the tub.
3. Budget for rewards. There’s no need to be deprived of all purchases (assuming you can afford it, of course.) If you know that you have a stressful week coming up or you find a lunch with a friend to be a quick pick-me-up, go ahead and plan for it! There will be no guilt from an indulgent purchase if you make it an advanced priority.
Remember…. you probably do deserve something extra for your hard work, but not at the expense of the family budget. Be honest with yourself, set some clear rules for spending, and learn to love yourself in an responsible way. Things will get better!
Do you find yourself busting the budget because you “deserve it”? What other ways have you found to fight this habit?
|Linsey Knerl is a homeschooling mom of 5, the Community Manager for Wise Bread.com, and a freelance blogger and writer. She co-authored the recent 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget, and you can read more about her at Lille Punkin’ and The Freelance Farmer.|