One thing that all persona finance geeks and fans can agree on is that the main benefit of saving money is delayed gratification/treating yourself later.
Whether you negotiate to cut down to your APR on your credit card to have more money for a new car or you cut back on entertainment so that you can travel more. Either way you’re saving money for a reason. Sure the bulk of this money is put towards bills, retirement, living expenses, a rainy day, and of course taxes. Fortunately, there are the good times where there’s a little bit extra money left over.
Should you use this money to reward yourself? Or should you max out your retirement accounts and beef up your emergency fund?
The conservative/adult response would be to go with the latter. My response and likely the thoughts of anyone in their 20s is the former.
Why do I think it makes sense to spend money to reward yourself?
Spending money on yourself is the best motivation when it comes to me wanting to earn more money. The thought that I could enjoy myself more in the future just by working a little harder makes it all worth it.
Saving money so that I can have lots of it 40 years from now when I’m bald and wrinkly. Sounds cool and all, but what about right now? Most young people need to see something tangible. We need to see that saving really works. We need to know the point of saving in the first place. This is why rewarding yourself is something tangible that you could do with your money.
Planned fun is the best kind.
I hate it when a friend complains to me or tells me how guilty they are about something. Guilt is the worst feeling. There’s no need to feel guilty about spending money. I’m a total believer in planing your fun out in advance. This way your building the habit of earning your fun. When you earn your entertainment you enjoy it so much more.
How much fun is a trip that you had to put on your credit card? It’s likely not as fun because they whole time you’re going to be thinking about how in the world you’re going to pay all of this money back. The problem is that it all adds up. The fun can add up and come back to haunt you in the future big time. Can you handle that?
At the end of the day I’m a firm supporter of saving for the future. I don’t think that anyone should ever go into debt. However, if you’re working hard and taking care of yourself, you do deserve to reward yourself once in a while.
Time to get some reader responses: How do you spend your savings to reward yourself? Do you reward yourself often by spending money?