“Treat yo self” — Tom and Donna from Parks and Recreation.
My husband and I love watching Parks and Recreation. One of our favorite episodes is when Tom and Donna invite the office social misfit, Ben, along on their annual “treat yo self” day.
One of the things I love about this episode is that it's about spending money on things that others might think are silly, but that you really enjoy.?Retail therapy is a Thing, and it can help you feel good. Of course, the trick is avoiding remorse afterward.
Treat. Yo. Self.
First of all, it makes sense to treat yourself in whatever way you most enjoy. Donna and Tom drag Ben all over the place, and Ben thinks that it's boring and that Ben and Donna are being insane with their money. Tom wonders why he's still mopey. Then Donna has an epiphany and realizes that maybe Ben's idea of fun and silly spending is a little different. And, because I love Batman, I'm in total agreement with Ben's choice. When you go about treating yourself, or spending money in any way, really, it's important to understand yourself and what makes?you tick.
You don't want to spend money on something that someone else thinks is a treat. You want it to be something you enjoy. Additionally, it's important that you avoid judging others for their own financial choices. My husband has no idea why I love traveling so much. He'd rather stay cozily at home and not be bothered. Spending money on travel seems silly to him, even though I love it. But he doesn't get upset when I travel because he knows that it's a way for me to treat myself (since I'm terrible at treating myself to new clothes and other “traditional” retail therapy treats).
The idea of treating yourself isn't to be practical. It's about doing something because you enjoy it. It can be an expensive treat or an inexpensive treat. But it's spending money in a way that you wouldn't necessarily spend it every day, and it should be something that you really like — no matter how silly.
This can provide you with a pick-me-up, and also with a splurge when you are in the middle of trying to save up for something even bigger. A little treat can help you enjoy yourself, feel less deprived, and maintain the motivation you need to move forward with your current plan.
Avoid Remorse When Spending Money
Of course, you also need to avoid feeling remorse when it comes to spending money. If you blow a bunch of money on something silly, or if you let lifestyle inflation creep up on you, your treats aren't really treats, because you regret them. Instead, you need to strike that balance between enjoying spending money on some fun and silly things, and avoiding the tendency to break the bank.
If you're going to get used to spending money regularly, it can make sense to create a “fun” fund for yourself. This way, you can ensure that when you decide to spend on something silly, you have the ability to do so without breaking your budget. It's also possible to save up for a specific item or adventure, if you plan in advance.
While it would be nice to be like characters on a TV show and just spend insane amounts of money on whatever you want, the reality is that you probably have to rein it in a little, depending on what you can afford, and what makes sense for you. After moving out here, before the sale of our home closed and when we were getting settled, I couldn't just treat myself to any old thing. I had to watch the bank account, since we had several unexpected expenses, and double the housing costs. Take into account your situation, and either work toward something specific, or create a fun fund for more spontaneous treats. But in any case, be sure that you aren't going into debt just to treat yourself.
There's no reason to feel guilty about spending money on something impractical that gives you a boost. But you do need to make sure you keep your spending within reason. Get used to occasionally treating yourself, and doing it in a financially responsible manner, and you might be surprised at how much better you feel about your life and your money.