Rewards are a great incentive.
Let’s be realistic for a minute. Saving money isn’t always fun. Seeing your savings account balance grow is fun. The sense of satisfaction you get from being financially responsible is fun. But skipping meals out or forgoing cable television—not always fun. That’s why it’s important to mark your accomplishments with a small reward for yourself. You’ll associate saving money with something good happening, and that’s a good association to help you stay on track.
Your reward to yourself doesn’t have to be pricey (we are saving money here) but it needs to be something that’s meaningful to you. Here are some potential gifts you can give yourself when you meet a financial goal, that won’t knock you off track:
Feeling out of touch with pop culture? Gift yourself with a guiltless Saturday of binge-watching Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime.
If you have a sweet tooth, reward yourself by making some homemade goodies and enjoying them.
For the avid exerciser, an incentive could be dedicating a few hours to yourself to go running or hiking at a local park.
Love music? Search your town’s community calendar for a free concert. These are often outdoors in community parks. Grab a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy yourself!
Two words: afternoon nap. Forget the dirty dishes in the sink or the car that needs an oil change for a couple hours. This is a great reward for anyone.
If you’ve been especially frugal, go ahead and spend a little cash to complement your free reward with a little something extra. You don’t need to (and shouldn’t) spend a fortune, but consider buying some comfy sweats or movie theater style popcorn for your movie marathon, premium ingredients for your cookies, a new water bottle for your run, a nice folding chair for your concert, or an eye mask for your nap.