How to 'Treat Yourself' on a Budget.

Are you eating into your weekly budget, savings account or holiday fund for something that really isn’t worthwhile, just because you felt you deserved to “treat yourself” at the time? 


Step 1 – Change your attitude.

As a general rule, people immediately associate ‘budgeting’ with doom and gloom.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to budget – whether because you’re saving up for something expensive, or because you’re tightening your belt to get through a tough financial time – it’s all about having the right attitude. (Easier said than done, we know, but it’s important to try).

If you look at budgeting purely as a restriction on what you can spend, you can start to feel negatively about it. And you will perhaps find yourself breaking your budget quite often; because feeling restricted is suffocating and you ‘deserved a treat’.

And when you break your budget, you’re likely to feel guilty and regret your purchase later when you have less money to contribute to your savings/big purchase/loan/holiday fund.

Feeling guilty and regretful will contribute to your already miserable outlook on your financial situation, which will feed into your desire to ‘treat yourself’ because you feel you’re having a tough time. And so the cycle continues.

A better way to look at budgeting is as a means of giving yourself the freedom to spend money without guilt or regret.

Recognise that you can spend money, just in a way that will not negatively impact you. Then you’ll be able to see purchases as more than just something that you want or deserve. You’ll see things for their true value, weighed up against the possible negative consequences and the other ‘more valuable’ things you could spend your money on.

Step 2 – Redefine the ‘treat yourself’ concept.

The hash tag #treatyourself is becoming increasingly popular across social media. It’s usually accompanied by a picture of an expensive purchase, and a long caption justifying said expensive purchase.

But treating yourself doesn’t necessarily need to be something that costs a lot of money.

Why not take pleasure in the simple things in life that you don’t allocate enough time to anymore? Why not…

Read a book.

Dance to music.

Go for a walk in the park, on the beach, through the city.

Have a bath.

Sit down, close your eyes, and enjoy your favourite music.

Allow yourself a lie in.

Have breakfast in bed.

Watch the sunrise, or sunset, or both.

Find free stuff in your city: museums, community events and festivals, art galleries.

Make your own spa day at home.

Call someone you love.

Volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about.

Bake or cook something delicious.

Have a picnic.

Play a board game.

Go for a drive down a beautiful road, or to a place that you love.

Put clean sheets on your bed.

Watch your favourite movie, or that movie you promise yourself months ago that you would watch.

Try meditation or yoga.

Revisit an old hobby that you’ve let slide: drawing, writing, scrapbooking, gardening.

Remember the old saying; a ‘treat’ isn’t a ‘treat’ if you do it all the time.

So treating yourself with your fourth big café brunch in two weeks isn’t actually a treat, it’s eating into your budget for something else that is much more worthwhile.