Negociate Credit Solutions - Author Lauren Heekes
There’s something about the word “splurge” that feels indulgent. It’s a need for immediate luxury and once obtained is usually followed by a tinge of guilt.
So, if you are planning to follow a financial wellness plan you should curb this desire, right?
Not so. Financial experts will tell you that splurges are necessary and healthy to achieving financial happiness. This is because the pleasure they provide promotes a better relationship with money.
The key is to ensure that splurges don’t detract from your goals. This article explains the psychological need for splurges and ways to indulge those needs while still staying on track financially.
We Get Used to What We Have:
The problem with human nature is that we are subject to adaptation. What this means that as we get used to the things that we acquire that make us happy and then develop the need to pursue that feeling again.
Haven’t you often thought that once you achieve a certain financial goal, like purchasing a home or new vehicle, you will be happy and content?
This is human nature i.e. we quickly return to the level of happiness we had prior to achieving our goals and will require more to get that same sense of satisfaction. This explains why study after study shows that more money does not equate with more happiness.
Splurges makes us Happy:
It’s not worth trying to beat adaptation. We get excited about our new job, iPad, or vacation, but eventually the excitement will wear off. We will need another raise, a new model, or a better trip to get that feeling of excitement again.
Accept adaptation as part of your reality. You can give your own happin
ess a boost with splurges. Splurges are what motivate us to live life, and what keep us on track while experiencing the mundane tasks of life.
Splurge Small and Frequently:
Smaller more frequent splurges are better investments.As an example, instead of a major spa day every few months, try a mani-pedi every couple of weeks. Instead of buying an expensive outfit once every 6 months, buy cheaper items like a cute t-shirt or pair of sandals once a month. Try a few smaller vacations a year as opposed to one major dream vacation every couple of years.
Consider spreading your splurges throughout the month, spend less in total and see if your happiness and wallet notice a difference.
Splurging vs. Habitual Spending:
There’s a difference between splurging and mindless habitual spending. The key is that your splurges should be purposeful and give you great pleasure in proportion to what the budget-friendly option would provide.
For example, an expensive coffee might be a worthwhile splurge if it really makes a big difference to starting your day. However, if you purchase this coffee mindlessly each day and it doesn’t bring you any joy, you might want to consider making time to drink coffee from home. The money you save can then be used on something that does make you happy
Splurge in control:
Splurging should always be done within a budget! We recommend setting aside a portion of your discretionary expenses every month for splurges. If you budget for splurges, they are less likely to get out of control.
Splurge for free:
Savour experiences. They are often inexpensive or free. Enjoy the sunrise or play with your dog. Indulge in these free experiences as often as you can.
Splurge towards others:
Spending on others makes us happier. Consider using part of your splurge budget towards gifts and charity—you’ll be happier for it.
Create a Splurge Fund:
Set aside some money for a splurge. Figure out how much you want to put aside each month for your splurge and keep it in a separate account. That way you have the money on hand to treat yourself the next time you're tempted.
Spend on Experiences:
People enjoy greater well-being from life experiences, rather than material items and consider them to be a better use of money. The idea is that you feel a deeper sense of joy when you create memories that will last.
Prioritise your Loves not Likes:
Splurge on the things that mean the most to you. List three areas in which spending brings you the most joy. It could be travel, electronics, fashion, restaurants, or any other non-essential that makes you happy. Use this as your guide to understand what you should be spending your money on.
As an example, if you notice that you spend a ton of money at restaurants and it’s not in your top three, you know you’re giving up something you love to pay for something you like.
Create guidelines for spending:
Excessive spending can be tempting. Rather than rely on your own willpower to resist that temptation, have some guidelines in place to rein yourself in.
Whenever you feel that pull to splurge, simply ask yourself this question, ‘What else can I do with this amount of money if I didn’t make this purchase?’
Wait it out:
If your goal is to get your impulsive spending under control, the best rule of thumb to follow is to wait. If you want to buy something you haven’t budgeted for, make it a rule that you can only buy it if you’ve waited a certain amount of time. Chances are, you’ll rethink your priorities.
How to Enjoy Splurges
People that follow strict budgets without making room for splurging often suffer from what is called frugal fatigue. The best way to avoid frugal fatigue is to include a line in your budget for luxuries. You can label this as fun money or mad money. Making room in your budget for these just-for-fun expenses will keep you from feeling deprived while also keeping your spending under control.
Here are some examples of cheap splurges:
1. Good Coffee
For coffee lovers, there’s nothing quite like treating yourself to a fancy cup of coffee at your favourite coffee shop. Unfortunately, if you do this every day it can become a huge unnecessary expense.
Consider spreading this experience out over the month. It will give you something to look forward to and add to that sense of happiness.
2. Fresh Flowers
Nothing brightens up a room like a bunch of fresh flowers and they don’t have to be expensive.
Consider choosing Longer-Lasting flowers. You’ll spend a lot less on fresh flowers if you don’t have to replace them every few days.
Make flowers last longer by checking on water levels and adding boosters to keep them fresh. Remember to cut the stems at an angle before adding them to water.
3. A Great Shower
Your morning shower sets the mood for the day. If you start off your day trying to get clean under a lukewarm trickle from an old clogged shower head, you’ll arrive at work frustrated and grumpy.
Consider purchasing a decent shower head and make sure you clean it regularly.
To finish off your decadent shower, dry yourself with a big, soft, fluffy towel.
4. Fancy Toiletries
Another way to make your daily shower more luxurious is to pamper yourself with a fancy soap, shampoo, or other product that you absolutely love. Choose something with a scent that delights you so you can start off every day feeling fresh and lively.
5. Cozy Bedding
While a great shower sets the tone for the day, a good night’s rest is also essential. Purchase the right pillow and high-quality bedding that you cannot wait to jump into when it’s time for bed.
6. Extra Cushy Toilet Paper
Toilet paper may seem like a silly thing to splurge on, but using the bathroom is something we all have to do several times a day. When you use a thick plush paper, a trip to the bathroom becomes a little moment of luxury in the middle of a busy or stressful day.
7. A Gourmet Meal at Home
Dining out at fine restaurants isn’t always on the menu when you are on a tight budget. However, you can still enjoy gourmet meals on a budget if you’re willing to be your own chef. It’s easy to find instructions online for preparing a great gourmet meal in your own kitchen.
8. Go Out for Dessert
Although it’s possible to cook a fantastic meal at home, sometimes what you really want is the experience of going out to eat. One way to enjoy this pleasure without spending big bucks is to go out for dessert and coffee. Consider looking out for discounted meal vouchers from online services like deal zone.
9. Bright Colourful Socks
It’s amazing how much a new pair of socks can change your mood. The effect is even greater if you choose a pair of socks in a bright, cheery colour or funky pattern that brings a smile to your face. Every time you glance down at your feet, you’ll get a little tingle of happiness just looking at them.
10. A Shoe Shine
While you’re dressing up your feet with some snazzy socks, consider polishing up your shoes to match. In many cases, putting a nice shine on an old pair of dress shoes can make them look new again.
11. Cheap Entertainment
When you’re trying to save money, the entertainment budget is often one of the first things to get slashed. These days even an evening at the movies for two, including popcorn and drinks, can easily break the bank.
However, pinching your pennies doesn’t have to mean sitting at home every night watching the paint peel. There are plenty of ways to have fun on a tight entertainment budget if you know where to look.
12. A Bottle of Bubbly
Nothing says “let’s celebrate” like the pop of a cork and the fizzing of sparkling wine being poured into your glass. This doesn’t mean buying an expensive bottle of French champagne. You can get the same festive thrill from a local sparkling wine that costs R50.00 or less.
This list of cheap luxuries is only the tip of the iceberg. You can figure out all kinds of other ways to indulge yourself on a strict budget once you get into the habit of thinking about and sourcing new ideas.
About our Author
Lauren is a registered member of the National Credit Regulator. Prior to that, she worked as a Financial and Technical consultant for McGregor-BFA (Now INET-BFA). McGregor-BFA provided Trading and Market related data as well as Investment management software to Asset Managers, University Business Schools and Investment entities. Thereafter experience was advanced to the Property Market working as a Project Manager for Propertyi. But it was her career at the IEB in Adult Education that inspired a passion of hers to educate consumers about responsible ways of managing their financial lives and the long term advantages of doing so. It is her belief that financial education should be taught from an early age. By doing so we can create a country that is truly economically stable, driven not only by work ethics, but by becoming Financially Independent too.