Knowing When and How to Indulge

Planning Your Future Forming Money Habits

Step 7 of 10 Steps to Financial Wellness

At this point in your financial fitness journey, you might be wondering if it has all become a little too restrictive. You’re saving whenever you can, you’re mindful about your spending, and you’re sticking to your budget.

Two people relaxing at the beachBut what if you want to cut loose once in a while?

Living a life of true financial wellness means being happy with a lifestyle that is within your means and doesn’t leave you with a fear of missing out. Like an overly restrictive diet, an overly tight budget is more likely to be broken.

For step 7 of your financial wellness journey, here are some ways to indulge responsibly (and leave emotion out of the equation).

Review your savings

Before giving yourself permission to indulge, make sure you continue to pay yourself by setting aside a percentage of your monthly income to savings. By now, you’ve hopefully established an emergency fund of at least 3–6 months of living expenses while continuing to save for retirement and larger purchases.

Pencil in ‘just for fun’ purchases

As you continue perfecting your budget, be sure to leave room for the occasional treat. The exact amount will vary by income level, lifestyle, and personal choice, but choose an amount you can easily afford without feeling deprived. To ensure you don’t overspend in this area, you can designate an amount at the outset. Then either withdraw the designated amount at the beginning of the month and place it in an envelope (aka the “cash-envelope method”) or move that same amount to your savings account and set it aside. Try not to pull more out for your splurge.

Choose your ‘treats’

Take a look at where your non-discretionary money went during the past month or two. Highlight the more expensive impulse buys and scrutinize them by asking:

  • Did this purchase bring me happiness the day I bought it? Were you still happy with it the next day? The next week?
  • Did this impulse buy blow my budget?
  • Does thinking about this purchase now fill me with joy, guilt … or something else?
  • If I found myself in the same circumstances today, would I make that purchase again?

Lose the guilt

Once you’ve determined what you can spend on indulgences, it’s time to let go of the guilt. If you’ve been able to check all your boxes to this point (responsible spending, consistent spending, etc.), there’s no need to beat yourself up over an impulse buy you could have done without. By keeping these just-for-fun purchases within your budget, you won’t be veering off your path to financial wellness.

Next up: Building and Maintaining an Excellent Credit Score

Return to "10 Steps to Financial Wellness" Hub

The Latest in Offers and Features from SELCO

Payment Apps Are Convenient, But Storing Money There Poses Risks

Payment apps like PayPal, Venmo, and Apple Pay are convenient, but money held in these apps often lacks any sort of federal insurance protection.

Knowing Your Home Improvement Options

Learn the difference between a home equity loan, HELOC, and refinancing, to determine the best option to reach your home improvement project goals.

Looking to Consolidate Debt? Try a HELOC.

Burdened by high-interest credit cards? A home equity line of credit can be a great way to consolidate debt and minimize monthly payments.