We’ve all been there.
You’ve had a terrible day.
You say “I’ve worked hard today. I want to treat myself. I deserve a pepperoni pizza [or a double fudge brownie or a BLT or a French fry coated battered hot dog on a stick].”
Or maybe you pull out the credit card and “treat yourself” to a shopping spree. Maybe you “deserve” a new outfit. Maybe you get a little crazier and decide you “deserve” a fancy new car.
If you’re lucky enough to be one of those people who can eat junk food without gaining weight, then eating that French fry coated hot dog (yes, that is a real thing) may not be too much of a problem. And if you’re wealthy, going on a shopping spree (probably) won’t put you in debt.
But for those of us who gain weight easily and are not rich, “rewarding” ourselves with junk food or shopping sprees can become a dangerous habit.
You’re probably thinking, “One pizza won’t make me fat and one new outfit won’t break the bank.” While that is probably true, moderation with spending and eating habits can be challenging. Every time we reward ourselves in this way, we reinforce the behavior and make it more likely that we will engage in the same behavior in the future.
Let’s stop rewarding ourselves with excess.
Some people would tell you that you don’t “deserve” to treat yourself. Some would tell you that you’re a spoiled, entitled millennial.
I disagree. You work hard, and you DO deserve great things.
The problem is not that millennials are entitled – it’s that they value all the wrong things. We live in a consumer-driven culture. We naively believe that the “American Dream” – complete with a white picket fence, large house, the latest iPhone, and expensive cars – will bring us happiness. But these things typically do not make us happy. More often than not, we rack up credit card debt buying things we can’t actually afford, and we put ourselves in misery.
We habitually treat ourselves with junk food too, but that probably won’t make us happy either. Instead, it will likely make us overweight and unhealthy.
It’s time for us to start redefining our values and thinking about what we truly deserve.
You don’t deserve to be shackled by debt.
You don’t deserve to be unprepared for financial emergencies.
You don’t deserve to retire late or never retire at all.
You don’t deserve to be overweight.
You don’t deserve to be too heavy to be able to play with your kids.
You don’t deserve heart disease.
You don’t deserve type two diabetes.
You don’t deserve a shortened lifespan.
What do you deserve?
- To save money for retirement so you can retire by 67 and enjoy your later years.
- To have the security of an emergency fund for any unexpected issues that come up…because they will.
- To be able to provide financially for your current or future family.
- To be financially stable and debt-free.
- To treat your body well so that you can enjoy a long, healthy life.
- Start putting money into retirement savings, or increase the amount of your current 401(k)/Roth contribution. Watch your money grow every time you need a “treat”.
- Stop digging yourself deeper into debt. Come up with a plan to pay off any student loan or credit card debt that you may have. “Treat” yourself by watching your principal balance decrease every month.
- Put money into savings so that you can create an emergency fund.
- Treat yourself to a delicious, healthy meal or snack.
- Do something active, cheap, and fun with a friend or significant other. Enjoy the endorphins, the memories, and your improved health.
Want to reward yourself? Put down the donut and the credit card. You deserve better.