Treat Myself

It occurs to me I’ve fallen into a trap.  Normally prior to Christmas I don’t buy anything other than the must have items like food and beyond those the odd lunch out (perhaps two a month).  Yet this year I’ve been spending a bit more on treating myself on little things that really don’t matter.

I felt lazy this weekend, so I bought some fast food instead of cooking.  I was out getting some things to finish my new living room floor and I stopped off and buy the kid and myself a chocolate bar.  And so on.  Yet each time I thought at some point.  Well I deserve the treat, I got a new job.

The excuse has worn so thin I can see the other side now.  I’m justifying to myself things I really don’t need or even want all that much.  So what happened?

I’ve realized that these major life changes, like a new job, cause all sorts of low level stress that builds up and had myself trying to make myself feel better with little things.  Of course this doesn’t actually work, ask anyone with a spending problem and they can tell you about it.  It’s a bad habit that just feeds on itself.

So now I’ve seen the pattern and I’m going to actually deal with my stress in more healthy ways.  First off, spend some time by myself each day either reading or doing something else I enjoy to just relax.  Second, I’m going to write up a to do list of some of the more minor items that have been adding to my stress level and start systematically clearing them off.  That way I should be able to start just relaxing a bit more when I have some down time and stop worrying about the little stuff.

So has anyone else fallen into the ‘treat myself’ trap?  If so, what did you do to get out of it?

8 thoughts on “Treat Myself”

  1. Clean. I don’t consider the occasional choclate bar or burger “treating myself.” Those are usually done because I either have a craving or no time to cook. But then, I don’t live as frugally as you do.

    But I DO buy bigger-ticket items when I treat myself. Computer upgrades, DVDs, gadgets, cool toys, etc.. But if I’m feeling particularly stressed, I clean. I go through the piles of stuff I’ve bought myself and realize that they’ve collected dust or are barely used. The number of times I’ve said, “I didn’t know I had this!” is humbling. The guilt of such consipicuous consumption is usually enough to stop me from treating myself for a while.

  2. Yes, I used to “Treat myself” a lot when I worked in a really toxic work environment. I used the “I deserve it, my work sucks so this makes me feel better”. It would be anything from expensive meals out to clothes to spa treatments.
    I got myself out of it by saying…”Is this going to make me feel better, or is putting it towards me escaping the rat race faster going to make me feel better?” Of course I still do treat myself but now it truly is a “treat” i.e. once in a blue moon!

  3. You mentioned that you ate fast food, how often do you eat out normally? I guess you can avoid a lot of expense by making your own lunches for work, you can try doing that. Try leaving small amounts of money in your accounts or carrying smaller amounts of cash. Also, try taking some of your kids halloween candy and give it to them throughout the year, they wont notice thats its gone and you will avoid spending more money in those pesky convinces stores.

  4. Also you mentioned Christmas shopping, you can try re-gifting. This practice may be looked down on but if i dont really have a need for the gift and someone else will use the gift, why not give it to them? The gift will not be wasted; we are using things to their full use.

  5. I have not been in the ‘treat myself’ trap since I started cutting out those unnecessary things a few months ago. I did, however, plan to treat myself once a week thinking that that would be nice every now and again.

    It turned out that if I treated myself to a chocolate bar once a week, that became twice but usually no more than this. In the end, I just stopped buying those treats since I didn’t need either one or two … it was pretty easy.

    So, buying nothing at all is easier than buying just one! Strange that.

  6. I have a different problem, I don’t like buying anything. We setup personal leisure budgets this year with only $300 to spend + gifts received. So for the entire year I’ve spent a grand total of $180 bucks, I actually have more then I started the year off at. I think I’ve paid to go to a restaurant once. The funny thing is I don’t feel deprived or anything. I’m having more stress trying to think of Christmas gifts to ask for that I’d actually want.

    Maybe the consumer in my finally died.

  7. Well thanks for the feedback everyone. I think Moneygardener hit it on the head. It’s always a game we play with ourselves.

    With the exception of Jordan who has appeared to kill off his inner consumer. *grin*


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