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How do you reward yourself? Me, I like to buy books. To keep my spending on track and to eliminate binge shopping trips and tears over credit card bills that are too large to pay off, I decided to make myself work for those books. It works like this:

Set short-term and long-term goals for yourself. The goals can be anything that fits your needs and lifestyle. For example if your goal is to lose ten pounds, then establish exactly how you're going to lose those ten pounds and by when. Also establish a reward. Make the goal as specific as possible and the reward as specific as possible.

For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds, then you could say, "I'm going to lose ten pounds in six months by cutting my carbohydrates and exercising for 30 minutes a day three times a week. When I reach my goal I'm going to buy that "whatever your goal is" I've had my eye on for a few days."



I think it's a good idea to define the cost of your reward also so that you can resist going overboard with it. Otherwise, once you're at the store you could end up spending more than you intended and it will no longer feel like a reward when you see your credit card debt. Additionally, by predetermining your reward you will be able to plan for the expense.

Long-term goals work a little differently. Let's say, for example, that your goal is to train for and run a marathon. This is a long-term goal because it can take several months and a lot of determination to reach your goal. In this case you may want to give yourself mini goals to reach, like when your training reaches the 10 mile mark you get a reward.

This goal and reward process works well because the rewards have meaning. They're not just "I'm a great person and I deserve these books" types of rewards. Additionally, this system helps to keep your spending under control because you know you're going to buy the item, you know how much it costs, and you know exactly when you're going to spend the money. If this type of system doesn't work for you, leave a bit of wiggle room in your budget for a monthly splurge.



After all, money is for enjoying!





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1 comments

  1. andy // 4/19/2008 4:23 PM  

    Great post and spot on. I wrote about my daily splurge on coffee in a recent post and I think overall you need to reward yourself when you can. No fun going for a goal it there is no reward.