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“I Deserve It”

i deserve it I Deserve ItHow many times have you made a purchase because you thought, “I deserve it“? If you have, speak up… so I know I’m not the only one!

Lately, I have noticed that I slip into this pattern far more often that is productive. It’s good to “treat” myself if I can afford it, and it’s fine to reward myself for a job well done, but “I deserve it” shouldn’t be an excuse to spend, spend, and spend. Unfortuantely, somehow, I have gotten into the habit of using “I deserve it” as a crutch, and excuse, to spend above what is prudent. I had a hard week at work, so “I deserve it.” I worked extra hours to earn some freelance income, so “I deserve it.” I saw that great deal to the spa that I’ve been waiting for, so “I deserve it.”

All those “I deserves” are standing in the way of what we truly deserve.

Instead of a beach vacation that we’d have to finance with a credit card, we deserve to greet our monthly bills with zen, because we know that we can pay off what we have purchased.

Instead of a leather bag (or, um, shoes) whose price tag sails above our budget, we deserve to have the peace of mind that comes with a 3-month, 6-month, or even 12-month emergency fund.

Instead of the newest flatscreen TVs or flashiest DSLR camera, we deserve to look at our online statements and see we are saving 10%, 20%, maybe even 30% for retirement.

Instead of a sleek new car that we can only afford with a 6-year purchase plan, we deserve to start upon the road to financial security by making smart choices today… even if we have to drive down that road in a very old car.

Today is Valentine’s Day, a time to celebrate love (it’s NOT a made-up holiday, says this Valentine’s Day defender). And what better way to show love to ourselves -especially our future selves- than to work toward what we truly deserve? I’m using this holiday as a wake-up call… and a chance to reframe my concept of what I “deserve.”

Tell me about your “I deserve it” traps.

  • Michelle - I've definitely done this. And I need to stop! It's one of my main budget killers ReplyCancel

  • Bridget - I'm in a perpetual "I deserve" trap. I'm actually a little embarrassed about it. I think I could be putting $1000/mo towards my student loans if I just got my head in the game and stopped treating myself. Sigh. Still trying to find that balance ReplyCancel

  • BrokeElizabeth - (raises hand) I'm definitely guilty of this when I've been having a bad day… which has been happening far too frequently lately :(. I've gotten into the habit of 'treating' myself to junk food, but I'm trying to turn that focus over to healthy, delicious, but a bit too expensive for everyday eating foods. Pink lady apples are delicious. ReplyCancel

  • Serendipity - I always tell myself this. I'll say, well I work really hard, why can't I buy a coffee? But I agree, I deserve savings in the bank too. ReplyCancel

  • Squirrelers - With me it's grabbing a coffee, or a random impulse purchase.

    Or, more prevalent actually, is my spending on my daughter. I tend to look at this with a bit of a "she" deserves it approach, as I let my emotions play a big role. The thing is, as kids get older, we all want them to have a good understanding of the value of money. ReplyCancel

  • Maggie@SquarePennies - The funny thing is whenever someone tells me they bought something because they deserve it, I think, and who is going to tell you that you don't? It's fine if someone can afford something and has a good savings plan and low debt. But most people don't worry about that when they say they deserve something. We ALL feel we deserve it. I'm sure people who are really poor feel they deserve better too. Buying when we feel we deserve it is letting feelings overtake thinking! ReplyCancel

  • Matt - I deserve to spend $300 on a tv, a new gaming system, drinks, dinner. Etc. I gave said that so many times. I think goals are great because then you can ask yourself if your spending aligns with your goals. ReplyCancel

  • Larry Gittens - Read the post
    ReplyCancel

  • StackingCash - Have to agree with Matt in regards to goals. For the longest time we saved, saved, saved, and saved. It got unhealthy. We lacked goals to spend our hard earned money on. I started using the "deserve" word quite a bit for the past year. Especially on dining out. Now, however, I need to swing the pendalum the other way to balance spending too much towards the saving mode. As usual, the balance is a tough one for me. ReplyCancel

  • Jenn - I definitely do this sometimes… usually when I've been too strict with my budget and not allowed enough "fun money." The bigger issue is when I'm debating a purchase (usually one I shouldn't be making) and others use the "but you deserve it" argument for me. ReplyCancel

  • belowhermeans - I fight with myself almost every evening when I get home and have to suppress the urge to order dinner delivered. Cooking is so much more affordable and better for me but I constantly tell myself, "I deserve" to dine out all the time because I work long hours. Breaking the habit. :( ReplyCancel

  • Emily - That is such a great reframing of the thought! I don't think "I deserve it" very often, but I have a few times and it scares me a bit! I will use this tactic to take control of those impulses. Thanks for sharing! ReplyCancel

  • jeff sustainlifeblog - This doesnt always get me, but it seems to be creeping up on me rather quickly because of the wedding. I deserve this new suit (actually, I know I dont, but I was told that I couldnt wear the suit I already had) or I deserve this fancy vacation or that fancy trip. Usually it's not the small things that get me, it's the big ones. ReplyCancel

  • Little House - I fall into that category as well. After the holidays, I went on a little home decor spurge and ended up "deserving" a hefty purchase – a flat screen TV (now to be fair, I was sort of talked into it by Mr. LH). But you make an excellent point; what I really deserve is to save for retirement or I'll end up working until I keel over! ReplyCancel

  • Aloysa - I did a lot of shopping purely based on "I deserve." Bad day at work? I deserve it to unwind. In a mall of course. Worked long hours all week? I deserve it have fun and get myself something nice. Saved up a little amount of money? I deserve to reward myself for all the sacrifices I've made. Now, instead of saying "I deserve." I say "I don't need it." :) ReplyCancel

  • Kim @ Say What?! - The 'I Deserve Its' are tough. Even the most vigilant can fall into that trap. For instance, my husband and I did last year. We were all financially saavy and then we did something I vow to never do again: we filed our taxes, saw how much we *should* be getting back, and put flooring renovations on our credit cards relying on the refund money to pay it off. We didn't get as much back as we thought we would, thus starting a credit card debt. Then we "deserved" to go on vacation, etc, etc, and next thing you know, we had to spend half a year getting our credit card debt paid off. We're free and clear now but I still can't believe I fell into the oldest trap known to man – spending money before you actually receive in. ReplyCancel

  • C The Writer - It's not so much that I think I deserve it as that buying things helps me forget my depressing situation…temporarily. ReplyCancel

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  • credit card debt vacation | credit card debt, debt management, credit card financing - [...] Your family and friends will understand and not want you to go into debt just to get them some toys.The holiday season is a time of joy and togetherness with loved ones. It is also a time of rampant d…debt during this season. From all the food needed for thanksgiving to all the presents for [...]ReplyCancel

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