Savers know the feeling of wanting to splurge on an outlandish item just to spite their better coupon-clipping half. Saving money can be so… tiring.
Are you feeling the effects of frugal fatigue?
Here are 12 ways to let off steam when you’re sick and tired of being financially responsible.
Splurge already! Put a dollar limit on a miniature spending spree so you don’t wind up with a case of buyer’s remorse. Say, $10 to $25 for a no-guilt purchase of anything your heart desires. I head to Starbucks for a decaf soy latte, which at $3.55, feels oh so scandalous.
Renew your goals. There’s nothing that motivates me to save like checking my retirement accounts. A quick tally of my ROTH IRA, 401(k) and SEP account humbles me. Do I really want to work into my 70s? Why aren’t I saving more?
Watch hoarders. Enjoy not being held hostage by stuff. Do you really need a shiny new possession? Can you repurpose something you already have? You can find online video tutorials on how to make just about anything.
Vent. Connect with another frugal friend. Sometimes the act of talking about a problem unleashes pent up emotions, thereby solving the problem. If your bud pretends she’s never struggled to stay on the frugal wagon, she’s lying. No one is that good.
Buy it and return it. There, I said it. Intentionally buying something you fully intend on returning might be a little questionable, but in extreme circumstances, it is excusable. After all, retailers count on a few of us changing our minds. Just don’t open the packaging, cut the tags, lose the receipt, or wait too long.
Have faith. Ask your religious leader what they would do in your situation.
Give to charity. You’ll be rewarded with a double high: one for the big spend and another for helping someone who needs it more than you. Charity Navigator rates 5,000 do-good-organizations on a variety of factors.
Make a deal. Allow yourself to splurge, but not until you tackle a nagging task on your to do list. Is it time to organize the basement? Create an exercise routine? Or file that pile of papers on your desk?
Switch to cash. I experimented with making every single purchase in cash for one month, and it drastically changed my spending habits. Studies show that using cash reduces the amount we spend because it’s harder to part with physical money than abstract credit.
Celebrate savings. Pat yourself on the back when you meet a savings goal or convince yourself to walk away from the shoe department. One pep talk could go like this: I have less clutter to clean! I am richer!
Let it go to voicemail. When a big-spender friend calls, take a pass or make alternate plans. Suggest taking a hike or a meeting up at a free concert instead of hitting the shopping mall or going for a night out on the town.
Be grateful. Take stock of what you do have – maybe it’s your health, a loving partner, a warm home, children, supportive family, a satisfying career, great friends, a cuddly pet, or yummy food. When we look around at what we have, there is much to appreciate.
Julia Scott founded the money and coupon blog, BargainBabe.com.