In honor of International Day of Happiness on March 20, we’re asking you to reflect on how you can create more happiness in the world around you. Think about your role in society and try to make it a better place. But also recognize that happiness begins with you!
As Dr. Tony Pennell’s says in the book It’s About Time: Finally, the Truth About Money, “The good news is that you can enjoy life today, and have financial security tomorrow.” While it may seem challenging, achieving both is entirely possible. By all means allow yourself to indulge in life’s small luxuries. Because one of our most important philosophies is that you can (and should) spend on the things you enjoy—after you Pay Yourself First.
Here are a few tips on how you can afford to enjoy the things you love and still lay the foundation for Financial Security:
Create A Treat Yourself Fund
A weekly girls night out, replete with a massage and spa date. A fancy dinner with friends. Everyone needs stress-free fun, so designate a spending account just for these little luxuries. If you’re worried about tapping too much in to your fund for small indulgences, make a pact with yourself: For every X amount you sock away into your fund for luxuries, commit to matching the amount for your Security Buffer or toward your investments.
To figure out how much you should set aside for your little luxuries fund, do set some rules. For instance, if you’ve been selling unused stuff lying around your house for extra cash, allow yourself to save X amount you rake in. Or if you get a bonus at work, commit to saving a majority of that bonus, and spend the rest.
Time Splurges With Celebratory Events
If you can’t afford to enjoy the things you love on a weekly basis, treat yourself during appropriate occasions. For instance, treat yourself after you’ve hit a milestone achievement, such as running a marathon, paying off one of your credit cards or student loans or hitting a checkpoint with your retirement savings.
By timing your small indulgences so they coincide with events, you’ll be using a splurge as a means of reward and not as a method of acting out. Indulging every so often is actually a good thing.
Review Your Weekly Budget
To afford to treat yourself, look over your weekly budget and see where you can cut back. Want to free up an extra $50 each week to enjoy a massage? See if you can cut back in other areas like food or transportation.
For example, try buying only what’s on sale at the grocery store (but do keep it healthy!) or commit to brown bagging your lunch to work a few more times a week. If you’re having a difficult time cutting back on your living expenses, see if you can make some extra cash through a side hustle.
Make Time To Spend With Your Loved Ones
According to a 2017 Harvard study on happiness that spanned 80 years, how happy we are in our relationships is a key factor in how healthy we are. Prioritize taking breaks for quality time with your loved ones. You may think that’s impossible with your busy schedule, but take an afternoon off to go for a leisurely stroll in the park or enjoy some quiet time together. You’ll quickly see exactly how easy it is. Not only will spending time with dear friends and family and cultivating community add joy to your life, but you’ll experience long-term positive effects, too.
But Don’t Neglect Your Financial Priorities
Enjoying the finer things in life is great. Just make sure you’re taking care of your future self. Otherwise, spending will be a detriment to reaching your ultimate goal of Financial Security.
Because Financial Freedom is your end goal, whatever you do, keep your eye on the prize. And don’t neglect your financial priorities. Treat yourself only after you Pay Yourself First and Live on What Remains, pay off debt, and set up a Security Buffer.
Happiness is not just having fun and indulging, but also making steady progress toward Financial Freedom. So for International Day of Happiness, think about how you can achieve well-being and joy in both the short-term and the long run.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of MindShift.money.
image credit: Bigstock/Wayhome Studio
Jackie is a personal finance writer and content marketer. She is passionate about telling money stories and spreading financial literacy to a mainstream audience.