The Beauty of the $20 Happy Splurge

The Beauty of the $20 Happy Splurge

In our  "60 Motivating Seconds With a CFP®" series, we’re bringing you simple tips designed to help you make progress on your money—in just a minute's time.

To get you started, Stephany Kirkpatrick, CFP®, vice president of product and advice strategy at LearnVest Planning Services, shares a happy strategy for treating yourself ... without busting your budget.

"If you’re like many people, the start of spring marks a fresh slate to get your money life in good shape.

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Maybe you've resolved to finally stick to a budget, pay off debt, or put more of your paycheck toward retirement. Whatever your goal, you'll employ super-saving techniques to get the job done.

Those are great goals — but as you're making progress, keep one thing in mind: When it comes to frugal living and scaling back on unnecessary purchases, complete denial doesn't work. It's OK to live a little!

And this brings me to my heart-happy hack for staying on track: Identify one inexpensive ($20 or less) experience that makes you feel amazing — and satisfies your need to loosen the reins once in a while.

Why It Works

Everybody deserves to splurge, but not all splurges are good for you.

When we make spontaneous purchases, we’re often spending emotionally. It could be a response to something that’s gone well — you got great feedback from your boss — or something that’s gone not so well, like you bombed a presentation.

But by choosing in advance the simple experience that can brighten your day, you can help stay ahead of your emotional spending, while still taking pleasure in treating yourself when you feel like celebrating or need a pick-me-up.

"One way to make sure you don't go overboard is to reserve these treats as rewards for hitting career or money goals throughout the year."

How to Get Started

Make a list of three to five $20-or-under pleasures you savor.

Your little delight could be pizza delivery and a bottle of wine on a night you're too tired to cook, a bouquet of flowers to brighten your living room, or a board-games-and-ice-cream night with family.

Once you have your list in hand, put it where you can see it every day — say, taped to your bathroom mirror, in your wallet, or on your dashboard. Now that they're top of mind, you can start integrating these planned, feel-good moments into your life.

One way to make sure you don't go overboard is to reserve these treats as rewards for hitting career or money goals throughout the year.

Met your monthly savings target? Call up a friend for a beer, on you. Landed that great job interview? Treat yourself to a sparkly manicure, and walk into that interview ready to blow them away with your polished appearance—and résumé, of course!

Always Remember ...

Regardless of how you incorporate these splurges into your life, remember that it's truly the little things that can make the biggest difference to your well-being and your bottom line."

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Treating Yourself, Without Blowing Your Budget

LearnVest Planning Services is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary of LearnVest, Inc., that provides financial plans for its clients. Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal or tax planning advice. Please consult a financial adviser, attorney or tax specialist for advice specific to your financial situation. LearnVest Planning Services and any third parties listed, linked to or otherwise appearing in this message are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s products, services or policies.

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