8 Young Women On How (& How Often) They Treat Themselves On A Budget

By | Friday, October 28, 2016



A few weeks ago, following a mall trip with my best friend (where we’d gone to “grab a few things” we needed, but, if I remember correctly, ended up leaving with more than the few things), she joked that treating herself felt like it wasn’t a treat anymore because it happens so often. I laughed along, but I think that was a moment where we both realized something about how downhill our habits go sometimes. Often, especially during particularly stressful times, it becomes easy to see every tiny break as an opportunity to heavily treat yourself in an attempt to relieve stress. However, the most successful “Treat Yo’Self” schedules are accompanied by “Treat Yo’Self” budgets that ensure the treats don’t become an everyday thing.

The source of a lot of my “treat yo’self” moments are the moments when it feels way more convenient than going for the more ~budget-friendly~ option. I’m a saver at heart, and I love to pinch pennies as much as possible. But if I’m running around one day and planned to go home and cook dinner, and a friend says “let’s go grab a bite”, I’ll stop and think about how much easier that sounds than going home to cook. Additionally, if I’ve just gotten paid from all of my jobs, I sometimes see the numbers in my bank account and feel like a total badass (completely forgetting that my bills are due in a week) and sometimes act like a ~big spender~ for a day.

This only happens sometimes, as I’m pretty good at keeping with my (usually tight) budgets. But sometimes, I do slip (as we all know). And truthfully, it is sometimes hard to draw the line between “rightfully treating yourself” and “excessively spending”. When does a “treat” become too much? I’m not so sure.

To see if I was in good company, I talked to a bunch of young, working women, and asked them what their “Treat Yo’Self” schedules (and budgets) looked like. Here is what they all had to say:


“If I’m being honest, I have zero schedule. I treat myself whenever I feel like I ~deserve~ it, which is awful, and probably costing me money in a big way. I do a lot of little bits of shopping and treating myself here or there, and don’t really budget it in – but I would like to. I am thinking about instating a rule, like when I reach a certain goal at work I’ll allow myself a budgeted treat yourself afternoon.”

1. “My husband travels for work — often, but not too often that this becomes excessive for me to give myself a special ‘treat yo’self’ evening when he’s gone. Sometimes I will order my favorite takeout and go on a little trip to a favorite shop, or pick up a few trashy magazines and a yummy snack. Sometimes, it means I’ll go out to a happy hour with my friends and not worry about having a few extra cocktails because at least I won’t come home sloppily and annoy my husband. It is a good system — about once a month.” – Jennifer

2. “Two days a week (maximum), I let myself buy breakfast. I love breakfast sandwiches, bagels, pastries, fancy coffees, etc. Often I eat oatmeal or a homemade fruit smoothie or some cereal at home. But once or twice a week, I’ll allow breakfast out. I don’t always do it, but I won’t go over my two-day limit, so that’s how I keep it budget-friendly. A breakfast hardly will cost over $5 mostly. Sometimes I’ll do it on a stressful Monday, grab something on my way in to work, or sometimes I save it for weekends so I can go for more of a sit-down breakfast with someone. It is a really big treat for me. The weekend ones are a bit pricier, but not over maybe $20 maximum.” – Sara

3. “Basically every time I get a paycheck, I allow myself one little ‘just because’ thing. Maybe a good meal, a book, or something else I’ve been eyeing. Something little, but something that makes me happy. Maybe in the $10-$15 range. Like ‘oh, you’ve just replenished your stash of money — go reward yourself!’” – Angie

4. “Twice a year; my birthday, and Christmas. I keep myself on a very tight budget almost always, and don’t do any recreational spending almost ever. I have children, and I don’t make a ton of money, so it is just how I make sure to keep saving. But I always buy myself a special little birthday present. And at Christmas, even though money can get tight, I get myself a little treat then too usually. My kids are too young to buy me a gift obviously, my boyfriend tries, but boys stink at gifts generally speaking. I like to buy myself the bag I’ve been eyeing all year, or whatever little thing I want. I mean, provided that I have the money. Treating myself is highly dependent on my financial situation at the moment.” – Maria

5. “I don’t treat myself at this point — money is way too tight to let any of it just be for fun or something.” – Abbie

6. “So, when I make money from my side-hustle, that is money to treat myself with. I make a pretty average (or maybe on the higher side of average) salary, so I can cover what I need to and contribute to savings, etc. with that. But my side money is just for fun, that’s basically the only reason I do it — just so I can enjoy extra things that are I suppose considered ‘treats’ like really nice clothes and meals out and vacations. So the budget for this kind of changes month-to-month depending on how much time I have left over to dedicate to my side work, but it is basically all spending money.” – Crystal

7. “I don’t treat myself, I don’t like to think of it like that — I earn my money, so when I buy myself something, I don’t like to consider it a ‘treat,’ I just like to consider it my decision for how I want to spend my money, if that makes sense.” – Jessica

8. “I’m a student, which means I don’t have a ton of disposable income really. But I always do a little shopping spree or get something I’ve been wanting after finals each semester, a little congratulatory gift for, you know, not going insane during finals.” – Ashley

Mary writes every day for TFD, and tweets every day for her own personal fulfillment. Talk to her about money and life at mary@thefinancialdiet.com!

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