Advice from Tom Haverford: When is the Appropriate Time to Treat Yourself?

by Sean Finucane on November 14, 2017 · 0 comments

Self care is important, and any fans of Tom Haverford from Parks and Rec will be familiar with the phrase “treat yourself.” But how do you balance the urge to treat yourself with your checking account balance?

The classic phrase “treat yo’self” is used to encourage people who are debating splurging on that new pair of shoes or that new leather jacket. Whether it’s your Birthday or it’s just Wednesday, sometimes you just have to go for it. The classic catch-phrase developed from an episode of the hit television show Parks and Rec, and it’s instantly become a classic bit of pop culture.

In the show, characters Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle encourage each other to buy luxury bags, massages, and clothes, no matter the cost, during one special “treat yo’self” day. Researchers have found that between six and 10 purchases made in a store fall under the category of impulse purchases, and sometimes treating yourself is an excellent form of self care.

Yes, buying whatever you want to just “treat yo’self” can be extremely tempting. However, there is a time and a place for doing so. So, when is that time and said place?

Living the luxury lifestyle constantly may sound appealing, but your bank account may disagree. If you do want to make those expensive purchases, you should ask yourself a few things. First, you need to figure out if what you’re looking to purchase is going to exceed more than 5% of your net worth. This is a good rule to follow on all big purchases. Your net worth refers to how much you have in cash and investments. CNBC says, for example, if you have $100,000, you want to make sure you’re not spending more than $5,000 on any single purchase.

Now, this isn’t saying that you shouldn’t be able to splurge every now and again. If you find yourself in a financial situation where you are able to afford it, then go ahead and by that new flatscreen TV. Just don’t make it a regular thing. The best thing to do if you do have money to afford something nice? Make sure you’re not just wasting all of your hard-earned cash on a single item. You don’t want to look down at your wrist and think, “Wow, I spent a lot of money on this watch,” while your computer’s hard drive is fried or your cell phone has cracked.

One final thing to consider when looking at what you want to splurge on, eliminate the cost from your mind and think to yourself, “Even if this cost me nothing, would I still love it?” How much are you going to love what you bought? Is it going to be the situation where you make a purchase, love it for a few months, and then want something else instead? In short, think before you treat yourself.

Ultimately, just keep in mind how much money you have and figure out what you can afford. By taking the time to create a personal budget, you can make sure your personal purchases don’t blow up your banking account. You can also take a page out of the Tom Haverford book and save this money from month-to-month until you have a “Treat yo’self” budget. Then, once you’ve hit your desired savings goal, you can truly go on a shopping binge 100% guilt free. However, without this pre-defined monthly budget, it’s far too easy to overspend on those impulse buys.

You don’t want to put yourself into a black hole of debt just to be able to fund your very own “treat yo’self’ day.



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