Is Your Guilty Pleasure Messing With Your Budget?

By Kayla Sloan
May 16, 2017

Since graduating college, I’ve noticed that my bathroom scale is creeping upwards. At first, it was no big deal, but once I had to buy new clothes in a bigger size, I realized that what seemed like small changes were adding up to a big problem.

So, what does my weight gain have to do with saving money – besides the fact that I save less if I need to buy new clothes more often? It boils down to this: Saving money and losing weight are both things you need to control in order to achieve your goals. And, just like you sometimes need to cheat when you’re on a diet, the same goes for your budget. The question then becomes: Are guilty pleasures ok on a budget? Read on to find out.

Guilty Pleasures Are OK if:

1. They Don’t Sabotage Your Budget

It’s ok to have a small guilty pleasure that you’ve accounted for in your budget. For example, let’s say you make a morning coffee stop at Starbucks a few times a month. You might spend an extra $15 for that habit. But, as long as you can pay your bills on time and don’t go over your calorie goal, don’t agonize over it! This type of small splurge can actually increase your self-worth and make you a happier person.

2. They Help You in Other Ways

Do you beat yourself up after spending a little extra for a yoga class? Or, has a recent hair salon trip left you feeling buyer’s remorse? Maybe you should stop feeling guilty about purchases that help you in healthy ways. For example, exercise is good for your physical and mental health and may reduce your trips to the doctor. This saves you money in the long run. As for feeling guilty about going to the salon, keep in mind that this helps your self-confidence. Plus, if your job requires you to work with the public, you probably need to look your best. Stop sweating it! If these small splurges still stress you out, try adding them to your budget so you don’t overspend next time.

3. You Are Still Saving Money

If you’re still meeting your savings goals, whether on your own or through automatic savings, there’s no reason to deny yourself things you truly value. Set up a value-based budget so you can spend on the things you value without feeling guilty.

4. You Only Feel a Little Bit Guilty

Speaking of guilt, feeling just a little bit guilty about an indulgence can actually increase the pleasure you feel, according to research. As long as there are no negative effects, why not enjoy the experience once in a while? Your budget, or your diet, won’t be forever off-kilter from an occasional splurge.

Guilty Pleasures are NOT OK if:

1. They Are Spur of the Moment

When you buy something on a whim, by its very definition, it is not in your budget. Unplanned purchases add to your budget woes and can leave you feeling extra remorse once you realize you haven’t gained anything of true value.

2. They Become an Addiction

When your guilty pleasure, no matter what it is, becomes a regular habit, this might be an addiction. This is not only bad for your finances, but it can also be bad for your health and relationships. Some examples of guilty pleasures turned addiction are alcohol and compulsive shopping. So, keep your guilty pleasure in check and you should be OK.

3. Your Loved Ones Disapprove for Good Reason

As mentioned above, it isn’t always a bad thing to have a guilty pleasure, depending on what it is and how much it costs. However, if your loved ones are upset about your behavior, it may be time for a reality check.

Do you have guilty pleasures? If so, maybe it’s time to weigh in on whether they’re healthy for you or not. By checking in with yourself, you’ll be more apt to make changes if necessary and establish healthy money habits.

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