In your personal F.I.R.E. journey, don’t forget to splurge.
I achieved another personal finance milestone last week, and with that, I made an unplanned, un-budgeted and unnecessary purchase.
But, sometimes you got to celebrate in style. You have to. Otherwise, what is the point of a cold hard drive to the future happiness that you might not live to see or to experience with good health and vitality? I say, kick in the pleasure at chosen milestones, and that gives you something to aim for. For me, that is the best of both worlds. Knowing you are saving well for the future and getting that buzz of dopamine when you spend some cash on yourself for no other reason other than the splurge.
This purchase was my personal reward for hitting my adjusted savings goal, and I feel like I deserved it. Yeah, that sounds like arrogant justification, but honestly, I do deserve the recognition. I am on course for where I want to be, and despite dabbling with some risks and helping others out where I can, I am back on the right road. My dream of early retirement is still very much alive.
Just to be clear on this crucial point, It was not the most significant spend in my newfound F.I.R.E. journey, but it was an enjoyable spend. Yes, it has been a slog to get to this savings point, and that is why I felt I deserved this wee extravagance.
Now that I have spent the cash, I need to manage the injection of dopamine that I got. I need to box it off in my mind and fight back to the idea of why I am on this path. The spending and the subsequent control that I labour to put back in place in my mind is the drunken battle to not fall off the wagon. Back and forth, my thoughts will go until I settle back into my desired direction.
Save the money and be responsible because I have a longer-term plan.
I see the celebration splurge as recognition, a reward for my own success, but also as a test. Through this act, I am always asking myself whether I am genuinely determined enough to get to where I want to be and am I still committed.
This time my answer is still a very firm, A.B.S.O. – f*cking- LUTELY YES!!
I am stuck on that wagon, and that is where I belong.
When I am helping jog the thinking of others exploring their start on the journey to an earlier than previously planned retirement, I always point out that it is not about being mean and frugal. It is about being selective with your purchases, knowing why you want to spend the money and appreciating the true cost of what the purchase actually costs you.
In addition, I have always preached the benefit of the occasional reckless splurge of cash on something that you probably didn’t need, but it was something that you wanted. I would set it up in the conversation as a test, and if you pass that test, then you should keep going. If you fail and you have fallen off the wagon, and your spending runs away from you again, find a way back onboard that works for you.
There are many tools to help you get back on track, but the starting point is always to recognise that your arse is sitting in the dirt and you are looking up at the wagon.
Once you know this, you can take action.
Thankfully, my arse is not in the dirt, it is on a seat in Starbucks, and it is very comfortable because it is sitting on top of my new winter jacket.