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How to Work Little Treat Rewards into Improving Your Financial Health

Here’s an interesting take from your credit union: "little treat culture” is a strategy that doesn't just improve your happiness, but it’s also an option to improve money management. Gone are the days of equating indulgence with financial folly; we're here to set up a strategy of little rewards as a secret ingredient to a healthy financial recipe.

Woman paying for a coffee with a card.

The Delightful Logic Behind Little Luxuries

This isn't about giving a green light to every little purchase. We’re not talking about overspending! Little treats are about small, thoughtful gestures to yourself—a nod to hard work and discipline. Drawing from the wisdom of psychology, we find that a little enjoyment can powerfully motivate us in less exciting tasks (think updating your budget, meeting with your financial planner, or filing your taxes).

In psychological studies, researchers have found that people who expect a reward get a double-treat: they feel good about the prize they receive, but they feel equally good about the anticipation of the prize. Studies have shown that looking forward to a small reward can lighten up our days, making the tedious tasks of financial planning or bill-paying seem less daunting and more like stepping stones to our next financial milestone.

An image showing a piggy bank alongside little treats like candy, coffee, and flowers.

Crafting a Strategy for Treat-Infused Budgeting

To work the full benefit of little treat culture into your financial health, try this strategic approach:

  • Set Aside a Treat Fund: Carve out a little nook in your budget for treats. This ensures these occasional dips into little delights are part of the plan, not a derailment. Keeping the reward small (under $5-ish) means your choices about rewards are more intentional. Treats shouldn’t compromise financial stability, but should be significant enough to provide a motivational boost.
  • Tie Treats to Milestones: Connect treats to specific financial milestones, such as saving a certain amount or reducing debt by a predetermined percentage. This not only makes the reward feel earned, but also celebrates progress towards larger financial goals.
  • Choose Meaningful Rewards: Select treats that genuinely bring you joy and enhance your sense of wellbeing. The value of a treat isn’t in its cost but in its ability to uplift and motivate.
  • Reflect & Adjust: Regularly assess how this practice affects your financial health and motivation. If you find it's leading to overspending, reassess your approach and adjust the size or frequency of your treats.

A Cheerful Conclusion: Balancing Books & Bliss

Combining the concept of little treats with financial strategies cultivates a balanced approach to managing money—one that acknowledges the importance of nourishing our mental and emotional wellbeing alongside our bank accounts. It's a celebration of the fact that finances and feelings are highly interconnected. By allowing for small indulgences, we can make the journey towards financial goals not only bearable but enjoyable, proving that the best financial plans are those that cater not just to our wallets but to our wellbeing.

Want some help working little treats into your budget, and identifying what financial tasks and milestones make sense for your goals? Let's talk! Schedule an appointment at your nearest branch today!

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