December 19, 2007, 7:00 am

The “I Deserve It Factor”

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Frugal
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As you probably know if you are reading my blog on a regular basis (I hope!), I was writing my MBA tests last weekend. Technically, I just finished my first semester on December 15th. I say technically because I already have assignments for my next classes in January. So there is no “semester” per say, it’s 720 days of MBA classes in a row! So when I was done with my last exam, I decided to go shopping as my wife could not pick me up earlier (this is one real inconvenient of having only one car!). I felt relieved, I felt good, I felt like I should reward myself for the effort I made. This is why I spent $100 in 15 minutes 😉

While I am desperately tempting to be more frugal, I failed most of the time and I always wonder why. But that day, I learned that I was using the “I deserve it factor” when I feel like buying. I also figured out that there were more than one usage of this “non-frugal factor”.

To justify your purchase

The first reason many people use it is to avoid the guilt of spending too much. We often ran into this situation where we are wondering if we should make a purchase or not. This is where our emotions will come into play.

At one point, you may decide to put the damn thing in your bag and buy it fast! Then, you will be filled by shame as your consciousness reminds you that you did not plan this purchase and that it will automatically make a hole somewhere in your budget. You will feel like a five years old kid who just steal some candies at the groceries store and that is being questioned by his mother (your consciousness).

This is exactly where the “I deserve it factor” will come into play. You will start thinking how frugal you have been recently or how hard you worked this year and you will firmly believe that you should reward yourself. In fact, you will find that your consciousness should be much easier to convince than your mom was!

To motivate yourself

While I do not feel guilty of spending money (I love it too much!) I use the “I deserve it factor” to reward myself and encourage me to keep going. I am a strong believer of being rewarded for what I do. As most of the time nobody will, you have to do it yourself! While keeping away frustration in most cases, it also helps me to keep working harder and harder.

I think that working harder or working smarter should be rewarded. However, life is made in a way that you will not necessarily get back what you originally gave in. Therefore, I decided to balance things out by rewarding myself.

On that day, I bought Playstation games and sushi for supper. I can tell you that eating a great meal with my wife and playing my new games while everybody is sleeping was much rewarding than my MBA marks that I will receive in the mail in a few weeks!

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You should start a new carnival called “Carnival of anti-frugal living”!



I’ve found that some of the guilt is alleviated if I acknowledge my tendency ahead of time and PLANNED my indulgence. For example if you had planned ahead of time to buy the Playstation as a reward for studying and completing your exams – then you could happily walk into that store to make your purchase without having to debate yourself while you are there.

See, I’m totally guilty of using the same logic of “I earned it!” on occasion. I, too, believe that small rewards help me press on during stressful times or periods of long days away from my wonderful gal.

But by planning my “indulgent” purchase a few weeks ahead of time, I can get the object of my desire out of my head while I am working at whatever I’m working at, and avoid the guilt of snatching something up on the spur of the moment.

It’s still fun to make the spur of the moment purchases though…. 😉

Great post!

by: The Financial Blogger | December 20th, 2007 (7:18 am)

I find it funnier when I submit those kind of post to frugal carnivals 😉

It is good to see that I am not alone 😉 Did you find any cure for this mental disorder ? hahaha!

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