So there’s this thing that has happened in the world, and I think it’s a problem. It’s the mindset that “I deserve it.” I’m sure you’ve heard it, and maybe even said it: “I work hard. I deserve this new purse.” “She deserves a vacation.” “We deserve a nice night out.”
Don’t get me wrong – I lloovvee being able to justify something by thinking that I deserve it, whether that’s a new skirt or a slice of pizza. But the reality is that just because I can justify something doesn’t make it a good idea. Especially when that justification means that my bigger hopes and dreams are delayed. Because here’s the thing:
You (or I) may deserve this one thing, but we also deserve more. And if this thing is going to make it harder to get to more, then this thing isn’t good, no matter how much you (or I) “deserve” it.
Let’s take the example of a vacation.
People work hard. Time away from work is vital to recharge and enjoy the things in life beyond work. The problem comes with the idea that you “deserve” a week in Hawaii, when you don’t actually have a week in Hawaii in the budget. Because what you REALLY deserve is not to worry when you open up your credit card bill, and to shrug your shoulders when the mechanic says, “Your car needs new tires,” and absolutely no financial worries when your kid breaks their arm. If that vacation in Hawaii is going to get in the way of those things, then you deserve what comes by skipping the trip: lower stress, not waking up at night worrying about bills, and the ability to focus on caring for your family instead of worrying about how you’ll pay for caring for your family.
You can extend this beyond vacations, and apply it to all sorts of things that we “deserve” – restaurant meals, premium cars, all the cable channels, that jet ski, or even just a pedicure when it’s not in the spending plan.
Now, I’m not saying that you should never splurge on anything. I’m just saying that you need to ensure that your splurges aren’t impacting your long-term financial goals. If you can afford to take that week in Hawaii and have zero worries about credit card bills, new tires, or broken arms, that is awesome. Otherwise, consider a week at home, or somewhere more affordable. (Though I am on Team Safer At Home right now, so that’d be my choice.)
Because you deserve more than whatever thing you think you deserve right now.