The Truth About What You Financially Deserve [2024]

The biggest challenge that we face when getting our finances in order isn’t the stock market, global economics, current interest rates, or even our present rate of pay. It’s our own egos.

Does this sound familiar? “I’ve had a rough day. I deserve a treat.” Add a little bit of self-congratulatory confidence, and the treat varies in proportion. Stressful meeting? Buy yourself a special latte or top-shelf cocktail. Rough week? Take yourself out to a fancy dinner and order something special. Tough summer with the kids? Spend a little extra and take a better vacation than last year. Rough year? Buy a new car, because you’ve earned it, after all.

Here’s the bad news: you don’t deserve that treat.

Vector image man and money
Image credit: Real Life Debt

Try this experiment: each day for one month, take a few minutes to write down what you spent that day. You don’t need a fancy spreadsheet or a new calendar for this simple task. Just take a few sheets of paper, and set them somewhere you’re likely to see them every night. Each night, think about your day, and write down what you spent. Don’t even worry about the cents; just round up to the nearest dollar. This is dramatically easier than saving receipts and trying to sift through them all later.

At the end of the month, take a look at those pieces of paper and circle the purchases that, in retrospect, you realize you didn’t really need, and sum them up. Then consider this: where would you be if you’d put that money in the bank? Or put it towards your outstanding bills? Or your credit cards?

Of course you need to take a break every once in awhile to enjoy the fruits of your labors. The key is to make sure that “every once in awhile” isn’t all the time. And make sure that the treat you’re enjoying is proportional to what you’re saving: if you’re socking away 10-15% of your income annually, don’t blow it all on a trip unless you’ve got a very compelling reason.

You’ll have a whole lot more to congratulate yourself about if you stop thinking about the small things you deserve, and focus a bit more on the big picture: your long term financial success.

Real Life Debt
Real Life Debt

Real Life Debt was founded in 2004 by Dave Taylor. Twenty years ago, George W. Bush was 43rd U.S. President, and the Billboard No.1 Hip-Hop/R&B single was "Yeah" by Usher featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris. Disclaimer: The information presented in this post is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute professional financial or legal advice.