Miko’s Moments – Finding Joy While Saving

Welcome to another Miko’s Moments.

What do lattes, avocado toast, and takeout all have in common?

I’ll give you a second to think about it…

These are all things that financial gurus tell people all the time to stop buying. Why? Because according to these financial gurus, the reason you’re not a millionaire and other people are is because you’re wasting money on lattes, avocado toast, and takeout. This logic from financial gurus is the sole reason the millennial-and-avocado-toast cliche even exists!

But how accurate is this? Are items as simple as coffee, avocado toast, and takeout really to blame for financial struggles?

Better yet, is that perspective even accurate? Like, is that even sound advice? Should someone who is on a saving and debt-free journey avoid “wasting money” on simple things that bring them joy?

I want to change gears just for a few seconds to talk about fitness. 

I know this may seem unrelated, but I promise this point will come full circle. At some point in our lives, we (or someone we know) have gone on a diet, whether it’s to lose a few vanity pounds or more of a larger lifestyle change. There are lots of programs out there like keto, low carb, or intermittent fasting. 

But no matter what “program” you choose, the bottom line is the same. It all boils down to: calories in vs. calories out. Through all the fitness programs available, we also know there are two universal truths: (#1) consistency is key and (#2) cheat days or cheat meals are encouraged.

Here’s the interesting thing. When it comes to long-term lifestyle change, research has found that those “cheat rewards” are critical to consistency.

Think about it: it’s really hard to go on a no-sweets diet. There’s actually research that proves that people who commit to no-sweets are more likely to fall off the bandwagon. Why? Because the diet is so restrictive. By completely starving themselves of sweets, people are more likely to get trapped in an unhealthy starve-binge-starve-binge cycle. 

So what does this have to do with financial health?

Similar to a cheat meal, having the occasional coffee — or yes, even an occasional avocado toast — is not going to completely derail your budget. In fact, it may even motivate you to accomplish your goal of saving more or paying off your debt!

It’s important to include things that bring us joy to our budgets, because if you don’t, it’s going to be more challenging to stick to the budget. 

You don’t even need to add a “joy” category to your budget (of course, you can if you want to). For example, if a coffee brings you joy as a treat, then maybe you work extra hard to bring your grocery bill lower so that you can pay for that coffee within your grocery budget category. By making strategic choices, you can treat yourself without having to alter your budget.

And I don’t know about you, but these occasional rewards that bring joy make it so much easier for me to keep saving and paying off debt. You see, these rewards are a reminder of why you created your budget in the first place — so you can live with greater joy and peace of mind in the future. Just don’t forget to live with joy now.

Remember, consistency is key … and rewarding yourself is just as important!

I will be back next week with another Miko’s Moments. Have a beautiful weekend!

Kumiko Ehrmantraut
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Kumiko Ehrmantraut
Kumiko Ehrmantraut

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