How to treat yourself | Elise Liddell

by Elise Liddell

Illustration by the talented Natalie Harney from workovereasy

In a world where society shifts the blame game and makes us look bad for soaking ourselves in temporary happiness, we are a group of little moths trapped by flame of a culture screaming success under twenty-five. The Youth Culture. The era where getting that venti-sized coffee from Starbucks is deemed improper as opposed to cashing out for marriage, for a house, for future children. We don't cash out for little treaties, we save. We don't buy things impulsively, we keep the dollars and bury them underneath the pillow we sleep (figuratively, I hope.) We don’t go out every weekend for refreshments, we store whatever we earn behind steel safe box encoded with passwords. Whatever the deal is, you get the gist - the youth culture, notoriously labeled as ‘the millennials’, spends too much on the unnecessary.

Growing up, I never experienced what it’s like to eat my meal on a silver plate paired with a glistening, well-polished silver spoon. I never understood what it’s like being given the things I wanted - or how easy that could have been. Contrary to popular beliefs, being the only child does not guarantee anything. As a result, I knew what it’s like to be an underpaid employee, to struggle with inflation and to worry about how to balance my paycheck. Suddenly treating myself seems to be an unwanted anomaly in my agenda. 

That was until I realized two major things: one, life in itself is expensive so no matter how hard one tries to save, you can only do so much before succumbing to dysfunctional stress that can lead to worse outcomes such as excessive impulsive and unstoppable purchases. Two, humans need refreshments because that’s just how we function. We dread the stress and the pressure and we need outlets to boost our creativity, to get our spiritual dynamo up and running. Of course, that’s not to say that I am telling you to go on and burn all your hard-earned cash. What I’m suggesting is to not deny the need of refreshment supplies but to keep things balanced. Do as they say: moderation is key.

The easiest step I would suggest is to set a target budget by breaking your salary into two parts: the ones you’ll save (and will not be touching for any reason) and the ones you’ll be using for this month. An alternative to this would be to set a target on how much you are supposed to have at the end of the month. Unlike the first step, the second one requires a stronger self-control but comes with a bigger room to breathe. I personally am more of the latter since cutting my budget to 50-50 on each side may not be ideal, considering how sometimes I have sudden bills that I have to pay. I would say the first option is a much safer bet if you find it hard to restrain yourself, happen to have shopping as a hobby or cannot predict how much you MIGHT have by the end of the month.

As a correlation to the first suggestion, the second step would be to create a separate bank account - consider it your savings account but not necessarily a deposit. Unless there is a high priority emergency, you are not supposed to withdraw a cent from this account. In my case, this is what I’m planning to do in the future once my primary account has reached a particular amount. 

These are just my personal takes on how I moderately treat myself. It goes on without saying that your method will differ from mine. Nobody tells us, or in this case me, the way to adulthood and budgeting is definitely something I’m still learning as I go. Whether it’s the simplest thing like going to Mcdonalds for a Mcflurry or buying myself a new pair of jeans, we deserve a little bit of this and that sometimes. It can be as simple as getting a cup of Joe that may be a little bit pricier than your regular dose and that, I suppose, would be a nice little treat too.

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