The Importance of a Financial “Cheat Day”

Photo by Carles Rabada on Unsplash
personal finance is the art balancing your needs and wants today with your needs and wants in the future.

Living a frugal life is a good thing. The less money you spend on “Stuff” that you don’t really need, the easier your path to Financial Independence. Frugality plays a major role in the math behind Financial Independence in two ways:

  1. You have more money to invest today
  2. You need less money to live off in retirement

I talk all the time about the pitfalls of spending too much money on things you don’t value. However, there is such a thing as being “too frugal”. If you are passing up experiences that you can afford and will make you happy, you are being too frugal AKA cheap.

The only real use for money is to allow you to have the things you need and the things you want. In my opinion, personal finance is the art balancing your needs and wants today with your needs and wants in the future.

Frugality combined with smart saving and investing can help us ensure that we can have everything we need and want in the future. However, if we go too far, we can be sacrificing our needs and wants of today.

No Time Like the Present

With that in mind, I’d like to introduce the idea of a “Financial cheat day”. If we can have cheat days on our diet, why not a cheat day on our budget? (better yet, budget in a monthly financial cheat day).

A day where all of us frugal money nerds can go out and live it up without stressing over every penny we spend.

I’d like to share with you a recent financial cheat day I had where I basically disregarded everything I’ve ever written about personal finance and spending money.

My Financial Cheat Day

First of all, I found the time for my financial cheat day by taking a random vacation day on a Friday a few weeks back. Normally, I am stingy with hoarding my vacation days but I figure it’s time life start making up some ground in the work-life balance.

I started off my day by heading to a local coffee shop and ordering a fancy-over priced coffee and a $9 breakfast sandwich. Was I being ripped off? Yes. Did I care? Not today! I spent the next two hours surfing the internet mostly watching cat videos.

Next, I was off to a place you will almost never find me, the mall. I usually wear my clothes until they are so faded that my wife forces me to buy new ones. That day, I decided I am going to buy some new clothes even though I don’t really need any. A $100 later I had a new pair of jeans and a shirt to go with it.

When lunchtime rolled around, did I go back home and cook a meal from scratch? Nope, I went and dropped some cash at a restaurant. I could have saved a few extra bucks if I went to a “big box” chain restaurant, but my whole objective of the financial cheat day was to (within reason) put quality over price tags. I found a nice restaurant downtown, that turned out to be reasonably priced and got myself a delicious steak.

What better way to digest a nice juicy steak than to catch a Matinee showing of The Crimes Of Grindelwald. Of course, I opted for the IMAX viewing experience, despite the increased price tag. The movie left me with many questions. If you want to read a review that is more entertaining than the movie it’s self check out this piece by Rob Bricken.

After the movie, I met up with Trish for dinner and drinks. Then the two of us were off to the main event of the financial cheat day.

Sitting in the 10th row at the Raptors Game

I am an NBA junkie and a die-hard Toronto Raptors fan. I’ve spent thousands of hours over the years watching this team on TV (most of which consisted of very bad basketball). I have seen a handful of games live, but always in the nosebleed section.

This year the team has one of the best players in the world and currently have the best record in the NBA. If there was a time for me to splurge on great tickets, THIS is the time to do it. Because;

  1. We can afford to do it and;
  2. It brought me a hell of a lot of joy

The Raptors ended up winning the game and we even won free McDonalds french-fries because the team hit 12 three-pointers in the game.

I think this kind of financial cheat day is very important for me to make sure I am not completely sacrificing my wants of today for the benefit of my wants of tomorrow.

I was right back to my frugal ways the next day and without a doubt, the memories of a very wonderful, relaxing day were well worth the financial investment.

This article is for informational purposes only, it should not be considered Financial or Legal Advice. Not all information will be accurate. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions