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Money Management

The Line Between Self-Care and Overindulgence

Don’t bleed your savings dry for a temporary boost.

It’s been a really hard year, I don’t think anyone’s going to fight me on that. I don’t mind admitting that a little bit of my stimulus checks went toward fun, yet ultimately impractical things. I was scared and depressed and wanted some nice things to cheer me up, a very common sentiment that’s easily answered thanks to online shopping. I don’t regret doing that, but that’s only because I know where to draw the line between occasionally treating myself and overindulging in my base urges.

Spending money feels good, right? When you’ve got a big wad of cash burning a hole in your pocket, you just want to throw it at something. You get something cool, and it makes you feel financially secure enough to do whatever you want with your income. But the important caveat there is that you need to actually be financially secure. Life is all about wants and needs. Needs are things like rent, food, healthcare, and other important stuff that you either can’t go without or really, really shouldn’t. Wants are little indulgences that may not afford you practical purposes, but make you feel happy. As important as it is to maintain good emotional health, wants are always secondary to needs. You shouldn’t be dropping stacks of cash on a TV and video games if you can’t also afford to restock your fridge.

Depending on your financial situation, it may be more difficult to pursue your wants when your needs still haven’t been met. While it’s not as fun, you may need to lower your standards of self-care a bit. Instead of opulent expenditures, try to sprinkle your week with little things. Pizza on the weekends, maybe one new video game a month, a weekly trip to a dog park; little, less costly things can still bring you lots of good vibes without incinerating your wallet.

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