Cheat Days, But Like, For Money

Every single day, someone on my Instagram is posting about their crazy cheat day in which they consumed a family sized bag of Sour Patch Kids and half a tub of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked (No, not Half Banked. Everyone relax).

I mean, their idea of a cheat day is cute, don’t get me wrong, but like, I eat that and more without using an excuse for my love of carbs and sugar.

However, I will say that whoever invented “cheat days” was basically a modern-day Aristotle.

*pauses for crowd boo-ing*

They knew that if they only ate healthy and didn’t allow themselves some kind of day to bathe in ranch dressing that they would regret it. Or likely fail at eating healthy altogether.

Much about the fitness world does not bode well in comparison to financial well-being. Most of the time they want you to spend tons of money on a gym membership, workout gear, protein powder, and a trainer. It can end up being a costly hobby.

I mean, I’ve mentioned many times my distaste for people who go overbudget on something that they can afford to do at a lower cost. You can workout at home, you can wear basic clothes, and you can find exercises on the internet.

But I’m also an advocate for physical health if you can afford it and are wanting to achieve a certain goal.

Just, don’t go buying expensive fabric to sweat in, okay?

Back to my point.

Cheat days make a lot of sense. I’ve read a lot of articles and blogs lately that state how much they disagree with “no spend weeks” and money diets that restrict people from spending.

After all, it is going from one extreme to another. The lesson doesn’t exactly make its point if you are unable to control yourself in a happy medium. I get that.

But with a cheat day from your healthy diet and fitness regimen, you allow yourself to enjoy the cravings you desire, without completely cutting yourself off. Which is v. important.

So, could we have a cheat day for our money?

Immediately half of you start to imagine all the cool things you could buy that you’ve been avoiding for months, and the other half start to have panic attacks because you’ve trained yourself to be financially savvy and avoid situations such as this.

I understand both of you.

It sounds totally ridiculous. A cheat day where you can buy anything you want and where you don’t restrict yourself out of fear.

However, it also sounds very plausible.

Obviously, unlike fitness gurus, I do not have scientific measurements to back up how beneficial this could be for your mental health.

But here are some of the reasons I like the idea:

  • Anyone who embraces a cheat day does not do so with complete disregard for consequences. In fact, most of those who do participate know that they will need to make up for these decisions later.
  • You don’t do it very often. Sure, everyone jokes about how “oh, today must be cheat day” to justify their XL pepperoni pizza, but actual trainers who partake only do this around once a month.
  • You can set limitations. Having a cheat day doesn’t mean you’re going to ingest 10,000 calories or spend $10,000. It simply means that you can finally do something that you’ve been craving.
  • They don’t cheat if they’re naturally prone to weight gain. Meaning, if you are naturally prone to overspend, then this exercise (pun intended) wouldn’t be best for you.

Thus, I give you the ultimate spreadsheet idea (kind of like my comfy couch account). If you are willing to give the “Money Cheat Day” a go, don’t be afraid to do your research first.

You can plan for your cheat day, just as you plan for emergencies that haven’t happened. You can open a savings account that’s just for “days you need to shop for yourself” and go nuts when the time comes.

I mean, 90% of those who read this blog love personal finance, which means they seriously love calculations.

Not everything associated with your money has to be restricting, boring, and hard. Sometimes you’re allowed to make things easier on yourself.

Although I don’t recommend participating in a money cheat day if you’re currently repaying debt, just completed debt repayment, or are on a tight budget, one day it might be something you need.

Now go, cheat! Never thought I’d say those words in my life.

12 Responses to “Cheat Days, But Like, For Money

  • “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” I like the idea of a cheat day. I have a ‘cheat fund’ that money goes into each month. We can use that money for whatever we want. Knowing that fun money is there has been (for now) enough to keep me from going nutty with an otherwise restrictive budget.

    • Hahaha yes, that quote nails it on the head. That’s such an awesome fund idea. Restrictions and money can become such a dangerous game (especially for someone as impulsive as I). Might steal your cheat day fund idea.

  • I totally agree that you need to reward yourself occasionally for being such a good soldier. And a cheat day sounds like a good way to do it, as long as you keep things from spinning totally out of control, as you outline. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Definitely! I made mine on Saturday this weekend, knowing how much I’d be spending, so more of a planned cheat day, but it was on things I would normally do everything to avoid (haircut, new clothing, etc). It felt great!

  • I’d rather set a certain budget for fun&nonsense. I can still save that for big things, or just buy something small and silly.

    If it needs cheating to make you feel good, you relationship/diet/finance concept isn’t the right one for you (yet).

    • That’s totally fair! However, I think I have a great handle on my financial life, but I don’t like to shop even though it does feel good to spoil myself every once in awhile. So, I’d have to disagree that if you need a cheat day in finance and diet that you don’t have the right “concept” nailed down. And also can’t loop relationship in with that – very different hahaha.

  • Interesting idea, I had never really extended the concept to money before. Maybe it’s because money is so precious, and it seems we never have enough of it. But allowing some “fun” either planned or spontaneous sounds like a good idea. Thanks.

    • And definitely if you feel there isn’t enough of it, a cheat day might not be beneficial for you. Fun or spontaneous spending that fits into your budget sounds like a great alternative though!

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