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Summary: Knowing how to manage your budget and priorities in times of celebration take careful thought and planning. Start here with these 7 ideas.
Whether you’ve gotten a promotion at work, you and your partner are celebrating a big anniversary, you finally started a blog or got that freelance job, or you crossed the finish line at a marathon, success of any kind is worth taking the time to step away from your regular routine and celebrate. Unfortunately, many of us celebrate by spending money on things, whether that’s going out to eat somewhere nice, buying yourself (or someone else) a nice gift, or treating yourself to something like a massage or vacation.
If you’re trying to save money or stick to your budget, spending money on celebrations can feel good in the moment but only lead to stress down the road when you see your credit card statement or get the bill. Instead of doing something expensive, here are a few ways to celebrate your success without breaking the bank:
Throw a potluck party. You want to celebrate with friends and family but you don’t want to incur the cost of throwing a whole party yourself or going out to an expensive restaurant, so try a potluck party. It’s so easy for each person to bring one item, whether food, drink, or even decorations if that’s their talent, that it makes your overall expense and work go down considerably.
Print photos. We take so many photos on our smartphones and upload them to our computers or social media, but we rarely print them into physical form. Give yourself a treat by printing out your favorites and putting them up on the fridge or getting some frames from somewhere like TJMaxx, Home Goods or even Goodwill to enjoy the photos throughout the day.
Save something meaningful. Rather than keeping every little thing from throughout life’s ups and downs, many people create keepsake or nostalgia boxes. Choose one pretty box (hat boxes are great) and keep little things from special days, like tickets to a concert, an old room key from your honeymoon, your tassel from graduation, a few photos, a favorite birthday card with a special note, or even the program from your wedding. This way you won’t have tons of clutter, but something nice to look through on a rainy day.
Give yourself a day off. One of the best gifts you can give yourself is time. With little vacation time, most of us use our days to visit family or save them all up for one vacation. Give yourself a “free day” off. Pick a random day during the week or even a Friday and give yourself the day to do whatever you want to do, whatever you dream of doing when you’re sitting at work. Can’t take a day off? Choose a Saturday or Sunday that’s all about you and what you want to do: no errands, no chores, and no obligations. If you have kids, ask a family member to watch them for the day.
Have an outdoors day. This only works if you’re someone who loves being outdoors, but plan a special day trip to go explore somewhere nearby that you’ve always wanted to see. Bring a couple friends, pack a lunch and soak in that Vitamin D.
Go out for dessert instead of dinner. Skip the costly dinner and bottle of wine and go straight to the sweet stuff. Whether it’s a dessert-specific location or a nice restaurant with your favorite sweet treats, you’ll be spending a lot less money splitting a couple desserts than you would on a full dinner, but it will still be a special event.
Watch the sunset or go stargazing. These can be particularly special with your significant other, but if you really want a calm and humbling way to celebrate a success, find a beautiful spot and enjoy the sun setting, or lay out somewhere quiet (and away from the city) to do some stargazing. The slower pace will calm your mind and give you satisfaction.