Yes, at this time last week I was well on my way to the grandaddy bowl game of them all: The Rose Bowl. Located in Pasadena, CA the stadium stands erect with utter class. I have been to many college football games, but never a bowl game – especially not like this. From fireworks to stealth bomber fly overs, fans to pandemonium, this bowl game was outrageous. Outrageously awesome, that is! Not to mention the University of Oregon Ducks trumped the Florida State Seminoles with a 39 point spread (side bar: I graduated from Oregon State and I am a huge Beavers fan. I received a job offer in the city of Eugene post graduation and I moved on down to Duck territory. It wasn’t until I met my boyfriend and his family, dedicated Duck fans, that I started attending UO games. Now, I fully support both schools…until they play each other! If you have ever met anyone from the state of Oregon, most will support both teams. There are the few who will detest the other team they do not root for…I just do not fall into that category). Can you say you’ve been to many college football games that had 5 turn overs?! Needless to say, this trip was fantastic and I had such an amazing time with my boyfriend and his family. I am going to tell you the game plan on how I went to the Rose Bowl feeling no guilt with the money I spent on that ticket. I would like to introduce you to the glorious concept of Short Term/Rewards Savings.
So first off…weren’t those tickets really expensive?
Unlike most events I would normally attend, the tickets were in the 3-figure dollar range. Our Rose Bowl game tickets at face value were $175. To me, I would much rather splurge on experiences (i.e. concerts, sporting events, Groupon activities, classes, etc.) than any type of clothing item, makeup product, or gadget. Experiences resound in my memory for years to come, where the amount spent pays itself off fairly quickly. For example: do you remember your first concert, skiing trip, etc.? It is much more vivid to recall than say, what was the first sweatshirt you ever bought? I am a huge advocate of collecting memories, not just things. But this is where the really cool part comes in…I set aside $100 a month as Short Term/Rewards Savings for events specifically like the Rose Bowl that I splurge on. If I do not use that $100 for a particular month for a reward, I roll it over and combine it to another $100 the next month. Before paying for the ticket, I had $200 saved up as Short Term/Rewards Savings (note: this is completely separate from my Emergency Fund and other investments) and was able to pay for my ticket with some cash leftover…guilt free! We all work hard by putting money aside to our retirement, student loans, bills…why not set aside money that is specifically for rewarding yourself?!
How do you save for & use Short Term/Rewards Savings?
Let’s break this down into 3 easy steps:
1. Be aware of your take home income per month
It is pivotal to understand this dollar amount so you can factor in your flexible spending. I utilize a budget to separate my fixed expenses, savings goals, variable expenses, etc. I also utilize financial apps/platforms that notify me if I overspend and/or under spend in different categories (shout out to Mint & Level Money). I know that not everyone believes in budgets, but it is at the very least beneficial to understand what your take home income is per month in order to not spend more than you make.
2. Decide on a dollar amount that will only be used to reward yourself
After you have a general idea of your budget and/or take home income, decide on a dollar amount that will be used for rewarding your awesome self. It can be either large, or small – ranging from $5 to $300+. The choice is yours, whatever you are comfortable with. In order to stay organized, I transfer my chosen Short Term/Rewards Savings dollar amount per month ($100) to a separate checking account from where my bills & automatic investment transfers are handled. Some may prefer to withdraw as cash to see the reward physically, or some people may mentally separate that dollar amount in one single checking account. There are many methods when it comes to organizing your Short Term/Rewards Savings.
3. Reward yourself by spending, or roll over that cash!
Here comes the greatest part, rewarding yourself! Whether that is getting Starbucks for a whole week straight, purchasing that pair of shoes you had your eye on, or trying out that new, expensive restaurant – the possibilities are endless & should be catered to what you want. Use this dollar amount to reward yourself for all that hard work you have put in to saving & perfecting your profession, or craft. One of the perks? If you do not choose to use that dollar amount for a month, roll it over to the next month for an even bigger reward. Say you set aside $35 per month for Short Term/Rewards Savings, that’s $70 you can have the next month! Or maybe you decide to forego rewarding your present self to give your nest egg an extra perk after months of Short Term/Rewards Savings. If you kept rolling over that $35 each month, you could have an extra $420 in one year alone.
How else can Short Term/Rewards Savings be used?
Have a wedding in the summer to attend? Need to purchase a couch for your apartment? Have a future plane ticket you know you need to purchase to visit family back home? These are all future events that you can utilize Short Term/Rewards Savings for. Take for example visiting family back home: a round trip flight may cost you about $250 dollars. Start setting $100 aside just 3 months in advanced before purchasing that ticket and you will have $300 to spend on that plane ticket alone – with cash to spare (hello, magazines & a brand new book for the flight)! It is an expense you prepared for in the short-term that you now have the money to spend guilt free. Short Term/Rewards Savings are also great to use to prepare saving for holiday gifts, Birthdays, and/or Anniversaries. These are events that we tend to spend a little extra dough for to make someone’s day extra special. Buffer your spending by preparing for it in advanced with Short Term/Rewards Savings.
Utilizing Short Term/Rewards Savings is a great way for you to give yourself financial freedom. It may seem like the reverse mentality of typical savings (wait, I’m saving..to spend??), but you can feel empowered to spend money however you like because you knowingly made it that way. By consciously setting aside money to spend on rewards you allow yourself to get treated which can help prevent money blunders/spending mistakes. Allocating a particular portion of your earned money to Short Term/Rewards Savings will give you peace of mind that you were prepared for it to happen – it’s not just an ‘oops!’ or a spending moment you regret (we all know how awful that can feel, yikes…). So give it a whirl!
Do you have any future events you could use Short Term/Rewards Savings for? What do you spend money on in order to reward yourself?
Giving you more plays for your financial game plan one post at a time…