I am Dutch, which means I am cheap by stereotype. I grew up in a family that worked extremely hard and did very well but didn’t spend money on stupid things. We had cars, purses and clothes, but we didn’t have the crazy expensive ones. Instead, my family chose to invest money in travel and houses.
I love that I grew up knowing the value of money. From the age of 15, I had a job and was responsible for paying for myself. These lessons with money, while annoying at the time, were the greatest gifts my parents could have given me.
However, while I worked hard to make money, I was always saving money just in case. Looking back, I was much more likely to put money in the bank than go on a shopping spree (with the exception of travel; plane tickets are the only thing I can buy and no matter the cost I never have buyers remorse!). I would be known to not get a drink at dinner to save the extra $10 or order the cheapest thing on the menu even if it wasn’t what I was in the mood for.
When I got a big bonus at work this year, I didn’t have plans on what I would spend the money on. I knew I had a car loan I needed to pay off and I assumed I would put the rest in the bank.
When one of my older coworkers found out, he was so frustrated with me! He went on and on about how hard I worked and how I deserved to get myself something nice with the money. He made me promise him that I would do something for myself as a reward. I told him I had a few trips planned and I would use that as my way of “treating myself” and he told me going to my brothers graduation and home for Memorial Day aren’t exactly “spoiling myself” for a job well done. He encouraged me to buy something I would normally never buy and that I would have forever. Something that I could always look at for the rest of my life and say this is what I bought myself with my first big bonus check.
The more I thought about it the more I realized this was something I had to do. Why was I so able to spend $400 on a flight or $1,000 on rent each month but yet not able to spend that on something for myself? Something frivolous, something fun, something to honor the hours I spent working hard all year, something I didn’t need.
So, I went to North Park, marched in to the Louis Vuitton store, picked out a beautiful bag and did not look back. As someone who’s not one to spend spontaneously, I did have some sticker shock. It was something so out of character, something I would never do other than for the simple purpose of rewarding myself for a job well done.
Do I regret it? Not a chance.
The lesson is not that everyone should buy himself or herself a Louis Vuitton. And it’s certainly not that you need to spend a ton of dollars to rewards yourself! The point is TO REWARD YOURSELF every now and then to recognize the milestones you hit, whether they be in your career, relationships, finances, etc. I’ve always known to be humble and sing others’ praises, but every once in a while I need to sing my own, pat myself on the back and #treatmyself.