Personal finance: Do you celebrate financial milestones? Should you?

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I found out about this habit some people have to celebrate their financial milestones and it made me think about it some more.

What milestones could we talk about? Paying off your credit cards, becoming debt free, getting your emergency fund to a certain point, having a certain amount of money saved towards retirement etc.

It also reminded me of the people who go through a diet and then, after it’s done, they celebrate with a pizza or a burger, so maybe this is the reason I personally don’t find the need to celebrate anything.

The milestones I could think about …

celebration

… in my case they are not too many (or maybe I don’t count some that would be important to others) .. when I paid off my car and became debt free, when I secured a certain monthly income, when I saved some money ..

I never cared too much about these details though. When I paid off my car I was busy enough making all the paperwork go through as fast as possible, so that we can leave the country in few weeks (as planned months ago). I just went to the bank, got my papers and promised myself never to deal with them again. We didn’t go out, we didn’t open a bottle of wine, I just prepared my next steps and enjoyed my new debt free life.

I don’t believe in ‘diets’, I believe in a lifestyle

We all make changes in the ways we handle our money and these changes allow us to save more, pay off debt, be successful investors etc. Just as with weight loss, I don’t think diets are the answer, meaning you put your life and happiness on hold and then can’t wait to get back to the way it was.

If you want to have a healthier lifestyle, you don’t diet for 4 weeks and then hit the fast-food restaurants as soon as it’s all over. You change the way you see food. Sure, you can still eat the occasional burger, but you need to make sure you do have a good diet and work out.

That’s exactly what happens with our lifestyle, when it comes to money: we don’t spend it recklessly and we save. Even if we don’t go and splurge on everything that could attract us, we are happy and enjoy a really fulfilling life. It’s the same with our nutrition (we do eat healthy) and working out. As soon as you find a good balanced style, you should be able to keep it for a long time and without any efforts.

Since I don’t celebrate every time I do a lap during my swimming class or eat some veggies, there’s really no use for me to celebrate the fact I saved 100 more bucks.

Another thing that doesn’t make me want to go nuts about a milestone is the fact that celebrating would probably mean spending money I don’t need to: eating out, gifting myself or my husband etc. I believe in buying what you need, going out to eat from time to time, if you feel like it, not just to celebrating saving money while spending the money you don’t need.

Sure, for other people this is a great way to feel motivated to go further. I find motivation in my goals and reaching them makes me happy and even more focused. For others these small celebrations are the ‘boost’ they need to reach their next goal.

How does this work for you? Do you celebrate financial milestones? Which ones? How do you celebrate?

 

20 COMMENTS

  1. You make some great points on celebrating milestones. I think what the definition of celebrate is makes a big difference in my book. Financial milestones for me are paying off a large item of debt or reaching the yearly goals i’ve set. Do I do a happy dance, lift my chin a little higher, and share the accomplishment on my blog? Yes. Do I spend any money or go out of my way to do anything extra? No not really. I think the most I did was go wash my car when it was finally paid off. 🙂

  2. Loved the statement about not believing in diets but in lifestyle. It is so true and a great comparison. If you change your lifestyle, there would be no need to go on a diet. I don’t celebrate milestones by going out, but I probably celebrate mentally. Yay! I paid of one of my student loans. Or I reached a certain amount in retirement savings!

  3. I think it is good to celebrate milestones; it acknowledges the hard work and successes as well as encourages and motivates the next milestone. Not all milestones merit the same type or degree of celebration though. For example, paying off a debt should not result in making a purchase of any kind, especially a big one, but I would go out and celebrate reaching financial independence. Sometimes the celebration may just be a mental “yay!” thing; other times, it can be more physical.

  4. I like to celebrate my milestones but within reason. Like when I paid off a part of my student loans I cooked my favorite meal for my wife and friends. It was a great time and didn’t cost me much more than a normal meal would have anyways.

    • Right now is getting the baby born with all the hassle / expenses this entitles, since I’m paying for everything from my pocket. Everything depends on this.

  5. I think you should celebrate milestones. If not you, then who? Its important to give yourself a little applause when you do something great. Keeps you motivated

    • I’m usually pretty focused and motivated myself, so in my case there’s no need. I could celebrate now some good numbers with our savings, but I’m actually more focused on keeping the progress than with a celebration.

  6. I don’t know but I don’t believe in celebrating milestones if it meant spending cash on it. The fact that I achieved something is celebration enough. The satisfying feeling of relief and achievement is priceless.

  7. I do celebrate my debt payoff milestones, but it’s kind of a mental celebration – a sort of happiness that I allow myself to feel for a few days! I use milestones for my debt in order to motivate me to carry on with what I’m doing. But I definitely don’t celebrate these milestones by having a blow out (although I have done this in the past many years ago).

    • Seeing your debt being slowly paid off is really a great experience. I remember I used to count the months till it was all over and each payment made me happy, since I knew I’m one step closer.

  8. So far we have not celebrated financial milestones. But we are paying off our mortgage aggressively and have said we would celebrate this milestone when it is reached. But like others have mentioned, it wouldn’t involve spending a lot of money. However, for this particular milestone we will be recognizing it differently than others, since it is a significant goal of ours.

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