Remember To Reward Yourself For Paying Off Debt

Getting out of a debt can be a long slog. It demands willpower and making sacrifices. It’s usually not very fun. So to make it easier, it’s a good idea to give yourself a little treat along the way to reward yourself for sticking to the path.

Five Cent Nickel writes:

Although patience and perseverance can be their own rewards, it doesn’t hurt to reward yourself as you meet your short term goals. Obviously, the reward should be modest. You won’t be leasing a new Mercedes with your newfound funds. However, a nice night out at the restaurant you used to frequent, or a small, non-impulse purchase would be considered appropriate – just as long as you pay cash.

After all, a behavior that is not reinforced, dies.

Power Over Plastic: Seven Practical Ways to Pay Off Credit Card Debt [Five Cent Nickel]

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  1. Alvis says:

    Being debt-free isn’t a good habit, so much as the absence of a bad habit. Not reward-worthy. I don’t smoke, so I deserve a treat?

    • iggy21 says:

      +5 for logic and common sense.

    • dolemite says:

      Actually, I use that logic quite frequently when I want to buy myself a new computer game or video card or gadget. “Well, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t go out to clubs, I don’t drive an overpriced SUV, I don’t have any other expensive hobbies, and my last big purchase was 3 months ago…I deserve it.”

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      Being debt free (absence of a bad habit) and getting rid of debt (meeting a difficult goal) are two different things. While you probably don’t “deserve” a treat for not smoking, you would certainly deserve one for quitting.

  2. iggy21 says:

    I had a friend who was so far in debt that he couldn’t get a credit card company to approve him (he want it to pay off his other cards).

    Finally, one credit card company approved him—to celebrate he went out to dinner with the new card.

    It’s the little things, you know!

    • areaman says:

      …(he want it to pay off his other cards).

      Sounds like your friend ran a Nigerian wire scams on himself. “Wire us $500 so we can wire you $100k.”

      • iggy21 says:

        I blame the grammar theif… he stole the ‘ed’. (He also transposed the ‘e’ & ‘i’ in thief ;) )

  3. qualityleashdog says:

    A small, non-impulse purchase? Those don’t really exist, do they? If it’s really a small purchase it probably isn’t very necessary, and if it’s non-impulsive and dwelled on for too long, you’re likely decide you don’t need to be buying it. So how about XX amount of money sit aside to be thrown at the next impulse that strikes your fancy, spur-of-the-moment?

    • qualityleashdog says:

      Why is it after all these years, still no edit button?

    • formatc says:

      I can think of plenty of small items that I’d get if I had a few extra bucks. My Amazon wishlist is full of them, like CDs and books, and I snap them up if the price is low. It’s certainly not necessary, in the sense it’s not food, clothing, or shelter, but I think the point is to splurge on something that isn’t necessary.

  4. The cake is a lie! says:

    I’m going to reward myself with a new motorcycle as soon as I can clear out $8000 on my credit card. I need room to put the motorcycle on it. ;)

    Just kidding. I’ve been out of debt for five years and loving it. No reward necessary.

  5. The cake is a lie! says:

    Sorry, but I have to comment again. Rewarding yourself for getting out of debt, or by making progress to do so, is just dumb. That is like rewarding yourself with a bottle of vodka after six months of sobriety. STUPID!

    • georgi55 says:

      What he or she said!

    • ARP says:

      Under your logic, if you have student loan debt, a mortgage, a car payment, or credit card debt, you must not go out, you must not buy presents, you must not drink, you must you must not smoke, you must not just take a drive, you must not do anything frivolous or else you’re being stupid with money. No, people need rewards, even if small, to keep them going. Otherwise people get discouraged and are apt to begin their irresponsible spending.

      Re: your analogy. If the person is now able to control their drinking why not?

      • perkonkrusts says:

        As far as the analogy, it’s pretty complicated to explain, but I’ll try. If a non-alcoholic but heavy-drinking person quit drinking for a while and their life got better, they would probably leave alcohol alone just to be on the safe side. But for an alcoholic, it’s different. Because an alcoholic can’t stop drinking, they would say the same thing you said to justify starting again, “Hey, I’ve proven I can stop drinking, so why don’t I just start drinking again”? Not sure if I said that clearly, but that’s the best I can do. Maybe the simplest way to put it is “Of course I can quit drinking if I want to, I’ve already done it hundreds of times.”

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      Not everyone who is in debt is a compulsive spender.

    • s73v3r says:

      Its a morale booster. And like it or not, most people need boosts to their morale every so often. Its not meant to go out and blow all your savings on something, but rather reward yourself with a new game or movie or something, to keep your spirits up.

  6. Blow a fuse? I can fix that... says:

    Hey, sounds good.

    So, I pay off my credit card, then I use my credit card to buy myself a reward. And next month, when the CC bill arrives, I pay it off, and I use my card to buy myself a reward. And…

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      “A good credit borrower is one who pays off their debt promptly, and on a regular basis. a great credit borrower is one who makes his minimum payments from now until the end of time.”

  7. 333 (only half evil) says:

    Second photo of mine used in a Consumerist story. I’m so excited! I had our credit cards paid off but it only lasted for one month. It’s so easy to start carrying a balance again.

  8. yessongs says:

    Hey you cleared all your cards… now go out and max them up!!! WAHOO!!!

  9. Portlandia says:

    I always go on a caffienated alchol beverage and credit card induced spending spree when I pay my debts off!!

  10. buddyedgewood says:

    I couldn’t agree more! When I became debt free, I went out and bought myself a hooker. Good times…

    ;-)

  11. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Is a Roku box a “non-impulse” purchase? I’m planning to buy one for Christmas, and pare our cable/phone/internet package (Comcast triple play) down to Internet with only basic channels 2-13 and a Magic Jack.

  12. Missus H says:

    After 6 long years,we paid off EIGHTY THOUSAND in credit card debt through Consumer Credit Counseling. It was rough, it was all my fault (trying to keep up with the Joneses, specifically a well off sister), we did without but we did it. We didn’t file bankruptcy, we owed the money and we paid it. Now I’m all about the cash. If we don’t have the money, we don’t buy it. That being said, we have a lot of cash now. So if I want something I buy it, but I pay cash for it. We will never get into debt again. My son, who is 26, has a credit card with a very low limit ($800 I think) he got in college, pays it off every month and has totally learned from our mistakes. I guess that’s all we can ask for.

  13. gman863 says:

    Take the estimaed amount of interest you were paying each month and put it in your own “Rewards Points” fund.

    This will add up to free airline tickets faster than it took to earn a $25 Target gift card from the credit card company’s rewards system.

  14. nbs2 says:

    We do this with our savings as well. We hoard cash like no tomorrow, so it’s nice to have an occasional free-spending moment.

  15. _UsUrPeR_ says:

    I reward myself by not self-flagellating for a single day.

  16. shadowhh says:

    Modest rewards, heck no.

    We just finished paying off all our credit cards. All we got now is the Mort and a Personal loan. We saved up for 8 months, and last week we got a nice LCD TV and PS3. (not on credit, just saved for them)

  17. laughingweek says:

    My reward for paying all my debts off was that all my debts were paid off. Nothing felt better.