Setting yourself up for financial, career, and personal success typically depends on discipline. When you’re setting your biggest goals, something like going out with your friends rather than working on your side-hustle, can deter you. But when you take your budget seriously, it may take the appeal out of distractions. However, if you don’t have a reward waiting for you at the finish line, your goals may become more difficult to reach than you may anticipate.
When setting goals and attaching each to a specific reward, your actions start to become habits. Some sources say it takes exactly 66 days to create a new habit, or to break an old one. Instead of splurging on your favorite takeout coffee every morning, consider splurging once a month to reward yourself for sticking to your monthly budget. Studies show that when you give in to your cravings, you end up asking more from yourself. To break this habit and reach your financial goals, there are some simple ways to attach your financial goals to rewards, without breaking the bank.
We’ve created five goal printables to ensure your success. Skip to each of our printables or keep reading for a more detailed description of why you should set goals and reward yourself.
Why Is It Important to Reward Yourself?
Setting goals can be rather easy — reaching them may be another story. You may intend to buy your first home or go back to school this year, but are waiting to save enough. You may have set financial goals a while ago and are starting to realize that it may be a little harder than you anticipated.
Sometimes putting your goals into action can be the first hurdle, and the second is reaching for the finish line when your motivation is lost. Rewards may just be the secret recipe. Start by setting a cue (an action), followed by a healthy habit (your goal), and end with your reward. That way, once your action starts, you will know to follow through with your habit and earn your reward.
For instance, you finish work (cue), you work on your side-hustle for only an hour (your goal), then you can have a small dish of your favorite ice cream (reward). That way, you’ll start craving your reward enough that your extra side-hustle work doesn’t seem like such a hard task to accomplish anymore.
15 Affordable Rewards to Celebrate Your Achievements
Even when you reach your goals, and you’re able to reward yourself, there are ways to do it without denting your bank account. In some ways, you may even be able to save more money from building healthy habits. For instance, for working out in the early morning, you may reward yourself with your favorite breakfast before diving into your work. By doing that, you may be saving on eating breakfast out every weekend because you’ll want to cook your favorite dish at home.
If you’re looking for some affordable rewards to pair with each of your goals, here are 15 ways to reward yourself without breaking the bank.
1. Host a Celebratory Night In With Your Favorite Dish
Once you’ve ticked off everything you’ve needed to for the week, take some time to step away and cook your favorite meal. That could be your all-time favorite pepperoni pizza or homemade ice cream sandwiches to enjoy while binge watching your go-to TV series.
2. Get Out and Enjoy Time in the Great Outdoors
Get your body moving for an endorphin spike and boost creativity. Start your day off with a short nature walk to get in your work groove. Once you wrap up each workday, get outside to go on a hike, walk, or run as a reward for ticking everything off your do-to list.
3. Check to See What Rewards You May Already Have
There are many different rewards programs that we can easily forget about. Check on all your credit cards, coffee stamp cards, and online sign-up bonuses. See what free rewards your healthy habit and your wallet could benefit from.
4. Seek Out a Free Local Event (with Free Food)
Stay up to date with free in-person or online events that are happening in your area. Once you’ve reached your goals for the month, head over to a free event you get excited about. For an extra bonus, check to see if there will be any free appetizers or drinks to go along with it.
5. Wrap Up and Relax With Your Favorite Read
Reward yourself by taking time to relax. Every night you get in bed on time, treat yourself to a book of your choice. You may start looking forward to having that hour of downtime with a book.
6. Listen to a Binge-Worthy Podcast
Learn more about your passion or listen to a comedic podcast to reward yourself after a long day of goal achieving. You’ll be ready to hit play sooner rather than later, so you’ll start working on your goals earlier.
7. Enjoy a Spa Night With a Celebratory Drink
Have a relaxing spa night and toast to your achievements with your favorite beverage. Celebrating your small wins with a night at home can keep you motivated and energized to conquer your goals again the next week. Check our post on easy ways to practice self-care on a budget.
8. Share Your Achievements with Random Acts of Kindness
Pay it forward by brightening someone else’s day — you may feel like a million dollars. Check out our ideas for 70 acts of kindness to share your wealth with those around you (without spending a thing).
9. Hit Snooze for a Little Longer
Reward yourself with beauty sleep. Instead of setting your alarm for 6 am tomorrow morning, push it back an extra 30 minutes to thank you and your body for all the hard work you’ve put in. Keep up this healthy habit whenever you reach your biggest goal.
10. Log Off for a Whole Day
Talk to your manager or team about taking a mental health day and fully disconnecting. Not only will you get to relax, but you’ll also come back next week rejuvenated and ready to accomplish your next goal.
11. Cook or Bake Yourself a Treat
If you’ve been disciplined all week long with your financial, career, and health goals, go ahead and dig into your favorite dessert. Cook it all yourself to make this treat even more rewarding, relaxing, and nicer to your wallet. Enjoy it with your loved ones, homemade coffee, and good conversation.
12. Treat Your Future Self
If you’re trying to save for your next career move, or even for starting a family, sometimes saving extra can be a reward within itself. Whenever you have spare change or dollar bills laying around, throw them in a no-touch savings jar to cash in at a later date.
13. Try Out Something New
With as many free resources as there are online and in your community, try out something new. From participating in a local cooking class to joining a new online Facebook community, you may find inspiration and happiness in places you never thought about.
14. Sip Something Warm
At the end of your workweek, enjoy your favorite drink. This may be a gourmet coffee or hot chocolate made at home before logging on for the day. Say thank you to your body for pushing towards your biggest goals this week.
15. Schedule a Virtual Date With Your Loved Ones
When contributing more time to reaching your biggest goals, reconnecting with those you love and catching up can be more than rewarding. Reach out to your loved ones to catch up over a video chat or phone call to put a smile on your face and those you love the most.
Goal-Setting Printables to Help Reap Your Rewards
Make setting goals a little more interesting by writing out each one, its reward, and track how far you’ve come. Not only will you be able to see how much you’ve achieved week after week, you’ll stay motivated and in-tune with each goal. Reaching your biggest goals requires persistence, discipline, and determination. Be strategic when mapping out each one to create a bulletproof plan of action.
Set Your SMART Goals
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive. When writing out each goal for the month, make sure they check off each of these boxes. This method can help you set realistic goals and give you the benchmarks to measure your success.
When you set realistic goals, you’re able to reward yourself with your favorite things to inspire you to set more. Print out our goal setting sheet, write out each goal you’d like to achieve this month, and its reward. Throughout the month, check in on your goals and how far you are to checking each one off.
Hold Yourself Accountable by Tracking Your Habits
Reaching your biggest goals takes a lot of discipline and persistence. Keep track of each healthy habit you’re trying to make and enforce it. By checking off each habit you’ve completed before going to bed each night, you’ll instantly feel accomplished. Print out our habit tracking printable and write out each habit you’d like to create this week. Check in on them every evening to ensure you’re on the right track to making your simple goals habits.
Stay Motivated with Visible Reminders
On the days you don’t check in with your goals, it’s important to have little reminders to keep you focused and motivated throughout the day. When implementing each habit and putting your goals into actions, print out our money move motivation signs. Either tape or frame these signs to your desk, mirror, or work station for a little pick-me-up.
Check Off Your Goals
Fuel your ambition by adding subtle reminders and motivators to your day. Print out our achievement stickers to add to your planner, goal tracker, or even habit tracker. Doing so can keep your focus on your goal and the reward you’ll get by achieving each one. During this time, monitor your self talk and write positive notes all throughout your home and office.
Reward Yourself for a Job Well Done
Now it’s time to reward yourself for what you’ve achieved. To make this even more fun, start your own rewards bingo game. Compete with your loved ones to see who can black out the whole game first. To achieve your biggest money goals, you have to act like a goal digger. Print out our rewards bingo and every time you reach your goal, reward yourself with one of the ideas in each box. Once someone has blacked out all the boxes, buy yourself a well-deserved coffee and start next month’s challenge.
Setting and working towards goals are crucial to your financial success. Not to mention, healthy habits create a strong foundation when reaching the goals you’ve set from yourself. Your savings goals don’t happen overnight. Make saving for your first house or your family more interesting and fun.
When setting SMART goals, ensure you stay on track by rewarding yourself as a little celebration for your success. If you’re ready to work towards increasing your earning potential, check out Mint’s 17 tactics to skill building. Or, if you’re feeling like an imposter when setting or reviewing your goals, here are ways to overcome this and how much it may be costing you.