A lot of little rewards add up to so much more than big rewards. Another way of saying this is a lot of little pleasures give you a lot more than saving up for big pleasures. For example, I try to have little pleasures every day.
For example, I like a little dessert. I had a few table spoons (about 100 calories) of sugar. If I want something sweet after a meal, I’ll often have a bit of sugar. It’s sweet, it’s something I like and it gives me the feeling that I had dessert. With a 50 calorie dessert, I can afford to have that after 3 meals a day. It’s not that much sugar for my overall daily intake as long as I’m not eating other things.
Compare this to how I used to do things. I used to have a big dessert after dinner. I often would have 500 to 1000-calorie things of ice cream because I would deprive myself most of the day. I would look at it as you can’t go through the day eating donuts and candy. I would sometimes, but for most of my life I would have a big dessert after dinner.
This might not make a big difference for eating, but you can look how this applies spending money. It seems the way most of us go about spending money is to deprive ourselves of little things all the time. Then, we are tempted to make poor decisions on the big expenses. I used to see this over and over again and it used to make me mad. I understand it and it doesn’t bother me anymore.
Here’s another example: I would feel like I was cheap most of my life. I wouldn’t go buy a $5 coke somewhere. I would deprive myself of little expenses I worked hard to save money at the store to see what was on sale. I spent a lot of effort avoiding the small expenses.
Then I had certain areas where I would treat myself. I would take a vacation for several thousand dollars. I would go out with my friends to the bar where I’d spend several thousand dollars. I would feel like I didn’t have any money all the time. I would look forward to the next time I could reward myself.
Today, I allow any little expense. I don’t even think about anything under $5, the answer is yes.
If you want that coke at Disney for $5, go for it. For a more significant decision I’ll go for anything under $100. If you want to get 6 League of Legends skins, go for it. If you want 15 extra perks in a game, go for it. Then I feel wealthy. I feel like I can have whatever I want most of the time. Then, for the bigger purchases, I don’t feel the need to compensate. I never need to look forward to the day where I can let it out.
On a vacation, I don’t feel the need to compensate and fly in first class. I don’t spend a bunch of money to get the fanciest place I can. I used to feel the need to compensate because I felt deprived and cheap. I would even go so far as to not tip at a restaurant. Today I always tip generously because I feel better about it and I look at that as a small expense. If I wanted to save money I wouldn’t go out to eat and that’s what I do most of the time, I cook.
I just made tacos this week, and I’ve had tacos breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 3 – 4 days in a row. It’s a cheap meal and it’s delicious. Now I’m able to make much better big decisions like the affordable house my wife and I got. A family member bought a house twice as large as ours even though their income is not twice as much as when we bought it. That’s what’s normal.
Most people buy the absolute highest they can afford on a house or they buy the highest car. I had a car loan approved for up to 75,000 that covers a lot of cars. The first car I bought, the retail price on it was $12,000. I bought a brand new Toyota Corolla. I was making about $20,000 as a young man. The people around me had just as little money as I did and were buying 15,000 used SUV at a high interest rates. That’s obviously a bad way to spend money.
It makes sense. If you deprive yourself all the time, then every big decision that comes along is an opportunity to let out everything. There are less opportunities like trips or vacations, to treat yourself and spend money. If you look at it as if it’s all the same, it’s all money. When you get a house for $100,000 more than you needed, that is a lot of $5 cokes. That’s a lot of League of Legends skins. That’s a lot of Call of Duty downloadable content.
Today I try to give myself lots of small rewards every day. Then I don’t need to splurge on big things, like the car my wife and I just bought. The value of it was $33,000 we bought it for less than half of what we were approved for. We got all the warranties on it. We got a car that we thought would last and we got a great value.
Could we have gotten a cheaper car? Yes. The point is that we got about half of what we could have gotten. When you reward yourself, it’s a lot it’s easier to be reasonable at those critical times. When you don’t reward yourself, there’s no will power left when things get extra stressful.
Today I look at my willpower like a muscle. I realize that the easiest way to deplete a muscle is to do little things with it all the time. That way I give myself whatever I want. If it’s small and I am able to make healthy decisions on the bigger level.
This took me a long time to learn the hard way and yet this is one of the things I started out with in most areas. Now fun is the one area where I was bad about this. I would wait until the weekend to have fun. I often would plan nothing relaxing or fun during the week and then I’d blow the whole weekend on something fun. I would go way overboard on fun and I wouldn’t want to go back to work.
Now, I try to have a little bit of fun each day. I try to play a little bit of video games every day. I try to do a little bit of work each day and I live the same way every day. That consistency is powerful because you then feel peaceful and stable, you know what to do every day. You have a recipe for living when you reward yourself a little bit every day. Your life doesn’t require the future to satisfy you. I’m satisfied today because I’m rewarded today. There’s nothing I’m going to get in the future that I don’t already have today.
Small rewards are so powerful and I’m so grateful that I’ve learned about it that I’m sharing it here with you. I pray today to remember to give myself small rewards at every opportunity. I pray that giving myself these small rewards allows me to be happy and live in the moment. I pray to not look to salvation in the future or to say that salvation has already come and gone in the past. I pray that you have the same chance today to see that you’re a person who deserves small rewards today. You don’t have to bank and save up for the big rewards that may never come. Thank you for watching, I hope you have a great day today.