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Jenniffer's Journey:

Cheat Day

I had a cheat day yesterday. Yep, that’s right, I threw caution to the wind and pulled out the Visa without hesitation. And it felt good. REAL good. More on my cheat day details in a bit. First, a lesson on the value of cheat days.

Fitday.com says that when you are dieting, allowing an occasional cheat day is common. In fact, Fitday says that you may actually reap some benefits by allowing yourself a cheat day. While I’m not on a food diet right now, I’m on a financial diet. A money cleanse of sorts. American Financial Ninja Warrior. And this is what Fitday.com says are the benefits of a cheat day:

  1. Feel satisfied. A cheat day helps curb cravings and allow you to re-focus. My cheat day involved dinner out with my fiancé Scott. On my dime this time. We went to a new restaurant in town (for which I did not have a Valpak coupon, Groupon, Living Social or RetailMeNot discount).  That’s right. I paid full price. [Gasp!!] And I had a delicious pasta dish that was just the right portion that didn’t leave me looking and feeling like Violet from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory after she ate the blueberry pie.
  2. Incentivize yourself. The irony here is that on food diets, some people incentivize themselves with a financial reward. In my Project Money diet, I rewarded myself with food. Hmm.
  3. Nourish your body. On a restrictive food diet, if you are eating the same things, a cheat day may help you get nutrients your body needs. On my financial diet, my nourishment came in the form of nourishing my mind. That is, I walked out of the restaurant with my receipt in hand and no sign of the guilt cloud in sight.
  4. Concerns about sugar. On a food diet, avoid sugar even on your cheat days because, according to Fitday, sugary foods can be addictive like drugs. That sounds a little extreme if you ask me. Especially since my addiction is Starbucks and I’ve been able to avoid Starbucks. Kind of. As I read this, I realize yet another irony. My tall decaf raspberry non-fat no whip no foam mocha is loaded with sugar. Whatever. It’s totally worth it. See #1 above.

So here’s this week’s financial fun fact: Dr. Oz says you can cheat on your food diet and still lose weight. Team Price says you can cheat on your financial diet and still save money and decrease debt. The key is cheating in moderation. And cheating in a sensible way will help steer you toward success in the long term.

If you are working really hard like me and the rest of the Project Money families to decrease debt and increase savings, try building in your cheat day. It will make your financial journey much more pleasurable. I enjoyed every single minute of my cheat day!


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