We often see it on social media, hear it from strangers, or even say to ourselves that we deserve to spend on nice things and that we deserve only the best.
Like “I deserve a new phone because I worked so hard in my job,” “I deserve this vacation because I am so stressed recently, “or “I deserve to eat out to celebrate after a busy week,” and many more.
However, with close examination and introspection, we will realize that the I deserve this mentality might sometimes be detrimental to our personal finance, and may even affect other people.
In this post, let’s talk about a more sensitive topic of the “I deserve this” mindset and how it affects our personal finance.
1. What you “deserve” should match your current self.
Personal finance is tricky because it requires a lot of dedication, hard work, and discipline before we can tell ourselves that we deserve the best in something.
If you’re familiar with the Kurot Principle, it says that every purchase you make must only be a pinch from your income.
For instance, if you are earning P30,000 per month with little to no savings, yet you want to spend P15,0000 for a new smartwatch that was recently released. In this case, that amount is already a huge chunk of your wages and may even result to debt.
So, going back to the Kurot Principle, spending half of our salary on something that we think we “deserve” during a time when we don’t deserve it yet is unwise, since it is already a dakot (handful) instead of a kurot (pinch).
This means that even if we think we deserve something and can afford it (in some way, like through a personal loan), the price of the item or experience is already a chunk of our income. Sadly, we don’t deserve it yet.
However, through time, we will finally reap the reward we deserve because of our dedication and discipline through delaying gratification.
The secret is to start small and not be in a rush because there are a lot of dangers that can befall us if we’re always in a hurry to achieve material things and luxury.
Don’t go overboard. Be practical.
Now that we talked about some scenarios of having an I deserve this mindset, it is still important to reward ourselves now and then.
However, in this context we should only buy the things that are within our current limit but will still give us the satisfaction of a job well done.
For instance, you had a tough week and want to unwind. But since you are low on budget, you can invite friends for a good cup of coffee at home, instead of spending more outside. This may even prove to be more enjoyable.
Another is if you can’t afford an out-of-town vacation, yet you are in dire need of it, you can choose a staycation instead. You can still have fun and relaxation away from home in just a fraction of the price.
Don’t imitate the people who take out loans to spend on expensive things that will cause trouble down the road.
The choice is yours, you can either suffer now and enjoy later or enjoy now and suffer later.
2. Sometimes, we deserve the unfortunate things that we get.
Many people with the I deserve this mindset thinks they deserve only the best things in life, like in relationships, career, finances, and more.
They think that regardless of the poor decisions and bad choices they made in the past, they still genuinely believe that they deserve only the best.
However, what if they got what they truly deserved, even if it was unfortunate?
For instance, you spent your 20s to 40s having fun, spending lavishly, and not saving and investing enough for your future retirement.
Then you reached your 60s with not enough money saved. Do you think you are deserving of a high retirement benefit? Because, let’s be honest, SSS or GSIS may not be enough to sustain us in our sunset years.
Another example is someone who took several personal loans from their family and friends and used it to finance their gambling addiction.
Then after losing all their money and unable to repay their lenders, they are stressed because debt collectors and small claims court hound them. In this scenario, do you think the debtors still deserve the peace of mind?
We need to remember that at some point in our lives, we can’t blame other people anymore, and we will need to be responsible for our bad financial decisions.
So, sadly, even if the result is unfortunate, we will have to stand by it because that is the result of our decision. The bad things that sometimes come our way may be caused of our own doing.
3. Sometimes, we withhold a good thing another person deserves.
The “I deserve this” mindset can sometimes be dangerous when used incorrectly and may even affect other people’s lives and finances.
For instance, a person is deep in personal debt from credit cards, financial institutions, and even family and friends, and is struggling to pay everyone on time (if at all).
Then suddenly, Apple released a new iPhone. They then found ways to finance the new phone and bought it because they thought their old cellphone was due for an upgrade. They even believed they deserved this “little” luxury for all their hard work.
In this scenario, even if their cellphone is primed for an upgrade, they shouldn’t buy it because their lenders deserve the money more than themselves. Also, it is the borrower’s responsibility to pay the people they owe.
By buying the iPhone, they are withholding the good thing their lenders deserve and delaying the punishment for their financial decisions of racking in debt.
Remember that our decisions may not only affect us. It may even affect other people around us. So, do the right thing and choose better.
Deserve? What if it is grace and mercy?
I love the words grace and mercy, especially in the Christian context. Grace means that we sometimes get great things that we don’t deserve, like forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ. On the other hand, mercy is withholding the punishment we deserve.
Similarly, in our personal finance, there are times when we are blessed beyond what we deserve, like in our jobs, business, and investments. Likewise, we sometimes receive mercy when we are not punished in a bad financial decision that we made.
Maybe, instead of saying, “I deserve this,” we can say, “I don’t deserve this, yet it is given to me, and it is only by God’s grace and mercy that I receive these things.” This change of perspective will open a lot of possibilities and humility.
So, it is important to be grateful for whatever we have, even if we think that it is below what we deserve, because it might be what we truly deserve.
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