The problem with being a millennial is that people are always telling you how irresponsible you are.

From how we’re wasting too much money on avocado toast, to how we’re spending too much time on our phone (we’re busy looking for jobs and resources that could actually help us), our lives are spent being stereotyped by people who don’t understand that we’re a generation simply trying to get by in an economy that isn’t kind to us.  

We’re judged for still living with our parents, but are unable to afford the cost of rent in South Africa. We spend most of our money on necessities and very little on things that we truly want, simply because we’re not in a position to spend more on what we want.

This money malarkey is miserable making, isn’t it? But here’s the thing – I’m not advocating that we suddenly start throwing money around – but life is all about balance.

I think it’s only natural for us to become resentful and bitter when we don’t get to enjoy the salary we’ve worked hard for and seeing other people effortlessly living it up when you know that you spend your money as responsibly as possible for reasons that are necessary for your day-to-day living.

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Think paying off student loans (well, technically you can choose not to study, but we all know that without the qualifications, you’ll likely struggle to get that job), travelling expenses, rent (if you’re not living with your parents – and even then, you still contribute), and medical aid and life insurance – to mention but a few.

But here’s the thing – you shouldn’t have to feel guilty when it comes to how you spend your money.

And personally, I feel that if you do spoil yourself with one item per month or within whatever time frame works for you, it will make you feel as if you’re not only personally investing in yourself, but will also make having those monthly debit orders go off that much more bearable.

You don’t have to splurge out on anything big, but spending money on something that will fulfil your physical or emotional needs will go a long way in terms of finding a happy middleground.

Not sure what to spend your money on? We’ve got a few ideas.

Spend money on a hobby.

I’m a book lover, so the one thing I always try to buy at the end of the month is one or two books.

If I’m not buying books, I’m spending money on things relating to my reawakened love of gaming, collecting funko pops and buying any other fandom merchandise.

So whether you love knitting, crafting or painting, invest in purchases that will help you to sustain or enhance or grow your hobby. 

Subscription boxes

I absolutely adore subscription boxes. You often get value for your money as it contains a variety of different and carefully curated items and often changes month by month according to theme.

Some local subscription boxes to try:

The Book Case – a monthly subscription book box that features a newly released book, along with items like bookmarks, stationery, tea and all manner of fantastical and bookish related items.

The Sweetie Box – for those looking to indulge their sweet tooth. Contains three 500 ml tubs of sweets, along with a homemade sweet treat and extra (sometimes international) surprises just waiting to be gobbled up.

The Gin Box – calling all gin lovers. This box contains a mystery bottle of craft gin, paired with some gourmet snacks, tonics and notes, recipes and ideas on how to serve the gin.

Take advantage of sales

Fashion lover looking for the best deals? Spree often offers a host of benefits including site-wide discounts, subscription incentives and free delivery on all items over R250.

You can also check out Runwaysale.co.za, a site that offers up to 70% on designer brands.

This year, Skip introduced a fashion exchange event where fashion lovers could take garments they were no longer wearing and swap it out for high street, premium or luxury wear depending on what you offered in return. Make sure you visit and register to keep up to date on whether or not it will be happening again.

Loyalty programmes are your friend

Think in terms of Clicks and Pick ‘n Pay, where you can earn points and use them to get discounts on your shopping.

Many coffee shops also offer loyalty cards where if you fill up a certain amount of clips on your card, you get a free coffee.

My mom currently also purchases stamps throughout the year at Shoprite (You can also use them at Checkers), and then at the end of the year, uses the value of the stamps collected to purchase everything we need for over the festive season.

It’s these little things that can help you save and treat yourself.

Mindful experiences

Sometimes you just need a little pamper session to soothe your frazzled nerves or just to unwind, and there’s nothing like going for a bit of beauty therapy to get a massage, a mani/pedi or a facial.

Admittedly there are some places that are super pricey, but going for a treatment isn’t something you have to do every month, but there’s nothing wrong with indulging every once in a while.

Do your research, and compare prices – because there is something out there for you and you do deserve to have that much-needed back massage.

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As long as you find a balance between treating yourself a little and maintaining your payments, there’s no rule that says you shouldn’t just earn money to survive.

What’s the last thing you treated yourself to? And what other affordable splurges would you recommend to those who are looking for budget-friendly ways to spoil themselves?

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