No, don't order a round for the house when you meet your friend for drinks. And skip the chateaubriand, for that matter. But a regular series of affordable indulgences can make a frugal lifestyle much more palatable than joylessly sacrificing for a big, far-off reward like a well-funded retirement. Be "good to yourself often instead of being good to yourself once," Schreiber says.
Ronit Rogoszinski, a wealth adviser in Long Island, N.Y., for Arch Financial Group, concurs. She advises regularly scheduling perks like a shopping trip or night out, and says reasonable splurges may even help people stay on their budgetary track. "You're not just being frugal endlessly forever, but you know you're going to get something positive out of it," she says.
Needs and wants
A classic symptom of frugal fatigue is simply feeling powerless, particularly if frugality doesn't come natural to you -- or was forced upon you by a trauma like a job loss. Reassessing your life as well as your budget may be your prescription. "It's a hard pill to swallow," Rogoszinski says. "It really goes back to sitting down and looking over (your priorities)."
An older, unemployed worker may need a creative approach to professional reinvention in order to bring in more income. Or perhaps you don't have a revenue problem -- you have a spending problem. "What are some things that aren't negotiable to you?" Rogoszinksi says. "Do you really need that or do you just want it?" If your budget has you constantly holding your breath, you need to develop one where you aren't always waiting to exhale.
Finally, a long-term perspective helps. Economic cycles turn. Circumstances change. The Great Recession produced an epidemic of frugal fatigue. It's reasonable to expect the recovery will help many victims recover. "At the end of the day," Rogoszinski says, "it's temporary, and you'll get through it."
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