I’m economising extremely, so treats are almost non-existent. Almost – but not completely.
When I was working out my budget back in February, when my husband had just left, I realised that it would be unsustainable if it didn’t include the occasional treat. I might be a big fan of rubber chicken, but…
What is a treat anyway?? Naughty but nice? A little extra, outside the norm? Anything made of chocolate? Something you deserve, after the kind of day you’ve just had? Or all of the above?
So, I buy a packet of chocolate biscuits every week (dark choc digestives, Aldi, 49p for 16 = 3p each). I have mini ice lollies in the freezer (£2.69 for 8 = 34p each). I have pizza on a Friday night (£1.69 – I eat half and freeze half = 85p per meal). I have a glass of something alcoholic on a Friday night and a Saturday night. Those are my treats – I look forward to them.
And the whole point of treats is that I don’t have them all the time. A treat becomes incrementally less treaty the more often you have it, until it becomes a habit and you hardly notice you’re doing it. Or worse, you come to expect it and get peevish if you can’t have it – that’s a sort of anti-treat I think.
If it happens every day, it’s not a treat any more. £2.50 a day for a coffee on the way to work = £25 every two working weeks, or near enough £50 a month. You could buy a reasonable bottle of champagne for that. Every month. But somehow a bottle of champagne every month is extravagant, but a coffee every day is normal. Drop the coffee and treat yourself to the champagne!!
But sometimes it’s the moment before the treat that’s the best bit. Winnie the Pooh knew this (I love Winnie ther Pooh):
“What do you like doing best in the world, Pooh?”
“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best-” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”
Is it only a treat if we feel a bit guilty about it – if it’s ‘Naughty but Nice’? Hands up who’s old enough to remember the advert for cream cakes? (Today’s fun fact – the slogan was written by Salman Rushdie, who was an advertising copy writer at the time! And why on earth did they feel they needed to advertise cream cakes???)
I used to work in a tea room, and if someone ordered a pot of tea we had to ask if they would like some cake. People would invariably say ‘I know I shouldn’t, but…’ It was like a mantra. I felt like screaming at them – If you know you shouldn’t, then don’t! But if, on the other hand, you fancy a piece of cake, then have a piece of cake and have it unapologetically. Have it with gusto and enjoy every minute of it. There can be nothing more pointless than having a piece of cake and feeling that you shouldn’t (or feeling that you have to pretend that you shouldn’t). Have it, enjoy it, and know that you’re enjoying it. It’s a treat.
And of course treats don’t have to cost any money at all. So go ahead, treat yourself. You deserve it. And remember to enjoy the moment just before, that’s even better than the treat itself.
Much excitement – baby has arrived!!
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