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How (and Why) to Reward Yourself While Paying Off Debt

reward yourself while paying off debtIf you’re on a debt payoff journey, you may have heard of the term gazelle intense. Focus so hard on paying off your debt, no treating yourself, and living like no one else now so you can live like no one else later. While being intense is important, that doesn’t mean you can’t reward yourself while paying off debt. Here’s how (and why) you should reward yourself while paying off debt.

How (and Why) to Reward Yourself While Paying Off Debt

This article was written by Kimberly Studdard, one of our fabulous staff writers!

Set Goals

Let’s say you’re $50,000 in debt. If you set goals in $5,000 increments, you’ll be able to treat yourself every time you pay off $5,000. This will keep you motivated to hit those $5,000 goals, and give you something to look forward to when you reach them.

You can create the goals to fit your motivation and determination levels. Feel you can increase the goal to every $10,000? Go for it! Want to set a goal to treat yourself every time you pay off a small loan? That’s okay too. Just find out what’s best for you and what keeps you on the right track to debt freedom.

(A note from Derek: When I was paying off my house, I rewarded myself with a new bicycle after paying down the balance to $40,000. It was something I wanted for a long time, and it helped me save on my gas expense, which helped me pay off the mortgage even faster!!)

Related: How the Debt Snowball Really Works (Free Tool Included for YOUR Debt Snowball)

Have A Budget

One of the biggest things you don’t want to do is put your hard work and sacrifice on the line while treating yourself. Don’t pay off $5,000 and then go spend another $5,000 on a vacation. Not only will it most likely put you back in the hole, it may keep you in a cycle of never paying off your debt at all.

Have a budget when you decide to treat yourself. If you’re setting smaller payment goals, you should also set a smaller budget for treating yourself. For example, if you’re treating yourself at every $1,000 payoff increment, set a “treat yourself” budget of $50 or so. But if you’re paying off $5,000 before treating yourself, set a budget of $200. Again, don’t go broke trying to treat yourself, but the more you payoff, the more wiggle room you will have.

Find Frugal Treats

To keep you from going overboard, find frugal ways to reward yourself while paying off debt. If you love beauty and fashion, you could have frugal treats like a thrift shopping trip, getting your nails done, or maybe buying a few makeup items you’ve been wanting. If you love to travel, you could always rent a hotel room in your town and look at it as a tourist, visiting places you haven’t before.

There are also many free things you could do to treat yourself, like attending an outdoor concert or finding free activities in your city.

Related: 8 Tips to Be Frugal Without Feeling Deprived

Milestones Matter

Life is all about balance. And milestones matter. Reaching a goal like paying off 5% or 10% of your debt may not seem like much to some, but that puts you one step closer to debt freedom. It’s important to reward yourself while paying off debt, because you’re acknowledging that your milestones do matter, and that they are getting you closer and closer to financial freedom.

Treating Yourself Is Important

How would you feel if you had to pay massive amounts of debt, with no treating yourself at all….ever??!

  • It may make you miserable,
  • you may get discouraged, and in extreme cases
  • you may even quit.

Treating yourself is important. It doesn’t have to be expensive, lavish, or extravagant, but it is important to do. Treating yourself feels great, boosts your motivation, and can keep you on track if done correctly. Even the most accomplished people treat themselves after working hard, so why shouldn’t you?

It is possible to reward yourself while paying off debt. If it makes it easier for you to push through your debt payoff, I say go for it (within reason of course)! Your debt payoff journey is yours and yours alone, and only you can decide gazelle intense you need to be.

Battle of the Mind Get Out of Debt Money


My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. It is a great idea to treat yourself on the journey to financial freedom from debt and I assume that is how a lot of debt accumulated was treating yourself.Making those smaller goals will keep you motivated to the next small one on the way to the prize.I say even pizza on Saturday night saying in watching a movie is a treat.Write things down put dates to it,you can get there.

    • Yeah, for sure. Pizza with a movie probably only costs $20, but it can be a HUGE treat if you deny yourself these things during most weeks while you’re driving to pay off debt.

  2. Thanks for the article! I was looking for the right increments to gauge my progress, as well as, appropriate treats for success. Now, I’m super motivated and ready to kill my student loan debt ($53k).

    • YES!! Kill it!! You’ll never regret it!

      Carefree living, clear decision making abilities, and way fewer freak-outs. It really is amazing.

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