There was a segment on the Today Show yesterday about the next big thing to fear.  It seems that because of the economic downturn, we are all tired of counting pennies and we should beware of frugal fatigue.  And, what’s more, 65% of us are already affected; one more reason to lock our doors and hide under our beds!

They suggested four steps to ward off this terrible plague:

1)  Partner up.  (You can’t do this alone—your significant other might be sabotaging you.)
2)  Be honest with yourself.  (You need help.)
3) Have a battle plan.  (This is war.)
4) Use $50 or $100 bills.  (Instead of small bills—instead of debit cards—instead of credit cards.)

All good advice but they left out the most important piece—give yourself a break!  Living in fatigue (and fear) takes a toll on us.  We need a breath of fresh air, a positive pat on the back and a few kind words.  Take a break, give yourself a reward.

A reward, you say, in times like this?  How can I do that when I’m about to fall into the pit of doom?  But wait—stop and think.  What is fatigue?  One definitions is:  the temporary inability to respond to a situation as a result of overexposure or excessive activity.  Wouldn’t it then make sense that the antidote for fatigue is rest?  Rest from the activity causing the fatigue?

So, yes, give yourself a break and reward yourself for a job well done.  Give yourself a treat, whether it’s a movie, a night out or any small extravagance.  That small respite from frugality will keep you focused on your long-term goals and able to respond consciously to the financial temptations we’re confronted with everyday.

Because if you don’t take that break, all your previous frugality will be for naught and frugal fatigue will get you with unconscious overspending!

Hmmmm, now what do I want for me—only me?

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