You don’t celebrate your financial victories enough.

A late-night Instagram perusal session helped me understand the power and possibilities of celebration. A friend of mine was celebrating the defeat of her biggest nemesis of the last decade — her student loans. She gathered her friends, popped the champagne, and acknowledged a true moment of achievement. The pictures of the moment had everything — looks of relief and excitement, exuberant support from friends and a modestly priced bottle of champagne, all seen through an artsy filter. 

Maybe my head is still filled with the excitement of the recent holiday, but I think you need to celebrate financial progress more. If you don’t choose to acknowledge and celebrate accomplishments, you will find yourself jaded and grumpy about money and the demands it puts on you.

Your financial life will be a tedious trudge unless you establish meaningful milestones. I shudder thinking about people who see their financial life as one long odyssey. It’s very difficult to live the financial life you want to live if you never recharge your battery with the sweet taste of victory.

There is celebration in our financial lives, but people tend to celebrate the wrong financial moments. Of course, it’s all relative, but there are moments which might be exciting and monumental but are the beginning of a story, not the end.

Getting approved for a mortgage is nice, but the financial accomplishment is owning the home outright. Graduating from college is undoubtedly a huge accomplishment, but the real financial accomplishment is paying off the student loan. Buying your first car is a nice experience, but the final payment is the moment worth celebrating. Putting $500 into your savings account is great, but putting the final $500 to reach a full emergency fund is the real accomplishment which begs for a celebration.

It’s the theoretical difference between layaway and a store credit card. With layaway, you make periodic store visits to make payments and say hello to the item you will eventually take home once you’ve paid in full. When the sweater, skirt or ascot makes its way home with you, a mental party is warranted. If you buy a pair of boots on your store credit card and resolve to figure out how to pay them off later, then the pleasure already happened. With layaway, pleasure and satisfaction are aligned. 

You need to understand the relationship between your financial health and both pleasure and satisfaction.