It can also prevent binging – going weeks or months without a dessert or sweet, only to binge for days and then feel guilty and give up on our goals. After all, it’s only a six day wait until the next cheat day!

A similar concept is true for our personal finances. Setting aside some money every paycheck for ourselves to spend however we want, whenever we want can also help us stick to our long-term financial goals of saving for retirement, college, or getting out of debt.

Although this amount of money may not be significant, the autonomy it gives us is very powerful. Having a little money to spend on whatever we want can keep us focused mentally on the bigger picture, without feeling that we are losing control or a slave to our financial goals.

Here’s where the cheating comes in. At first, when people make great strides in their fitness and financial goals, the thought of spending on something not in the “big picture” or eating foods that they know aren’t healthy can be daunting. It seems counterproductive. It seems like cheating.

But it’s necessary. Having some financial and food autonomy is a necessary part of the plan. It allows us to stay focused on our long-term goals while allowing us the freedom to enjoy indulgences here and there without feeling guilty.

For more investment strategies, visit the Portfolio Construction Channel.