Whenever I talk to people about budgeting their money and ‘cutting spending’ they sometimes think I am saying to never spend their money and only buy those things you absolutely need, don’t ever do anything and basically, live under a rock. This is not the case! We all have our vices, our activities and those items we love to spend money on. For me, I love to travel, go out to eat and shop. Guess what, I put money aside for all these every single month! Surprising? It shouldn’t be. Life is meant to be enjoyed and you work hard for your money…so spend a little on the things you love. Here are some reasons your fun money should be put into your budget.
You will spend it anyway. Not spending money on the things you love is like going on a diet and cutting out all foods expect sprouts. Eventually, I am sad to say, you are going to crack. When that happens most of us will go all out and eat a whole pizza (or something to that effect) because we have been denying ourselves those foods we love. A successful diet is done when you also allow yourself to have controlled portions of your favorite terrible foods. Same goes for your budget. Cutting everything ‘extra’ out is something 99.9% of us won’t be able to stick to and when we do give in, a $20 shopping trip can turn into $200. Do yourself a favor. Figure out what you want to spend your money on for fun and then budget for it! Your wallet will thank you.
You learn what you really want and don’t want. It takes practices, but when you are truly sticking to your fun money budget, you will learn what you really want and don’t want to spend your money on. For example, this month I had some shopping money available. When I was at the store, I found that had selected enough items that I would have spent my whole budget for that month if I got everything. I knew I didn’t want to do that sense it was still early in the month so I went through every clothing item in my cart, thought about whether or not I really wanted them and what sort of outfits I could use them for and lo and behold, I got rid of almost everything! It wasn’t that hard either! The items I got were good choices and I still have money for another trip.
It will reduce stress. Have you ever had that moment of panic while using your debit or credit card at a restaurant or store? For many people, it is because they know they really can’t afford whatever it is that they are doing. When you budget for eating out or shopping then you will help reduce that stress!