Sometimes you can get the budget blues. You’ve been saving for so long you feel as though you’ve had no fun. Forgetting to budget for the fun stuff can be a recipe for failure. Here’s how to put the fun back into your financials.
What do you care about most? Is it saving for a home, buying that swanky new car or the wearing the latest designer clothes? Is it dinner with friends and family or the satisfaction of doing a job well? Understanding your motivations, what you value and how it fits into your budget makes it easier to align your money with your values and in doing so you will discover how you can not only save money for the necessities but budget for the fun stuff too.
Once you’ve pondered on what brings you joy you need to go through your budget to see how it reflects in your spending… Too much fun stuff probably means you haven’t set enough savings goals for your future financial security. Not enough fun stuff and you may be setting yourself up to fail. But without examining what you are doing with your money you’re flying blind. So go through your bank and credit card statements for the last three months and see exactly how you’ve been spending.
Now you know how you are spending your money and have identified what you want to have money for, you can build these extras into your budget. Remember, it’s all about balance. If you want to get your hair cut and coloured every month then maybe you need to examine your budget for a little give… Prioritise your spending. It might be difficult, to begin with, but once you weigh up the importance and value of what spending money on something like a haircut brings to you, you will understand which other expenses mean less and could be potentially sacrificed to get what you want.
Now you know what you want to spend on, think about setting up an ‘indulgence’ allowance. The easiest way to do this is to have money direct-debited straight from your pay into another account that you can use to treat yourself or splurge. If you automate your savings in this way you will always have money for the fun stuff.
Having ‘fun money’ is essential if you want your budget to be successful. No matter how great a budget is; if you don’t allow yourself some fun money to blow off steam – you will eventually blow your budget. So why not factor this fun money in from the get-go.
How much fun money you have to spend really depends on your budget. It could be $20 it could be $200. But most importantly it is money that is just for you! Don’t be tempted to use it to pay off an unexpected bill or expense. You need to adjust your budget to cover these items so you have an emergency fund too. Fun money is just for the fun stuff! If you don’t yet have an emergency fund, keep your fun money to a minimum and work on saving at least a $1000 to get you out of a jam if needed.
Remember it’s OK to set aside so money for yourself each month to have some fun! Allowing yourself a small indulgence can do wonders for your morale especially if you have long-term savings goals and they seem a little out of reach. Budgeting in the funs stuff gives you a bit of breathing room and ensures you stay on track with your goals.