One of the hardest parts about budgeting for the month is sometimes feeling as though that we can’t splurge on ANYTHING anymore. With gifts to buy, cars to repair, and unplanned errands to run it can be hard to save anything after our normal expenses. Where does the fun money come from? How did we have it before?
I don’t think we make less money now. I think we are relying on credit cards less, while putting MORE money into debts instead of only paying minimum balances. We need to be realistic and understand that there will be splurges. Life is too short to NOT go out to dinner, not do __ with friends and family, etc.
So how do we plan for these splurges? For right now, we are still feeling our way through this. My top two ways are as follows… we do a mixture of both.
1. Estimate your splurges for the month.
Do you know that you’ll want to go out to dinner 3 times a month? Once a week? Based on past history, write in your planned splurges as an expense on your budget IF YOU CAN. The better the estimation, the more realistic your monthly budget will be. If you plan for the expense and know you can spend it without going too far off track, you’ll feel much better!
2. Put no splurges in the budget, and restrict yourself to any leftover money.
Because I am still working on budgeting our splurges, we’ve been denting into our leftover money for splurges if necessary. Step one above is definitely a better direction! Still, if I know we’ll have $300 left after our tithing during the month, I feel less bad about spending $50 if we go out to dinner with friends. I feel less stress because I know I am covered, and I feel happy because our budgeting isn’t restricting us too much.
You can also plan for long time splurges. Just like our non-splurge emergency fund, we’re trying to set money aside into a separate vacation budget so that we can still treat ourselves now and then while we’re paying down debts.
Thanks for reading my budget series! I am enjoying sharing our budgeting experiences with you! Read about how we decided to start paying cash for groceries and fuel.