When you hear ‘budgeting’ and ‘fun’ in the same sentence, you probably start shaking your head, sure that something’s wrong. Budgeting and fun should never go together, right? Budgeting surely isn’t fun, and budgeting for fun definitely ruins all the fun. Or not. While you may not think budgeting itself is fun, budgeting for fun definitely leads to less stress and more satisfaction.
Budgeting for Fun is a Happy Medium
Budgeting for fun finds the happy medium between two bad extremes- not budgeting for fun and therefore not having any fun, or not budgeting for fun and spending too much on fun. And in reality, usually not having any fun causes people to snap and suddenly spend way too much on fun.
Besides causing people to snap and blow their budgets, budgeting strictly for essentials can lead to a pretty miserly and miserable life. Money management and personal finances is meant to improve your life and pinching every penny misses the point. You can’t find a more classic example of this than Ebeneezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Scrooge was incredibly wealthy, but incredibly miserly, completely neglecting to enjoy life and those around him.
The other extreme is not budgeting at all, and overspending on fun. This shortsighted fun comes with a long term hangover when you end the month without enough to cover your bills and needs. It can lead to longer term pain when you find yourself neck-deep in credit card debt or unable to cover small emergencies.
No Worrying About the Cost
With fun built into your budget, you can spend your budgeted money without worrying that you’re jeopardizing your finances. You’ve already planned ahead for these expenses, so you know there’s room in your finances for them. If it fits in your budget, you can go on that 7 day cruise, or stay in that fancy hotel, or take a trip to the amusement park, without wondering the whole time if you should have settled for the 3 day cruise, or the motel 6, or the city park. And if you did stay at the motel 6 because that was all that fit in your budget, you can still sleep well knowing that you’ve made a great decision.
More Money Not Equal to More Enjoyment
Budgeting for fun (and budgeting in general), helps develop a better sense of return on your dollar. When you monitor your spending and are more aware of where your pennies and dollars go, you begin to realize that certain expenses really don’t make your life much better. And often when you put a limit on how much you’re going to spend on fun stuff, you begin thinking outside the box and find low cost or free things that bring you lots of enjoyment. You may decide to spend the day at the city park even if the amusement park does fit in your budget because you know that sometimes a day at the city park is quite blissful. I love The Simple Dollar’s Ultimate Guide To Free Things That I Love To Do. Check it out if you want some inspiration for thrifty fun.
Sometimes Budgeting for Fun Isn’t So Fun
Budgeting your fun isn’t always a blast. Sometimes you will have to say no to things you really want to do. You might have to decide not to go out with friends, or might have to plan a slightly cheaper vacation. Adapting your mindset and expectations to your budget is a big part of the battle, but there will still be times you want to throw your budget to the wind. Just remember that the short-term pain is saving you a lot of stress in the long-term. And over time, you will get used to your budgeted fun.
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- While I do strive to only write accurate information and dispense valuable advice, I am not a licensed financial adviser. All information is based solely on my personal experience and personal research and should be treated as such. Find out more.