Most of us are are living paycheck to paycheck, so we all are stressing about not having enough income to match our lifestyle. Seriously, you know there is a constant stress and struggle when you are trying to stretch the money to make ends meet. It is time to change that!
We have a simple method we have been using our entire marriage, well most of it, once we figured out how much it helped, we changed to always doing it. Do you want to know what we changed?
The #1 way, really the ONLY way, to decrease that budgeting stress is to create a buffer in your budget. Ugh, I know, here it goes again, that whole “You need a savings and more income” thing everyone talks about and no one is able to explain how. Yes, those are 2 methods, but that is a different blog. I mean a spending or fun budget.
A what budget?? Yes, I am telling you need to loosen your budget a bit and you will stop being so overwhelmingly stressed over your money. A fun budget is a few dollars scheduled into the budget that you get to spend without guilt or explanation. Here are 9 reasons why having a built-in fun budget helps minimize your stress –
- Increases gratitude and brings joy into your life
- Helps you keep a good attitude
- Gives a reward for your hard work
- Allows for generosity and gifting
- Creates balance in your finances
- Allows you to say “YES” instead of “I can’t, I am on a budget.”
- Removes the “Emergency Feeling” that money brings
- Prevents burnout by decreasing stress and fear
- Moves you toward abundant thinking
So, yes, it is important! Stop arguing with me and accept that you probably deviate from the budget for unplanned spending. And guess what? When you are actually writing it down in the budget and agree on the amount that you both can spend, you will cut out guilt and fear of overspending (who really needs that anyway?).
And, yes, if you don’t already have a spending budget in the monthly budget, you need to rework the budget, it is ESSENTIAL to have a fun budget, even if it starts out small, like $10 a month each. And hey – if it doesn’t work for your family, just change it back the next month. No harm done 🙂 but, honestly, I don’t think you will go back – it helps so much! Just a quick budgeting tip – the easiest place to find extra money is in the food budget or by canceling something like the gym, eating out, Netflix or Cable (yes, those are extras too, cancel the one that you hardly use). Here are some ideas on what to do with your fun budget, oh and I asked hubby his choices for using his spending money, these are his unfiltered answers.
$80 a month ($20 a week) –
I like to do weekly fun things, so that would probably be 1 date, 1 road trip ($25 in gas), a pedicure and maybe a monthly subscription for fun socks.
Him: “Does this include eating out money? (answer – no, we budget extra for that) Okay, well I would want a new video game or a new TV… wait, this is monthly? Oh I don’t know what I could want monthly.”
VIDEO GAME?? We have been together almost 4 years, I have never known him to want a video game, where did that come from?
$40 a month ($10 a week) –
I would say that $40 a month is 2 lunches with friends/hubby and a few teas/coffee and second-hand shopping for clothes/household items. Try Offer up or Facebook marketplace for great used stuff. Oh and I would buy from my favorite cosmetics company, Mary Kay.
HIM: “$40 a month? Oh, those 2 subscription boxes you wrote about, the clothes one and the cologne one, that would be about $40 right?”
HE READ MY BLOG!! HE READ MY BLOG!… okay, refocus again!
$20 a month ($5 a week) –
My first thought on this one is Deal Flicks for discounts on tickets AND concession items, and admit it – concession items can cost as much OR MORE as your tickets. Deal Flicks does not charge a fee, just straight deals and coupons! TOTALLY WORTH LOOKING INTO!
The other $10 I would split into going for tea or ice cream cone dates and giving it away to the those begging on street corners (hint – plan your giving away money from spending budget, so you get the joy of choosing to spend it on yourself or someone else, I always like that!)
HIM: (He stopped, looked at me like I was crazy and then just laughed. I repeated the question. He wouldn’t give an answer, just repeated the look that said I was crazy…)
Well, we are clearly very blessed if he can laugh at having such a low fun budget … and now I am on a mission to show him what fun can be had on $5 a week!
$10 a month ($2.50 a week) –
Yes, this sounds like a small amount, but let’s think it through. This can be 1 dessert date or each payday grabbing a little something at the gas station after work or this can be babysitting money while you go read a book, it could be shopping money at a garage sale or Goodwill.
(I didn’t even ask… see response to $20 a month)
$0 a month… aka FREE
Lastly, when I have used up my spending budget (it happens like every other month), I still love to be creative in enjoying life for FREE. We have done library dates, sandwiches in the park, cooking a fun new meal or dessert (that came out of food budget anyway, might as well make it fancy!), festivals, visiting a family or community pool or splash pads, popcorn and a movie you already own and love, samples at Costco (you know you have done it too!).
Him: “Free fun? …”
(He just left it like that, still thinking, so I waited like a patient wife to give him time to think… 20 minutes later I realized he fell asleep…)
Okay, now you have options… so what is your fun budget at right now and which idea do you like the most? Or, better yet, add to these ideas – what do you do with your fun money?
Need some more resources about budgeting? Here are my top view blogs on finances –
Yes, I include affiliate links in all my blogs, it gives me the chance to stay home with the little one. I get paid a little each time you click and buy from the included links, but I only recommend products that I use myself. Thanks for helping our dream of being a full-time blogger come true! ~ Lydia Y-S.