It is important to track our spending and know where our money goes to so we know how to adjust our budget. Sticking to a budget takes a lot of discipline and determination but it will help us reach our financial goals faster. With this description, budgeting may sound like a dreary process. With mostly people’s budget going to expenses, is there a more rewarding way to budget our money? Actually, there is!
While most of our income goes to our living expenses, we should also make a budget for fun and play. A fun or play fund is what you use to indulge in things that you enjoy or purchases that you do on impulse without ruining your budget for the important things. There are important reasons why we should include this in our monthly budget.
We Shouldn’t Deprive Ourselves
First of all, sticking to a budget is already a difficult experience. When you see your money go to expenses that you don’t personally enjoy (e.g., bills, utilities, transportation, etc.) but are still important, you do feel like you’re just working to pay off bills and life is no fun at all.
Have you had the experience where you’re craving for a specific food item but you can’t find it anywhere and you ended up overeating on other food items instead? The same thing will happen if you deprive yourself of some fun; you will feel so deprived that you end up over indulging in whatever takes your fancy at the moment. Setting aside fun money in your budget ensures that you don’t go overboard with indulging yourself. Think of it as a little reward for sticking to your major budget goals.
Another advantage of having fun money or play money in your budget is that when you spend it, you don’t feel guilty shelling out the amount because you know that you’ve taken care of the major, more important stuff already.
Most of the time, we regret buying something on impulse because we know we have to make up for it on our next paycheck or we need to scrimp on the other items on our budget to seal the leak. If you’re spending on what you like without the guilt, then you can truly enjoy the experience to the fullest.
Setting a Limit, Encouraging Discipline
Having a budget for everything means that you also set a limit on your spending for each category in your budget. That’s why it is important to put everything in your budget including fun money. It not only makes it easier to track your spending, it also ensures that you don’t spend over what you can actually afford to pay with your income.
There is a saying that goes, “If you can’t buy it twice, then you can’t afford it.” So if that favorite pair of sneakers (even though you already have several pairs) has a price tag that’s way beyond your fun budget, then you need to discipline yourself to assess if you really need it or to save this month’s budget and add it to next month’s fun budget so you can afford the price. In short, your fun budget allows you to indulge in your personal fun items and experiences without blowing out your whole month’s budget.
Remember though that fun money in your budget is not your emergency fund and household items that you actually need at home do not go under this budget. A fun budget is for things that you don’t indulge in regularly; things that you only do when the mood strikes you. These include experiences that you want to enjoy from time to time like a manicure and pedicure or a massage, or trying out a new restaurant, or getting yourself coffee from your favorite cafe. This is when your fun budget becomes handy.
Of course, not everybody’s budget is the same and for some people, their fun money may be used for travel instead or gadgets to supplement a hobby. Your fun budget should just be enough to allow you to have fun experiences without living beyond your means.
Do you have fun money in your budget? What would you like to spend it on?