When I’m creating budgets for clients, the one thing I never do is cut out their budget for fun. Sure, I may cut back what they spend on discretionary items, but never do I completely cut out their fun spending. Now, fun spending can mean different things to different people.
Whether fun means buying a new blouse or going out to eat with your girlfriends, there are plenty of reasons why anyone needs to budget for fun. I’m going to walk you through a few of them! Hopefully these reasons will convince you to add a little fun back into your budget.
Why you need to budget for fun
#1 Life is too short not to have fun
As morbid as this sounds, what if you died tomorrow? If you are so strict with your budget that you don’t allow yourself any leeway to relax and enjoy yourself, you are doing yourself a disservice. Life is too short not to have fun. Of course, having fun doesn’t mean spending all your money – it means realistically treating yourself to things you enjoy, because it’s budgeted for.
There are plenty of pros to sacrificing and being diligent with your money-saving efforts, but do you want to wake up in 10 years and regret not enjoying yourself just a little bit? Time goes by so fast and life can be way too short. Make sure you budget for fun so you never have to feel like you are missing out on the things you like or want to try.
#2 Skipping the fun leads to splurges
More often than not, when we deprive ourselves of something, we end up caving and overdoing it! This applies to dieting, shopping, and any other area of life that requires some moderation. The trick is not to deprive yourself of fun completely, because when you do reach your breaking point, you are going to undo a lot of progress. If you factor fun spending into your budget on a consistent basis, you don’t have to worry about depriving yourself!
#3 Budgeting is better when fun is involved
Imaging creating your budget at the beginning of every month. You allocate every dollar to your applicable categories and set the tone for the month. Well, imagine how much better it will feel to know that you have budgeted for fun things to do throughout the month? You know that you can afford the amount you set for fun, because you’re doing your budget!
This means you can start the month with a newfound appreciation for your budget and spending, because you can afford to indulge a little bit! Now, remember that you have set your fun spending amount for a reason. Any overspending can lead to other budget categories not getting taken care of as they should.
#4 Factoring in fun makes for a successful budget
Similar to depriving yourself of fun leads to overspending, when you fail to factor fun into your budget, you open the door for a failed spending plan. If you budget your income down to the last dollar, and no fun is included, you are setting yourself up for failure. It’s not realistic to think you would treat yourself to a Starbucks or a new pair of yoga pants. Adding fun into your budget allows for you to become a successful budgeter. Fun is an absolute necessity for any successful budget plan.
#5 If your fun budget is realistic, you deserve to enjoy it
When you take the time to budget out some money for fun each month, you can take pride in enjoying that fun! You know that you’ve added it to your budget, so you can afford it. Now, make sure you actually take the time to use it! Whatever fun looks like to you, if it’s budgeted for, it should be enjoyed and spent without guilt! You deserve it, lady!
How much should you budget for fun?
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you how important it is to factor fun into your budget on a regular basis. Now, let’s talk about how much you should budget in for fun. When creating your budget for the month, you’ll want to make sure all of your responsibilities are taken care of first. Your income should be allocated towards bills, living expenses, savings, and debt repayment. What’s left over after that? It may be $10, it may be $100. Whatever you’re working with after all necessities are covered, factor that in for fun!
What if I have a lot left over?
If you seem to have $500 or more left over after all of your necessities are paid for, look at what you are putting into savings. Would it make sense to contribute more to savings? Say an extra $100-$200? Then the rest can go to fun? Just because everything is taken care of and you have a lot left over doesn’t mean it should all go to discretionary purchases. Make sure there isn’t opportunity to save more or put more towards debt before finalizing your fun spending limit.
Also, think about certain events that may be happening in the month you’re creating the budget for. If you have a few birthdays, it may be wise to cut back certain variable areas (groceries, gas, etc.) to make sure you have enough budgeted for all the spending that could happen in the month. There will never be a one size fits all solution, but with practice and planning, you will get the hang of budgeting for discretionary things!
Related: 4 Ways to Maximize Spending
How great does it feel to know that you can have a little fun budgeted for every month? I’m telling you, having a budget for fun (that’s realistic, obviously), is a recipe for a prosperous budgeting journey! Do you factor in fun spending when creating your monthly budget? Do you have a formula you follow when allocating money for fun? Share your thoughts, questions and experiences with me and other CGS readers by posting a comment below!