Getting a budget set up is a great accomplishment. You have identified how much money you bring in each month, how much money you spend each month, and what you do with the remaining amount. You have it in a form that makes it easy to follow month-over-month. Way to go! But, when it comes to following it, you actually feel guilty for spending. I want you to ditch guilty spending on a budget, and I’m sharing why and how.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty about spending (when it’s in budget).
Please notice the words in parenthesis “when it’s in budget”. Your budget should outline all of your spending, not just bills. You should account for all of your fun, recreational, and variable spending every month. When you have these numbers specified, it means you’ve thought through them and can afford them. With that being said, you should not feel bad about spending money on them!
Your budget makes sure all of your goals and responsibilities are covered, and you have free reign to do what you want with what is left over. I have clients who feel a little shame about spending that left-over amount on things they don’t really need. I tell them to ditch that shame! They earned it! They earned spending money on themselves because they’ve done everything else they were supposed to with their money.
The same would apply to you and your situation! You have made sure your goals and priorities have been covered with your income, and you shouldn’t feel bad about spending the remaining amount. You can always save it if you really don’t want to spend it. However, if you do need or what to get something for yourself, and it’s included in your budget, you should not feel guilty about buying it.
How to ditch guilty-spending on a budget
Since I’ve walked you through why you shouldn’t feel bad about spending money on discretionary things that are budgeted for, I want to show you how to get rid of that feeling. Because you know you shouldn’t feel bad, but you likely still do feel bad.
#1 Look at your budget to see if your discretionary number is too high
Maybe you feel guilty because you have too much discretionary income to spend each month. I would suggest you take a look at your budget and see. Are you spending more on “fun” things each month than what is going into savings or towards debt? If not, then maybe you should put more into savings to help make sure you don’t feel bad about spending money on yourself.
#2 Try a half and half approach
If you’ve looked at your numbers and can see that you definitely save more than you spend on fun, then great! Hopefully that makes you feel better about spending on yourself, but if not, I’d recommend the half and half approach.
This means that you take the total number you have budgeted for spending on yourself and split it in half. The first half should continue to be budgeted for fun spending and the second half should be the amount you put into savings (on top of any other savings amount you have budgeted).
You’ve already confirmed your goals and priorities are covered well above the numbers you have allocated for yourself, but you’re still feeling guilty about spending. That means you should put more into savings to ease that guilt. You can always adjust the numbers back or reduce it to 75% for fun and 25% saved, once you get to a place where you don’t feel bad about spending money on yourself.
#3 Remind yourself of your progress
When clients tell me they don’t want to spend the money they have budgeted for fun, or they feel bad about spending what was budgeted, I tell them to look at how far they’ve come. They’ve been able to pay down debt, save more than before they started working with me, and keep their spending in line with the budget that’s been created.
That is something to be proud of. That is something that justifies spending money on something just because you want it. If you feel bad about spending money on yourself, take a second to recognize how far you’ve come. Look at your progress from when you started your budgeting journey. Appreciate your efforts and know that you are still getting stuff done, even with a little fun spending!
#4 Change your outlook on money
The last thing I’d recommend to ditch guilty-spending on a budget is to change your outlook on money. Money is meant to be spent and meant to be saved. If you are saving money, you are doing what you’re supposed to. If you are spending money, you are doing what you’re supposed to.
Money comes and money goes. You have to understand that money is not meant to be “hoarded”. You will need to spend. Since you have a budget, you should feel confident in how you spend your money and what it is being spent on, even if it’s on yourself. When you think about money this way, you don’t feel as bad about watching it leave your account (if it’s budgeted, of course).
Struggling with your money and budget choices? Schedule a free consultation with me and let’s work through it together!
Related: 5 Reasons You Need to Budget for Fun
Sometimes you want to keep up your financial progress so much that you forget to take care of yourself. That just means your mind is in the right place, but follow the tips above and feel comfortable about rewarding yourself for a job well done with your budget each month! How do you feel when you spend money that is budgeted? Do you make sure to budget something for yourself every month? Share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment below!
2 thoughts on “How to Ditch Guilty Spending on a Budget”
I try to remind my clients of this on a regular basis. If your spending is budgeted for, don’t feel bad about it!
Hi Raya –
I agree with you. There seems to be a dichotomy which is either be on a budget and feel bad about ALL spending or completely give up and lose control.
We try to give tell people what they can safely spend with recurring expenses and savings goals already factored in. That way you can spend on what brings you value in the moment.
Would love your thoughts on our app – Weekly at http://weeklybudgeting.com.