As most of you know, we are in “PayOffDebtAsFastAsWeCan” mode – which doesn’t leave anything extra for having fun! Now I’m not saying that having fun has to cost money, but what I am saying is that budgeting a small amount of money to be spent at your discretion every month – be it on something frivolous like a pedicure, or something as practical as ink for the printer – is important to keep you from feeling trapped within your budget.
I have said it before, and I’ll say it again – do not let your money control you! You control how your money is spent, but when paying off debt I often feel powerless. Budgeting a little bit of “fun money” helps me to retain some feeling of control!
This depends on a bunch of different things. First of all, you have to have a budget. Your budget will tell you how much money you have left over every month for discretionary things – things other than bills or obligations. If you only have $25 a month left over after all of the bills are paid and food is on the table, then $25 of fun money it is. But, say you have $400 of discretionary income every month. You really should not budget all $400 as fun money, because that’s a bit excessive. Instead, budget maybe $100 or $200 as your own personal fun money that you can spend any way you want. The rest can certainly be used for fun things, but let the family decide together what activity would be fun to spend the money on.
What we do
Well, our situation is kind of different from many people’s. Everything extra we have is going to pay off debt, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to spend some money on ourselves. But, we budget for it in a different way. The Big Guy, because he stays home all day, needs to get out of the house, so we bought him an ATV to go 4-wheeling on the weekends with his friends. It will be paid off before the end of the year, so I’m not really concerned about the debt, but his fun money is the ATV payment and the gas he spends to use it. Very straightforward and simple.
My fun money comes in several different forms. I have carte blanche from The Big Guy to spend whatever I want to on the blog, because, quite frankly, it makes money, and to date I’ve only spent about $150. (FYI, the blog has made much more than that) Blogging is something that I really enjoy! It’s my outlet, and I think it’s really awesome that my hobby actually MAKES money. Occasionally, I spend a little money on a new purse, or a massage (seriously, it’s like twice a year), but I don’t really have the desire to spend anything over and above my blog stuff, because everything extra I make from the blog is going towards debt repayment, and like I said before, I really enjoy blogging!
It all depends on YOU
I’ve described two different ways to budgeting for fun money – either budgeting a set amount each month, or budgeting like we do, on a month-to-month basis, as needed. At the end of the day, you have to choose which method is right for you. It depends mostly upon where you are at with your finances. Maybe you’re in the same position as us, so you cannot budget money every month, but maybe you have a small amount of extra income a few times per year that you can automatically set aside as fun money. Or maybe you’ve reached financial freedom and are living off money you’ve saved. Regardless, budgeting for “fun money” be it monthly or sporadically is essential to giving your control of your money!
Yes, I got myself into my debt situation, and it is up to me to get myself out. It is my own fault (maybe a little of the blame goes to The Big Guy) that I am now a slave to my debt – but slowly, I’m regaining control, and budgeting for “fun money” is one way I’m doing it!
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