Believe it or not, you should make room in your monthly budget for indulgences! Financial wellness means spending your money wisely and learning how to treat yourself for less – or for free. Here’s how to indulge responsibly.
Leave room in your budget for “just for fun” purchases
As you work on building and sticking to a budget, be sure to leave room in your spending plan for the occasional treat. The exact amount will vary by income level, lifestyle and personal choice. However, choose an amount you can easily afford without feeling deprived.
To ensure you don’t overspend in this area, you can borrow an idea from the money-envelope system and withdraw the designated amount from your checking account at the beginning of the month. Place this cash in an envelope, and use it as necessary. When the money is gone, so is your “allowance” for pricey treats this month.
It’s important to note that the indulgences referenced here are spontaneous buys, or small purchases that aren’t part of your normal budget. Large purchases you have planned for and saved toward for months, or even years, are in an entirely different category.
Review your savings
Before giving yourself permission to indulge, make sure you are setting aside a percentage of your monthly income to savings. Savings should be a line item on your budget, with short-term savings like an emergency fund in a savings account, holding enough to keep you afloat for 3-6 months if you have no source of income. Long-term savings should be sufficient to support your retirement and any long-term savings goal you may have, like saving for a house or an expensive vacation.
Choose your “treats”
Take a look at where your non-discretionary money went during the last month or two. Highlight the more expensive impulse buys and hold them up to these questions:
- Did this purchase bring me happiness or positive energy the day I bought it?
- Did this impulse buy blow my budget?
- Does thinking about this purchase now fill me with joy, guilt or something else?
- If I found myself in the same circumstances today, would I make that purchase again?
The answers to these questions will depend on your personal set of circumstances and lifestyle. Use the insight you have learned about your indulgences to help you make better money choices in the future.
Lose the guilt
Once you have decided how much you want to spend each month on indulgences you can afford, it’s time to let go of the guilt. If you are spending responsibly and you have already fed your savings as well as your future, there is no need to feel guilty over an impulse buy you could have done without. As long as you are keeping these just-for-fun purchases within your budget, and your choices fill you with happiness or positive energy, you can still maintain your financial wellness.
It’s important to have a good savings plan in place as a financial cushion for your non-discretionary spending. Click here to discover a variety of options available to you at SeaComm, including regular savings, money market accounts, certificates, and more. Need assistance? Call us at (800) 764-0566 or stop by your nearest SeaComm branch location – our goal is to help you reach yours!