Personal Finance
March 27, 2018
By Mary Beth Eastman

Making Room in Your Budget for the Things You Love

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Being responsible with your money doesn’t mean you never get to have fun. We all need to take a break from working hard from time to time — it’s good for your mental health and make life worth living. If you’re getting out from under debt, allowing yourself some money for the things you love also makes it easy to stay the course of your budget in the long haul. Depriving yourself of life’s joys only makes it more likely that you’ll give up your budget in frustration. Here are some quick tips for making room in your monthly budget for entertainment and more.

Consider a fun budget of about 7-8 percent of your pay. The right figure for you may be a bit higher or lower, depending on your other obligations. Look at your overall take-home pay, subtract your debt payments and basic expenses like housing, and put 5 percent of your income into an emergency fund. The rest is yours to divide among savings and fun!

Download an app that tracks your spending. This makes planning your entertainment and fun budget easier. Many apps can even sync with your bank account so you can quickly see whether or not you can afford to buy popcorn with your movie this week. You can utilize clever automated programs available from your bank, and other painless ways to save money, to create your slush fund. For instance, round up every purchase to the next dollar with the remainder going to savings — then use that cash as your fun budget.

Imagine you’re trying to lose 50 pounds. Eating vegetables and fish for every meal might get you there faster, or you may drive yourself coo-coo and wind up eating a whole pizza. Paying off debt and saving cash works the same way. Don’t feel guilty about using some of your money to enjoy your life. If you’re too hyper-focused on only putting money toward debt payments, you may give up. Have a little fun and don’t feel guilty.

Paying off debt is great, but you have the right to enjoy life along the way. Budget a responsible amount for the things you love, and paying off what you owe is a little less stressful.

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