Many people believe that a budget is a just way to restrict your spending and “tighten the reigns.” While this can certainly be a helpful use of a budget in some situations, a budget should not be viewed as a way to squeeze all the fun out of life. I’ve found in my own life that having a budget has freed me to give more and spend more on fun stuff than I would otherwise.
Last summer, I wrote a guest post on the FMF Blog titled Freedom From Budgeting. I encourage you to read the article. It explores the freedoms that come from having a good budget in place.
Your budget should reflect reality, not your wishful thinking. It is unrealistic to think that you’ll never spend a penny on having fun. So, why not budget for this? I recommend creating a “Fun Money” envelope in your budget. My wife and I each have individual envelopes for this purpose. This is money that we can spend on whatever we want without needing to ask each other or feel guilty for busting the budget. I usually use mine for things like buying an occasional iPhone game or stopping at Brueggers Bagels for a coffee while running errands.
The point is that having such an envelope can really liberate you. If you tend to overspend on frivolous things, this envelope will reign you in and give you an allocated amount each month to spend. If you always feel guilty for spending on fun stuff, then this envelope will liberate you from constantly feeling like you’re busting the budget by buying a coffee.