Living frugally doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun.
I know; it’s easy to get bogged down by trying to find ALL the ways to save money. It’s easy to feel like you will never be able to spend money again. It’s easy to feel like you will never reach your money goals, whatever they are.
It’s not easy to keep everything in perspective, and that’s why I think it’s important to budget in “fun money”.
Without having a small portion of your income allocated toward “fun”, your circumstances can look bleak indeed.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that for myself, I start to lose it. I’m not a psychologist, but looking back, I can see it pretty clearly. I’d walk to the checkout line with my cart full of the basic necessities, and only the basic necessities again, which is fine, but on top of the boring food and toilet paper in my cart, I’d denied myself every every fun opportunity that had come my way that week, and the last, and the one before that. Coffee with a friend, a church get together (it costs money just to drive ya know), all of the tiny, little, inexpensive things. Not in my budget.
So as I stood in the checkout line, I’d be completely wore out, and I’d think, I’m gonna buy a candy bar, and nobody can stop me.
So I did. And then I felt terrible about myself.
I don’t know how many dollars I wasted doing that sort of thing, but I wished I’d have wised up early on, and rather than denying myself everything, that I’d just made a plan for “fun money” so that I could do the things I truly wanted to, rather than blowing it on crummy candy bars I didn’t really want anyway.
Just having a budget for fun things, can change your mindset tremendously.
Even if it’s just ten dollars a month, it makes a difference.
It changes your perspective from “I can’t do anything” to “What can I do with $10?”
Can you see the difference? You just changed from thinking in a negative, to thinking in a positive!
Will you miss that ten dollars in other areas of your budget? Well, ten dollars a week does add up to one hundred-twenty dollars a year.
How Can Designated “Fun Money budget” Save You Money?
Think about it like this; if you know there’s money set aside for fun stuff, you’re much more likely to…
- Stick to the $20 grocery list
- Be willing to do inconvenient things like cloth diaper or line dry your clothes
- Say “no” to petty spending – like check out line candy bars
- not go crazy with the need for “retail therapy”
All in order to make that fun money budget happen!
I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to not buy candy bars in the checkout lane in order to create a “fun money” category!
Frugal Living and Having Fun
So what can you do with Ten dollars a month? Here are somethings I can think of. Most of these will take less than the allotted ten dollars for a family of four.
- Half Priced Shakes at Sonic. Every night after 8:00 P.M. 🙂
- A root beer float party (Sorry, I’m having an ice cream thing right now.)
- Have a water balloon fight party
- Catch a movie at the drive in theater. The one in our area has a $10/car load night every Monday.
- You can find a lot more inexpensive family fun ideas here.
The point is, I’m not sure it’s humanly possible to stick to the strictest of strict budgets without pencilling in some fun money.
Even if I can live on a “bare bones” budget for an extended time, do I want to? I have ambitious financial goals, and I’m sure you do too, but personally, I’ve come to the conclusion that stashing away that $120 per year – or even more if that’s what you choose – toward a lofty investment goal can do more harm than good if you do it at the expense of the people around you – or even just yourself.
Better to have fun and make memories together as a family, while reaching those goals slowly.