Maintaining a budget is not a hobby that can be picked up at the spur of the moment. It takes dedication, time, and a willingness to distribute your money into various categories. For those who once spent without a care, a budget is equivalent to being smacked in the face by an arctic wave of water. Reality sets in and is followed by a possible term of depression as the budgeter realizes they no longer have the spending money they once had.
This is a potential problem for the newly-minted budget. The person populating income and expense categories may begin to have feelings of regret that they no longer can spend what they want. At first they may pull a few extra dollars from one category to add to their personal expenses, but as the weeks pass by, more and more money may disappear from needed categories for personal expenses. Soon enough, the budget falls apart as old habits return.
A circumstance like this shouldn’t take place. Similar to the other categories in a budget, personal spending money should be included. True, the budgeter isn’t a utility or credit card company, but they’re still an entity that needs to get paid. Consider a budget for a small business — once all the bills have been paid and money distributed to order product, the company’s proprietor pays themselves some sort of salary. The same thing has to be done for the home budgeter.
How is this accomplished? Here are a few things to consider in order to financially take care of yourself.
Plan ahead. Are there any expenses coming up that are absolutely needed? For example, a pre-planned weekend away or the premiere of a new movie or show? These types of events have dates connected to them, which means they’re aren’t a surprise. Budget these expenses across a period of time in order to have the necessary funds when the date arrives.
Treat yourself… Don’t put all the money received into other expense categories unless absolutely necessary. There should be funds left over for a meal out or the purchase of an item.
…but not too lavishly. Remember, the goal of a budget is to keep finances on track and, in many cases, help reduce debt. The reduction of this debt and the buildup of an emergency fund should be the main considerations. The purchase of expensive ‘wants’ should not be a consideration.
Have patience. Keep up a budget, reduce debt, build an emergency fund, and soon enough more money will be available to treat yourself better than you ever did before. All that’s needed is patience to make it work. There may even be times when you don’t pay yourself because a final debt payment is close at hand, which is more of a treat than any dinner out.