Having Fun on a Budget | Personal Finance Views

Friday, October 28, 2016

Having Fun on a Budget

For some “fun”, is the essence of life. We turn away from hard work when fun waves us over to join in on whatever is going on. This, of course, is not a bad thing, but it can be problematic when fun leads us into debt. And while we've been having fun, our debtinevitably becomes burdensome. We want to get rid of it, which requires work. Work often isn't fun.

How Does Fun Turn into Debt?

Easy, we spend. We party, we shop, we travel, we acquire expensive items as part of a hobby. Most of all, we trade money for a sense of enjoyment, a buzz, a good time. And we repeat this again and again until we get a nasty wake-up call in the form of a credit card bill, a letter recalling our loan, or a negative onscreen balance at the ATM.


So, how do we stay committed to having fun – something we still want to do – while paying off our debt – something we have to do if we ever want to be free of financial worries again?

We create a Fun Budget

This is a portion of our income that is devoted to fun in whatever form we prefer. It’s a space we can run free without accumulating extra debt, or impacting negatively on the money we need to stay alive. Once we've done that, we think very hard about how we spend that money to get the maximum enjoyment without breaking the bank.

Change Habits…Maybe?

Sometimes it’s enjoyment to excess that causes spending to get out of control, rather than the activity itself. We might enjoy partying, but the most expensive cocktail bar in town doesn’t have to be the only way to party. What about buying a cocktail book, a shaker and having a cocktail party at home?

I Don’t Have the Money

So, you like a certain standard of fun that costs a certain amount of money each month. If your spending genuinely doesn't match your income, you have two choices: change the way you have fun; party at home; shop at thrift stores, or charity shops, travel more cheaply, etc. Or, raise the money without relying on borrowing. Participate in a paid clinical trial. Sell some unused belongings. Take a second job.

Do Free Stuff

Every city has something happening for free: festivals, exhibitions, for example. Libraries lend books for free, so you need not always buy, even from Amazon. You can also rent movies from your local library. Try renting something you wouldn't usually watch.

If you love to travel, take an early coach or train for the cheapest price. Bring your own food. Leave your credit card at home, so you can’t succumb to tasty offers.

Use vouchers. Many brands love to give away free stuff through vouchers. You’ll have to give up your email address, but in exchange you might get a buy-one-meal-get-one-free voucher for a new restaurant, or a cheap concert ticket.

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