Nobody likes budgets. It’s a mundane task that you force yourself to do every month, and all you can think about is expenses. But what about your personal activities? Do you budget for going out and having a good time?
We work so hard for our money and have to take time out each month to have fun. Whether it’s going to the movies once a week, having a drink with friends on Friday night, or just picking up the latest Stephen King novel, we all need to have a little fun. So how do you budget for the good times and the bad times?
Start with a plan and a budget
Avant de pouvoir sortir et profiter de vos activités personnelles, vous devez calculer le montant que vous devez dépenser pour vous-même. Commencez par établir un budget sur une feuille de calcul ou utilisez l’une des nombreuses applications gratuites ou payantes disponibles sur votre téléphone.
Réalisez un budget zéro en donnant un nom à chaque dollar. C’est ce qu’on appelle un budget base zéro. Cela ne signifie pas que vous n’avez plus d’argent sur votre compte. Au contraire, cela signifie que vos revenus moins vos dépenses égalent zéro.
Une fois que toutes vos dépenses (y compris les dettes) sont affectées à leurs montants respectifs, ajoutez des catégories pour l’épargne, la retraite et les activités personnelles. Mettez de côté un montant pour votre budget plaisir, mais assurez-vous qu’il est compatible avec le reste de votre budget.
Track your progress
Now that you’ve set your budget, you can start spending on yourself for the month. But how do you stay within your budget and spend too much? Tracking your progress is imperative to making your budget work. You want to avoid spending too much on personal activities, which could take away from your joy.
You can track your personal activity budget using a budgeting app. Every time you go out and have fun, or buy yourself something personal, be sure to enter it into the app so you know how much you spent and how much you have left. Many apps will send you a notification when you get close to your budget limit. This will help you re-evaluate the rest of your personal activities for the month.
If you’re not tech-savvy or prefer a more traditional organization, use a spreadsheet to track your expenses.
If you have already set up your budget for the month, open an extra sheet and enter your daily expenses. You will need to save your receipts throughout the day and reconcile them at night. Don’t let too much time pass before you do it, as you may misplace a receipt or go over budget.
Remember that you will need to follow the following:
- What you spent your money on
- How much you spent on each item
- The notes you wish to add
Pen and paper
If you are a very traditional person who likes to keep a small journal with you wherever you go, consider using a pen and paper to track your personal activity expenses. Every time you buy a book or enter a restaurant, make a note of your purchases immediately.
At the beginning of each month, write down your personal activity budget on a new page, and as you spend it, subtract it from the allocated amount. You will see your balance every time you open your journal.
The envelope budgeting method
Envelope budgeting is one of the most popular methods for budgeters! If your personal activity budget for the month is $100, withdraw the cash from an ATM and put it in an envelope. Whenever you have a little fun, take the envelope with you and leave the rest of your money at home. This way, you won’t go over your budget and you can physically see how your money is shrinking after each purchase.
Plan personal activities in advance
For some special occasions, you’ll want to spend a lot on yourself, but you don’t have the funds to make those big purchases. Whether it’s a vacation, a music festival or a new pair of Nike’s, sometimes you need to save up to pay for it. Decide how much you need and exactly how much you will need to save each month to get it. Be sure to set a date by which the money must be saved.
Use the envelope method and set aside your savings, and don’t touch it until you need it for your event or expensive purchase. You can also open a separate savings account and automate your savings so that the money is immediately saved. Your money will earn compound interest while you save for fun!
Check your budget
Throughout the month, you can take stock of your financial goals. Your income, expenses and priorities can change at any time, so you should review your budget as often as necessary.
Just because you have a set amount of money for your personal activities doesn’t mean you have to spend it all. If you have a slower month and have some money left over at the end of the month, allocate it to the next month’s entertainment budget, or consider adding it to your savings. There is no rule that says you have to spend every last cent!
By setting savings and financial goals, you are clear about where your money is going. Spending quality time doing what you love most won’t make you feel guilty, because you’ve planned it.
Remember, budgeting gives you freedom when you are in control of your money. Let your money work for you, and celebrate the small wins by rewarding yourself.
Go ahead and throw that party. You deserve it.