Most of us tend to think of our budget in terms of how much we can afford. However, finance blog Consumerism Commentary suggests planning some of your monthly budget around what you do, rather than how much you can spend.
Photo by Yaletown Business
The idea is that if you give yourself a pool of money for a particular activity -- say, eating out -- you may be tempted to do it more often, at least until you use up that budget. If you limit how many times you go out, rather than how much you're likely to spend, you can keep yourself under budget, as well as encourage better habits:
Rather than budgeting $200 for dining out each month, for example, limit yourself to four restaurant meals outside of the home. It's easier to count the number of restaurant meals than to track the dollars you spend -- but you should be tracking your expenses and income anyway.
Of course the flip side to this is that it may be tempting to make the most of each visit by splurging each time you do go out. If you have a tendency to do that, then it might not hurt to have a figure in the back of your head as well.
Money Systems That Lead to Success: Make Your Budget Fantastic [Consumerism Commentary]