Having a budget, in principle, means that you’ve set limits for how much money you’ll spend on certain things. Instead, we often treat as an optional goal. Because, really, you can’t stop yourself from spending money sometimes. Right?
Photo by Steven Depolo.
As personal finance blog Enemy of Debt points out, not really. Aside from recurring bills and necessary expenses, it’s not really necessary to spend money every single day, or even every week. Many of us will applaud ourselves for not eating out this week, when this could easily be the norm:
I’m not going to pretend for a minute that I can go through daily life without spending any money. There are bills to pay, and necessities to buy. But outside of just the basic cost of living, why do we expect to spend money? After the basic cost of living expenses are taken care of, I have a warm home, food in the cupboard, clothes in the closet and countless ways of entertaining myself.
Yet, I enter the weekend with the full expectation of spending money. In fact we go looking for ways to spend money. My wife and I actually have discussions regarding what we want to do. It’s almost like we brainstorm ways to spend our money, and we always succeed. Most of the time we find ourselves with more ways to spend our money than we have funds. We determine which activities would bring the most value to our lives. Which is all well and good, but do you know what has never happened?
We’ve NEVER come to the conclusion that NONE of the ideas for a given weekend were worth of our hard earned cash.
The option of simply not spending money often fails to occur to many of us. We may look at two different options for a night out — say going to a fancy restaurant, or simply getting Chinese food and watching a movie — but no matter what your choices are, there’s always the third option: Don’t spend money. Find something to do in your own home (or a friend’s!) that’s cost-free. Obviously this mindset doesn’t apply to bills, but when you consider it for your extraneous expenses, it can change how you view the real cost of your spending.