When you prepared your budget did you account for only your basic necessities with all the remainder earmarked for saving? This kind of budget may be doable for a couple of months but probably not much longer.

Living on a budget does not have to be the rigid “straight-jacket” you may assume it to be. It is possible to become too frugal, which ultimately can undermine your budgeting efforts.

Related: Does your budget allow for overspending?

The secret of staying on a budget is the occasional splurge. There’s something about the word “splurge” that just feels indulgent. Why is it often laced with a tinge of guilt?

Lets face it. You love nice things. Don’t banish them from your life. An occasional guilt-free splurge can help you stay on budget if they don’t detract from your other goals. When you don’t feel deprived you can find it a lot easier to stick to the plan.

1. What do you like to splurge on?

Make a list of both big-ticket items and smaller indulgences. Find a way to work these splurges into your budget at a reasonable price.

  • A good haircut and colour instead of the beauty school and home colour kit.
  • Nice restaurant meal occasionally instead of the local pizza joint.
  • Bouquet of fresh flowers.
  • Gourmet coffee beans or cheese.

Small, more frequent splurges allow you to experience pleasure more often, but saving for fabulous bigger ticket items like a fun family vacation or day trip can make you more mindful of your spending.

2. Review your spending habits

The key to splurges is they should be purposeful and give you pleasure, rather than being a mindless habit.

  • You always buy the pricey salon shampoo. Is this a splurge or a habit? You can buy a good brand at the drug store for less money.
  • Do you actually read all those magazines you pick up at the check out?
  • Are you actually enjoying that morning latte, or are you in a rush to get to work because you don’t get up early enough?

No more impulse shopping for things you don’t really want.

Cut back where it doesn’t matter as much so you can buy the things that do.

3. Free up some cash

If your budget is a little tight you’ll need to look for ways to free up cash for splurging. How can you bring in a little extra spending money to fund your account?

  • Determine to spend $10 less at the grocery store and put that money into your account.
  • Use the cash from your coupon savings.
  • When you pay off a credit card put some of the former payment into your account.

Splurge for free by redeeming rewards points.

Final thoughts

Extreme budgeting is like extreme dieting – it has the potential to backfire.

Calculated splurging is not difficult, and planning and waiting really does make you more appreciative. Treat yourself occasionally without wrecking the rest of your finances.

RelatedI can’t afford it

What you splurge on is going to be as unique as you are. Take some time to figure out what really brings you those small, blissful surges of happiness.

Do you have a splurge fund in your budget?

What do you like to splurge on?

How do you choose what to save on or whether to splurge?


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