What do you think the first thought that enters most people’s mind is when they hear the word “budgeting?” Boring, useless, frustrating, and even aggravating are some possibilities. It’s unfortunate that the word “fun” isn’t likely to be one this list of related thoughts. And while I may not be able to convince you to work on your family budget during a date night (I certainly wouldn’t), I do think that we can make budgeting more enjoyable than most think possible. One way to do this is to budget for fun activities.
By making sure that we spend time budgeting for things or activities that we are looking forward to, it helps us to see one of the main purposes of budgeting: to have a plan for our money to accomplish things that we want to do (goals).
A couple, for example, can get excited about putting money aside for a romantic evening at the fancy restaurant downtown. I personally get excited about budgeting for family trips and getaways. When we’ve approached our budgeting with a very forward-facing view of our goals, the whole budgeting session has a different, much more pleasant flavor than it otherwise would have.
In an article called Making a Budget that Works, this principle of budgeting for fun is also mentioned. My wife and I, for example, have a separate “account” set up in our budget software that we allocate money to in order to save up for both small and large “fun” activities. We’ve used these funds for things ranging from date nights and swimsuits to camping trips and new snowboards.
These are things we enjoy, so we enjoy making plans to do them. It’s fun watching our balances in these “accounts” get closer and closer to paying for our next awesome activity. So try taking a more fun approach as you sit down with your budget next time and make sure you plan for the fun as well as the bills. I think you’ll notice a difference.
This article was featured on StretchyDollar.com in the Festival of Frugality Carnival.