This may initially sound counter-intuitive (“Don’t most people spend too much on enjoyment?”) but you’d be surprised.
This month at the “I HATE Budgeting (But I Like Having Money)” support group we discussed setting money aside in your budget specifically for enjoyment.
Money management is not only a very worthwhile activity, it’s also a non-stop life activity, no matter how much or how little money you have.
Please don’t be fooled into thinking that – if you only had more money – you wouldn’t have to manage money so carefully. More money may make it easier to pay bills, but when you have more money, more decisions will come your way. Decisions require time and mental energy. Always. Just make peace with it.
I wanted to focus on enjoying your money because sometimes when you’re budgeting tightly you may not afford yourself regular “treats.” Then, when you’re having a “I work so hard I deserve it” or a “nobody cares about me” day, you are more likely to splurge and go off the rails with spending. Then you may experience regret (and credit card interest) and go right back to depriving yourself in order to repent (one participant called this financial lock down).
This is not a healthy financial cycle. What we want to strive for is a sustainable financial system that reflects our values and priorities.
One of your priorities is maintaining the financial engine that is you so that you can keep doing the work you must do in order to maintain your standard of living.
For women, get yourselves a copy of Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance. She suggests taking regular creative excursions (field trips) that may or may not cost money. The point is to set aside time to regenerate, to “put oil in your lamp” as my friend the life coach Nancy Rizzo likes to say.
Some people easily spend on others but have a hard time spending on themselves; they feel guilty, indulgent, selfish. These are the same people who may potentially harbor resentment when someone asks one too many favors of them. “I don’t have any more to give!” they lament.
All work and no play really does make Johnny a dull boy. As Auntie Mame says in the movie of the same name, “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”
Let’s not starve, okay?
Learn to say no to others sometimes
…and yes to yourself sometimes.
I heard a great interview with Rick Steves, the travel expert, on NPR. He was talking about when he first started offering tours, that the response was minimal. Then someone told him, “Americans don’t take that much time off. You have to schedule shorter tours.” He did, and was much more successful. But what the heck are we working so hard for if we cannot even take some time (and money) to get out of Dodge?
Please take the time and use some of your money to enjoy your life for your own financial, physical, and mental health and well-being. The road ahead may be challenging, you may need a cookie.