There are a ton of ways to get your budget under control, but it can be tough figuring out the best solution for your individual finances — money is particularly personal, after all. From keeping track of your spending in a spreadsheet to finding ways to eat healthier for less, it seems like we’re constantly fine-tuning our spending and saving strategies, trying out new tricks along the way. And while some of this financial advice often feels like a punishment, this latest budget tip we came across actually encourages you to spend money! On stuff that makes you happy! Sound too good to be true? We’ll let Lacey Langford, an Accredited Financial Counselor with over 10 years of experience in financial counseling and coaching, explain.
buy what you want, what you really really want
Basically, Langford says that cutting the little luxuries — Netflix subscriptions, happy hours, morning lattes — out of your budget may save you some money in the short-term, but it almost always backfires and ends up costing you more down the line. Not many people can live that way forever, denying themselves the things that bring them pleasure. Life is stressful, and sometimes it’s your monthly massage that makes you feel the most centered.
She says that “if you’re the type of person that enjoys the finer things in life, not spending money on those items is only going to last for so long. Restricting yourself can cause you to overspend later, because you feel you have ‘earned’ it. Instead, it’s a better plan to know yourself, your budget, what you want and can afford in terms of luxuries.” It’s like any food diet — you’ll lose a few pounds your first week of a grapefruit-and-celery diet, but eventually, you’re going to gorge yourself on donuts and beer and end up feeling worse than you did before you started.
how to tell the difference between worthwhile vs. frivolous luxuries
Of course, this doesn’t mean Langford is advocating for blowing all your extra dough at the gelato spot in your neighborhood every night. To truly determine if a frequent purchase is a worthwhile luxury or something you can truly do without, Langford recommends tracking your spending. Think about which purchases bring you some sense of happiness or peace, and which ones you’ve forgotten about or never used.
Maybe your weekly Target trip always ends up with you spending 50 extra dollars on workout gear you never wear, but your Tuesday happy hours with your coworkers leave you feeling energized to finish the rest of the week in a good mood. Additionally, Langford says you need to be willing to sacrifice for the things you want. “For example, you may want Starbucks every morning, and that’s perfectly fine, but you need to be willing to cut somewhere else, like using coupons when you go grocery shopping.”
It’s a realistic, thoughtful approach to spending and saving, and we are totally here for it.
What’s one small luxury you could never cut from your budget? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know what you can’t live without!