“Wow! That is also the toughest thing I’ve ever heard. I mean $25/month is not enough for me to go out eat somewhere or do anything fun.”
This was a reply I received on Facebook where someone asked the question, “What have you sacrificed to accomplish debt freedom?”
I posted to say that one of our sacrifices on our journey to paying off over $150,000 of debt was to give ourselves only $25/month each for “fun” money. This would include things like going out to eat, buying things we didn’t need, etc.
Quick Marriage Money Tip (part of the reason we NEVER fight about money)
I strongly believe that the model of assigning dedicated spending allowances for each spouse allows for each person to have control over something (that really doesn’t matter to begin with) that the other person can’t say shit about.
If she wants to buy $50 of yarn, it’s none of my business. Likewise, if I want to buy the latest PS4 game for hours of mindless entertainment, NONE YA! This is almost like an extension of personal space and has contributed greatly to our ability to get along about money matters. If you are mature enough in your relationship to understand the value of personal space, then you will probably see the value of this little budget tip. If you are interested in learning more about setting boundaries, I’d highly recommend you check out this book, Boundaries.
Click here to pick up a copy of Boundaries for yourself. I do receive a commission for this. Thanks, and I hope you learn as much as I did!
It sounds crazy, and it certainly wasn’t easy! I do remember some days I would think to myself, “I don’t have to do this. I make just as much (or more) money as these people (who are mocking me). I can afford what they can afford.”
In hindsight, sticking to my strict routine and budget was easily one of the best decisions I have ever made.
So…How much should you budget?
I know it’s difficult (trust me, I’ve been there), but I really do think that you can go as low as $25-50 per month, depending on the cost of living in your area. Try to think of it as a way to get out of your comfort zone and enjoy life more.
Something we have discovered over time is that there is a correlation between how long an activity takes and how much that activity costs.
Typically, the more time something takes, the cheaper it will be…for example, going to the park and reading, playing frisbee, or going for a walk would be cheaper; while going to dinner or to see a movie would be more expensive.
So if you feel like the Facebook poster above, then maybe consider brainstorming activities which take a bit more time (and get you out of the house).
What did my spending look like post-debt freedom?
Well, my spending budget has fluctuated, and it largely depended on how stressed out I was with my job. Typically, the more stressed I felt, the more money I felt like spending on toys. From a numbers perspective, my spending budget has ranged from $125 to $300 per month at some points.
More recently, I have taken it back down to $50 per month because we are actually saving about 50% of our take-home pay so that we can start investing into real estate. Here’s the actual breakdown of our current discretionary spending:
Total “Fun” Money: $120
My Spending: $50
Her Spending: $50
What about you?
How much are you budgeting to spend each month for “wants”? Do you have a difficult time, and what are you learning about yourself and your lifestyle as you progress along the path to debt freedom?