Once upon a time, I believed in treating myself. But what I didn’t understand is why my treating myself was always accompanied by a small (or large) sense of guilt. I’m a reasonably good person, and I deserved to have a little fun in life or a few treats now and then, right? So why did doing so always make me feel so crummy?
The answer was obvious and yet surprised me at the same time. My fun wasn’t fun because I didn’t plan for it, didn’t budget or save for it, and therefore worried the whole time that I was doing something “wrong” in regards to our financial stability. Spending money was scary, because I really had no clear idea if we could afford it.
Enter the budget. Not my half-hearted attempts at remembering to pay my bills on time by making lists of my bills each month, but a real and true budget that broke my income and spending up into all the different things we spend money on. Not just bills, but groceries, gas, annual expenses, and other things I never really gave a lot of thought to. And in doing that, I realized that hey, I could actually budget for things that weren’t necessities, and then I would know that we could afford them. Not that everything in our budget should be non-essentials, but planning for fun as well as for need made fun become actually fun.
So no more do I feel guilty over our annual zoo membership, or if I decide that we need to do something fun as a family. I plan for it, I budget for it, and then when we have the money, we do it. Without that guilt or regret that accompanied my past blind spending. it isn’t much, but it is enough, and it is all the better because it fits within our means without significantly altering our financial goals. And we’re all a little saner in the process.