I’m constantly at odds with my wallet. I love going out with friends and discovering fun places to visit in the city: flea markets, restaurants, museums. But I also find a distinct pleasure in looking at my bank account at the end of the week and seeing that I’ve spent less than $50 on stuff. In the summer, it is all too easy to go outside and frolic in the sun… to go to a rooftop bar for happy hour and while away hours over margaritas and cheese fries.
Winter is a different story: the cold makes me rush home after work to curl up on the couch for an evening of Netflix and whatever Trader Joe’s meal I’ve slapped together for my husband and I. So when I go out and spend $60+ on an unplanned day of tomfoolery, I usually end up pontificating on the day’s purchases, kicking myself for spending money on things I could’ve saved on… “Why did I get a third vodka tonic? I shouldn’tve ordered the soft pretzel sticks; I knew we were going to get ramen later.” Etcetera, etcetera.
I know that this internal dialogue doesn’t solve anything; it’s really just a thing I do when I spend money that I didn’t expect to spend. I kinda wish I could turn that voice off; after all, the memories I make during these outings are priceless, and it’s not as if I’m jeopardizing my monthly student loan payment, or any other necessary expenses. It’s just that, a part of my brain sees these fun, random expenditures as a completely unnecessary money suck, a threat to my personal goal of saving beaucoup bucks for larger future plans.
There is a solution to this, but I’ve pushed it to the side because it requires planning: I need to start a “fun fund” that I dedicate to social outings; a budgeted amount that I set aside each paycheck so that I don’t feel guilty about spending. It needs to be cash. That way, I’m not handing my card over throughout the day an unlimited number of times. It’ll be a challenge, but it’s a challenge I’m willing to take on to instill good spending habits.