It’s more fun to spend money on things we like, rather than on necessary expenses.

It can be difficult to have money left over each month to spend on fun things. And if we do have left over money, we can sometimes feel guilty about spending it on the fun stuff.

And then there’s those unexpected expenses – like a new roof or a trip to the ER. So, is there a way to pay for the necessities, but also have some cash to spend on the fun stuff – and not feel bad about it? Here are a couple ideas to get you thinking towards how a budget could be tailored to your specific situation and goals.

1. Pay necessary expenses first and then spend everything else on the fun stuff.

While this is an option, it might not be the best. Your necessary expenses do get paid, but it might have you creating a lifestyle you can’t really afford. And what happens when you have an emergency, but don’t have the funds to cover that emergency? And where does saving for retirement happen with this option?

2. Pay necessary expenses, save some for retirement, and then spend everything else on the fun stuff.

Well, this is better than the previous option. You’d be saving for retirement and paying necessary expenses. But it still doesn’t address emergency expenses. And that’s a big deal. You might not think it is. Until you have an emergency. And then you’re unprepared.

3. Pay all necessary expenses, save some for retirement, save some for an emergency fund, and then budget some for the fun stuff.

By budgeting some money for the fun stuff, you’ll be able to create an emergency fund. This will make it a less stressful time when unexpected expenses come up. If you had an unexpected medical expense, or you lost your job, your emergency fund could be used until you can get back on your feet. Once you get back on your feet, you can begin building up your emergency fund again.

Enjoying the fruits of your labor is important. However, it’s also just as important that you make the most of what you’ve earned while being responsible.

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