It’s a no-brainer: life is better when you’re not worried about money. Nobody wants to stress about bills or debt, which is why so many people begin budgeting. With increasing cost of living abound, the time is ripe to build better money habits!
But how do you stick with budgeting for the long haul? One way is to find non-monetary rewards that keep you motivated.
It’s easy to miss the quality-of-life perks that come with cleaning up your finances if you’re focused exclusively on where to cut back or how much your savings account has grown. Take, for example, fun and leisure. Some people think money management means compromising your social life. The reality is, you can work toward your savings goals and have a thriving social life—at the same time.
Here are just three of the ways building better money habits can supercharge your social life.
Money Tip #1: Say “Yes” to Creating Awesome Memories
Building better money habits might sound boring…but taking the reins on your personal financial goals doesn’t have to mean your life is boring. On the contrary! When you sit down to brainstorm your budget categories for the first time, don’t forget to account for the large, infrequent FUN stuff, too (not just your car insurance premium or student loans).
Is your favorite band’s tour stopping in your city this year? Do your friends plan an annual ski trip? Is Christmas, like, a really big deal at your house? Then start saving! When you focus your newfound financial habits on creating memories, you’re prioritizing spending in a way that makes your life feel full and happy. I mean, what feels better: saying “yes” to take-out after work or saying “yes” to special plans with your favorite people?
The best part about focusing on creating awesome memories is you’ll feel less of a need to buy “stuff.” Instead of caving to that impulse buying, you’ll be having experiences you’ll remember forever…while still protecting your financial future.
Money Tip #2: Keep the “Fun” in Funds
And, while you’re planning for the big picture, don’t forget to have a little fun along the way. Set up budget categories for the little things (eating out, movies, etc.) or give yourself an allowance to spend at will, a.k.a., fun money.
Even if your budget is super tight, budgeting even just a little bit of fun money can go a long way. Your financial situation might just call for getting more creative with your social life. For example, if you give yourself $20 of fun money each month, you could blow all of it on a single meal out. Or, you could grab four $5 coffees (which is one coffee date every weekend!).
There are tons of social activities you can do that don’t involve breaking the bank. Search MeetUps in your area, and you’ll be surprised how much budget-friendly fun you can have, from hikes to game nights to going dancing. With financial control, just watch your net worth and social life skyrocket…at the same time.
Money Tip #3: Set Yourself Up to Enjoy the Moment
Say you receive a tax return, birthday money, a bonus check, or even save a few bucks on a utility bill. That extra money is personal finance power in your hands! You can squander the extra dollars on something meaningless that you’ll forget by next month (hello, air fryer), or you can turn them into the most valuable thing of all: financial freedom.
When you find yourself with extra dollars to spare, try looking ahead to set your future self up for success. Pad your Christmas savings, put the cash toward that pesky credit card debt, stash it for your dream of homeownership, or tuck it away for plane tickets for your next vacation.
The important thing is, creating good money habits means knowing exactly where your dollars are going to go before you start spending them. YNAB, the personal financial tool that’s helped hundreds of thousands of people gain total control of their money, calls this trick “giving every dollar a job.” When irregular and/or surprise income drops into your bank account, you tell it where it’s headed. Being in the driver’s seat of your spending habits when money comes in helps you avoid financial stress in the future. Plus, financial health means you’ll finally be able to ditch that in one hand, out the other feeling.When you’re equipped with financial know how—totally in control of your cash—it’s amazingly freeing. With better money habits, your confidence goes up. Your long-term goals become achievable dreams instead of just dreams. Stress levels plummet when you’re not living paycheck to paycheck. Best of all, when it’s time to relax, you actually can!
Your Next Step: Ditch Those Bad Money Habits for Good
Budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. So what do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress?