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Budget Fun - The Lean Times

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Mar 24, 2011 Budgets , , , , 6 Comments

No, budget fun is not an oxymoron.  I am talking about budgeting for your fun.  Being on a budget can seem a bit dreary, especially if you have a deep hole to dig yourself out of, but if you make sure you keep yourself happy in small ways you will find being on a budget a whole lot easier. Even, the famous, Dave Ramsey puts a BLOW section into his budgeting software.

If we budget for the things that make us happy, it stops us running amok. We all have things or we can say, little weaknesses that bring a smile, for me, it is the new season’s lipstick or nail polish ( the easy way to look like you are in the know) and a dress once in a while.  I am not a fashionaholic by any means, even though I worked in the fashion industry for years. But every girl needs needs a style pick me up to brighten up their life. We are on a budget not dead for goodness sake.

I personally put in about £50 a month into my BLOW category, which I don’t use every month. In the months I have some money left over, I add it on to the next month and sometimes the next month if there is something super special I am craving.

My budget does have a meagre clothing category but that mostly covers replacing worn out items. I roll that over too if  I have not used it to save up for something better.

What are the things in your BLOW section? How much do you allocate to that section? Please drop me a comment and tell me your weaknesses.

 


Comments

  • Nick
    Mar 25, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Hi Viviana,

    Just stumbled across your blog for the first time, keep up the good work. I found your blog because too was looking for a UK equivalent of Dave Ramsey. I download his podcast everyday and it is a great source of inspiration to me. I believe the UK equivalent does not exist because us Brits hold our cards too close to our chest, have issues talking about money publicly and more importantly I don’t believe we like being told what to do, we take advice as long as it enables us to do what we wanted to do in the first place.

    I have a young family and we managed to pay off 30k consumer debt over 3 years by budgeting and sacrificing and it is the best thing we could have ever done. We are now thankfully debt free (yes we did do a debt free scream).

    To your article, we made the mistake of not having a blow money category in a our budget and you find that the overspending happens anyway because we all need a little something but it goes un-recorded and un-controlled. We now have a budget of £60 each (myself and my wife) and we can only use it if we get to the second half of the month without having to use it for an emergency. We also introduced a temporary household blow money category because for 3 years we have hardly bought anything and need to get some house basics in (silly things like a new bin)

    We are now building a 6 month emergency fund and looking forward to the future

    Will subscribe to your blog, it would be interesting to hear more about your experiences. Good to have finally met another Brit that follows Dave!

    Nick

  • Mo
    Mar 27, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Hey there, I could not agree more. I am not managing to stick to budgets so well at the moment, but essentially and in principle I am adhering to 10% of what I earn being blow money. I don’t have massive debts…oh, apart from the mortgage… so. Anyway. I got it from a book that was about earning more money as well as saving it. I can’t remember the title right now…. its very famous. And his theory is never spend more than 50% on essentials, the rest is 10% blow money, 10% to your financial freedom fund (never to be spent, only to be invested) 10% on your education and 10% give money and 10% on savings to spend (stuff you are saving up for I guess) and as I begin to earn more money this is what I am aiming for.

  • Viviana
    Mar 28, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Hi Nick,

    Thanks for commenting! It is great to find another UK based Dave Ramsey fan; I download the podcast daily as well. Congradulations on paying off such a big debt, what a fantastic accomplishment! I think it is interesting that you think Brits don’t like to take advice because they don’t like being told what to do. I am an American but have lived here for 17 years and I think Brits are used to carrying some sort of debt usually starting with an overdraft that they are automatically given when they open a bank account. It almost gives one license to go into the red without any guilt.

    I am honored to have you as a subscriber! Welcome and I look forward to reading more of your comments.

    All the best, Viviana

  • Viviana
    Mar 28, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Hi Mo,

    Thanks for commenting. I like the simplicity of your formula. In New York, the formula when you were renting an apartment is a month’s rent can not be more than a quarter of your salary which fits in with your formula. I have made the mistake when renting London not to follow that rule and found myself with a nice flat and not much of a life. Please comment again soon. All the best, Viviana

  • Johnny Debt
    Mar 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    No matter what your situation you certainly have to have a fun category!

    Even if you are desperately in debt, by setting a little something aside for fun, means that you will achieve your goal with less pain.

    I have found that people who have no “fun category” fall out of any budget plan far too easily.

  • Viviana
    Mar 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    I could not agree more! We all need a little fun in our lives.

    I was just over at your site, you give great, practical infomation. I am always thrilled to discover another UK based financial blogger.

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