How to Budget for Fun Money

By Mel Sim

It’s OK to give yourself a treat once in a while….

Ahhh, budgets. You either love them or you hate them. You know how useful it is to have one yet you loathe making one up and find it even harder to keep to it.

We get it – budgets kinda restrict you from doing what you really want to do (like buy that expensive bag because you are supposed to be saving for a rainy day instead!). But that’s why it’s called a budget! You need to budget your monthly income so you don’t blow them all on just one thing only to find out you have no rent money!

Still, all work and no play will make you a dull person, right? Which is why we are here to tell you it’s OK to budget for fun! You know, the stuff you really want to do after a long day’s work: Eat at the new restaurant, go shopping, watch movies, gym memberships, hobbies – all the fun stuff!

Yes, a big chunk of your money should go to savings and rent and your commitments but it doesn’t mean that you can save up for fun days. What’s the magic number then for the fun stuff? Experts say it 10 to 15% of your take-home salary. So if you take home RM2,500, you can spend up to RM375 on the things you like to do.

It doesn’t sound like enough but here’s where you need to get creative. From that RM375, you then need to allocate how much you want to use it for eating, what goes to the gym and what you want to use for shopping. “But that’s not going to leave me with much!” You’re right… but you’re not exactly buying a new bag each month now are you? So what you do is this: Say you’re eyeing a new gadget or a new accessory. And you want to buy it in six months. Take the cost of what you want to buy, divide it by six and start putting aside that amount each month until you make it to Month 6!

If it is going to take you longer than six months to achieve your goal, then you will need to make some sacrifices on your fun. Maybe eat out less so you can save more for whatever you have your eye on. Or if you went crazy book shopping for the month, scale back on your fun budget next month?

That’s the thing about your fun budget – you can use it for whatever fun you want to have for the month so long as you don’t exceed 15% of your income. Want to go on a weekend road trip? Forgo shopping for the month. You’ve already set aside your salary for the adult stuff so why not use the rest to give yourself a treat.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

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