Did you ever watch that episode of SpongeBob where he sings the ‘FUN’ song to Plankton? Each letter stands for something. From what I recall, one verse goes something like, “F is for friends who do stuff together/U is for you and me/N is for anywhere and anytime at all/down here in the deep blue sea!”
SpongeBob knew that fun is really important, and I agree. Fun, like health and good friends, makes your life better. Another thing that makes your life better is saving. And while spending money on fun can be a worthwhile expense, it should never eclipse your savings rate.
Spending All Your Money Doesn’t Lead to Fun
When I first graduated college and moved away from home, fun became a huge priority for me.
I moved halfway across the country to a brand new city with my best friend. I was really caught up in the excitement of my new life. Plus, I’d just spent the last four years studying and the last year of college working three jobs in addition to classes.
I was ready to begin anew and to celebrate my freedom. I went out to bars and restaurants, I bought new clothes (from Target, but still), and I traveled around my new home state. I said yes to everything!
Only that celebration turned out to be more of a problem than a celebration. I was waiting tables and working a paid internship, but that amounted to about $22,000 a year. Not big bucks. And every dollar I spent out at a bar, or on a new color of nail polish, was a dollar I had to earn back somehow.
It was a very tit-for-tat lifestyle. I ended up finding that spending my fun money was becoming stressful because I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for it. Not so fun!
Saving Does Lead to Fun!
I learned pretty quickly that saving money actually leads to more fun! I know that sounds counterintuitive, but it’s not!
Which do you think will feel better: putting a concert ticket on your credit card, which will max it out? Or putting it on your card, knowing you’ll be able to pay it off this month?
Making financial decisions you know you have the money for feels way better than letting your finances spiral out of control.
Enter savings! If you save at the same rate or (preferably) more than you spend, you know that you’re never going to end up in the red. Plus it’s a sad truth that when it rains, it pours.
The day or week you max out your credit card is the day or week you need a new car part, have to buy a meal out, or have to visit the doctor. Everything happens to your bank account at once!
Without savings, things can get scary and stressful really quickly. With savings, you know there’s some sort of cushion. That gives you a little breathing room, and can prevent you from incurring debt.
So, when you have some savings in your corner, it makes spending on fun even more fun. You’re not worried about overdrawing your account or being able to afford a credit card payment. It allows you to enjoy your fun even more. So what are some easy ways to save your money?
Easy Ways to Save Money
First, take a look at where your money is going. Understanding what you’re spending money on is really important.
Are you buying lunch everyday? Are you addicted to the coffee shop around the corner? Do you buy movie posters like it’s your job? Just knowing where your money goes is hugely helpful.
Then decide to cut back your spending somehow. For example, you could try and go a month with no meals out and stash $25 bucks a week in a savings account.
It’s a good idea to start small if you’re a total beginner. Set a goal to save $50 the first month, and then see if you can double that the next month! Starting small means less pressure and more flexibility. It’s also a promise to yourself, and one that you’ll want to keep. The better you become at saving, the more you can increase your amounts.
Another great idea is to set a goal and hustle until you meet it.
Let’s say right now you’re spending everything you bring in each month. Set a goal of saving $200. Now, how will you earn that? You can cut back in lots of areas: food, gas, lights, entertainment, and heating are a few that come to mind. But you can also increase your earnings.
Ask a co-worker if they need a babysitter or sell something on Craigslist. Clean out your closet and bookcases and you’ll be amazed at how the dollars can add up.
Don’t get me wrong, you won’t make millions off of your old books, but you can make a solid $20 to get the ball rolling on your savings.
Every little bit counts with savings. And since interest is free money, by saving money you’re actually earning money! Do yourself a favor and start setting up a savings account today. It’s an easy way to enjoy your every day more!
Need a little help getting a head start on saving? When you sign up for an account with Wherewithal, you save by earning cash back when you shop! What’s easier than that?
How do you make saving easy? Have you found that spending money sometimes leads to regret more than fun?