Like it or not, we have to have money.
We need it for housing, electricity, transportation, and food. All the necessities in life.
But we also need it for some enjoyable extras.
And it’s not a bad thing to want nice things in life. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a few extras.
Now some extras will cost more than others and you may find that you grow out of some of them as time passes.
Budgeting for extras is super important and allowable.
In fact, these things to budget for are just as important as budgeting for your income and expenses.
I want to encourage you to budget for extras. Life is more than just working and paying bills.
If you try to ignore your need for extras, you’re almost destined to fail.
It’s kinda like the diet that tells you, you can never eat ice-cream again. Yep…that one… we all know it is sure to fail.
We have to be realistic. And part of being realistic is planning for extras.
For a long time, I thought I wouldn’t need anything extra. I just wanted to invest and save.
But I was wrong and now I find that I am slipping back into overdrive with consumerism and I have been going over budget more than I have planned for the last three months.
So now I’m focusing on what I need versus want and prioritizing when working on these things to budget for.
Don’t be left wondering where did my money go at the end of the month?!?
Figure out what you need and what you want in life, then make a budget that includes all of those categories.
Now your situation may be different from mine. It may be similar. It doesn’t matter.
Whatever it is, just start thinking about the extras that you need with this quick read on things to budget for.
I have to have a book allowance.
First up…one of my things to budget for has to include my book allowance. I give myself to indulge in new hardcover books every month.
I budget $30 each month for books.
Yes. I do use the money…and read them.
I love reading and I think reading is one of the best things you can do to improve your financial outlook and literacy. I try to read for at least 20 minutes a day, up to an hour if I can spare it.
While I could reduce my book budget to $15 which would allow me to buy 1 book (2 if they’re on sale), I would only be hurting myself in the long run.
And we have to remember to take care of ourselves on the journey to financial freedom.
There are some things that we need to do for us and that’s ok.
I have to budget for vacations
After a year of COVID-19, I think we could all use a little vacation. Everyone could use a vacation fund.
I like to keep my vacation money separate from my normal checking account and my emergency fund.
I have a high interest savings account just for sinking funds which include vacations. That way when I want to go on vacation, I don’t have to worry about where the money is going to come from and I truthfully don’t miss it.
Sinking funds help money grow but grow in an account that you don’t look at very often.
Check out this article from Clever Girl Finance on sinking funds to help you get started. Says you will need more than a “run of the mill savings account. You’ll need sinking funds”
I’m not quite there yet, but my plan is to reach an income level where I can take a weekend getaway every other month and two week long vacations every year.
For now, I am growing my sinking fund and taking shorter vacations less frequently.
Gym membership are a necessity to me
I love working out. As someone who is on the short side and curvy, I have to work out to prevent gaining weight in all the wrong places.
But not only that, working out makes me feel better. I really enjoy it. It improves my quality of life.
I have to include a gym membership in my budget every month. I don’t want to work out at home.
While there are many people who could cut this one out and workout at home, home workouts just aren’t for me.
If you’re someone who has to workout in a gym too, make sure you add it to the budget (your body will thank you too).
Perhaps if you are cutting money, you could look for a cheaper gym. As for me this one is a splurge. I like a gym that is big, lots of classes, and has amazing equipment. I am a little high maintenance when it comes to my gym.
A nice gym motivates me to work out just by being in it.
Yep, I want to eat out
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t include eating out in my budget.
I love happy hour. It’s the perfect time for me to relax and talk to my girlfriends.
Since I am an introvert, happy hour allows me to go out, but still return home at a decent time to recharge. And it was one amazing happy hour where I was turned on to investing and I haven’t looked back.
So in a way, happy hour is investing in me.
Happy hour is perfect for us introverts. It lasts just 2-3 hours and the prices are usually significantly lower than the dinner menu.
While many people would say entertainment is a luxury, it’s a necessity for me. I have gotten to where I only plan some form of entertainment certain times of the year, but I always keep it on my budget.
It’s ok to have something on your budget with a $0 budget for the month.
Entertainment costs include going to the movies, national parks, tickets to the theatre, certain museums, clubs, and more.
This budget extra is whatever you like to do for entertainment.
For us bloggers it could be to go to a conference or take an online course.
Your entertainment options are endless.
Hobbies (Spanish lessons) are important
Now this one may be unique to me. But I like to mention it. There may be someone out there who wants to learn another language and doesn’t know where to start.
Or perhaps you have another passion/hobby that you want to make sure you include in your budget.
I like to include my Spanish lessons in this category. I try to take a 30 minute lesson 2 or 3 times a week on Italki. I love Italki. Learning a language stimulates parts of my brain that are otherwise dormant. I feel like I’m a little smarter with each lesson and I can communicate with people around the world. For those who are curious…I’m learning Spanish. He aprendido español por 3 años (I have learned Spanish for 3 years).
Get $10 for a lesson with my referral link.
Big ticket items will eventually become a necessity
Big ticket items…I like nice TVs, cars, and new furniture every once in a while.
I may be someone who doesn’t buy these things often, but when I do, I like to buy quality items that tend to be a little pricier.
But with this my stuff tends to last a long time and I make some money when I sell it through sites like OfferUp.
Truth be told, I don’t like paying for big ticket items. But I have to keep them on my budget because one day I will need to buy something big.
Since I don’t wait until my cushions look like pancakes before I buy a new couch, I can’t really consider it an emergency. I keep my money for big ticket items in a sinking fund, high interest savings account. That way I can buy what I need when I think I need it without worrying about where I’m going to get the money from.
Investments (Bonus, non-extra…must have budget category)
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t say you have to have a budget category for investments when thinking of the things to budget for. Although this shouldn’t be an extra category, it will be extra for many of you.
For me, investing is one of the things I have to budget for.
I like to break up my investment category by how much I’m sending to each type of account that I have.
For example, I have a line item for Acorns (my change), TD Ameritrade (my individual brokerage account), and Charles Schwab (my Roth IRA). I don’t include the money I send from my paycheck to my retirement investments because I use my take home pay as my income.
You have to remember to pay yourself first. Make it automatic. My money transfers to Acorns are automatic and I transfer money to TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab manually on the first of every month.
Conclusion: Things to budget for
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Your budget only needs to include your income, fixed expenses, variable expenses, savings/investing, and debt.
That category variable expenses is where you can really cut expenses to start saving/investing more. But deciding which things to cut is a very personal decision.
Since I am a salaried employee, I tend to carry most of my numbers over from one month to the next, but there are times when I can allot more or less to a specific category/extra category.
I do max out my Roth IRA before sending money to my individual brokerage account. And I do send money to these accounts at the end of the month if I have any categories where I went under budget for the month.
If you find that you do not have enough income to really be able to live the life you want to, take some time to learn about ways to make some extra money.
If you want to dream bigger and start a legit business, a side hustle…check out this these easy passive income ideas.
Talk to me in the comments. Are you budgeting for any of these extra things to budget for?
Theresa is a personal finance blogger. She writes content for busy professional women to take control of their money and investments. She enjoys reading, traveling, cooking, and writing. Her work has been featured on GoBanking Rates, Your Money Geek, Savoteur, the Corporate Quitter, Thirty Eight Investing, and more.