Life shouldn’t just be about hard work, saving money, and being a responsible consumer. Everyone deserves a little bit of fun now and then. Too often, however, typically financially savvy men and women seem to go blind when big fun purchases come into the picture. ‘What’s another percent in the end?” “$1000 over budget isn’t THAT bad” and “We’re going on vacation, who cares?” are common thoughts that can seem to have sound reasoning at the time, but wind up being regrettable perspectives.
Having a good time, spending a lot of money, and being financially responsible don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Refuse to let your otherwise well-grounded financial sense go out the window while also utilizing the following practices:
Buying a new TV or motorized vehicle, going on vacation, or any other fun and mostly frivolous expense needs to not pose a risk to long-term financial sustainability. Run the numbers forward and backward, projecting months or years into the future depending on the details. This helps to make sure your day-to-day quality of life isn’t going to take a dive thanks to something temporary or unnecessary. Furthermore, move the variables around: maybe work hours will be cut unexpectedly in six months – would you still be able to make the credit card payments of a vacation from half a year ago?
Calculate true cost
Salespeople will tell you anything you want to hear, and so will the travel agent. It’s up to the consumer at the end of the day to conduct due diligence to make sure the bottom line price of a thrilling purchase will be what you expect. For example, families considering financing watercraft for weekend excursions to the lake can use a boat payment calculator to help assess the advantages of taking out a loan.
Conduct online research to see whether a timeshare program is all it’s cracked up to be or a scam in the long run.
Avoid the savings account
No amount of recreational enjoyment is worth draining the family emergency fund. Never under any circumstances talk yourself into using savings to pay for a vacation or fancy vehicle. Even if you feel confident you’ll replenish the fund in a few months, there’s no telling what the future will bring. In essence, this is the point of the savings in the first place.
Pick up temporary part-time work to pay for it
The world is full of part-time work opportunities. Many jobs, such as being a driver for Lyft or Uber, allow the individual to start and stop on their own time. In this sense, they are perfect for folks needing to save up money for fun. Rather than drain savings or rack up credit card debt to afford a vacation or new TV simply sign-on for a temporary part-time job. That way, you earn the fun before you get to enjoy it rather than compounding financial stress for later.
Everyone should feel free to spend money on fun things in life now and then. However, fun is not an excuse to turn off your financial common sense. Maintain responsibility over your money at all times and apply various tactics and strategies for ensuring a fair-priced purchase or family vacation.