It’s normal to ask ‘what can you do on a budget for fun?’. You may also be asking, ‘how can I have fun with friends on a budget?’. This is the reason why I have put this together to give you ideas on how to enjoy yourself when you’re on a budget.
Fun is an essential aspect of life. It helps you relax and also conditions your body and mind to be able to function effectively. Some of these things you can do for free at home. You can decide to have fun just by yourself or you can do fun things on a budget with a group of friends. Either way, it helps you relieve stress.
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Creating a personal budget
First off, lets get to understand how to create a budget. Budgeting is very important in order to maintain a healthy financial status. Budgeting helps to guide your expenses and also regulates impulse buying and waste. Here are few steps on how to create a budget.
- Calculate your net income – You need to be able to ascertain how much your net income is. This is by deducting your taxes and employer provided programs (e.g. health insurance, retirement plan) from your total salary/wage. What ever you arrive at is you net income. This gives you a clearer picture on the available funds you have to spend within a month or the period of waiting before the next pay.
- Track your expenses – Make a list of your expenses and determine how much you are to spend on each item. Your expenses are generally divided into fixed and variable expenses. Fixed expenses are expenses that cannot be changed and are expected to cost the same over a period of time. They are regular monthly bills which include rent, mortgage, utilities (light, water) and car payments. Variable expenses on the other hand are flexible and can change from one month to another. They include gas, entertainment and groceries. It is from the variable expenses that you can actually cut down on expenditure. Buy or spend on only what is needed. To easily track your expenses, record your daily expenses on your smartphone, notebook or a piece of paper. It will help you.
- Set realistic goals as your reasons for budgeting – You must have a target for budgeting. It can be for a vacation, to pay for school fees, for retirement, starting a business or a company or any other thing. Set goals that are realistic and attainable. Your goals can be short term or long term. Decide the category of your goals and it will help to guide you on how to plan your budget.
- Make a plan – This will help you put things in perspective. Write down a plan on how you want to spend money. Write down clearly what you want to spend money on and how much you are willing to spend on it. Classify your needs and your wants and decide which of the wants you are willing to forgo. You can divide your budget into needs, wants & savings. Your needs and take 50% of your income, your wants can take 30% and your savings can take 20%. This is the 50/30/20 rule which is a budgeting technique to help track your expenses. You can choose to adjust the percentages according to your preference.
- Adjust your spending to stick to your budget – You must strictly adhere to your budget if you want your financial expectations to be met. Do all it takes to stick to your budget and avoid the temptation to ignore it.
- Review your budget regularly – Always do a review to be sure you are doing the right thing. You can also review your budget when you get a raise or an increase in your income.
How to have fun and enjoy yourself on a budget.
- Hiking – Hiking is an interesting activity and you can decide to go with a group of friends. All you need to purchase drinks, water and some snacks. It’s truly a cheap way to have fun. You can google nice hiking sites within your city.
- Organise and go for a picnic with friends – Meet up with a couple of friends and decide on a date to have a picnic in a park or in an open space that you can use for free. You all can contribute some money to buy refreshments or prepare snacks and food for the picnic. Putting in funds together will help to ease the burden and will ensure you do not exceed your budget.
- Play card, board or video games – You can rent them if you do not have them already, call a group of friends and have a nice evening or weekend playing games.
- Visit a zoo or a museum in your city – These locations sometimes have discount days. Target those days and go have some fun viewing artefacts or animals.
- Netflix and chill – Schedule a movie night with your friends. Netflix has numerous genres to pick a fun movie from. All you need are popcorn, some snacks and drinks.
- Bowling – Bowling is a fun activity that you can engage in either alone or in the company of friends.
Guidelines for when you want to enjoy yourself .
- Always remember your budget, have it at the back of your mind.
- Remember your goals that made you decide to cut down on spending, remember budgeting is for a good cause.
- Let your friends know the extent you are willing to spend. Be honest with them.
- Split bills with your friends, it will help to ease the financial burden.
- Always look out for less expensive but satisfying things to spend money on.
- Don’t be afraid to say NO to anyone, including your friends that want you to spend above your budget. No doesn’t hurt anyone, it only helps you.
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Now you have some ideas on how to enjoy yourself on a budget, go ahead to make your plans.
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