Do you have a “fun money” allocation in your budget?

In my experience, this is the secret to successful budgeting.

Fun money is an amount allocated every month to nothing – or anything – with no accounting for it. You can spend it on whatever your heart desires without guilt or explanation. You can save it for a few months and buy something ridiculously frivolous, donate it to charity, spend it on a fabulous meal that is a real treat or buy a gift for someone (or yourself) – anything!

Fun money is your blowout. It allows you to feel that life isn’t so constrained when you’re aiming for structure.

The thing is that it’s an intentional, planned blowout rather than the opposite – which can lead to all sorts of trouble.

Budgeting is all about mindful spending, whereas this allows you to have a little (managed) mindless spending. It’s like your diet cheat meal or your gym day off. It’s essential for balance and it’s great for long term success, especially if you’re saving for a home deposit or a new car or a much needed holiday, or something big.

But remember, there’s no accounting or explanation for fun money. So if you’re working a budget with your partner or teaching budgeting to your kids – don’t ask for fun money explanations. That will take the fun out of it.

What budgeting or balancing secrets do you have that support long term success?