With all of our talk about the Tightwad Gazette and with many people doing what I am doing -- cutting back, how do you not let yourself feel deprived?
Deprivation for one person means something to another person. I have always felt that within a budget you must somehow find some "fun" or "entertainment" money. Everyone should be able to spend a little money on themselves. The problem is figuring out what that amount is. When we started our journey to live on one income, Netflix was our entertainment and that was our "fun" money. We have more wiggle room in our budget and I use my "fun" money to purchase whatever I feel like buying for me.
The amount that I set aside each month for me is $50. I can save it or spend it guilt free. We have worked into that amount as I didn't have that much extra per month when I lost my job 2 years ago. $50 a month is the perfect amount for me. It is plenty enough for me to buy some Kindle books or to buy a few dvd's or whatever I want. It is also a perfect amount for me to save or save half and spend half. $50 is my reward for sticking to a budget and by doing so actually having $50 to spend on myself.
The point is that when you have a little money to spend on whatever you want to spend it on, you tend to stay on budget. This is why I am totally against a strictly stringent budget only if necessary. Many people go gung ho and just cut back everything and live on an extremely strict budget. Then after a few days or week or maybe even two, they fall off the wagon and spend recklessly again. It's just like going on an extremely restrictive food diet over night. You will set yourself up for failure.
At one point years ago I had only $5 per pay period that I could spend on anything I wanted to or I could save it. When everything else in our finances was out of control, I at least could have control over what I did with that $5. It was mine to spend recklessly on myself if I wanted. Many times I would just put it in a tin on the counter in my kitchen and leave it there. But, it was there for me whenever I wanted to use it.
Do you feel (or have you ever felt) deprived financially and how do you deal with it?