Budgeting And 'Winging It' Can Work Together, Here's How
You know how it goes, you sit down to create a budget and before you know it, you feel trapped in your spending plan. This can be demotivating or counterproductive over time.
But what if there was a way to have a bit more freedom with your money while staying on track? ‘Flexible budgeting’ provides a realistic approach to managing your finances but what does that look like?
It’s Not an “Either/ Or” Situation
Budgeting is a great way to start looking at your money so that you get a clearer picture of what’s important to you as you track your expenses. The idea isn’t to deny yourself treats but to spend your money on things you enjoy–sometimes you figure that out in impromptu situations.
Let’s say you have a budget for eating out for the month and then your friend invites you to a fancy dinner for their birthday. Simply revisit your budget, see what you can push forward to the next month or let go altogether so that you can enjoy the dinner as part of the things you value and are willing to spend money on.
Winging it can also be helpful when it comes to budgeting for less predictable expenses. For example, you might not know exactly how much you'll spend on fuel or electricity each month, especially with fluctuating rates on both, so you can budget a rough estimate and then adjust as needed. This allows you to plan for unclear expenses while still staying within your budget. And if you’re lucky enough to have money left over after handling all your bills, you can create a sinking fund that caters for lifestyle changes or helps out with shortfalls.
Another way to have a little more flexibility in your budgeting is to have a separate fund for unexpected expenses right from the start—remember the sinking fund?
For example, you budget Kshs. 25,000 for groceries each month, but you also have a separate fund of Kshs. 5,000 every month for the unexpected. This could be a last-minute party invite or a surprise sale or a deal that’s too good to ignore. This way you can plan for your regular expenses without dipping into your savings for other financial goals.
Remember, if you don’t use up this sinking fund, you can also build it up over time giving you even more room to play things by ear when the occasion arises.
Best of Both Worlds
Budgeting and winging it can go hand-in-hand by giving you some wiggle room in your spending. It really all comes down to having a plan (even for unplanned events) and sticking to it as best as you can without being too rigid. By having a budget but also allowing for some spontaneity, you can manage your money more realistically.
It's important to find a balance that works for you, your lifestyle and your goals. With the right approach, it’s possible to enjoy the best of both worlds.
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