It’s the perpetual financial dilemma: can I still build financial confidence while enjoying a daily latte… or any other personal indulgence for that matter? We’ve got good news. Yes, you can. With the right planning and an appetite for digging deeper into what matters to you, you can align your finances in a way that allows you to enjoy life’s little luxuries, while still motoring closer to your goals. Here’s how:
While the idea that it’s your daily latte that’s standing between you and financial confidence is problematic, what it does highlight is that you simply can’t have everything you want right now, and everything you want in the future. For most of us, there has to be a certain degree of boundary around what we can actually reasonably spend on, but that’s not to say we can’t enjoy ourselves while being smart with our money.
The easiest way to do this is to pull up your bank statement or recent transactions and rank each one by the amount of joy it brought you – excluding your essentials, of course. Then, focus on culling the low joy spends, to free up money for the high joy spends. That could be your daily latte or a monthly facial or a fitness membership you really enjoy
Once you’ve got your handful of top indulgences that bring you joy, you’re going to weave them into your budget by treating them as line items just like bills. So, where you’d usually funnel money from each pay into paying your bills, you’ll do the exact same with your latte – or whatever it is for you. Total up how much you need for your treats per month or per payday, and allocate that amount just like you would if it were a non-negotiable bill.
That way, you know that whatever else happens in your day-to-day spending, your little and big joys are accounted for. Some people like to take that money out in cash and use it specifically for those little moments, or have a separate account for their pre-budgeted treats. Find what works best for you and roll with it.
Over time, you may find you want to add more of these little luxuries into your rinse-repeat budget. If you’re lacking the financial capacity to do that, try shaving off small amounts from your regular expenses. Whether it’s finding handy hacks to shave $10 off your weekly food shop (that’s $520 a year!) or switching to a cheaper phone or utility plan (seriously, live chat your provider and see what they can do), try finding extra dollars hidden in your bills first, before you jump to giving up your latte.
Financial confidence doesn’t need to be all about sacrificing the things you love. If you’re realistic with your budget and streamline your favourite things to be as important to you as paying your bills, you can make consistent financial progress without giving up what makes you happy.