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How to Budget the Fun Stuff

How to budget for the fun things

Many of us have had our wallets and bank accounts squeezed by increased grocery bills, petrol, rent or mortgage repayments this year. For many people, finding ways to tighten the household budgets is a challenge.

With the holiday season upon us and our social calendars filling up, finding the money to pay for eating out with friends, presents, and generally going out for fun can be stressful.

We recently caught up with some of FoxPlans Financial Advisers to get their tips on balancing your budget between essential household and wellbeing costs, and the “fun stuff”.

1.     Be honest about your money situation

Many people deal with their money challenges in private but once you chat about it openly, you start to realise you’re not alone.

Tim Ellis, Financial Adviser of Foxplan recommends:

“Acknowledge and accept your current financial situation, including your income, expenses, debts, and savings. Avoid denial and confront the reality of your financial picture. If you have a partner or family, it’s important to be open and honest about finances with them. Communication is key in managing shared expenses and working toward common financial goals”

2.     Set aside a ‘fun’ budget (and don’t go over it)

Blake Chamberlain – Financial Adviser and Head of FoxPlan Accounting and Wealth Management Says

“Try putting away a “fun” budget once the bills are paid and using it towards things that “fill up your cup”. That might be going out to eat with friends, or it might be budgeting for a warm barista-made coffee a couple of mornings a week. You don’t want to villainise spending altogether because that can lead to unhealthy habits as well!

Don’t feel embarrassed for not buying an $9 iced coffee when out with your friends, why not bring your own and save the dollars and the environment by bringing a keep cup with you!”

I think you will agree, having a specific amount (and sticking to it) will help you have fun, guilt-free.

Some other ideas from the FoxPlan Team:

  • If you’re going to the movies, pack some snacks to take with you instead of buying them from the candy bar.
  • Eat before you leave home so you don’t buy additional food when you’re out
  • Roll over your unused monthly funds – If you don’t spend your entire fun budget in a given month, consider rolling over the remaining amount to the next month

3.     Curb impulse buying

Curbing impulse buying is a critical aspect of managing your finances effectively and staying within budget.

Emotional states, such as stress, boredom, or sadness, can lead to impulsive buying. Be aware of your emotional state before making purchasing decisions and find alternative ways to cope with emotions.

“My relationship with money changed when I realised what my emotional triggers were for spending. Create a list of items you might want to purchase and wait at least 24 to 48 hours before actually biting the bullet if you really feel like self-control is hard, it gives distance between the purchase and the emotion”

Curb impulse buying

4.     You don’t need to attend every social event

If you find yourself getting stressed by the abundance of Christmas parties and year-end gatherings, take a moment to assess what you can comfortably afford versus what events you truly wish to participate in.

“I recall a time when finances were tight, and I’d tell my friends: ‘I might not make it to dinner, but I’d love to join you for a drink afterward,'” Stephan suggests. “This way, you’re spending considerably less than usual, yet you still get to be part of the evening.”

5.     Buy experiences

Buying presents really adds up, especially if you’re buying for a lot of people. One tip Brodie suggests is to shout an experience over buying an expensive gift. “Brunch presents an easy cost effective means of offering a thoughtful gift – it provides an excellent opportunity to gather with friends and family. Experiences create lasting memories, which can be more meaningful and cherished than material possessions. These memories often outlast the enjoyment derived from a physical gift”

Choosing experiences over traditional gifts for Christmas can be a cost-effective and thoughtful solution that emphasizes shared moments, personalization, and environmental consciousness. It aligns with the spirit of the season and can create lasting memories for all involved.

6.     Recreate a DIY experience at home

Whether it’s date night, hanging with the girls, or lunch out with the kids – Mel is a fan of getting creative and recreating the experience at home by doing “funds swaps.”

“That doesn’t mean having less fun; it means swapping out things that are more expensive for something [that’s] inexpensive but still gives you that amazing experience with the family or a friend,” Mel explains.

DIY experiences allow you to control costs by selecting budget-friendly alternatives for traditional outings. For instance, preparing a homemade brunch instead of dining out can significantly reduce expenses while still providing a delightful culinary experience. Moreover, by recreating experiences at home, you avoid the additional costs associated with holiday festivities, such as inflated restaurant prices or event tickets.

7.     Look for free events

Summer is in full swing, so ditch the restaurant for a picnic in the park or by the beach.

“You can’t underestimate how wonderful a picnic is, especially in summer. Gather some family and friends and organise a potluck,” Prashant Says

Explore your local city like you’re a tourist visiting for the first time and make a list of places you haven’t tried.


This article contains general information only. You should consider obtaining independent professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances. This article is not intended to be financial advice.