Saving for the future is important. However, you might have difficulty striking a healthy balance. This might be true if you have little disposable income, thus it's either save or enjoy your life. But rather than choose one over the other, here are seven ways to enjoy life today while saving for the future.
1. Add Fun Money to the Budget
If you're saving for the future, this doesn't mean that you can't add fund money to the budget. There is no rule that says every cent has to go to bills. For that matter, look at your budget and decide how much you can reasonably spend on recreation each month. Whether it's $25 a month for $50 a month, splurging and having a little fun with your money can alleviate frugal fatigue.
If your budget is tight and you can't add fun money, consider getting a side hustle. Maybe a part-time job or start a side business. Money from your job can cover expenses and build your savings, and money from your hustle can pay for recreation and entertainment.
3. Explore Frugal Hobbies
There are plenty of ways to enjoy life while saving for the future. However, you'll have to get creative and look for hobbies and entertainment that don't take a lot of money. For example, you might explore photography and spend an afternoon at the beach or a local park taking pictures. And if you live in a city, there might be free museums or galleries you can explore during your free time that won't break the budget.
4. Last-minute Vacations
If you can't spend thousands of dollars on a getaway, go online and check out deals for last minute vacations. Some cruise lines offer amazing 11th hour deals in an effort to fill unbooked cabins before sailing. Also, Groupon regularly features discounts on domestic and international travel.
5. Shop on EBay
It doesn't matter whether you're buying clothes or items for your house, shop online before going to a local retail store. You might be shocked by the items you’re able to find on eBay for less. Over the past five years, I've purchased jewelry, clothes, electronics, books and makeup. These items were brand-new in the package, and up to 60% cheaper than retail.
6. Set Milestones
Even if you're saving for the future, it's important to reward yourself. For every large goal that you set, set mini-goals and reward yourself for hitting these milestones. For example, if you want to save $5,000 within the next 12 months, you might reward yourself with an inexpensive splurge once you hit the $1,000 mark, and again once you hit the half-way mark. This is an excellent way to keep your goal on track.
7. Don’t Obsess
Saving money is an excellent goal, and you should be determined to reach your goal. But at the same time, don't obsess. Life is about responsibility, but it's also okay to have fun. Therefore, every extra dime you earn doesn't have to go toward bills, paying off debt or saving money. Be committed, but also reasonable and flexible.
So, what are your long-term goals? Whether you're saving up to buy a house, planning for retirement or creating an emergency fund, just know that allocating some of your money for fun isn’t the end of the world. What are other ways to enjoy life today while saving for the future?