It’s ok to be spontaneous, as long as you plan for it. I know, that sounds a little crazy, but it’s actually true. I was talking with one of my coaching clients the other evening and he commented that he was worried he would feel restricted by his spending plan. He enjoys being able to be spontaneous when shopping, and he feels like they have a large enough income to allow for spontaneity.
I think that is a common feeling, and there really isn’t any reason why you can’t be spontaneous, within reason of course. Building money for spontaneous purchases into your spending plan may sound a little strange, but it’s a great way to not only plan ahead for your expenses but to also keep that feeling of freedom. And you can do it without the guilt, because you know the money was set aside for just that purpose!
In fact, we even talked about having an envelope called “Spontaneous Purchases.” While he and his wife are creating their spending plan, they will determine together how much they can set aside for unplanned or spontaneous purchases each month, after their other spending obligations are met.
If you aren’t tailoring your spending plan to your own personal spending priorities, you really aren’t going to stick with it. Create a plan that works for you, and with your income. Set aside money for short and long-term spending requirements, but be sure to build in some money for fun items too.
While I agree on principle with David Bach’s “Latte Factor”, I think that it’s important to enjoy your money at the same time. Going out for a latte everyday can add up to a lot of money, and yes, it could be saved, used for debt reduction, added to your investment or retirement portfolio, etc. Those are all great things to do with your money, but if you really want a latte everyday on your way to work, by all means get one! Just be sure you are planning for it accordingly in your spending plan. Create a “Latte” envelope and determine how much you can afford to set aside for your latte breaks each month within your balanced spending plan.
If someone told me I needed to stop drinking coke so that I could put that money into my retirement, let’s be honest, I would probably ignore them. So how could I tell one of my clients he had to cut out ALL spontaneous purchases when he gets so much joy from it? I couldn’t. But I could help him plan ahead and build a spending plan that would allow him the freedom he desired, along with the fiscal responsibility that he also wanted. Feel free to include an envelope in your spending plan for whatever your guilty pleasure is, just be sure you are keeping everything balanced, and that you are meeting all of your financial obligations. And if you room in your spending plan to create a “Spontaneous Purchases” envelope do that too!
-Jennifer, Money for Life Coach