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How to Splurge Even if You’re on a Budget (ultimate Guide to Blow Money)

By Priya

May 31, 2020

What Is Blow Money?

Blow money is cash you include in your budget to spend however you like with no remorse or guilt. It’s sometimes called fun money, pocket money or spending money. They all mean the same thing but if you want a successful budget, you need blow money.

Blow money gives you permission to spend money on whatever you want without killing your budget.

There are two main ways to include blow money in your budget:

  1. Giving yourself a small allowance in your budget;
  2. Creating a sinking fund for blow money.

But before you get to spend your blow money, here are some key things you need to know:

  • Why do you need blow money?
  • How much blow money do you need?
  • What should you blow your money on?

I know what you’re thinking. The whole point of your budget is to stop you from spending your money on whatever you want, right? Sure, but being on a budget doesn’t mean you’ll just magically stop wanting things. And unless you have a fairy godmother, you’re going to have to pay for the things you want. 

Why Do You Need Blow Money?

You’re a spender like me so the idea of being on a budget can be disheartening. You don’t want your life to be all about work, work, work just to pay the bills. You also want to save money and pay off debt. But if your budget is all about restriction, it’s going to fail. 

I try to always have some blow money in my budget. Otherwise, my life becomes all work and no play. I’m a good saver and I like to save money but I like to spend it too.

You know you’re a spender. But by forcing yourself to never spend any money on what you want, you’re trying to be someone you’re not. The secret here is to allow yourself to spend money within the limits of your budget.

Permission to spend while staying on budget

Enter, blow money. The entire purpose of your blow money is to spend it on whatever you want. It gives you permission to spend money without sacrificing your long term goals or financial health. 

That’s because blow money isn’t a random $20 note you find in those old jeans that don’t fit anymore. It’s part of your budget. And like every dollar in your budget, it has its own special purpose: to be spent and enjoyed.

I don’t want to wait until I’m retired to enjoy my life. I want to play with all this stationery I love collecting and order room service when I travel. But I still have bills to pay. So how do you choose? With blow money, you don’t have to.

It’s like a cheat day when you’re on a diet. When you’re on a diet, you might be avoiding sugar and eating super healthy meals throughout the week. Your goal is to be healthy and fit. But on Saturday you allow yourself to eat that donut.
blow money is a cheat day from your budget

You know the one I’m talking about. The one with the melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cream filling. The buttery pastry. That sweet pink icing with all those little confetti sprinkles. Then, after your cheat day is over, you go back to your diet until the next cheat day comes along.

Your blow money is that donut. You might spend the whole week daydreaming about that next donut. But it’s bearable because you know it’s coming. You know you have permission to indulge and enjoy yourself even though you’re working towards a bigger goal. 

Control your fun spending

But take it from someone who’s a little spendy. Your spending can get out of control when you’re allowing yourself to spend. Giving yourself permission to spend is easy. Telling yourself to stop is much harder. 

Your blow money lets you spend but it also puts boundaries on your spending by limiting the amount. It’s like portion control for your money! Once it’s spent, you’re done. This is a great way of helping you control your spending habits in small manageable chunks.

Stay motivated to stick to your budget

Sticking to a budget is hard. Yes, even for accountants who love their budgets. Sometimes it feels too restrictive and like you can’t have any fun. When that happens, it’s easy to lose motivation and give up.  But the more strict your budget is, the more important your blow money is.

This is a key reason why you need blow money! Your blow money is a way to ‘blow off steam’ from your budget. Otherwise, you’re spending all your time working to pay bills and you never get to have any fun.

Or, you throw your budget out the window and have all the fun you want. But that’s financially irresponsible. It’s like stealing money from future-you so that current-you can live it up. It’s all cupcakes and roses now but wait until you need to pay off that credit card debt.

How Much Blow Money Do You Need?

Give yourself a small allowance for blow money in your budget

When you’re starting out or trying to control your spending, start with a small blow money fund. Think $50 a month. That’s more than enough to buy yourself something you like. Your dollars will stretch even further if you’re buying something on sale.

What should you do when you can’t afford blow money

If $50 is too much for you right now, then that’s okay. Look over your budget and see where you can cut a few dollars here and there to make up your blow money allowance. There’s no minimum or maximum amount to aim for here. The best amount for you is the amount that works best for your budget. If it’s $50 then that’s great, do that. If it’s $20, that’s perfect too.

When you make your blow money allowance too big for your current budget to handle, you’re going to struggle. You’ll end up using your blow money to pay bills or buy fuel which defeats the purpose of your blow money.

Your budget will be more restrictive than ever. You’ll be forcing yourself to use your fun money to make ends meet. So, it’s super important that whatever amount you settle on is within your budget. 

It doesn’t matter if it’s only a few dollars. Even having a few dollars to blow on a fancy Starbucks drink or a block of chocolate is enough. A word of caution, though. Your blow money must be cash - no credit cards or AfterPay accepted here. If you don’t have it, you can’t blow it.

Increasing your blow money allowance in your budget

I know it’s disheartening when your blow money is only a few dollars. It’s disappointing to see that after working so hard, you only have a few dollars to spend on what you want. Try to look past that and see this as a challenge to increase your blow money by cutting your costs. 

The more you can lower your essential living expenses, the more you can put towards blow money.

You could take a second job to make more money for spending, but you don’t want to do that. There’s no point spending all your waking hours working just for blow money. 

You’ll have no time to enjoy the things you splurge on anyway. So, the amount of income you earn stays the same. Without extra income, as you cut your expenses, you give yourself more money for splurging.

You’re a spender like me so this is a good way to incentivise yourself to cut your costs. Reward yourself with the ability to spend money on whatever you want. Seeing your blow money increase will motivate you to cut your costs even further. You’re training yourself to live on less with the promise of money you can splurge.

Need some inspiration? Here are some amazing ways to cut your expenses in all areas of your life.

Create a sinking fund for blow money 

Another way to introduce some blow money into your budget is with a sinking fund. Let’s keep it simple: a sinking fund is money that’s already dedicated to a specific purpose. You can’t touch it for anything else, it’s gone. It’s an awesome way to save for large expenses or your goals, including a large amount of blow money. 

I call it my splurge fund and it’s probably my favourite part of my budget. Let’s be honest - a few dollars a month doesn't seem like a whole lot of fun. Yes, I can buy a grande mocha frappuccino but I want more than that. And that’s okay. 

Sometimes, half the fun is treating yourself to a shopping spree. You can buy whatever you want instead of buying one small thing every month. You want to add things to cart and check them out. But instead you spend days culling it down to the cheapest thing you can find. I get it!

Splurging on more expensive things

In that case, a sinking fund for blow money is a perfect fit for you. Instead of spending your blow money every month, you’ll be setting it aside in your sinking fund. You don’t have to know what you’re spending it on, but you know it’s going to be something good and something you really want. 

The more your budget can afford to put in, the larger your fund will grow. And the faster it grows, the faster you can use it.

It’s the secret sauce to saving up for those more expensive purchases like those $40 rose gold stud earrings you stare at online every day. Let’s be honest here. When you only have $10 a month for spending money, you can’t afford those earrings. But you can save those $10 for 4 months until you can afford them. Sure, it takes a bit of patience but it’s not impossible. 

Your sinking fund gives flexibility to buy what you want on any budget. That's because you’re saving up for it little by little out of every single budget. Create a new category in your budget for your sinking fund and contribute to it every month.

After your splurge

After a spending spree, get your budget back on track. The last thing you want is to start spending money that isn’t meant for indulging. A great way to control your spending and get back on track is with a spending freeze. They’re an amazing way to control your spending and save $1,000 super fast.

What should I blow my money on?

The best thing about blow money is that you can spend your money on whatever you want. It’s money you’ve set aside to spend without guilt or remorse - there are no set rules on how you should spend it.

If you want to put that money towards a spa night, then do that. Maybe you’ve found the perfect leather handbag that holds all your stuff just right, that’s okay too. Or, maybe you want to try lobster to see what all the fuss is about - go for it. If regular cookies don’t cut it and you want French macarons instead, don’t let me stop you.

blow money on what makes you happy

I blow my money on fancy stationery and skincare products. I’ve got more notebooks than I’ll be able to use in my lifetime and a face mask for every day of the week.

It doesn’t matter who thinks I'm frivolous. I’m spending my own money - money I work super hard for. So I’m going to spend it. I’m not a frugal person. I’m rather spendy. My blow money lets me enjoy the things I love while still being responsible with my hard earned money.

You’re the boss of your blow money. Spend it all or only a little. Spend it on one big thing or lots of little things over time. You don’t even have to spend it if you don’t want to. The choice is yours - you can do whatever you want with it.

Having some blow money in your budget is a great way to stay sane throughout the budgeting process. It’ll give you a chance to enjoy your money now without sacrificing your goals or your financial health. Blow money also keeps you motivated to stick to your budget. It shows you that you can still have fun on a budget. 

It doesn’t have to be a lot of money. Start small and work your way up depending on what your budget can afford. Or you can try creating a sinking fund for your blow money to save up for those bigger things you want. If you don’t want your life to be all about working just to pay the bills then blow money is perfect for you!

Priya

About the author

Hi, I’m Priya! I’m a Chartered Accountant and the creator of Paper Money Co. Life is too short to be constantly worried about money. I want my life to be more than just going to work to pay the bills. Join me as I strive to live a life I love on a budget I can afford (and without going broke)! Are you ready?

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