Okay I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but constantly budgeting my money makes me cranky! With 4 kids and a limited budget, there’s not always a lot of wiggle-room when it comes to “fun money”. Yes, I’m always putting money in the savings account for our retirement and there’s a little bit going into the Disney bank. But when it comes to right here and now, not being able to just buy whatever-I-want whenever-I-want-it makes me irritable!
So I can’t go on a spending spree and that’s okay. These are 5 things I do when I need a little escape from reality. They are just the right pick-me-up when the budget is tight.
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1. Plan a Fake Vacation
Can’t hop a plane or jump ship? Just like reading a book transports you into another world, planning a fake vacation can transport you around the world with a click of a button. This is one of my most favorite ways to daydream. Pick a spot on the map and delve into this area as if you were really going to visit!
- Borrow travel books from the library. Which part of the world are you most drawn to?
- If you could only drive 500 miles or less, which direction would you go and what would you do?
- If you had to travel in central Europe which country would you go to? (I actually made this decision when I won a travel contest!)
- Read up on cruising. Check out the Disney cruise restaurants and menus – They’re all online!
- Which attractions would you visit in Orlando other than Walt Disney World?
- If money were no object (and it never is when planning a fake trip) which extravagant add-ons would you make?
- Perhaps someday when you win the lottery (that’s totally going to happen, right?), you’ll already have your travel itinerary ready to go!
2. Fill my Online Shopping Cart with Clothes I’ll Never Buy
I’m not literally going to go to Target, load up a cart and then abandon it at the door. But it’s TOTALLY okay to do that online! In an online shopping cart you can virtually mix and match, quickly move from dresses to shoes to jewelry. And when you’ve gotten the shopping bug fix, simply close the browser window and you’re wallet is still intact!
3. Get Rid of Stuff
If I’m on a budget I can’t buy more stuff but it does give me some joy to pass along some of the stuff we already have. Purging and giving makes me thankful for things I was able to purchase and reminds me that I already have enough “stuff”.
- Weed through kid’s closets. What doesn’t fit and who can you pass the clothing down to?
- Is there something in your closet you haven’t worn in a very long time? Request a bag from ThredUp and you may be able to resell some of your items.
- Have a garage sale. Put the money you make towards something special.
- Be ruthless in the kid’s toy bin. Keep only what they really play with and donate the rest.
- Next time you pull out the holiday or seasonal bin, see how you can pare down the decorations so that you only keep your most favorite items.
4. Buy Something Little and Fun
A cheap but meaningful splurge can really boost spirits when the wallet is tight. Obviously you can’t do this one every day (or even every week!) but once in a while buying something small is just what you need. What little thing makes you happiest? For me it’s something that pampers me, like new Jamberry nail wraps or a lipstick! For family fun, choose a new board game or get a gallon of vanilla ice cream and a few toppings for mid-week sundaes.
Look Ahead to Something Real
What fun thing do you have coming ahead in the calendar that you can look forward to? Whatever it is, start your planning now! I love planning and think that research is half the fun. So if you have a vacation ahead, cultivate your own official itinerary. Research restaurants, peruse online menus and decide which mouth-watering dessert you’re going to order when you get there. I find that looking ahead (and not dwelling in the I-can’t-right-now) really fills up my thankfulness cup and reminds me why I’m budgeting and saving in the first place!