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Managing your budget and those guilty pleasures

Growing up, many of us heard, “You can have whatever you want, as long as you work hard for it.” So, what does that mean? Does it mean find a good job, earn good money and then buy what you want? No, that’s not what it means — but that’s what many of us do or have done. This statement is saying, “Plan your money right, and use it wisely.” 

Let’s talk about this plan — the budget. Your budget allows you to direct your money toward your needs and wants. Our guilty pleasures is one area where we all spend our hard-earned money. These are the recreation, travel and leisure purchases that a person loves and enjoys. This is one way to treat ourselves for our hard work. 

In a perfect world, we all could indulge in our guilty pleasures without restraint, but financial balance must be maintained. Balancing work and leisure is beneficial — and necessary — for our physical, mental, psychological and emotional wellbeing. 

My guilty pleasure is tea — and not your ordinary tea found in the grocery store. There’s a brand I adore; I love the packaging (not in a box), and it’s very potent and flavorful. In reality, I know that I can’t order all of the varieties, but I can plan (budget) for my tea purchases. This gives me something to look forward to without robbing myself of my guilty pleasure. 

Being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to give up your guilty pleasures — just that you have to adjust how you indulge in them. Identify your wants and needs, and prioritize your needs over your wants. For example, eating out on a daily basis is costly. You may opt to limit your dining out to one to three times a month, but you don’t have to give it up completely. 

What you save through moderation can be used to build your emergency fund or pay down debts. It would ease the stress of stacked bills and provide a sense of financial security. Establishing a budget creates a sense of accomplishment and security with regard to your financial goals. 

Being a financially secure and responsible individual can ignite your confidence and create a better outlook toward enjoying life, work and leisure. Spending on your guilty pleasures can be a deserved treat, but setting financial priorities and making sacrifices will ensure a brighter financial future. Having that balance is one way to ensure your hard-earned money will be handled in a way that will allow you to enjoy it and grow it at the same time. 

Janera Harvey is a money coach, certified credit counselor and owner of The Credit Journey LLC. Reach her at 

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