This article may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure statement for more information
We all have certain wishes and dreams in our life. We have things we wish we owned, places we’d love to travel to, experiences we want to have. In fact, it’s often our fear that we won’t be able to have these things that stops us from ever trying to budget. We don’t want to be told what we can’t do. But I want to show you how you can start planning all of your big wishes and dreams into your budget right now, even if you have a small income!
Why should I add my wishes and dreams to my budget?
You might be wondering, what’s the point? I can’t afford these things right now! But hear me out. Something happens in your brain when you write down the things you want. They become just a little more tangible and you start to think differently about them. You start to believe that maybe you can actually have those things. Plus, adding them to your budget allows you to see exactly what you’re working towards and gives you a little incentive to stick to your goals and say no to instant gratification. You’re also far more likely to put a little something towards these wishlist items (even if it’s only a few dollars) when they are actually a part of your regular financial planning.
Ok, but how do I include my wishlist in my budget?
It’s so easy!! First, add a category into your budget (you can call it “wish list” or you can give it some other cute or creative name – whatever makes you happy). Next, add all the things you want (that money can buy anyway) under this category. Nothing is off-limits! You can include anything from a new video game to a new house (seriously – I have building my dream house on my wishlist!).
The best way to keep your momentum is to make sure you’re always funding at least one thing from your wishlist (and no more than 3 things at a time). Make sure to fund the same thing every month until you’re able to purchase it. I have my wishlist split up into four sections: small, medium, large, and extra-large expenses.
Here’s how that breaks down on my wishlist. Small purchases include anything under $500, medium is anything under $1000, large is anything over $1000, and extra large is anything over $10,000. Now, depending on your specific financial situation, you may set those goals higher or lower than me, and that’s totally fine! The point is to add anything that doesn’t fit into your normal budget here and put any little bit you can towards those goals.
Fine, but how do I save for these things when I can barely cover my monthly expenses as it is?
Great question! I know we don’t all have extra money just lying around, myself included! The truth is, I actually don’t fund these goals every month. I just can’t afford to. If something is a priority for me, it goes into my regular budget. That includes a few subscriptions, a little bit of spending money, and of course all of our necessities. The wishlist is really just extra. So if you can’t fund it every month, don’t stress over it!
If you’re struggling to find any money to put towards your wishlist, look for ways to cut spending a little bit, pick up a side hustle (babysitting, selling something crafty, etc), or just putting a little extra in these categories when you get little windfalls (i.e. a bonus at work, a tax refund, gift money, etc.)
You don’t have to give up living just because you decide to use a budget. It’s ok to intentionally build in a little margin in order to enjoy your life. Adding your wishes and dreams to your budget (no matter how big and crazy they may be) will help keep you motivated to move forward with your money goals. And including some smaller, more easily attainable wishes will allow you to enjoy this time right now as you work towards your bigger dreams. Don’t be fooled into thinking a budget will ruin all your fun. It will actually free you to live the life of your dreams!