Stay On Budget By Maintaining One Indulgence

Adam Baker at Get Rich Slowly suggests you’ll be able to better stick to a budget if you pick one non-essential hobby or interest instead of cutting them all out. The key to figuring out whether or not it’s something worth “wasting” money on is to identify any hidden benefits, and then to make sure there aren’t hidden drawbacks.

For example, Baker spends money every month on martial arts classes, but he points out it that this vice improves his health and gives him a community. In that sense, it’s actually something that provides value beyond simple entertainment factor.

The easy trap to fall into is that you can probably justify anything this way if you try hard enough, which is why Baker says the vice must also meet these three conditions:

  1. It can’t be an impulsive desire–you should be able to demonstrate a long standing interest in it.
  2. It has to be controllable–activities that are naturally addictive for you are probably bad ideas.
  3. Your partner has to be on-board with it.

“How to Manage Your Financial Vices” [Get Rich Slowly via Lifehacker]