For a lot of people, when they think of budgeting, they think of things they need to cut out of their life, and these are usually indulgences. In fact, for a lot of people, financial health is becoming more of a struggle, and they really need to think of strategic ways to better their finances, especially now in 2024. So, with that said, one thing that comes to people's minds is what they need to sacrifice. This might be saying goodbye to going out to eat regularly, stopping by for some fast food, going out in the mornings for their favourite coffee place, vacations, new outfits, and so on.
Some of this stinks, but it’s manageable, right? But if you look at social media, you might see influencers, or maybe even your loved ones like friends and family, having fun. Maybe there was a meal you were invited to, but you just simply lacked the funds for it, and then seeing how much fun people were having is a bit gut-wrenching, right?
When it comes to budgeting, or honestly, any everyday limits that you have to put on life (like dieting), FOMO immediately kicks in. After all, no one likes having to miss out, and the fear of missing out becomes so much more prevalent! With that said, however, you don’t have to let FOMO engulf you. You can still save money and still do or buy nice things for yourself (just maybe not excessive). So, here’s how to navigate budgeting and FOMO all at the same time.
Choose Experiences Over Things
Usually, FOMO only hits if it’s people you know or care for doing things that you didn’t get included in. Sure, if something is trending, then of course, this can also create FOMO, but for the most part, it tends to experiences that others around you have done.
So, just try to shift your focus from material possessions to memorable experiences. Instead of buying items that clutter your space, invest in activities that create lasting memories. This way, you can relish life's indulgences without accumulating unnecessary stuff. Think of it this way: things are trendy for a short period of time, they can easily break, and they could easily get lost or stolen. But no one can take away the memories of a special time you had, no one.
There’s a Lot of Joy in Minimalism
It’s not just a trend for fashion and interior design; honestly, this is something that’s more like a lifestyle. In fact, it’s something that the elite do, so why not you? In a way, there’s some luxury to this. So, just go ahead and explore the liberating world of minimalism. This can entail some things like getting around to decluttering your living space, prioritise essentials, and relishing the simplicity that comes with owning less. Minimalism isn't about deprivation; it's about creating space for what truly brings you joy.
You Don’t Have to Go Out to Eat All the Time
Hands down, why worry about FOMO if you can make some incredible food at home? You can just satisfy your taste buds without splurging on restaurant bills. Give yourself the chance to just experiment with cooking new recipes at home, explore diverse cuisines, and turn meal preparation into a delightful experience.
Old-fashioned cookbooks and even YouTube videos offer more than enough options for cooking up something amazing (and there are even tutorials for food presentation, too). It's not just about cutting back; it's about relishing the art of home-cooked meals. Besides, invite your loved ones over for a dinner party; you’re still spending time with them, and you’ll get plenty of compliments on your cooking, too.
There is Budget-Friendly Entertainment Out There
One thing that you really might want to consider would be entertainment that doesn’t cost much. Oh yes, hands down, you absolutely can seek out free or low-cost entertainment options in your community. If you live in a major city, this should be easy because these tend to get the most advertising within the community.
From outdoor concerts and movie nights to local events, there are numerous opportunities to have a good time without breaking the bank. Besides, why not get creative and explore the richness of your surroundings? You don’t always need to throw money at expensive things like major concerts; sometimes, free is just as good.
Find Other Ways to Get Nice Things
Nowadays, there’s this bigger push to buy what you want immediately. For example, when there is a new iPhone, there’s usually this massive push to buy it immediately, and that whole FOMO thing instantly kicks in. You can still have nice things that you want, but why not try and push yourself towards better patience? Think of Black Friday, for example; it’s so much cheaper to get items, and the same can be said for Cyber Monday.
But of course, you could always look into thrifting these things, too. But of course, this isn’t all, as you could potentially win great items too that you’ve been on the hunt for, or even see if you can get these as a gift. But overall, you don’t need stuff, but it’s nice to treat yourself to stuff from time to time. Try to avoid paying the full price; that’s something to keep in mind, especially.
Create a “Fun Fund”
One thing that could help you is to allocate a portion of your budget specifically for fun activities. Whether it's a weekend getaway, a dinner at a favorite restaurant, or a special event, having a designated fund ensures that you can indulge without compromising your overall financial goals. Some banks will automatically move money into a special savings account, so this might be something you could try.
Try to Host Budget-Friendly Gatherings
Again, it was already stated, but for a lot of people, the FOMO kicks in when it involves something social, like gatherings or parties. So, instead of dining out, consider hosting potluck dinners, game nights, or movie marathons at home. Not only does this save money, but it also fosters meaningful connections with friends and loved ones. The focus shifts from spending to shared experiences.
You Might Need to Break-Up with Your Friends
It’s awful to think about, but the wealth gap is real! Some friends are mindful that their other friends simply can’t afford the same lifestyle, while others just don’t care and might even be offended that they have to do cheap stuff (like going to your house for dinner and a movie) rather than something more “fun.” It’s something no one wants, but it’s something that’s, surprisingly enough, becoming far more common.
It's essential to recognise that friendships should be built on understanding, empathy, and shared values. If the financial expectations of the friendship become a source of stress and discomfort, it may be a sign that it's time for an honest conversation with your friends. Communicating openly about your financial situation and suggesting alternative, budget-friendly activities can be a solution.
However, if the disparity in spending habits continues to cause strain and your friends aren't receptive to more affordable options, it might be necessary to reevaluate the dynamics of the friendship. In some cases, taking a step back and surrounding yourself with individuals who appreciate the importance of financial boundaries may be the best course of action for your overall well-being. No one likes breaking up with their friends, but sometimes, it’s just needed. Besides, if they’re not willing to make changes for you, were they actually your friend?
What about relationships? Well, if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, then it’s probably going to be the same thing. If they expect you to constantly spend, are they even a good partner? Do you even want that person to be in your life? It’s the same thing.
You Can Still Travel!
Oh yes, you can still have fun and travel around; that’s right, you can fulfill your wanderlust without burning a hole in your pocket by choosing seasonal or off-peak travel times. Flights, accommodations, and attractions often come with lower prices during these periods. It's a strategic way to explore new destinations without compromising on the adventure.
One thing you should really do would be to just regularly reflect on your financial goals and achievements. You deserve to just celebrate the progress you've made in saving money and acknowledge the positive impact it has on your future. Honestly, just recognising these milestones helps shift the focus from perceived deprivation to empowerment.
Consider Happy Hour Deals
Again, it’s back to being social, and not everyone wants to (or can’t) host something at their house. So, instead, why not consider happy hour deals? Seriously, enjoying a night out doesn't have to be expensive. Just try to take advantage of happy hour deals and discounts at local bars and restaurants. It's a savvy way to socialise without feeling like you're missing out on the vibrant social scene. Just look into a good place that actually has a good happy hour deal (that’s the key).