If I were to graph my spending over the course of a week, I would see a graph that looks like a mountain range - low, low, low Monday through Friday then a HUGE spike on Saturday and Sunday. After holding back all week (save for a few online book purchases), my credit card explodes into the retail world on weekends, spending on breakfast, lunch, dinner, clothes, movies, drinks, you name it. Sound at all familiar? It might if you're used to working and laying low during the week, then splurging on weekends. Try experimenting with a weekend budget. I've found that I have a hard time sticking to a monthly budget since it stretches over what seems like a long period of time with lots of moving parts (although I'd like to stress that I do pay my credit card in full every month). I find it easier to break my budget down into manageable chunks, more specifically into smaller chunks of time. If you're interested in an experiment to help manage your weekend spending, try the following formula for determining your weekend budget:
- Add the take-home amount of your paychecks within a given month to get your total allowance
- Add up your essential expenses (rent, bills, gas; don't forget to include savings in this category)
- Add up your nice-to-have expenses (things you really like to do/have each month but ultimately could live without, like coffee, personal grooming, other recurring purchases)
- Subtract 2 and 3 from your allowance
- Divide the remaining amount (hopefully you've got some leftover!) by four. This is your "weekend budget." Spend on whatever you'd like each weekend as long as you stay within this amount. If it helps, take that amount out of the bank in cash and distribute that across your weekend activities.
Not sold on the idea? Try it out for a weekend and see how it goes!
Got a better budgeting idea? Let us know!