How a $6 Cookie Taught Me an Important Budgeting Lesson

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  • I live on a budget to make sure I use my money wisely.
  • I've included expensive cookies in my budget.
  • You can budget for the things you love while still making responsible spending decisions.

A budget doesn't have to deprive you of everything you love.

Recently, my husband and I were at a shopping area called Disney Springs in Orlando. As we do every time we visit, we purchased several very expensive cookies that came at a price of $6 each. Now, this may sound like a lot to spend, but these are very unique cookies that weigh a half-pound each and we love them.

As we put our cookies on our credit card and got ready to take them home, it made me realize something very important about my budgeting process. My epiphany was related to a decision we made long ago about how we would handle our spending, but the cookies drove the point home.

While many people might find a $6 cookie a splurge, these are a treat that my husband and I have decided are worth spending our money on. As a result, we budget for them in our dining out budget because we know that whenever we go out to dinner at Disney Springs, we're going to stop to buy a cookie -- as long as the line isn't too long to get one. 

Because of the fact that we've worked them into our budget, we don't feel guilty about spending the money. And we aren't "overspending" since even though the price is pretty high, we aren't compromising other financial goals or going into debt to buy them. 

We recognized a long time ago that we couldn't stick to a budget that stripped all of the things we enjoy out of it -- and that we didn't want to do that anyway. Instead, we simply want to make careful decisions about what indulgences we buy, and we want to make sure we're saving money for our goals before allocating our cash to other things. Once we've taken care of saving for the things that matter, the rest of the money we have left over, we can use for stuff that might, at first glance, seem like a waste but that actually makes life fun and enjoyable. 

A budget doesn't have to just be about what you can't spend money on, but instead it's about finding a way to make room for those $6 cookies -- or whatever your indulgence is -- without compromising your financial stability in the long run. 

How to make a budget that works for you

Because of the fact that my husband and I know we like to indulge in our hobby of buying $6 cookies and other expensive foods, we make sacrifices in other areas. After all, you can't splurge on everything. We've taken the time to prioritize our spending and now we can use our money for the things that really matter to us and know that we also have the big stuff taken care of.

Anyone who is making a budget may want to follow a simpler approach. Budget for the must-haves, but also make sure you find room for the "wants" that bring the most value to your life. 

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