How a $6 cookie taught me an important budgeting lesson

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

Key points

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

My husband and I were recently in a shopping area called Disney Springs in Orlando. As we do every time we visit, we bought several very expensive cookies that were priced at $6 each. Now this may seem like a lot to spend, but these are very unique cookies that weigh in at half a pound each and we love them.

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

While many people may 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 include them in our dining out budget because we know that every time we dine out at Disney Springs, we’re going to stop for a cookie, as long as the line isn’t too long to get one.

Due to the fact that we have included them in our budget, we do not feel guilty about spending the money. And we’re not “overspending,” because even though the price is quite high, we’re not compromising other financial goals or going into debt to buy them.

We realized a long time ago that we couldn’t stick to a budget that eliminated all the things we enjoy, and we didn’t want to do that anyway. Instead, we simply want to make careful decisions about what indulgences we buy and 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 can be used for things that, at first glance, may seem like a waste but actually make life fun and enjoyable.

A budget doesn’t have to be just about what can not spending money, rather it’s about finding a way to make room for those $6 cookies, or whatever your indulgence is, without compromising your long-term financial stability.

How to make a budget that works for you

Due to the fact that my husband and I know that we enjoy 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 take care of the important things too.

Anyone budgeting may want to follow a simpler approach. Budget for the essentials, but also make sure you find room for the “wants” that add the most value to your life.

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