What does my WANTS budget look like?

If you have ever created a tentative NEEDS budget, it might be likely that you have some spending cash left over. It could seem tempting to spend it all at once and live paycheck to paycheck, but in reality, that’s probably not the best thing to do.

Let’s go through what my WANTS budget looks like, on an average week and month.

I’ve purchased groceries, toiletries, meals, supplies (my needs), and I’m ready to create a want budget. When considering a budget for your wants, you need to personalize it to yourself. Everyone has their own little things that make them happy, guilty pleasures, and sometimes vices. You just need to be cautious when spending the rest of your funds on things like this, because it could spiral into senseless spending really fast. Especially if you have a credit card, you need to be mindful!

I tend to spend about $30-$40 a week on my wants. This range will surely differ for all, considering if one has a job or not could either lower or raise the budget. When spending this cash, I think about what really makes me happy. Personally, I love a good dessert. I spend money on one dessert a week. It’s something that I get to look forward to during my weeks at school. I love getting a few scoops of ice cream, bubble tea, or pastries once a week. This can range from $3-$8. 

Being a college student at U of I, I do like to go out and have a good time occasionally. After a long week at school, it’s nice to hang out at the bars on campus with friends and let loose a little bit, keep in mind, I am 21 so I am of age to consume alcohol! On the weekends I’ll spend about $10-15 out at the bars with friends.

Another thing that I really enjoy doing is going to the movies. It’s a simple pastime of mine, that brings in a bunch of good vibes for me. I usually will go to the movies once a week. That’s about $9 for the ticket and if you want to buy things from the concession stand it could go from $5-$10. Be cautious of those concession stands as you can seriously rack up a bunch of dollars here. 

As you can see here, if you add up the expenses it’s about $30-35. You might be thinking, well what are you going to spend the rest of your budget on? The answer for me is: Nothing, I’m going to save it!

It’s not always necessary to spend your entire budget! Saving your money is usually more rewarding in the long run. Make sure to budget accordingly and spend your money on things that make you happy! But remember to always be consciously spending.

Happy Budgeting!

Written by Michal Gicala, Financial Wellness for College Students Peer Educator, University of Illinois Extension, Spring 2020. Reviewed by Kathy Sweedler, University of Illinois Extension.

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