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Define "Special Occasion" to Stay Within Your Monthly Budget

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Linsay ThomasGuest Blogger
August 06, 2016 · 1.9k Views

When we overspend, we often make ourselves avoid feeling guilty about it. We may make up excuses to justify it, saying that it was a “special occasion.” But what exactly is a special occasion?


Special Occasion Defined

Source: The Babe Report

A special occasion happens infrequently – typically once a month or even longer. It could be something that happens once a year or maybe once every couple of years. For example, if you view a special occasion as a wedding or graduation, then those events happen maybe once every other year. But a special occasion could also be a wedding anniversary or birthday, so that happens at least twice a year.

What is not considered a special occasion? Something that you do daily or even weekly. Going to work is not a special occasion. Grocery shopping is not a special occasion, either.  

Blurred Lines

Source: Popsugar

Eating out should be considered a special occasion, but it’s not if you do it every night. This is where the line becomes blurred. At first, maybe you ate out only twice a month. Then you became busier at work and you grabbed dinner from a fast food joint on your way home every night. Now you eat lunch and dinner while at work.

It’s okay to plunk down a few hundred dollars every now and then on a night out with friends or a weekend getaway for you and your significant other. You should have fun with your money. But it’s breaking your budget if you do it all the time.

No More Excuses

Source: InfoKava

So it’s time to stop making excuses. Spend money on real “special occasions” like yearly vacations, a happy hour with friends you haven’t seen in years or taking your child to the movies on his or her birthday. Overspending every day just sets you up for financial failure. You’ll end up further and further in debt, and it can take years to get out of it.

 Time to Get Motivated 

Source: Mint

Need to get motivated to save money and stop the never-ending splurging? Here are some tips:

  1. Set a goal. You likely have something you’re saving for. Maybe you need a new car or have your heart set on a vacation. Perhaps you want to move out of your apartment and into a house. Maybe you have debt that needs to be paid off. Write down your goals and think of them whenever you feel the urge to spend.
  2. Pay bills first. Before you go out on the town, pay your bills first. That way, you’ll know exactly how much money you have and how much you can spend.
  3. Avoid eating out. Eating out is an unnecessary expense, especially when you likely have a refrigerator full of food. Why spend $50 or more to take the family out to dinner when you have many meals waiting to be eaten in your own kitchen? It’s cheaper and more convenient to eat at home.
  4. Cut up your credit cards. Avoid frivolous spending by cutting up your credit cards. That way, you can’t use them. Sound too extreme? Then keep them at home when you go out. If you have multiple cards, cut up all but one. Keep one credit card for emergencies. This means you need to define what is truly an emergency. A dress is not an emergency. Neither are diamond earrings. Unexpected medical bill or car repair? Yes.
  5. Try to borrow what you need. If you need something to use just one time, see if you can borrow it. For example, if you need a costume for your child’s school play, see if a friend with kids has the items you need without having to purchase new clothes. Need a ladder? Ask a neighbor. There are also libraries around the country that have items you might need. They have more than just books. You can also borrow yard care items, tools, electronics and musical instruments – all for free. So check around first. It may take some time, but you’ll save money.
  6. Wait a few days before making a big purchase. Must have that pair of shoes at the mall? Have your eye on that shiny new sports car? Don’t buy it right away, as you might live to regret it. Wait several days before making that purchase. You might find that you don’t really need it after all.

How do you define a special occasion? Is every day a special occasion when it comes to spending? Sometimes special occasions just happen. Sometimes a friend visits from out of town or that new car suddenly goes on sale. In these situations, you can’t wait weeks. You just have to adjust the rest of your spending accordingly. Maybe you can’t eat out at work that week or perhaps you have to postpone a shopping trip.

Use the tips above to help curb your splurging so you’re not spending money unnecessarily. By coming up with a solid definition for “special occasion,” you save more money by not giving in to impulse buys - and we could all use a little extra money.


linsaythomas profile picture
Linsay Thomas is a seasoned writer and editor who has written thousands of articles about topics such as saving money, healthcare, law, pets and education. She hails from California, where she lives with her husband, two children and a menagerie of pets. When she's not writing, she enjoys sports, breeding chocolate Labs and visiting the beach.

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