Hello budget – we’ll be firm friends
In technical terms, “spare money” is known as discretionary income – or “income that you can spend on things that are not completely necessary for living”. Details are in our What is … disposable income explainer.
Of course, dining out, watching movies and playing sport are not completely necessary for living, so spending on these activities fits the definition of spare money.
The slideshow How to … make a basic budget tells how to work out income minus essential spending and savings to calculate how much spare cash is available to use. Then it is time to make decisions about how to spend this fun money.
No to premium TV, yes to haircuts
A blogpost on personal finance website LearnVest details how the author made lifestyle changes and financial choices to pay off her $15,000 credit card debt.
She eliminated premium TV and mobile phone expenses but decided regular hairdresser visits were a priority for her spare cash.
The story has a happy ending as she paid off the debt as well as using the new-found discipline to simultaneously train for a marathon.
How much should I be saving?
Determining how much spare cash is available also requires understanding how much you want to save, as savings are subtracted from income (along with essential expenses) to calculate discretionary income. Some people are overspenders and save too little – but some are oversavers and save too much. The eZonomics video gives tips to help strike a balance.