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Consumer Watch: Budgeting for fun

Remembering to make your budget fit your life will make it much easier to stick to (KOKH).

Budgets are often thought of as a way to avoid spending money, but a change in perspective will make it easier to follow through. Budgets can feel overwhelming and restrictive, but an Oklahoma Financial education specialist tells Fox 25 Consumer Watch that developing a budget should not be a source of stress, and can even fun.

From shopping for fun clothing, eating at restaurants, and even vacationing, plus any other fun activities are easier to accomplish, and much less stressful when you have a budget.

“People say they feel like a budget is so restricting. I cannot comment enough that a budget is your budget. You get to put how much fun money you have,” says Tabatha Thurman, financial education specialist, WEOKIE Federal Credit Union.

Thurman says that in her work with clients, she finds that often the toughest part about living on a budget is just starting. It will require tracking the way you currently spend money. If you are in debt, and want to pay it off quickly, some things will have to change, but not forever. As your debt diminishes, you'll have more disposable income.

“That is what you have to focus on, that it is your budget. You've got to be flexible, and you have to make it work for your life,” says Thurman.

Breaking free of the pay check to pay check cycle will make daily life less stressful, and make it much easier to enjoy the fun activities you and your family have planned without having to worry about whether you can make all of your upcoming bills.

“It is not about restraint. It is about making sure your income and your expenses can match up where you are living comfortable, and the life that you want,” says Thurman.

Money management apps like You Need a Budget and Mint can help get you started without too much leg work. Most of money management apps require you to link financial accounts to the app, but some will let you skip the step.

A solid budget will include a savings plan in addition to your spending plan. Challenge yourself to live at 80 to 90 percent of your earnings, and save the rest.

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