Budgeting certainly does put a dampener on spontaneous activity if that spontaneous activity relates to spending. And most of my spontaneous decisions do involve spending. I can’t ever recall saying (as a spontaneous suggestion):
‘hey, lets stay in tonight and watch a dvd we have already seen a million times and cook that 89 cent packet of popcorn!!! wooo hoooo!!!”
This is often the suggestion of ‘cheap things to do’ when you are budgeting. And true, it is cheap, and a good idea. But my spontaneous activities / impulses generally follow along these lines:
‘Ive had a shit day at work, let’s go and drink cocktails’ – leads to…..5 cocktails and $100 from my back pocket
‘I know we are saving, but let’s just check out that awesome new restaurant that getting all the good reviews on Urban Spoon’ – leads to….very small portion sizes for a ridiculous amount of money
‘Just this once, I want to buy really ‘good’ (read: expensive) face cream and see if it does actually do anything better than normal face cream’- leads to $80 on cream that doesn’t do anything better.
The thing is, a lot of my financial blowouts have been results of spontaneity. And Im not saying that the above example, on their own, will break your budget…but when this happens frequently, it will derail your best efforts at budgeting.
A lot of people who budget, ‘plan’ for ‘spontaneity’ with a little fund of cash they can dip into should the moment call for some awesome unexpected adventures or purchases. I think this is a great idea.
In the end, it’s all very well to moan about budgeting killing spontaneity, but it just comes down to bigger picture stuff. Do you want that face cream now (which, ps, won’t work) or do you want reach your goal on travelling around the world sooner?