A lot of you have likely seen the Tweet that says, “You don’t go to Target when you need something. You go to Target and let Target tell you what you need.” Can anyone else relate whole-heartedly to that statement? I mean, who doesn’t like Target? And those clearance racks — oh man, my frugal-living heart could burst at the sight of all those clearance racks!
But if anything makes my wallet cry — you guessed it — it’s Target. I could spend hours at Target, y’all. The fact that Target has literally anything a mom could ever want or need is the very thing that makes that store thrive. It is so easy to get swept away by the Dollar Spot at the front door, or the abundant amount of overflowing clearance racks, or the absolutely adorable baby clothes — you know exactly what I’m talking about!
Seriously though, my poor wallet. I used to buy so many blankets, my husband must have thought I had a problem — and I probably did. I may be the saver in the relationship, but when I see a blanket on clearance? It takes some serious will-power to move right along without snagging it off the shelf.
So riddle me this: how many times have you bought something at Target, online, at the mall — anywhere — that you regretted later? Whether that was when you realized you could have used that money toward something a little more necessary, or maybe when you discovered the item weeks, months, or years later stuffed way back into the depths of your closet, totally unused?
It can be a real struggle to reign in your spending habits — trust me, I know, so how does one go about keeping themselves in check?
One of the things my husband established for himself while we were dating to control his spending was what he called his “toy savings.” It may sound a little funny, but that’s legit what we call it to this day!
Every month, we put a set amount into each of our “Toy Savings” accounts. If you’re really scrimping, this could be $10, or maybe you’re an avid spender and $100 is the absolute minimum you can spend without sacrificing your sanity. It doesn’t matter how much it is, as long as you know you can afford it. For us, it’s $50.
So what can you do with your “toy savings”?
Anything. You. Want.
The beauty of having a toy savings is that it exists solely for the purpose of providing you the ability to enjoy the money you have without breaking the bank. So, if you want a new pair of shoes, use your toy savings. If you want a manicure, use your toy savings. If you want a new iPhone, use your toy savings. Heck, if you want a rubber chicken, use your toy savings!
How exactly is a “toy savings” helpful?
1. Guilt-Free Spending
To be honest, I think I have buyer’s remorse before I purchase an item because I can almost feel the money leaving my account, so allowing myself a set amount to spend without necessitating any ounce of regret is seriously the best feeling ever.
This is awesome if you’re a saver. I once totally forgot I had a toy savings and when I checked my account, I had close to $200 in it! I ended up buying a completely new wardrobe and it. was. fantastic. And I didn’t have to feel guilty about it!
2. Limits Spending
It you’re the spender in the relationship, a toy savings can prove highly beneficial because it limits your purchasing — you know exactly how much you have and not a penny more. You also no longer have to worry about whether the $15 you just spent could have gone toward your next meal; if it’s in the budget, you’re golden!
3. Intentionality With Saving and Spending
The most essential part of having a toy savings is that it forces you to be intentional about how you spend and save your money, which is an incredibly important aspect in living frugally. Having a savings account for your purchases makes you stop and think “Do I really want this? Do I really need this? Do I really want to use my “toy savings” on something like this?” All of a sudden, that 1,562nd candle at Target doesn’t look so appealing.
In addition, it allows you the ability to save for what you want if you can’t afford it at that moment, which is an incredibly valuable thing to learn. If you want to buy something that costs $500 and you have a $50/month budget, you have to wait 10 months to buy it. Now, I get it — instant gratification is a wonderful thing, but learning to cope with delayed gratification and proving to yourself that you are willing to wait for what you want will certainly help you appreciate what you have so much more when you finally get to buy it!
Finally, let me explain what a toy savings is not.
A toy savings is not for things like groceries, gas, cars, general living expenses, and so on; for the most part, those are things you need. Your toy savings is for when you’re at the store and the chocolate chip cookies look ah-may-zing and you worked out today so you deserve it, or if you want to take a spontaneous road trip but you can’t justify spending that much on gas to get there, or if you’re drooling over the new iPhone XR but all you can realistically afford is a flip phone. Whatever it is that you want and don’t need, your toy savings is your best friend — just make sure you’re not using your other budget line-items for things you should be buying with your toy savings and you’re set!
The best part of having a guilt-free spending account is there is no limit on what you can use it for, but there is one requirement: you can only spend it on things you want. Tough, right? But, seriously — this isn’t for things you need, or the things your kids want, or the thing your partner wants you to get — it’s there for you and only you!
So what are you waiting for? Go add a toy savings to your budget and treat yo’ self — guilt-free!