Please, can I have some more?

Food, food, glorious food, we all love it, but how can we afford to enjoy those naughty adventures at those restaurants we want to experience? Or, should we create a food budget, be healthy and save money?

I say there is a compromise! One where we can enjoy being spoilt with tantalising delights, and also stick to a well prepared sensible food plan to afford the pleasures when available.

So we all know there needs to be a balance between eating out and at home, the challenge between motivating ourselves to prepare our own food and enjoying being spoilt.

Every couple needs a regular date night to reflect, reconnect and relax, but make sure you make it stress-free by thinking ahead and being creative. Plan for success by choosing the restaurants you would like to visit, at least a few weeks in advance. The next steps are quite fun; plan your budget by studying the menu before going, know the wine and food on offer, so you are prepared to enjoy the experience.

Dining as a group is often a great way to experience more for less. Sharing is a caring, cost-effective way to experience more of the menu; spreading love by ordering various dishes and sharing the culinary delights.

Buy a selection of wine, by the bottle, using the purchasing power of the group. This is a lower cost way to experience more and enjoy those varieties that often are missed.

We all have those little pleasures that we like to indulge. That may be anything from a new pair of shoes, a new car or property. How do we separate emotionally driven choices from smart, sensible investment decisions?

Think about the last time you thought about selling your car. Let me guess you washed, vacuumed and maybe polished it, and then you most likely felt like keeping it.

Be aware of what is driving our purchasing behaviours. The presentation of anything is what is influencing these decisions to buy. The shinier it is, if the ‘Jones’s have it’, or if a brand name is embossed on it, it plays with our emotions, and influences our decision to purchase.

The more money we earn, the more money we spend. But the more important consideration is where we get the money from. The plastic in our wallet can seem like our best friend when we want something and quickly becomes our nemesis when we need to pay it off. I recommend trying to save ahead of the special night out, so there are no aftershocks when the credit card statement arrives.

When I am speaking with clients, I take the emotion to purchase out of the room and discuss the practical opportunities and implications to consider. You can do this by writing a list of positives and negatives, likes and dislikes to determine whether the considered purchase is beneficial or needed.

This may not be for everyone, but if you know what you can afford, then achieving the experience becomes more enjoyable and manageable.

Planning for that special night out or the impulsive purchase can be better considered by taking a deep breath, thinking about it and forward planning, and taking the time to enjoy that indulgence you deserve.

As always keep smiling, take care and if you have any questions email me les@futureproof.com.au.

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