Lockdown is dragging on and we all need a good boost. A great way to do that is turn the "fun money" in your budget into "feel-good" money.
In good times we should all have a fun money allotment in our budget. Even if it's just $5 a week for a good coffee or a little flutter on Sharesies.
If you do have your income intact, then you're probably spending less overall and it might not be a bad idea to even increase your feel-good money allocation until after lockdown.
Take the time to consider how that money might make you and others feel good in these trying times.
Some of the fun or feel-good is planning what to do with it and looking forward to spending each week. Budgeted fun or feel-good money has the real benefit of stopping us from blowing the budget. If we're too tight on ourselves eventually we'll crack.
That feel-good money can really help make you feel in control of part of your life when your normal routine has been taken away by lockdown restrictions, says Jose George, general manager of Canstar.
What's more, thinking of those dollars as feel-good money opens up new avenues. Yes, we can buy nice food or things that make us feel good. Sometimes using it for the benefit of others feels even better than buying for yourself. You might surprise friends with something they love. Or it may be giving that money to charities that are supporting the wider community.
Canstar's George says the reason we feel good when spending in this way during lockdown is because we're spending as part of our social mandate. "Having a flat white every day might normally be a treat, but (in lockdown) it supports the livelihood of someone else," he says.
For many people, me included, supporting your local businesses in these trying times makes you feel good, and hopefully does some good.
Everyone has a different way of supporting those businesses we love. I've been trying to go against my natural urges and buy takeaways from some of the local eateries that are doing it tough. Don't forget the other local shops that are doing click and collect or delivery.
Spend on Small (SOS) Business at SOSBusiness.nz was a great initiative that emerged in the first lockdown and has proved a winner for many businesses. It allows you to buy vouchers, or simply choose to donate to those businesses that desperately need your help. You can use those vouchers later, or just view them as a donation.
The messages accompanying purchases of the vouchers are full of feel-good vibes. "Miss your lunches ladies!", one wrote. "Your food is amazing and seeing you out there bringing your amazing food to the public is inspiring. Sending a little Koha and positive vibes." Another wrote: "Missing our coffee - Can't wait until we can come and enjoy our scone and coffee again. Hang in there team."
Everyone has different ways of feeling good, says George. "That could range from paying down some debt 'because it gives me the ability to feel like I'm in control of myself'.
"Another feel-good is: 'I've always wanted to take some risk in investments, and I've never done that before and I'm budgeting some money that I'm not able to spend on things I would normally have done.'
"'Maybe it's time for me to try that'. Put some money into crypto (or) into trying the share market out. It's feel-good because it's saying; 'I've got some control of my life'."
With the new platforms such as Sharesies, Hatch and Stake you only need a few dollars to get started. Watching that money rise, and sometimes fall, can become a great diversion from your boredom under lockdown and you can learn from it.
Start making a plan for your feel-good money now.