Budgeting Techniques: Prioritize Purchases vs Delayed Spending

budgeting tips, creating a budget, sticking to the budget

“I know it’s a lot of money, but I was wondering….” said my wife as we drove home from work.

She went on to explain that she was out of some facial products and was wondering if we could allocate some funds to buy new ones. The salon where she gets them was running a sale, offering several different products as a discounted package. If we agreed, the package was being held for her and we could pick it up the next day.
Her request signaled trouble, because it was only Tuesday.

We have a set amount of discretionary funds each week, and the purchase of her facial products would be purchased using money from this fund. We try very hard to not spend any of our discretionary funds during the week, so that we can have the maximum amount available for weekend activities. My wife didn’t see a problem with just deducting it from the weekend’s funds because we didn’t have any plans anyway.

I expressed my concerns:

Plans Out Of Nowhere

It was true that we currently didn’t have any plans. But plans have a way of popping up. Was she prepared to decline an invitation because we spent a large chunk of our discretionary funds before we even got to the weekend?


By the time the weekend rolls around, we may accidentally forget that we had already spent a significant portion of our discretionary funds. We may find out on Sunday, when we reconcile our spending for the weekend, that we had overspent.

Note: This is a major reason that I like to withdraw our discretionary funds in cash, but we’re not as diligent about it as we should be.

Now vs. Later Solutions

My preference would be to hold off on buying the facial products until the end of the weekend. I suggested we set the money aside with the intention of using the funds to buy them, then go through the rest of the week and the weekend keeping this in mind. If we have the money at the end of the weekend, we can buy the products.

My wife on the other hand, would rather prioritize the facial products. Buy them now to make sure she has them, and then deal with the consequences as they arise. Maybe no potential plans will surface, maybe my concern is all for nothing.

In this instance, we decided to take my wife’s course of action. I’m 100% OK with it, as I would be happy with sanding my deck and watching football all weekend. But I’d feel bad if an opportunity was presented that my wife really wanted to take advantage of, but our remaining discretionary funds couldn’t cover the cost.

Do you worry about spending too much of your discretionary funds early in your budget period, or would you rather prioritize the things most important to you? What would you do?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • This is why we have our discretionary fund allocated throughout the month. We keep track and if we go through it at the beginning, then we either have to go without for the rest of the month or make other adjustments. I used to split it by pay period, but even that was too unpredictable and was just adding more micromanaging that wasn’t giving us benefit. Something to consider.

  • @MoneyBeagle – I’m afraid that if we would do our discretionary fund on a monthly basis, we would run the risk of running out of money too early in the month (instead of early in the week). I appreciate the suggestion, though!

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