Barrel Racing Life · Inspiration · Lifestyle

5 Ways I Budget for Happiness

Happy Monday everyone!

With the holidays approaching it is always important to stay on track with your budget and implement a new budget plan for the new year.
This past year I have done a lot better with budget planning and sticking to it. I’m pretty proud of myself for not over spending each month. When you own three horses, you can’t just go out and buy clothes, home decorations, make-up and other spur of the moment purchases every time you run to the store or the mall. A lot of planning and self-control goes into spending and saving money.
Saving money can be difficult since it takes some time to see the benefits of all that hard work, but the end result makes it all worthwhile. On top of saving money on the aspects of your life above. One helpful tip is to take a look at the bills you’re currently paying. There could be the ability to either reduce and change these payments to open up more you can save. For example, if you’re like the other 44 million Americans with student loans, you can looking into student loan refinancing. Companies like Earnest, look at your entire financial profile to give you the lowest rate possible. Ultimately, the first step is laying out all your bills to understand where your money goes and where you can save.
With a move happening in the next few weeks, I have been very strict about spending, since I currently do not have a job lined up. I want to be able to allow myself to have time to find a job that I will be passionate about and one that will boost my career. My budget is tighter than normal, but it will be nice to have some extra cushion while I’m unemployed. Not only am I saving money for the move, but I’m also trying to save up money for future endeavors. Ideally, I would like to purchase a commuter vehicle this new year and save up for a house the next few years. Sticking to a budget and saving up money this coming year will be one of my main goals for the new year. It is challenging at times and uses a lot of self-control, but in the end it is very rewarding especially when you budget for happiness.

With my normal budget, there are “5 ways I budget for happiness”

1. Budgeting for Dining-Out and Coffee runs

If you know me well, you know that I love to eat out and I love going on coffee runs! I’m not sure what it is about a warm cup of a delicious flavored mocha or a juicy burger and fries, but they give me happiness. Although dinning-out and going on coffee runs comes with a big price and cut from your budget every month! To help budget for dining-out, my boyfriend and I plan meals and try to eat at home all week and most of the weekend. We try to limit ourselves to dine-out only on the weekends. It’s healthier and a lot cheaper on our monthly budget to meal plan and eat at home. It also allows us to save up money so we can splurge when we do dine-out, go out with friends or use that money on other things.

Dutch Brothers is one of my favorite Coffee Places back home 🙂

Daily Coffee runs can really mess up your budget. Spending $4-$5 for coffee a few times a week might seem like a small purchase, but it adds up quickly depending on how many times you spend during the month. This is one bad habit of happiness, that I have always struggled with! I received a Keurig from my parents as a present last year and it has really helped me not splurge every month on coffee runs. I also try to substitute coffee with tea. I do try to treat myself on Friday mornings at work with Starbucks or another local coffee shop. I also tend to go on a coffee run on Saturday or Sunday. That way I only spend about $5-10 on coffee runs each week and it is an award that I made it through the week.

2. Budgeting for my expensive Horse Habit

I currently own 3 horses,  I currently board two of them down in Utah with me and the other I have at my parents house back home. I have always been horse crazy, as you can see on the blog. I train and compete my horses in Barrel Racing. Owning horses is flat out expensive, I often wonder about how much money I would have if I didn’t own horses. However, I would be absolutely miserable since horses are my escape and passion, they bring me so much happiness in my life.

My horse Roxy enjoying her Chiropractic/Acupuncture Exam with Dr. Harper

In budgeting for my horses, I budget for monthly expenses,  horse supplies/tack, maintenance expenses, competition expenses, riding clothing, and emergency expenses.

  • My Monthly Expenses are Horse Boarding fees which include hay, grain, supplements, and bedding.
  • There are many other purchases that vary every month. With horses you always have tack or supplies (medical/grooming) that might need to be purchased. For more expensive items like saddles, I try to plan ahead and save up for quite a few months if possible.
  • Maintenance Expenses also vary per month. I have to budget for farrier expenses every 6-8 weeks, Chiropractic, Massage, and/or Acupuncture appointments which are usually every 2-3 months, de-wormers, yearly veterinary appointments for yearly shots, coggins/health certificates and any other routine veterinary care depending on the horse/situation. Sending a horse to training or riding lessons is also another major expense.
  • Competition Expenses vary by season. Usually I don’t attend many competitions in late fall/winter. I have to really watch my budget in the Spring through early Fall which is the busy season. Competition fees can be anywhere from $25-$100 per horse and run. Weekend races are expensive since you also have to pay stall fees and rv or hotel fees. Food and fuel also go into play with competitions since they are usually 1- 4 hours away.
  • Horse riding gear is another expense to budget for. Yes, riding jeans vary from regular jeans- my boyfriend still has yet to understand that! I also buy competition shirts, hats, and boots. I usually go through one pair of working-cowboy boots a year. I also tend to buy more dressier cowboy boots.
  • Finally, the worst is leaving some amount in your horse budget for emergencies. Horses are accident prone and they injure themselves at the worst times possible! Veterinary bills are very expensive so it is important to have some money to help cover those!

3. Budgeting for the Household

The third way I budget for Happiness, is by budgeting for the household. I view my current town house as my home, as a safe quiet place away from work and the barn. I try to budget for any household items like cooking wear, bedding or cleaning supplies to make the house more convenient. I also try to budget every once in a while for home decor, holiday decorations, photo frames and candles/wall flowers. I don’t splurge on these items every month but it is nice to a few times a year to make your home feel more like a home. Once I finally own my own home, I will feel more comfortable buying more household and decorations.

4. Budgeting for Self Care

Self-Care is important to keep anyone sane and happy. I’m not like most girls who find cosmetics, manicures, and pedicures extremely important. It’s probably because I would rather spend more money on my horses than myself. I do try to budget for hair appointments (a bout 3 a year) and products. I have long naturally curly hair so I have to buy some product, otherwise my hair would be all over the place! I do buy make-up just not very often, maybe only a few times a year when I run out. I try to budget to get my brows waxed a few times a year also. As for clothes, I usually only shop for clothes and shoes when the seasons change and I want to add a few items to my wardrobe for work or a night out on the town. Every once in a while, I do enjoy a manicure or pedicure with some friends.

5. Budgeting for Pleasure

Finally my fifth way I budget for happiness is for pleasure! When I say pleasure, I mean entertainment, adventure, and traveling. My boyfriend and I split paying for Netflix and Hulu which helps us stay entertained at home on during the week days. It is a great way to wind down after a busy day and watch an episode before going to bed.
Since we currently live away from both of our parents, we try to leave room in our budgets for visiting family and friends.
For day adventures and short weekend vacations, we also try to leave room in our budget for camping trips and road trips. We love just spending an afternoon driving down a backroad and exploring. Its fairly cheap and you never know what you can find.
This past year we planned for a fun vacation to Cheyenne Wyoming to watch the Frontier Day Rodeo. We have decided to plan 1-2 longer vacation type trips a year. The first summer we dated, we went to Braun Brothers Reunion in Challis, Idaho, which was a country music festival. We always have a blast and it’s nice to venture somewhere new!

 How do you budget for happiness?


14 thoughts on “5 Ways I Budget for Happiness

    1. Haha yes! I need to find or create a mug or t-shirt that says something like I run on Starbucks and fast horses! I always drink a bunch of Starbucks at weekend shows too!


  1. I love this idea! Budgeting for happiness is something that every budget should include! My budget for happiness would be dinner dates with my husband… He works a lot, and is on thirds, so that is our “fun time”


  2. I love your comment that your boyfriend has yet to understand the difference between regular jeans and riding jeans. I’ve tried explaining the difference between riding boots and boots I wear to work with my jeans. Hasn’t computed yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! He also does that! I have a few that I wear only as dress boots and my boyfriend doesn’t understand why I don’t wear them for riding! I’ve even showed him the difference with the heels! It’s so funny! He just wears his wranglers for everything same with his cowboy boots. I’m glad I’m not the only one!


  3. I can relate to #1 and #4. Coffee at $5 a pop can really add up, and I prefer barista-made coffee… which comes at a price 😦

    I’m not good with money per se (may be due to my ADHD), am trying to manage it better. Your idea of “budgeting for happiness” is a good one. I will have to have a good think about it. Maybe I’ll set it as a New Year’s resolution!


  4. My husband and I have been reassessing our finances since we got home! We love to travel, but somehow our money keeps flying out the door before we make it anywhere. To fix this we’ve been shaving off where we can and we’re putting some serious effort into paying off the PMI loan on our house this year. That alone should free up a couple hundred dollars a month! I wish you all the best!


  5. These are great!

    I also definitely budget my meals/coffees out, and try to eat at home as much as I can. I also budget for annual vacations (take a little out of my salary each week to save!) and budget my grocery spending to include the OCCASIONAL exciting item (like goats cheese… mmmm)

    Laura @


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