How to fight FOMO while living on a budget

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February 18, 2018

FOMO is real and alive in my world. It is definitely 99.9% of the reason that I was ever in debt in the first place. (In case you aren't quite sure what "FOMO" stands for, it's a catchy little acronym stands for the "fear of missing out.")

I'm a "yes" girl, sometimes because I am just not great at saying "no" to things, but also, often because I just don't want to miss out on a fun experience.  

Gratefully, as I've gotten older, my FOMO has lessened a bit and I am able to better discern what events I really don't want to miss out on. It helps when you know yourself well and have an idea of the events and experiences you are okay to miss out on because you know you won't enjoy them. (i.e. when my friends went skydiving last year). 

The FOMO that really got me into debt was the fear of missing out on the latest clothing trend (lol at my Ann Taylor Loft credit card that I was going to "pay off" every time I used it) and the fear of missing out on any great trip my friends were taking. 

These days, that type of FOMO doesn't happen as often because I budget and plan for the things that I want to spend my money on. When I know a big trip is coming up, I formulate a plan to tuck away some cash from my paycheck each month to save for it (this is called a sinking fund...we're going to talk about these soon.) If there is a big item I want to purchase, and I don't quite have enough room in my monthly budget, I pick up some extra classes to teach at the gym or I babysit. 

But sometimes there are still some things that I want to do that are a bit pricier than I can, or am willing to, pay. However, I've discovered a great tip that can help avoid the FOMO while you're living on a budget:

V O L U N T E E R

This tactic only applies to certain situations, but the situation it can apply to are big ones.

If you've ever lived in Houston, you know we've got this tiny, small event called the R O D E O. It is one my favorite (if not THE favorite) things about Houston. For three straight weeks there is a professional rodeo, followed by a concert every single night. And not like little, no-name concerts, but concerts with artists like Brad Paisley, Chris Stapleton, Willie Nelson, The Chainsmokers, Meghan Trainor, etc etc. It is fun, entertaining, and a great reason to wear cowboy boots...which are now the only kind of boots I own other than snow boots and I don't know how I got to this point in life, but anyway I digress.  

Tickets to the rodeo can be fairly inexpensive at around $20/ticket to sit up in nose bleed sections, but if you've got multiple artists you want to see (or you love the actual rodeo so much and that is your favorite part), $20 can add up. A way to keep that money from adding up is to volunteer.

Last year was my first year as a Rodeo volunteer (33,000 people volunteer every year - insane) and I was a Gatekeeper. I scanned tickets of rodeo-goers, and got to sit really close to the action. Working six 8 hour shifts, over the course of 3 weeks, allowed me free entry into any show, any night of the week. A great tradeoff for a fun experience and an opportunity to meet a lot of new friends.

Plus I got to wear THIS outfit:

  When in Texas, amirite?

When in Texas, amirite?

Another first for me last year was participating in my first Tough Mudder. The Tough Mudder is a 10 mile run with 20 obstacles along the way (obstacles such as belly crawling through mud, being hoisted over really tall walls, sliding down slides into giant ice baths, etc). It was an experience that I thought surely I was going to hate, but actually ended up really enjoying, primarily because the group of people I participated with was top-notch. 

  Exhibit A

Exhibit A

The week after we completed our Tough Mudder, everyone was already gearing up for wanting to do another one in the fall. At first I was like, "nah, bro, I'm good, y'all have fun," but the more people that chimed in that they were all in again, the more I wanted to also be in again. However, I really didn't want to drop another $140 on a ticket to participate. 

After some digging, I found out that this, too, had a volunteer opportunity. A Tough Mudder is a two-day, weekend event and you can either participate in one on a Saturday or a Sunday. If you volunteer for half of one of the events, you can participate in the other day's event for $40; if you volunteer for a full day, you can participate for $20. That's $120 in savings, y'all. $120 in savings and the chance to make some friends - what could be better?

So while volunteering might not always be the most glamorous way to spend your time, it's always a great opportunity to meet new people, save some money, and kick FOMO in the face.

What other strategies do you use to help combat FOMO? 

(PS - if you don't have a budget template that you already love, I've got a FREE one you can take for a spin. Just click the picture below to download it!)

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