Entertainment budgets are tough to plan on without considering all things for the coming months. Most people simply assign a set number to their entertainment budget and then work the rest of their budget out around it. Why? Because we greatly value our fun! Everyone wants to have a good time and a certain amount of entertainment is necessary to live a happy life. Note that I did not say a certain amount of cash…
That said, here are some ways to save money on your entertainment needs that will help you stay on track in all categories of your budget:
Always survey the landscape coming first
Before you even think about considering an entertainment budget number for the month, make certain you have gone through all the things that are coming in the coming months. Most people look at the coming month and completely forget about looking longer. If you are budgeting November, for example, it would be unwise to budget as though Christmas is not around the corner. Do this in all months with known expenses that are coming.
Put emergency funds and paying yourself first
You would be shocked at the number of people that look to their entertainment before they look at personal savings. This is a surefire way to find yourself in trouble if anything goes wrong. (When, that is)
Set up a personal savings account that you pay yourself every payday and also an emergency fund.
These two things are always before entertainment.
Remember that entertainment budgets don’t determine fun
You can have all kinds of fun without having to spend money! The biggest mistake that people make is to set their fun expectations in line with how much money they have to spend. Forget that! Money is not necessary to have a great time and there are a million variations you can enjoy to make it different each time. You are not budgeting your fun!
Five percent is a general rule of thumb
Assuming you have the room in your budget, five percent is a rough estimate of what the average family should use. As your salary grows, so grows the potential for more entertainment budget. This is not a hard and fast rule by any means simply because not everyone has the same debt. If you have less debt and can make more room, then perhaps you can improve on that a bit. If you have more debt….you get the idea.
The above mentioned ways to save money on entertainment is really not tough if you do it in the right order. Take care of your other expenses and debts and then look at what room you have to spend money on fun. If you have little to even no money for entertainment, then find ways to have fun that are free. There are plenty of options out there!