Over the past year, I've occasionally used the “Ask the Readers” feature at Get Rich Slowly to poll people about their budgets and spending habits. So far, I've asked folks:
- How much do you spend on food?
- How much do you spend on clothes?
- How much do you spend on gifts?
- How much do you spend on health insurance?
- How much do you spend on housing?
- How much do you spend on kids?
For today's installment of this irregular series, I turned to Twitter for topic requests. Tony Dobson (@toneboy) wants to know: How much do you spend on fun?
I like this question because it leaves the definition of “fun” up to each individual reader. So, for instance, even though I enjoy my Crossfit classes and my Spanish lessons, I'm not going to count those as fun. I'm going to count those as “self-improvement”. (We'll talk about self-improvement during the next episode of “how much do you spend?”) To me, spending on fun is all about the movies and concerts and restaurants and recreation. It's the stuff that we enjoy but which isn't necessarily productive.
I was going to share my numbers but they're, well, bizarre. I mean, one month I'll spend less than $20 on entertainment, and the next I'll spend more than $200. And there's no rhyme or reason. During December, I might spend $75 to download a few seasons of TV shows from iTunes, but then not spend anything else on iTunes purchases for the rest of the year. Or I just bought tickets to see KD Lang when she comes to Portland next month. That's $75 for a concert, but there may not be another concert expense all year.
And in April my entertainment expenses were very high, but that's easily explainable. I've begun dating, and so am eating out more often and doing more things outside the apartment. (Maybe I need a new category in Quicken just for dating?)
In reality, though, my entertainment expenses are a very small part of my income, especially now that I've stopped collecting comic books. (I have spent $0 on comic books since last September. In fact, I'm probably going to “hire” a friend to sell most of them for me.)
So, I think this question will be fun to answer, but it may be difficult to answer. I mean, I have all my spending numbers at my fingertips and I still can't figure out how to quantify how much I spend on fun.
What about you? How much do you spend on fun? For you, what does this mean? What kind of fun things are you buying with your bucks? Do you wish you were spending less? How do you keep costs down? Or do you even worry about that? (For me, as long as I'm spending less than 30% of my income on Wants, I don't care where the money goes.)
Author: J.D. Roth
In 2006, J.D. founded Get Rich Slowly to document his quest to get out of debt. Over time, he learned how to save and how to invest. Today, he's managed to reach early retirement! He wants to help you master your money — and your life. No scams. No gimmicks. Just smart money advice to help you reach your goals.