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Old 11-13-2014, 01:25 AM   #21
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Me being a 23 year old with a girlfriend, I have mine set at about 380 a month including dining out, movies, and the occasional guitar gear. I most of the time try to stay under that if I can though.

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Old 11-13-2014, 03:36 AM   #22
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$300/month is low compared to DW and I, but it would depend on what you include in "entertainment" and what % of your total spending entertainment is. You might be relatively low in entertainment yet higher in another expense category, but so what. In the end, what matters most is your savings rate...
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Old 11-13-2014, 04:04 AM   #23
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Like many we don't really have a separate line item for entertainment. Spending on that is kind of "lumpy" in that it can be a lot one month and then practically zero for four or so months. For example next month about 12 of us are taking the grandnieces and their parents on the Polar Express train ride. This is way over their entertainment budget so the rest of us fogies split the cost just so we could do it. It will involve some hotel expenses and meals, but since we're only staying one night it won't be much overall. We bought the tickets last December because it sells out quickly.
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Old 11-13-2014, 09:18 AM   #24
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Is dining out considered as "entertainment"?

I budget $400 per month for playing slot machines at casinos.
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Old 11-13-2014, 09:51 AM   #25
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Things I include and don't include in the entertainment budget:

Include:

Tickets to any shows, movies, exhibits, entrance fees, etc...
Eating out, drinks at a bar, coffee out, etc...
Any use of public transportation while out for the day, ferry, cable car, taxi, etc...
Some recreational activities like bowling, fishing

Don't include:

Any overnight stay in a hotel (travel/vacation budget)
Any dining out while staying overnight (travel/vacation budget)
Expensive recreational activities like golf, skiing (golf/travel budget)
Fuel for the car (transportation budget)
Any purchase of a material item

My $300 per person budget includes $300 joint spending and $150 each with their own pocket money.
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Old 11-13-2014, 09:58 AM   #26
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My "entertainment" category includes movies, shows, museums, parks and the like. My budget for 2 is $180 / month. We've actually spent something closer to $50 a month.

Most of our entertainment is free:
  • Visiting with friends or relatives or having them over at our house. Those costs are generally categorized as "food" (including any alcohol).
  • Kindle - free books or library
  • Beaches, parks, etc
  • Playing with the dog or the bird (costs get categorized as pets)
TV/Internet/Phone is $150 / month and is not included in Entertainment.


Golf, Hobbies etc come out of our monthly "allowance" ($250 / person / month) and do not get categorized lower than "allowance".


Entrance fees to Theme Parks, Zoo, etc get categorized as "vacation" since we're very "staycation" types.
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Old 11-13-2014, 11:14 AM   #27
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We budget $3,500 a year for Entertainment, roughly $300 a month for two people. That includes retail wine and beer purchases for home consumption (Am a bit chagrined to admit that a very healthy chunk of our 2014 Entertainment budget went to keeping our home well stocked in both. I blame it on the fact that we spent time in some darn nice breweries and wineries during our recent 6 month RV trip. ) It also includes movie, theater, dance, symphony, sports and museum tickets, our Lifelong Learning program, educational DVD's and ballroom dance lessons and parties. Almost every theater, symphony, sport and dance ticket was purchased at half price via Goldstar, so we appear to have actually averaged about one Entertainment night out a week this year so far, even with the generous amount of alcohol purchasing we did!

We have a separate category for Restaurants that is currently being budgeted at $2,400 a year, or $200 a month for two people. We enjoy little ethnic places (Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, S. American, Mexican) and also often use TravelZoo and Groupon deals to try new places. We'll also do a couple of Roy's/Morton's type blowout nights a year for special events. All told it looks like we ate out about 50 times in 2014, plus another 25 times during our RV Travels (which comes from Travel money) plus another 20 or so times while on a foreign country tour (also from Travel money). Hmm, I honestly had no idea we ate out that often! No wonder I've been having to run more miles than usual to keep my weight down!

Not included in above is our Hobby budget, which includes funding for our many physical activities.

I have a very detailed, item-specific budget!
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Old 11-13-2014, 12:00 PM   #28
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I don't really have a specific budget for anything but instead I track my net worth. As long as my overall net worth is going up "on an annual basis", I don't worry about it too much and just try to enjoy retirement.

However, I do have a general idea on how much I spend on what I consider entrainment. For me entertainment are things like, gambling , traveling for pleasure, NetFlix, Sat TV, Sat Radio, shooting/reloading. My best estimate/guess so far this year for such entertainment expenses would probably average out to be about 5 to 6k per month.
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:12 AM   #29
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As the responses show, the amount is going to be very dependent on the definition of "entertainment".

My wife and I averaged $3,150/year over the last 7 years. I include a new TV and computer and certain meals out in that number. (and I would include golfing and skiing if I did those things)

I think the BLS survey is a good source because you can get a detailed list of things they include. Their number for a couple over age 60 in 2013 is $2,670.
Consumer Expenditures Survey
Their number comes from detailed interviews with more than 600 couples.
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:52 AM   #30
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I think the BLS survey is a good source because you can get a detailed list of things they include. Their number for a couple over age 60 in 2013 is $2,670.
Consumer Expenditures Survey
Their number comes from detailed interviews with more than 600 couples.
Couples should be able to come up with their own free "entertainment"!
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:30 AM   #31
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I didn't include wine in my previous post. I stockpile wine when it is on sale at Grocery Outlet. I have always known I could never tell cheap wine from expensive wine. It was a nice surprise to find out a number of studies have shown wine experts could not tell the difference either:

Wine-tasting: it's junk science | Life and style | The Guardian
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:41 AM   #32
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Couples should be able to come up with their own free "entertainment"!
That made me laugh.... But then I realized it's not free... at least not for many couples past a "certain age"... The "little blue pills" aren't free. And in the US - they're often not covered under health insurance.
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:52 AM   #33
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Couples should be able to come up with their own free "entertainment"!
Most definitely!
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Old 11-14-2014, 11:08 AM   #34
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Family of 4. We budget roughly $400 a month total for restaurants, shows, spectator sports, and other date nights or family outings.

We have separate budgets for hobbies, including for kids' sports leagues, sailing (a big budget), travel, etc.

This is a hard category to compare because I think it means something different to everyone.
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Old 11-14-2014, 12:11 PM   #35
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FWIW, here is the BLS's definition of "entertainment" expenses in the CES Glossary:

Quote:
ENTERTAINMENT
Fees and admissions includes fees for participant sports; admissions to sporting events, movies, concerts, and plays; health, swimming, tennis and country club memberships; fees for other social, recreational, and fraternal organizations; recreational lessons or instruction; rental of movies, and recreation expenses on trips.

Television, radio, and sound equipment includes television sets, video recorders, video cassettes, tapes, discs, disc players, video game hardware, video game cartridges, cable TV, radios, phonographs, tape recorders and players, sound components, records, compact discs, and tapes (including records, compact discs, and tapes purchased through mail order clubs), musical instruments, and rental and repair of TV and sound equipment.

Pets, toys, hobbies, and playground equipment includes pets, pet food, pet services, veterinary expenses, etc.; toys, games, hobbies, and tricycles; and playground equipment.

Other entertainment equipment and services includes indoor exercise equipment, athletic shoes, bicycles, trailers, purchase and rental of motorized campers and other recreational vehicles, camping equipment, hunting and fishing equipment, sports equipment (winter, water, and other), boats, boat motors and boat trailers, rental of boats, landing and docking fees, rental and repair of sports equipment, photographic equipment and supplies (film and film processing), photographer fees, repair and rental of photo equipment, fireworks, and pinball and electronic video games.
Note that it does not include restaurants. BLS puts that with"Food" in a sub-category called "Food away from home."

I combine restaurants and entertainment in one category, and have a separate category for groceries. For us, restaurants are a form of entertainment, not sustenance. However, it does make it difficult to compare with BLS statistics if you don't follow their definitions. But those comparisons are secondary to my internal tracking and control objectives.
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Old 11-16-2014, 05:00 PM   #36
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FWIW, here is the BLS's definition of "entertainment" expenses ...

Note that it does not include restaurants. BLS puts that with"Food" in a sub-category called "Food away from home."

I combine restaurants and entertainment in one category, and have a separate category for groceries. For us, restaurants are a form of entertainment, not sustenance. However, it does make it difficult to compare with BLS statistics if you don't follow their definitions. But those comparisons are secondary to my internal tracking and control objectives.
Thanks for the addition. The nice thing about BLS data is that they disclose this kind of detail.

We also include restaurants in "entertainment" or "travel". Stopping at the DQ while driving to our kids is "travel". Taking them to a restaurant after we get there is "entertainment". OTOH, for my kids who have FT jobs and children of their own, a stop at Subway can be "sustenance".

Note that the "food away" in the BLS numbers includes other things, e.g. school lunches.
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Old 11-16-2014, 05:21 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post
I didn't include wine in my previous post. I stockpile wine when it is on sale at Grocery Outlet. I have always known I could never tell cheap wine from expensive wine. It was a nice surprise to find out a number of studies have shown wine experts could not tell the difference either:

Wine-tasting: it's junk science | Life and style | The Guardian
I'm the same way, our local grocery store was clearing out some $8 a bottle wine for $2, so I asked for some boxes and bought 24 bottles

I'm starting to think we need to live it up a little more, including red-box movies, wine, restaurants when not on vacation, we spend $160/person

We don't have a budget, we are so naturally cheap that we don't need one. When we decide to go for lunch/supper we pick which restaurant from the choice of coupons we have. There is always our favorites, or sometimes we will try a new place. Almost always the coupons are 2:1, or a minimum of free appetizer (worth $8).
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Old 11-17-2014, 05:20 AM   #38
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We budget for $300/month for "entertainment" costs for two adults but that does not include any travel costs ($1000/month) or TV/Internet/Cable/Gaming costs ($210/month).
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Old 11-17-2014, 08:06 AM   #39
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If we don't include dining out as entertainment, we spend almost nothing. If we do count dining out, well, we spend a fortune since we are often paying for my DS (who lives at home) and DD (and husband) and father. Dining out is probably our single largest expense and it really needs to come down some.
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Old 11-17-2014, 11:39 AM   #40
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We allow ourselves $100 per month for pin money.

We have absolutely no "free" time outside of work,chores, etc. And haven't eaten out in a decade or more, there just isn't any time for that. Peak pressure-cooker years I suppose, we'll see how things change once ER occurs.
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