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What % of budget = fun?
Old 06-06-2010, 08:00 PM   #1
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What % of budget = fun?

Lately as a single guy in his 30's I've made an effort to date more and go out more. So far so good and I'm having a pretty good time - no details will be provided though.

Having said that I'm spending alot more on going out. A night out at the bar is minimum 50 bucks after a few drinks, cover, cab, etc. Being in a bar sipping water just isn't as fun. Taking someone on a date is expensive too of course. Anyways my food (toiletries, groceries + eating out) and "entertainment" portion of my budget now makes up almost 1/2 of my monthly expenditures as my other expenses are kept very low.

I group these two together because let's say i meet a freind for wings and drinks. Is this really entertainment or food? It's a bit of both so I just lump it all together. Anyways i was just wondering what others are spending in these categories as a % of your total expenses. I posted in this forum as i figure the younger people could relate more to this.
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:17 PM   #2
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Heh...well there young feller, I ain't no youngin'...shoot, I'm an ol' decrepit woman of 52.

So when you get to be may age...figger on about 15 to 20 percent of your budget bein' sin....

For now, if you're payin' your bills and savin' some bucks, I say have a good time with the rest....
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:27 PM   #3
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For me, I have a separate category for entertainment and food. Something like going out to eat I put as entertainment. Something like buying groceries, I put as groceries and supplies (food). Similarly, I have a subcategory called "gasoline" in my automobile expense categroy for regular fill ups. Yet, I'm going on vacation soon and will fill up my car, but I put that expense under "vacation" not under automobile.

I guess, as long as you keep track of the expenses consistently, that is what's important to make the budget work.
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:27 PM   #4
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I think a lot of it depends on how hard you want to work at saving for retirement, how much money you make, and a lot of other individual factors.

I'd say the right amount of money for fun is the least amount you can spend, without causing too much pain. It probably varies, even during each of our lives. Push on it gently to see how much you can save, but don't push yourself too hard. You need to enjoy life, too.
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:36 PM   #5
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It doesn't need to be a percentage. But you need to examine your cash flow and determine how much you want/need to save for retirement and an emergency fund -- and maybe other things such as a home down payment fund, kids-to-college fund or whatever is appropriate in your situation -- and if you have cash flow after those goals are met, sure -- have some fun! As I've often said, it's important to prepare for the future, but there's no guarantees we'll be there to see the future we're sacrificing for, so there's nothing wrong with living for enjoying today if your cash flow allows it.
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Old 06-06-2010, 09:12 PM   #6
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I'm young(30) and single and I still try to keep my entertainment expenses under 10% of total expenses. I do not include groceries/toiletries in my entertainment expenses like the OP. If I go out to a fast food place by myself that's a grocery expense. If I go out with other people that's an entertainment expense. I'm under $100 most months but a single good night out can top $50 easily even if you're only paying for yourself.

My advice would be quality over quantity. In other words, go out less frequently but really live it up when you do.
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:12 PM   #7
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I'm not sure whether you're saying that
a. people over 35 can't relate to spending $$ on fun (hardly true - haven't you noticed that cruises and expensive restaurants are full of older people?) or
b. that you are not sure "wings" qualify as food. They don't; and furthermore, I think that by age 30, you should be able to afford something better to eat

Anyway, I am going to make a huge generalization and say that almost everything (including bar food) is more fun when you're younger. Also, it sounds like you have emerged from some kind of dating cocoon, and did not do much dating during your 20's, when it would have been even more fun. I say, spend away.

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I group these two together because let's say i meet a freind for wings and drinks. Is this really entertainment or food? I posted in this forum as i figure the younger people could relate more to this.
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:14 PM   #8
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For us, I would say 15% for music/concert/eating out, and 15% for travel. So a total of 30% is fun money. As long as we are saving a decent amount, I don't think this is too high. These 30% sure makes life a lot more enjoyable (says me, who subscribes to the opera and just came back from a theater show).
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Old 06-06-2010, 11:05 PM   #9
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I say go out and spend as much as you can stand as you are only in your thirties once. Your spending goes down as you age. As an example I had a Corvette in my thirties and now I don't even look twice at them. Back then I did the bar scene and chased chicks. Today I have no interest but do have great memories.
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Old 06-07-2010, 12:49 AM   #10
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Going to bars and such.....................

Getting lucky.... priceless

In all seriousness, you sometimes have to spend a bit to find a mate. Do you want to retire at 35 alone? Whether a bar is the best place to find someone is another topic. I'll leave that for another thread.
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Old 06-07-2010, 12:52 AM   #11
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I group these two together because let's say i meet a freind for wings and drinks. Is this really entertainment or food? It's a bit of both so I just lump it all together.
Just file it under posse. Entertainment, food, and liquid refeshment doncha know?
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Old 06-07-2010, 01:35 AM   #12
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Do you want to retire at 35 alone?
Sounds good to me!
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Old 06-07-2010, 03:11 AM   #13
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Sounds good to me!
Your call, enjoy!
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Old 06-07-2010, 06:33 AM   #14
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Entertainment as a percentage of one's total income is not something I ever looked at. What I considered was discretionary income, that is, what is left over after the rent/mortgage, car payments if any, groceries, utilities, etc. are paid.

There were times when a "big night on the town" consisted of a rented movie, a frozen pizza, and a six-pack. In more lean times, entertainment consisted of a library book. Fortunately that period didn't last long.
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Old 06-07-2010, 07:18 AM   #15
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For me (31, no longer single), it was in part a matter of controlling the entertainment environment. My favorite place to take first dates was a great coffee house with a fire, that also had a full bar, decent kitchen, and live music every night, but closed around 11. Easy to take a date for coffee (you don't look like you're trying to get someone drunk), order a beer (since that's probably what oyu both want anyway), and get a little bit of food if the date goes long and well. On great occasions, invite her to join you in the back room where the live music starts at 9, and you're still out by 11 when the place closes (great for work nights). The point is that it's a space where you can control the costs - just coffee is fine, food good but not wildly expensive, music free, just usually buy the musician a beer or buy their cd.

Other favorites were taking them sailing (i work boats, so something unusual that I don't have to pay for to borrow or go on someone's tour), free music in Chicago parks, take a free class at a museum, etc. The activities are actually one of the big budget savers of urban living (you're paying for it through other means, but they are available), and honestly, unless you're just looking to get laid, I found that meeting women through other activities (including martial arts training and sailing) presented a far better selection of candidates and opportunities as well.
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:10 AM   #16
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mmmm...coffee house w/bar, fire, kitchen, music = romantic

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My favorite place to take first dates was a great coffee house with a fire, that also had a full bar, decent kitchen, and live music every night, but closed around 11.

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Old 06-07-2010, 11:12 AM   #17
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I just keep a separate "stash" of $$$ for "entertainment" - this way, in addition to your "budgeted" entertainment money plus any extra $$ goes into the fun fund. As long as your savings goals and monthly expenses are met, have a great time! Whenever you get a raise, that should increase your savings, not necessarily your fun!
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Old 06-07-2010, 11:16 AM   #18
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We spend relatively little money on "entertainment", but about half of our budget goes to "fun", i.e. discretionary spending (dining, entertainment, travel, etc...)
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Old 06-07-2010, 01:04 PM   #19
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Lately as a single guy in his 30's I've made an effort to date more and go out more. So far so good and I'm having a pretty good time - no details will be provided though.

Having said that I'm spending alot more on going out. A night out at the bar is minimum 50 bucks after a few drinks, cover, cab, etc. Being in a bar sipping water just isn't as fun. Taking someone on a date is expensive too of course. Anyways my food (toiletries, groceries + eating out) and "entertainment" portion of my budget now makes up almost 1/2 of my monthly expenditures as my other expenses are kept very low.

I group these two together because let's say i meet a freind for wings and drinks. Is this really entertainment or food? It's a bit of both so I just lump it all together. Anyways i was just wondering what others are spending in these categories as a % of your total expenses. I posted in this forum as i figure the younger people could relate more to this.
Hmm, I spent 3.49% in 2009 on restaurants on the weekends and 5.08% for weekday lunches at restaurants. I spent 2.51% on video games and 1.58% on movies. Also, .23% on books. So, that is 13.30% on entertainment last year.

In comparison I spent 30.41% on taxes.
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Old 06-07-2010, 02:16 PM   #20
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I guess I'm boring. Almost 30, and we probably spend 10% on entertainment/fun/dining out. But we are married with kids, so our situation is different than yours. Yesterday was a typical "good evening" for DW and I. Kids at grandma's, we cooked a nice meal, caught up on some tv shows over dinner, and relaxed on the porch for a while, read some of our respective books, downed a bottle of wine, enjoyed a couple hours of conversation before bedtime. As you can see, we are cheap dates!

We do spend on vacations occasionally but don't go crazy.

In regards to the $50 bar tab, I would think of it in terms of what value are you getting for your money. If a nice weekend getaway costs $600, then 12 nights out partying should be "worth" around one weekend getaway. Or compare it to some other cost to see what value you are getting. If the goal is to find a temporary or permanent mate, then the $50 is just a cost of doing business.
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