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Having Fun While Being Fiscally Responsible: Managing Your ”Hobby” Budget

Posted by : Premraj | Posted on : Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Having fun and indulging in hobbies that we enjoy is an important part of life; but, it is easy to take this entitlement a bit too far, and get out of control with your spending with the idea that  you ‘’deserve’’ to do all of this stuff because you work hard, pay your bills on time ,are a law-abiding citizen , and all that jazz. It is your money, and you certainly have the right to do what you want with it, but if you find your ‘’hobby’’ budget is a bit bloated, and you know on some level, you should be smarter about your ‘’fun money,’’ here are some tips to help you do just that.

See Where You Can Trim the Fat

Carefully examine what you are spending your money on when it comes to your hobbies and other fun stuff; most of us spend money without thinking too carefully about it, and simply taking the time to review where it is going can easily help us see where we can make some tweaks and reduce our costs. If you have a motorcycle for example, see if you can find cheaper motorcycle insurance than the policy you currently have. Look to see if you can perhaps buy some items used instead of brand new. If you like going out to eat a lot, look out for coupons or special offers from certain establishments.  I am a big fan of the massage, and since I got them on a regular basis, and did not have any strong preferences for where, I found getting a membership at Massage Envy worked out great since the prices there were much lower than a typical spa.

Set Limits for Yourself

While simply telling yourself you will spend less money is a good way to start, this is kind of a vague intention that will falter quickly without some concrete planning behind it. Again, getting specific and writing things down can do wonders—I once read somewhere that writing down an intention makes you twice as likely to actually do it. Can’t remember the exact source, but based on my own experience, I believe it to be true.

If you think you may be spending too much money on nights out on the town, tell yourself you will only go out to dinner no more than two nights a week, or you will not spend more than X amount of dollars on eating out and alcohol. Commit to planning out meals for the week, and setting a day for shopping so you have what you need to cook at home, to reduce the temptation to go out instead.

If you have a hobby where you collect something, set a limit on how many new items you will purchase for yourself each month.

Make a Realistic Budget for All Expenses

Finally, one of the biggest thing you can do to rein in spending on leisure pursuits is make a budget—a realistic budget, mind you. This tip is one of those obvious things, but something many people fail to do in an effective way. There is a lot of ‘’estimating,’’ and working things out in your head. This won’t work—you need to get more specific . I know because I used to be one of those ‘’estimators,’’ and it was not getting me the results for which I was looking. It was not until I started really crunching numbers and getting things down on paper that I turned things around.

First and foremost, you need to figure out how much money you need for all your ‘’regular’’ expenses like rent, mortgage, utilities, cable bill, food and other regularly occurring costs.

Secondly, you have to figure out how much you are putting aside for retirement and other types of savings; if you are not doing this at all, please start. While unexpected life events may come up that alter this number from time to time, I find being very firm with this amount helps my ‘’discretionary’’ spending fall into line automatically. I never take money out of my savings unless I absolutely need it.

It might be a good idea to invest in some sort of budgeting program online.

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