Saving Money Tips – Set an Entertainment Allowance

Don’t we all just love to be entertained? There is nothing nicer than looking forward to going to the opera or attending a musical performance. We live in exciting times, as there are so many functions for us to participate in, that it can be difficult choosing what to attend and it can certainly be hard containing our spending habits.

A lot of entertainment can be quite expensive and most times we don’t realise how much a night out actually costs us. You not only have the cost of the event, but usually these sort of social outings cost us money in other ways such as taxis, drinks, clothes etc.

The best way to control the money that you do spend on entertainment is to set yourself a quarterly / yearly entertainment allowance. Below are some clues to help you do this.

1. Work out what you would like to do over the next quarter / year:

  • Visit galleries / exhibitions
  • Attend concerts / musical performances
  • Watch opera / ballet / dance
  • Attend pantomimes / theatre / shows / plays / musicals
  • Attend film festivals
  • Participate in balls / charity events
  • Go to circus shows / live performances / comedy shows

2. Estimate how much the tickets / entrance fares are going to cost you.3. Spend time working out the ‘hidden extras’ so you know the full cost of the function / event. There are often costs to consider such as:

  •  Buying / hiring attire – formal / semi-formal outfits
  •  Attending the hairdresser / make up artist
  •  Paying for accommodation / flights
  •  Hiring a car / paying for taxis / parking fees
  •  Eating out / drinks

4. Tally up the whole cost of your entertainment. Look at your budget and ensure your quarterly / yearly entertainment allowance will fit in with your overall budget. Remember entertainment is a “want” and not a “need”. You have other priorities and financial commitments in your budget to allow you to meet your “needs”. These must be met before deciding where else you “want” to spend your money.5. If your quarterly / yearly entertainment allowance is above what you have available in your budget, look for some alternatives:

  • Buy a cheaper class of ticket e.g. B reserve instead of A reserve
  • Go to a matinee showing instead of a night showing
  • Find an outfit in your existing wardrobe instead of buying / hiring an outfit
  • Get a friend / family member to do your hair / make up
  • Eat before going out
  • Drink water / juice / soft drinks instead of alcohol
  • Attend events locally to save on airfares / accommodation / car hire
  • Drive to avoid taxi fares
  • Cut the number of events you expect to attend
  • Find a cheaper option e.g. go to a local theatre to see a show, rather than a big performance centre

6. Find a way of monitoring what you do spend over the quarter / year. Use a software programme to record all of your costs for entertainment throughout the quarter / year. The programme should record how much you have spent and how much you still have left to spend. This will ensure you stay within your proposed budget.Entertainment need to be looked upon as a treat. We have mentioned earlier that entertainment is a “want” and not a “need”. The functions and events you attend should be looked upon as special times in your life that you can really look forward to. If you don’t consider them as a specialty / treat, then attending such events will become the normal. You will think of these activities as “must haves” instead of “nice to haves”. You will expect to go to them on a regular basis and you will find you spend lots and lots of money satisfying your wishes.

Your money can only go so far. I am sure there are a lot of important things in your life that you are trying to achieve. This might be something on your wish list to buy, a holiday you want to go on, someone you wish to help financially etc. So, see if you can make a bit of a sacrifice with what you spend on your entertainment and start limiting what you spend over a quarter / year. You don’t need to cut entertainment out completely. You still need to have fun and look forward to special times, but ensure you do so whilst giving yourself an opportunity to meet your other goals and wishes.

Detective Heather Wood is Managing Director and writer for Money Detective Pty Ltd.

Money Detective can help you with all of your money troubles. From our website full of factual information and articles, to our one on one personal money coaching, Money Detective can help you with all aspects of money management.

Money Detective have developed an Annual Budget Tracker to enable you to track and record what you are spending on entertainment and other expenses throughout the quarter / year. Our members have exclusive access to this tool and many other. To find out a about our memberships visit [http://www.moneydetective.com.au/memberships/become-a-member].

To discover more ways you can save money on entertainment visit our Saving Money Tips section of our website [http://moneydetective.com.au/budget-and-savings-tips].

© Money Detective Pty Ltd 2009

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