The following is a post by staff writer Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. Her blog covers living expenses, saving for your future, and the fun stuff along the way.
With a blog name like “Budgeting in the Fun Stuff,” it is probably pretty obvious that Mr. BFS and I do spend money on entertainment. We actually have several ways of including fun money in our lives.
First, we have an ING savings account that we contribute $250 a month to for vacations and other large “fun” purchases. We usually use this fund for our big summer vacation and a few weekend trips, but most recently we used it to buy a laptop.
Our 5 1/2 year old Gateway stopped holding a charge, the screen wouldn’t brighten anymore, and even though we added another memory stick, it was still soooooo slow. It had reached the point that neither one of us wanted to touch it anymore, so we found a good deal on a 4GB/500gb Toshiba and our vacation fund has taken the $550 hit. :-)
Joint Fun Money
We also budget in $100 a month for joint activities and entertainment expenses so my husband and I can go out once in a while. There is no account for this budgeted amount, so the money doesn’t rollover or anything. It’s just there for our monthly fun.
Most months, we don’t actually take advantage of it since we enjoy hanging around our home or playing board games with friends. On the rare occasions we do want to see a movie, go to a nice restaurant, or buy tickets for an event like the Transiberian Orchestra, the joint fun money covers the bill.
Individual Fun Money
Lastly, we also contribute $125 a month into each of our fun money accounts at ING. We had to work up to that amount though. When we started this system, it was $75 a month but we have received raises since then.
This money is our stash fund for whatever we want. Hubby uses his cash for things like his Curling league fees, video games, and his monthly Massage Envy membership. I use my account for bingo, comedy clubs, and mini-vacations with friends. It’s also how I fund my Shirt Woot habit, hahaha.
Why This System Works For Us
Budgeting in our fun allows me to worry less about splurges and take advantage of interesting opportunities that pop up. That peace of mind leads to a much less naggy Crystal (my husband words it better, but I know what he means…).
When we first got together, large entertainment expenses scared me because they took such a chunk out of our savings. I felt a cold worry in the pit of my stomach every time we decided to use some of our earned money for anything unnecessary.
Since these fun money accounts only get paid once all of our other savings goals are met, I breathe easy knowing we aren’t hurting our future plans by having a good time right now. That was the key for me.
Do you have a vacation fund or fun money system? What works for you?