Author Topic: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?  (Read 15285 times)

lifejoy

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Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« on: March 14, 2016, 06:05:33 AM »
DH and I are making a budget tonight. We have no debt and make around $7k per month, total.

Of course, saving 90% of our income would be cool, but our rent already makes that impossible. So let's keep it realistic. How much "fun money" do you allocate for each month?

(If it's not obvious, "fun money" is money you can blow. So when DH wants a new tv, he can save up his fun money. When I want new shoes, heyyyy fun money! It also helps for when you buy a gift for the other person - you buy it with your fun money, instead of shared money.)
« Last Edit: March 14, 2016, 09:09:35 AM by lifejoy »

andy85

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2016, 06:29:28 AM »
I honestly don't even do this type of budgeting anymore.

I like to look at it like this: all of my monthly reoccurring expenses amount to roughly $1500. This includes all monthly bills as well as reoccurring purchases like groceries, gas, etc. My 'budget' per month is ~$2500. I use the difference for my 'fun money', which includes golf, woodworking, other hobbies, and other out of the ordinary random purchases. I try to minimize and even budget for these categories though. I like to look at is as though I'm running a surplus of $1000 every month and i can use that money however i want.

themagicman

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2016, 06:35:17 AM »
DH and I are making a budget tonight. We have no debt and make around $7k per month, total.

Of course, saving 90% of our income would be cool, but our rent already makes that impossible. So let's keep it realistic. How much "fun money" do you allocate for each month?

(If it's not obvious, "fun money" is money you can blow. So when DH wants a new tv, he can save up his fun money. When I want new shoes, heyyyy fun money! It also helps for when you buy a gift for the other person - you but it with your fun money, instead of shared money.)

Ours is two $100 amounts a year (Once at Christmas and once at our Bday) and $10 a month. So $320 a year or about $25 a month. We use this for work lunches out/coffee/ new clothes. If I bought a new TV (Or anything that we would both use) it wouldn't come out of that money. It is more for things that only benefits one of us.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2016, 06:41:25 AM »
We don't budget this way. If we need something, we will discuss it and get it. "I really want this" is something that we consider valid, and after careful consideration, we will get it if it's reasonable. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of "blow" money, because it simultaneously feels TOO restrictive (I only get WHAT?) and not restrictive enough (what, I spend this simply because it's "extra"? That doesn't make sense!). That being said, that is why WE don't do fun money. I absolutely understand why other people do. Particualrly if a couple tends to not be in agreement about each other's purchases, I can absolutely see the merit. DH and I just happen to agree with stupidly high levels of consistency.

Tl;dr: we don't budget that way, but I understand why some people do.

11ducks

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2016, 06:47:42 AM »
$100 per month for spending (includes unbudgeted-for small expenses for me and DS).
Often it gets spent on things like bday presents, take out, new clothes, make up and toiletries, weekend events, eating out, school excursions, general bits and pieces. A lot of it is more discretionary than pure spending, 

boarder42

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2016, 06:50:09 AM »
budgeting to blow money makes little sense IMO. 

fallstoclimb

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2016, 06:50:19 AM »
My initial reaction:  all my money is fun money.

We don't really budget this way at all......although I am also far from the most impressive Mustachian, and this is one of the reasons why! 

I have Mint set up so that regular, unvaried expenses are pulled out as "budgets":  Internet, cell phone bill, mortgage, our monthly charitable donations.  (Currently I also have "new stuff" listed here, because we are trying to keep this under $200/month, to align our spending more with our values - but I'm not really sure this approach is working for us.  I'm already fudging the numbers, and worse, used this last month to justify buying some clothes I didn't really need because I had "money left"....this is the problem with budgeting by category, to me.)

Everything else goes into an "everything else" category, which I try to keep under $2,000/month.  The mint homepage tracks this category by date, so I just try to stay under the line, or when we are spending above the 2K pace, we start pulling back on spending.   Currently for this month we have spent $757, and we have a nice little gap of where we are "allowed" to be by today, March 14th.

I like the flexibility here, because I'm free to move money around different categories.  I can splurge on a gift for DH, but then make up for it by being extra-frugal with the groceries. 

A more genuine mustachian might follow a similar system, but with much smaller spending limits!  $2,000 a month not including the mortgage is crazy, but we are happy with it right now.  The only real issue is it doesn't allow for large purchases that we can't offset by being frugal elsewhere (we do have to eat), but I suppose you could include this if you wanted, rolling over any unspent money from month to month.  I'm just not that disciplined with budgeting.


ransom132

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2016, 06:52:24 AM »
I have a category (with YNAB) called "Spending Money" which I save 100$ per month. It doesn't mean each month I spend 100$, but when I get the urge to buy something I want, with the money rolled-over, I can buy it without feeling guilty. The rest of my money goes towards my regular expenses + RDF + Investments.

andy85

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2016, 06:53:02 AM »
My initial reaction:  all my money is fun money.
............................


This summed up my rambling post very well. After all the bills are paid and there is food in the fridge and gas in the car...it is all fun money. Some months i spend a lot of it and other months i save a lot of it.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2016, 06:53:22 AM »
My entertainment budget is $250/month.

I don't really have a hard ceiling. Money is meant to be enjoyed, as long as I am maintaining a 75% savings rate I will spend more money if it aligns with my values.

Kitsune

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2016, 06:57:56 AM »
We used to budget that way, and used 100$ per month, per person. (In practice: 25-30$ on books, apps, whatever, and then the extra amount to 'save up' for ipad replacements and the like).

Now, we just use a straightforward 25$ per month for 'little' things (I want a kindle book, he wants an ipad app, whatever - asking permission to spend 3$ is guaranteed resentment, in our house). And then we, collectively, agree on what we consider household 'necessities' (we each have a tablet, a phone, and we share a desktop. Any of those breaking or needing to be replaced qualifies as a necessity, and gets done, ASAP. Anything else, we agree on whether we need it, based on reasons, and 'I want it' does not count as a reason.)

This works for us because we have similar concepts for what we 'need', and don't like spending money on things we're not going to use, so arguing for use works for us (and usually our spouse will find a way to get around the perceived need, or a way to fill it for cheaper, thus saving money). That said, if your spouse sees a need for a large TV and you see a need for savings, that maybe doesn't match up, and a different style of money-handling would be better for you.

Tyn

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2016, 07:33:59 AM »
I have a fairly relaxed approach to budgeting.  I have fixed living costs (rent, groceries, bills) which take up 37%, a fixed amount for savings (40%) and the remaining money is fair game for anything I need that month (travel, entertainment, replacement bike parts, gifts, etc).  At the end of the month any unspent money in this pot gets split between savings and an 'other' pot, the latter being used for any larger one-off expenses (most recently a holiday abroad, next one will probably be a replacement phone when my current one dies).

Most months I'll have some money left over, but I like having that cushion there so I don't have to worry too much about if I've got enough in the bank to cover an expense.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2016, 07:40:50 AM »
I don't budget like this.  (We really don't 'budget' at all, so much as hold to "don't buy stuff you don't need". It's always worked just fine.)

If I want something, I think about whether I can afford it, whether it is something that I want enough that I will still want it in a few months time, and a few years time.  If it is, I buy it.

I don't like setting money aside with the idea that it should be spent, or even that it is available for spending.  To much encouragement to find something to blow it on.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2016, 08:25:21 AM by iowajes »

catccc

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2016, 07:57:24 AM »
I budget (YNAB user) and budget nothing for fun money.  Not that I don't spend on fun stuff ever, but I don't set anything aside for it.  Since I use YNAB I do have to make space for it if I have plans to spend any money on a "fun expense."

rubybeth

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2016, 07:58:00 AM »
We also don't really budget like this anymore. We did when we were getting out of debt so we wouldn't feel deprived, around $50-$100/month for each of us. I used to save mine and then buy more expensive things, but ultimately stopped doing that in favor of getting out of debt faster (I used my little savings account to help make the final debt payment).

We have a separate budget for gifts and also for clothes; I don't think it's fair to use fun money for clothes because not everyone finds them "fun."

It's now more of a needs vs. wants discussion each time one of us would like something. We also mutually want many of the same things, so those usually aren't a discussion, more of a "Hey, do you want to go to this concert, it's ___ per ticket," and the other person says "Absolutely!" It's one of the perks of not being in debt and living well below your means.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2016, 08:15:04 AM by rubybeth »

notactiveanymore

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2016, 08:38:29 AM »
We're in full-on SL repayment right now (13.9k left from 55.4k starting 11/14), so we don't have anything in our budget for hobbies or clothes or any entertainment outside our date budget. We have $60/month for dates and $60/each for fun money.

My husband saves some of his up for golf outings. I use some of mine for books or clothes or makeup. But frequently our blow money goes toward unexpected work/friend obligations ($5 for Judy's retirement party, $7 on an appetizer with water for Amy's bachelorette party) or on fast food lunches at work.

If I didn't have blow money, I'd squirrel every penny away and never enjoy it. We put about 45% of our gross income toward debt/savings each month, so $120 for unexpected hot dogs and a 6-pack to grill with friends is necessary for us to enjoy life.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2016, 08:47:20 AM »
We don't budget much anymore since we optimized most of our expenses. We function off of a priority list. If all priorities are taken care of, and all necessary expenses covered in full, we don't have any set plan for what we must do with any left over money. The big caveat to this is that this only works if you are inherently frugal by nature and don't have spendy tendencies. We aren't spenders so this works for us, because neither of us is going to haul off and blow $300 in a given month on "fun" stuff. Our fun stuff tends to be eating out together at reasonable places, or buying a few simple decorations/upgrades for the house. So for example: if our budget has us maxing our 401k, and both IRAs, and putting in the desired amounts to the efund and our daughter's college fund, then we really don't care if we go out to eat once a week or splurge on a massage.
I think instead of a monetary amount, you should figure out what you enjoy the most each month (is it going out to dinner? getting your nails done?) and then budget for that one thing provided it isn't ridiculous. That way you are getting what you value most, without "allowing" yourself to spend over and above that because the budget simply says you can.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2016, 08:50:41 AM by little_brown_dog »

v8rx7guy

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2016, 08:50:52 AM »
We each get $100 cash/mo as our free spending money.

Apples

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2016, 08:55:09 AM »
We budget exactly like this.  We've been married almost two years and this is a really good way for us to share most of our expenses buy DH can buy fast food or I can get knitting supplies and there's no big discussion.

I get $150/month and DH gets $200/month.  He has a hobby that is fairly expensive but does add to our social outings (we can take what he does along to gatherings and use it as an excuse to get people together) so he gets $50 more per month.  This covers all fast food when my DH could have packed a lunch, hobby supplies for our individual hobbies (gardening and house things have their own budget), clothes and haircuts other than very essentials like underwear and socks, and fitness.  He and I both go in and out of fitness grooves, so we include it in fun money because making it part of the household budget, knowing us, would lead to "let's sign up for all these classes/this expensive gym/get this equipment....and then use it for only 3 months before taking 2 months off".  So fitness is included for us.

It also goes towards bachelor and bachelorette parties, trips to visit friends who don't live nearby, and general fun we have individually.  I'm in a book club and knitting group and some of my money goes towards the food and drink I consume while at restaurants with those groups.  We find those amounts to be just high enough to do what we want in a given month and still be able to do trips to visit other people, all without needing to talk to the other person about our individual choices.

Finally, DH is the kind of guy that if you gave him $500/month he would spend all of it, so this works to really reign him in. 

We also have $100/month for dates and doing things with friends, a bit of a clothes budget for those necessities, and we save 40% of take-home pay after putting a measly 2% of gross into my SIMPLE IRA.  We make less than six figures bit live in a LCOL area.

FrugalFan

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2016, 08:58:28 AM »
We have a fun budget that gets transferred to our high interest savings account every month. I like doing this for two reasons. First, it provides a guilt free way to spend, especially if your partner is not as frugal or into early retirement as you are or has different interests and wants to spend a bit on things you wouldn't spend on. Second, once all the bills have been paid and sinking funds transferred each month EVERYTHING ELSE goes into our investments. This makes the budgeting easier and most months we end up investing more than we budgeted for as a consequence. As for amounts, we use to have a very unmustachian $200 a month each go into our fun money accounts, but since discovering MMM I've reduced it to $50 each. We never spent nearly that much and it accumulated very quickly, and even at $50 a month it is still accumulating, so this seems like a decent number for us.

homestead neohio

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2016, 09:05:56 AM »
We do $30/mo each for DW and I.  As others have pointed out, this almost guarantees you spend this much.  However, we feel it is worth it to have some independence while all other finances are combined.  I don't want to have to discuss if an $8 lunch out with co-workers 1/month or a craft beer purchase is ok.  It has worked well for us.  Our FI budget has this amount at $0 as we expect our lives will be slower and more relaxed, and have more opportunities for hobbies that earn some money.  If I get an old motorcycle running and sell it, I can recoup my costs and buy craft beer for a year.

edmundblackadder

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2016, 10:56:03 AM »
$100 is in my budget for small things like street-fair snacks while I'm wandering the city on a weekend, birthday presents for friends, library fines. etc., etc.

stlbrah

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2016, 11:04:21 AM »
A "fun" budget is no way to live imo. Just follow the MMM philosophy and you won't need a budget

smalllife

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2016, 12:51:46 PM »
We have $100/month each for non joint spending.  Our "personal" spending doesn't really overlap and it saves a lot of resentment or guilt and allows us to save more than we otherwise would have.

Husband likes to eat out for lunch or coffee with coworkers and play video games. Seeing that against household money drove me crazy and I tried not to spend anything to offset. Thus, "fun money".

This covers: haircuts (him), clothes (me), non joint socializing,  individual hobbies, and anything non-household that comes up.  It's about the right amount for us but will probably go down as life goes on. If there's a good reason to spend more - new job wardrobe for example, we'll add more household funds that month.

At the end of the day, it helped us join finances smoothly and set bigger joint goals.

homelesshobbit

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2016, 01:22:44 PM »
we budget for $40 every 2 weeks for the both of us. so $160ish

JZinCO

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2016, 01:45:06 PM »
My fun money is whatever comes with my paycheck minus recurring bills and expenses. :)

tomatops

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2016, 01:51:55 PM »
I never budget, but looking at my spending habits on "fun" (movies, theatre, restaurants, dates with the girlfriend), it's roughly $250 per month, but I'm pretty good at stretching every dollar.

So for instance I:

1) Rarely buy alcohol/drinks when I eat out
2) Will always try and walk to the venue
3) Will use loyalty points for free movie vouchers + sneak in my drink and just end up buying the popcorn
4) Hunt for coupons for shows or Costco discounts
5) Go to museums and stuff on cheap/discount days

Note that my "fun" expense account never includes physical items, always experiences! Still able to save over 50% of my take-home, but it's all within realms of affordability. Say I decided to buy a home, I would probably cut back significantly...

Fishindude

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2016, 02:41:11 PM »
We are empty nesters, relatively high income with everything paid for.  Only ongoing expenses we have are utilities, taxes, upkeep of real estate, insurance, automobiles and basic sustenance; food, clothing, etc.  It's not unusual for us to spend $2-300 per week just going out to supper and drinks a few times.  Can also take off on a whim and do a $1,000 weekend without giving it much thought.  Worked a long time to get here, and enjoying FI.   Don't really budget "fun money" but live well within our means.

Zikoris

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2016, 02:56:21 PM »
We don't "budget" per se, but to give you an idea of what we spend, in 2015 we were at $996 for entertainment spending, $401 for snacks/chocolates/soda, $272 for restaurants, and $620 for electronics. I think that those are the only things we buy that fit into the "blow" category. I didn't include shoes and clothes because we operate 100% at subsistence for those things - new things are only bought to replace stuff worn out beyond repair. So that averages out to roughly $95/month each. We made about 75K combined last year, for comparison.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2016, 03:24:41 PM »
My fun money is whatever comes with my paycheck minus recurring bills and expenses. :)

That's actually a very good way to put it.

Mine is too, also where my emergency money comes from. It's just all added up so I can have it whenever I want it.

I don't line item budget.

JZinCO

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2016, 03:37:12 PM »
Yes, I "pay myself first" so that I don't need to worry about what hits my bank account. That said, I do hem and haw over making purchases and still make an active attempt at being frugal. And, invariably, sometimes I decide to throw a few bucks into some unconventional taxable investment accounts for some "fun" investing.

I assume if most people can just commit to maxing retirement accounts they will be less stressed over hitting their budget targets.

edit: Some have coined this the antibudget. http://affordanything.com/2013/03/05/anti-budget-or-80-20-budge/
« Last Edit: March 14, 2016, 03:41:19 PM by JZinCO »

JLee

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2016, 03:39:37 PM »
As much as I want, really. Turns out I don't usually want a whole lot. :)

Cassie

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2016, 05:47:15 PM »
WE each put 150 in our wallets per month and then we have an entertainment envelope with 300 in it which we use to go out for the month. WE did not do this when young because we couldn't afford it. Now we are older and can.

c-kat

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #33 on: March 14, 2016, 08:36:19 PM »
We each get 200$ per month.

meyling

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #34 on: March 14, 2016, 09:10:59 PM »
My fun money is whatever comes with my paycheck minus recurring bills and expenses. :)
I agree with this! Even my grocery shopping is fun.

JZinCO

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #35 on: March 14, 2016, 09:38:45 PM »
My fun money is whatever comes with my paycheck minus recurring bills and expenses. :)
I agree with this! Even my grocery shopping is fun.
hell ya! Growing up cajun, food was most definitely culture so I love going to the grocery store on a friday night to make a big dish.

WE each put 150 in our wallets per month and then we have an entertainment envelope with 300 in it which we use to go out for the month. WE did not do this when young because we couldn't afford it. Now we are older and can.
I like this idea. I just recently read up on the old envelope budgeting system and think that's a neat way to parcel out money.

JustTrying

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #36 on: March 14, 2016, 10:53:53 PM »
$100 per person per month for non-joint purchases, including clothing shoes, etc.

Anatidae V

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #37 on: March 15, 2016, 04:12:32 AM »
I like to see all my expenses line-by-line, so we have various discretionary line items as well as $40/month. We also discuss large purchases like laptops, but tend to set aside the money over only a month or two. This can make it look like a sudden decision, but we tend to discuss such purchases for months, and I'd prefer that money to be useful in the meantime.

The $40/ month stupid me from getting stressed about money and has been a great tool in helping us reset our automatic spending. We expect to raise it at some point, and we certainly go over, but it helps keep things feeling "fair", which is important at this point for us.

Tjat

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #38 on: March 15, 2016, 06:43:10 AM »
I also don't budget this way. I have automatic investments designed to hit my minimum acceptable savings rate. If, at the end of the month I have surplus in my checking account (meaning above my minimum acceptable balance --> a subjective number ballparking my remaining bills to my next paycheck), I transfer that amount to Vanguard as well.

nobody123

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #39 on: March 15, 2016, 07:01:34 AM »
$100/month each.  I could do without a formal amount because I don't buy needless crap, but my wife insists that I give her an amount to spend.  It helps us avoid arguments about money.  We do budget for family restaurant trips, clothing, etc., and have sinking funds for most major expenses, etc., so the "fun" money is purely for solo wants, like buying lunch at work or for a hobby.  She routinely spends all of her money every month, while I tend to spend half.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #40 on: March 15, 2016, 07:13:35 AM »
How much "fun money" do you allocate for each month?

I don't budget fun money. I spend whatever I want on anything I want within the bounds of my disposable income. My priority goal at the moment is to save for FIRE so that's where my money goes at the moment, but if I wanted a new mountain bike and I decided getting one was more important than saving for FIRE temporarily I'd just go buy what I wanted.

The only money related info I track is my current FIRE savings goal and how much I save each month. I don't breakdown things into budget items and try and track them. If I wasn't making steady progress towards my goals I might budget for a while until I got things back on track.

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #41 on: March 15, 2016, 08:22:55 AM »
Love the idea of putting 150 in your wallet, isn't that empowering?

I started doing something similar a few years ago, I put a hundred dollar bill in the wallet and enjoy all the ways I DON'T spend it. It's often not "alone" in the wallet, but I always know it's there.

If I had a hundred dollar bill, I probably wouldn't spend it (they are hard to break).  But if I have twenties or less they disappear so fast.

That's why I never give myself cash.  Just way too easy to spend. 

Put it in the wallet and it just flies away. No idea on what, and because there is no statement at the end of the month, I can't even go back to figure out what I wasted my money on.

Not a fan of cash.

Lanthiriel

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #42 on: March 15, 2016, 08:59:13 AM »
$150/person per paycheck, so $600/month total. I realize that sounds insane, but it's the amount that over the years has been determined "enough" through trial and error. My husband tends to spend his exclusively on lunches despite me making a big pot of something expressly for this purpose on the weekends and big ticket items like his recent TV acquisition. Mine tends to go to nice dinners out with friends and clothes I don't need (getting better on this second one). It sucks sometimes realizing we could find an IRA with the amount of money we blow in a year, but we've tried extreme frugality and it's just not for us.

Ricky

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #43 on: March 15, 2016, 01:10:35 PM »
I think any type of budgeting is silly unless you just lack self control or are borderline in debt - for me at least. I can understand budgeting if your expenses almost meet your income or if you're self-employed, etc.

It wouldn't personally make any difference for me if I "set aside" $100 or any other arbitrary number aside for spending on anything other than essentials, aka "fun money".

I like working from the ground up and decide what I need and then go from there. Anything extra is just extra and it wouldn't make any difference if I had it or not. Most of the time it's just going to be invested though.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2016, 01:12:23 PM by Ricky »

katsiki

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #44 on: March 15, 2016, 01:14:16 PM »
I get very little fun money but my wife is another story.  :)

backyardfeast

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #45 on: March 15, 2016, 02:31:39 PM »
Very interesting discussion, you've started, Lifejoy.  Given all of the YNAB and Mint users on these boards, I'm surprised to see how many people don't line-budget!    I think it's a good example of how things change over time depending on your spouse/family, changing needs, changing incomes and expenses, changing attitudes towards "extra" stuff, changing financial goals.

Over 17 years together, we have done versions of separate finances, detailed tracking and budgeting, ignorance is bliss, YNAB, and now, a very basic pen and paper tracking each pay period.  At this stage, we are very consistent in our approach to money, needs, etc, and are comfortable with the frugality level of our lifestyle.

We don't have a separate "fun" category.  I'm not sure what would go there!  We do have categories for our boat, eating out, alcohol, tools, etc.  But basically, I take our income each pay period, pay bills, put aside the $ for our operating expenses for the next 2 weeks, and funnel the rest into a variety of savings/debt places as necessary.  In deciding on the "operating expenses" amount, we consult about upcoming purchases, and I add $100 buffer for miscellaneous stuff.  Then we largely don't check the balance again until the 2 weeks are up. (I know many would find this totally crazy!)  It usually works out pretty closely (I was $5 out last week!).  We consult each other about larger purchases ($100?), neither one of us spends much on anything, and we are generally supportive of spending when needed.  If we disagree, we wait it out, and over time find room in the budget if we decide to go for it (or it gets purchased with unexpected $ or a side gig).

This method gives us lots of flexibility, which we like.  Many weeks we don't spend as much on groceries, but we go out to eat at the last minute, or decide to buy something that comes up on sale. We seem able to absorb a few hundred dollars a month of spending that is different every month and still meet our savings goals. 

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #46 on: March 15, 2016, 08:53:24 PM »
This thread IS interesting!

Frankly, I need a budget for fun money because my frugality muscle is not strong enough yet. Setting a limit forces me to keep track, pay attention, and sometimes say no to myself. It also gives me some autonomy for spending on things DH thinks are silly.

Maybe in the future, this will be different.

nanana13

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #47 on: March 15, 2016, 08:58:00 PM »
This is the main area in my personal finances that I am not happy with myself for. I currently put $400 a month toward a "sinking fund" that I use to pay off my charges on my rewards credit card (which I keep at $0 balance from month-to-month). This essentially gives me the permission, in my head, to spend that money , whether it's for eating out, a gift or donation here and there, Lyft/Uber, etc. It's terrible, I know. I need to get it together. I guess my top three financial priorities are my student loan payments (which I am being aggressive with), my 401K/Roth/HSA savings, and my travel fund, so as long as I'm taking care of these things, I can <sort of> breathe a little. But not really. I need to build up my e-fund more. Progress, not perfection, right?

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #48 on: March 15, 2016, 09:04:16 PM »
We don't "budget" per se, but to give you an idea of what we spend, in 2015 we were at $996 for entertainment spending, $401 for snacks/chocolates/soda, $272 for restaurants, and $620 for electronics. I think that those are the only things we buy that fit into the "blow" category. I didn't include shoes and clothes because we operate 100% at subsistence for those things - new things are only bought to replace stuff worn out beyond repair. So that averages out to roughly $95/month each. We made about 75K combined last year, for comparison.

This is awesome. I want to strive for this. Good job!

wenchsenior

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Re: Budgeting: how much "fun money" do you get each month?
« Reply #49 on: March 16, 2016, 11:03:39 AM »
We don't budget this way, either.  What we do is track spending in a bunch of categories, broken out in the ways that seem specific to our spending patterns, and adjust spending month to month according to goals, bills, etc. Several of these categories are discretionary and/or fun.

Essentially, we just look at monthly totals in all these categories every 6 months or so, and evaluate whether our amount spent is giving us appropriate value/pleasure for the money. We increase or decrease spending according to this criterion. When I'm trying to reduce spending in a particular category, I find the big motivator is just graphing the month to month total...if that line isn't trending downward over time, it really irritates me and makes me try harder.

However, I'm not a believer in cutting yourself totally off from things you enjoy, unless it is a real financial emergency. Instead, I will just spend less on fun things, but not deny myself completely (which is a recipe for rebellion IMO).