Author Topic: How do you value entertainment?  (Read 4361 times)


  • Bristles
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How do you value entertainment?
« on: March 09, 2014, 06:09:24 AM »
Today I was making a purchase for my aquaponics system and started thinking about how I value/determine whether to buy things, especially entertainment. I am not even sure I completely understand my criteria myself, but here is an attempt at how I do it:

I tend to think about how many hours of entertainment something will give me. For example, today I bought a new tub and some pvc to use in my aquaponics system. it came out to around the same price as seeing a movie (actually a reasonable price here). But I value it much higher than the movie because I will spend at least 2 hrs having fun cutting and measuring and putting it together, as well as the future time I will spend using what I create.

Do any of you have a thought process regarding how you decide whether or not to spend your money on entertainment?


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: How do you value entertainment?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2014, 06:25:58 AM »
Considering my spending on entertainment was only 2% of overall expenses last year (~$185.69 USD), my thought process usually leads to me *not* spending on entertainment. Most of that spending was on alcohol consumed in social settings. In those cases, the highlight was to spend time with others--not to get drunk. I try to balance the amount of alcohol needed to have a nice time and participate while still feeling okay with the end total.

I think what it boils down to is that I'm entertained while living my fulfilling life. Lately, I've enjoyed cooking with new kitchen equipment, food items, and spices (bought some, got others free), but those expenses go under "Groceries" or "Household Supplies" in my tracking.

Is your aquaponics system purely entertainment? It seems like you'll get more than that out of it!


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Re: How do you value entertainment?
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2014, 09:42:19 AM »
I'm retired ;-)  so a major part of my budget goes to "entertainment" - this is hobbies, memberships, social activities, eating out, etc.  Basically everything over the basics.  If I meet someone for coffee, that goes in the "entertainment" category, not the "food" category.

I too find it useful to think of value for money - is this money going on something transient that I won't care about tomorrow?  Or is it going on something that improves my social life? Or a hobby that gives me hours of pleasure?  Once I started assessing choices in this light, some things went (cable) and some things stayed (memberships, social activities, satisfying hobbies).

Of course I no longer have "work" expenses, so it makes sense that my spending has shifted.


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Re: How do you value entertainment?
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2014, 05:52:21 PM »
For hobbies, I try to figure out what's a reasonable amount to spend given my financial goals and the amount of fun I get from it. There's no right or wrong answer, but I use the "savings bucket" approach where unspent money pools up so that I can save for larger purchases like tools for metal and woodwork, bike upgrades, etc.

For dining out, it's also a reasonable amount per month. Currently for my DW and I that's zero. After we kill off one particular loan, that goes to $50, also a "savings bucket" approach. I enjoy cooking and we host family gatherings when we can use the outdoors, but restaurants really aren't my thing.


  • Bristles
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Re: How do you value entertainment?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2014, 08:50:03 PM »
Is your aquaponics system purely entertainment? It seems like you'll get more than that out of it!

That is another aspect I haven't decided on yet. I am using the AP system to grow fish and vegis, but I also have a lot of fun doing it. So should I put those expenses in "food" or "entertainment"? I also have the same problem with a fence I am building for my dog. i enjoy doing the work myself and it is cheaper than paying someone else to do it. I would have paid for a fence anyway, but I also get entertainment value out of it.

Is this just one of the many problems you face when you try to get the most enjoyment out of life rather than spend the most money?


  • Stubble
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Re: How do you value entertainment?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2014, 05:40:44 AM »
I measure it mostly as time but allowances have to be made for extremes or special cases.

One movie is 5$ for 2 hours. 2.5$/hour
Netflix is 8$ for countless hours + bandwidth cap fees
One iphone is 800$ amortized over 2 years + monthly plan. Part of it paid by work and older phone still good as an ipod for the kids.
A bike is 1000-2000$ for maybe only 5-10 hours per week but amortized over many many years.
I used to think good restaurants were worth 100$ for a 2 person meal. After going 1-2 months without any I figured that it's the conversation I enjoy and we built ourselves a nice lounge in the house to eat and talk with friends.

But then the hard part is deciding within a choice.
How is a better component bike going to be worth the extra $?
Is that 20$ steak worth it for tonight over that 5$ steak?


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: How do you value entertainment?
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2014, 03:08:20 AM »
I consider a few other factors in addition to time:
-is it necessary/a reasonably priced way of achieving the end goal (e.g. I already have a perfectly good bass, however If I were to upgrade to my dream bass, it might still have a very low cost per hour due to the fact this instrument will get many hours of use each week and last at 20+ years, but it's a significant increase in cost to achieve the same objective - being able to play music... other examples would include going out to eat, the cheaper restaurant will largely do the same thing for me as the fancier one.)
- is it healthy/going to enhance my life (spending $17 on a trip to the rockclimbing gym is more easily justified in my mind than spending $17 on  trip to the movies)
-does it have a good re-sale price - for example I didn't put too much thought into buying my surfboard for $250, I got it second hand and could easily on sell it for the same again, I put more thought into if I wanted to spend $250 on a block of surf classes again this summer (I decided I did not and got a friend to take me out instead).

My limit is probably about $10/hour of entertainment. Anything that exceeds this will not be likely to purchased. (So I will rarely spend more than $30 on dinner out).


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: How do you value entertainment?
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2014, 07:41:11 AM »
I have an equation that I run my entertainment dollars through to determine value.

I am willing, on occasion, to spend $10 to see a two hour movie at a theater.  If I am attempting to purchase an item for the purpose of entertainment, if I ultimately get enough use out of it to keep myself occupied with it for less than $5 an hour (the lower the better, obviously), it was a good buy.

I'll spend more if it's a special opportunity, like getting the chance to go to certain sporting events or live theater, live music, or whatever....  but that's my baseline.


  • Bristles
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Re: How do you value entertainment?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2014, 07:46:58 AM »
I use a $/hour metric - with some caveats.

For instance - I play Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games.

Over my life I've spent thousands of hours, and hundreds of dollars. When it's all rolled up like that it seems scary, however thats thousands of hours of laughs and fun with both 'real life' and 'online' friends (some of which I've met in real life and became personal friends with) at the cost of ~$0.16/hour (2-3 hours a day on average, less on weekdays more on weekends)

It's also a much cheaper habit than spending every weekend in the bar, at the movies, or out to dinner. (Not to say I don't participate in those activities, but I don't nearly as often because I'm plenty 'entertained' at home most of the time)

I got into a debate one time with an old college roommate, who exclaimed "You spend way too much time playing video games" to which I replied "You spend equal amounts of time watching TV, at least these games require thinking, reaction, and communication with my teammates instead of just melting into the couch"


  • Stubble
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Re: How do you value entertainment?
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2014, 06:00:55 PM »
For me, most of my paid entertainment is either sports/outdoor recreation.  For both items I tend to think of the value in terms of if I'll "feel good" about my decision to purchase.  Not exactly a strict, but it's actually less about if I "feel good" about the value for the dollar and more about if I "feel good" about it being a healthy & productive way to spend my time.

So I spend a lot more on this stuff than MMM's suggested budget of $20/month for a family ( but I'm ok with that since I'm doing something tat makes me feel like life is good, helps me connect with friends, and help keep my body healthy.  Between equiptment, repairs, team fees, drop in fees, lift tickets, I probably net out to something more like $100/month for just one person.


  • Stubble
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Re: How do you value entertainment?
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2014, 08:33:20 AM »
Almost all of our entertainment $$$ goes toward concert tickets.  We went to high school and college in the 70s/early 80s and we want to see some of the some of the classic groups of that era before they stop touring.  Some concerts are expensive (i.e. >$150/ticket), some are fairly reasonable (<$100/ticket), and some have been free (sponsored by a closeby beach/boardwalk).  We've seem to see 2 or 3 artists a year and have already been able to seen several  that were on our list.  Ten years from now it is doubtful that many of them will still be performing.

Other than that, we're always on the lookout for free/cheap entertainment.  Later this month a local amusement park is offering free admission and parking on a particular date for locals.  We can get up to 6 tickets so we called our DS to see if he and his GF might be interested in going too.  The park is geared toward the under 12 crowd, but also offers interesting gardens throughout.  So we'll go ride some kiddie rides, walk around and look at the gardens,  then come home and grill something delicious.  It ought to be quite fun!!