How to Budget in the Fun Stuff (Guest Post By Budgeting in the Fun Stuff)

by Broke Professional on March 22, 2011 · 12 comments

The following is a guest post from Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, where she writes about finding the balance between paying your bills, saving for your future, and budgeting in the fun stuff along the way.

I am a big believer that life is better with some fun thrown in on a regular basis.  It helps make up for all of the anti-fun we have to deal with every day.  I also think that anybody can budget in some fun stuff in their lives even if they think it would be too expensive.  First, we can all come up with free entertainment ideas.  Second, even if the hobby or activity you really want to pursue costs money, you can prioritize your spending and fit it in.

Free Fun Stuff

Here are just a few ideas of some free fun we can all have:

  • Read a Book. I am a HUGE fan of my local library since my audio book habit would be truly expensive without them.
  • Have a movie night with friends at home. My friends and I get together every month or so to heckle movies.  Good movies are great, but bad movies can be even better, lol.
  • Have a board game night. If you or a friend own a board game, there is 2 or more hours of fun right there.
  • Use Your Gaming System. If you or a friend own a video game system, dust it off and have at it!  Remember though, if you or a friend don’t already own a system, this is not free.  I know that seems obvious, but it’s good to keep in mind.
  • Have a Sleepover. I’m not sure if this is just a girl thing or not, but I LOVE sleepovers.  I am 28 years old and most of my friends are in their 40’s, but we still have a great time talking, watching movies, and even playing midnight hide-and-seek.  Sometimes you just have to embrace your inner child.

Budgeting in the Not Free Fun Stuff

Does the activity of your choice cost money?  That’s okay too.  You may not be able to do much about your fixed expenses like housing right this second, but take a look at your variable spending.  Do you really need to spend as much as you do on restaurants, fast food, groceries, or habits like soda, smoking, or any other daily splurge?  Most of us have something in the budget that can be cut in place of a hobby we would enjoy.  My husband and I purposefully bought a very affordable home so we could also afford the hobbies we enjoy.

So whether the fun things you’d like in your life are free or cost a pretty penny, a little imagination or prioritization can make a place for it in your life.

What sort of fun stuff do you enjoy?  What other free activities can you think of to help us all out?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 kh March 22, 2011 at 9:24 pm

This is a great post. I see a lot of PF bloggers who are so obsessed with paying off debt and/or saving that they completely reject the idea of having fun .. or budgeting for it. They deem spending any money at all on fun as being too frivolous for anyone who is SERIOUS about their finances.

I think that kind of all-or-nothing thinking is dangerous and will eventually (sooner rather than later) lead to burnout. We all have to have fun in our lives .. and budgeting for it is important. There are lots of options for saving money and pinching pennies while still enjoying a movie or a book or an evening out with friends.

And btw, I’m in my mid-40s and having a sleepover with my friends is still a ton of fun! :) My best girlfriend and I have a standing date 2x a year to go somewhere together on a road trip. Even if we just drive to the other side of town and split the cost of a cheap hotel room – we load up on movies, buy a bottle of wine, and have girl talk until the wee small hours of the morning. Sometimes it’s just the two of us and sometimes we invite others. Our guys just roll their eyes and call us Thelma and Louise … but they appreciate that we come back from our girls weekend feeling all fresh and new and ready to take on the world.


2 Crystal March 23, 2011 at 3:25 pm

You and your friends sound awesome!!!

Since my friends seem to always be having money problems, we take cheap trips and have DVD movie nights the most often. I’m going to go on more expensive trips for financial blogger conferences and will be able to get my pf geek on too. :-)


3 MD March 23, 2011 at 2:46 am

My sleepovers are usually a little bit different than yours lol. A few more fun ideas to add to the list:

Watch sports. You can never go wrong here. If you want to make things interesting, make sure there’s guest present rooting for the opposing teams. Stir the pot a little and watch the sparks fly.

Playing sports. What else can you do in Canada in the winter besides play hockey? Drink Tim Horton’s coffee maybe?

Train. My buddy and I used to love training on Friday nights. We would go out on a Thursday where drinks where so much cheaper and then spending Friday working out while everyone else waited in long lines at clubs.


4 Crystal March 23, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Hahaha. You tramp. 😉

Sports is a good one! We watch a lot of football at my place. My husband also Curls (the ice sport) and I play in the mini-leagues my job throws together for softball. Neither one of us trains for fun though – that sounds like an evening of torture to me, hahaha.


5 MD March 24, 2011 at 12:45 am

One of my friends recently got hooked on curling. I would love to try it out next winter as I suck at hockey.


6 Crystal March 24, 2011 at 10:07 am

You should try it out! You can use regular shoes and strap on a slick bottom on one while you actually deliver the stone. My husband bought Curling shoes that have the slick bottom built in on his right foot. It’s a lot of fun to play according to him and I enjoy watching – I’m a Curling groupie now…


7 Pamela March 23, 2011 at 7:34 am

I’m a big fan of State Parks. We have 4 beautiful ones within 10 miles of my home.

I’ve always had lake house lust. One day I realized I can get lake access every day without the taxes and maintenance headaches by spending every nice day at the state park on the lake. I kayak, swim, use their barbecue grills–it’s great.

In the winter, they’re great for snowshoeing, hiking, and skiing.


8 Crystal March 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm

You are so lucky! I love the closest state park to my house, but it’s an hour away and the coolest part about it (alligators) is only visible when it’s pretty warm. But it is a gorgeous area and I love walking around the lakes. I spot different types of birds and keep a gator count as I go. :-)


9 LaTisha @FSYAonline March 24, 2011 at 10:25 am

“Read a book”…YES! That’s probably the best fun thing for me to do. I love getting lost in a good book. I just found out about openlibrary DOT org also. They have lots of free digital books. Now I just need to find the time…


10 Crystal March 24, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Time is a problem. The whole reason I went to audio books is that I can listen to them while doing mindless tasks. :-)


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