Have you ever thought about how much of your income is spent on entertainment? How much do you spend every time you go to the movies, a sporting event, or a concert? Do you find yourself buying TV sports packages every season? These may be some expenses that you are overlooking. Entertainment costs are high and can add up really quickly if you aren’t monitoring them with a budget.
How much do Americans spend on entertainment costs?
These expenses, like all others, are important to keep track of so you don’t end up not being able to pay off the more important debts. According to the US Department of Labor, the average American family spends a little over $2,500 a year on entertainment or about 5.5% of their earned income. This breaks down to more than $200 a month. How much is your family spending on entertainment costs?
Alternatives to high entertainment costs:
There is a lot of entertainment outside of the home that is not as pricey and may even be free. Families should take advantage of free events that take place locally. Even driving out of town for a free event or festival can be affordable. Spring and summer are peak times for free outdoor festivals, but fall and winter bring great and fun entertainment opportunities as well. Or if you would rather stay inside, most movie theaters offer discount days or cheaper prices when you attend a matinee earlier in the day. Museums and places of historical interest are often free or affordable, too.
You don’t have to abandon movies, sporting events, and so on altogether. What you need to do is add these expenses to your budget and prepare for them financially. Weigh out the financial costs and benefits before buying tickets to that next great concert or professional sports game. Tickets can go for hundreds and even thousands of dollars for these events. Are they really worth $500? Maybe they are, but what else can $500 buy you? It may be a better idea to pass it up and have the money put towards something else. These are all decisions we must make when thinking about our entertainment costs.
Overall, these are the main strategies to budgeting for entertainment costs while still having fun:
- Plan ahead. Budget in advance for expensive entertainment activities.
- Think outside the box. Go to a park, rent a movie, or visit a museum. Come up with activities that are entertaining but cheaper than other options.
- Use coupons and look for promotions.
If you are having trouble managing your expenses or incorporating entertainment costs into a budget consider checking out our free budget and credit counseling service. We can help you review your budget and see where adjustments can be made to improve your finances.