I love to hang out with family and friends. Who doesn’t, right? Recently, I noticed that I spend most of my free time hanging out, and I spend a lot of funds doing so. Now I have to ask myself: When is enough “enough”? I honestly believe that I can save some money, and still have some fun.
I keep a schedule of budget and my cash flow in an Excel spreadsheet. I typically review it 3 to 4 times a month to see if I am staying within my limits. But I never established a true limit for entertainment and dining out. I thought I could go without hanging out. The truth is I tried and felt extremely bored. It’s time that I find a common ground for my financial goals and my social life.
I reviewed my budgets and spending from August through October of this year. I spent $775.91 during this time frame. This averages to $258.64 each month. Needless to say, I am so ashamed. I could have paid for an upcoming vacation with these funds.
My approach to my problem is simple: Make a plan and work the plan. The new plan is to cap all my entertainment expenditures to $120 each month. This should allow me enough “wiggle room” between work, my social calendar, and my financial goals. After all, I did not include a boring life in my 3 year plan and the first step in my plan is to be realistic in regards to my money habits.
To work this plan, I feel that physically drawing out $120 each month to spend force me to stay within that boundary. It’s a form of an adult allowance, and to be honest I miss the days when I did get an allowance. The excess funds will have to be deposited in the safest place I know: my online savings account for emergencies. By doing this, I will be implementing one of my favorite money principles: Out of sight, out of my mind.
Also, I have to change my social habits as well so I can stretch that $120. Two simple changes should do it. The first change I will have to make is eating before I meet up with my girls for cocktails. If I did this every time I went out between August and October, I would have saved approximately $ $250. The second habit I will have to implement is a drink maximum along with a drink price limit. I am the type that loves the $15 martini. By sticking to a 3-$10-drink maximum once a week, I could save $120 each month.
Making these small changes should put me on a path that leads to my financial goal… leaving many happy hour celebrations behind.
Do you know your limits? Post a comment or question.
"Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is" is a journal about real life experiences and concerns of Jéneen R. Perkins. The purpose of the blog is to exhibit the real life challenges and answer the tough questions posed by the concepts of business, entrepreneurship and money.