Make Room for Fun in a Budget: Hobby Expenses

It is important to make room for fun in a budget and set aside money for hobbies. If you don’t then it can feel like you work so hard and don’t get a lot out of it. If we don’t set aside money for hobbies or relaxing activities eventually people are going to splurge, which can cause problems if you don’t have the money set aside to splurge with. Life should have room for fun and relaxation. What are your hobbies? Do you specifically set aside money to make sure you can afford your hobby?

There are people I know who just spend their money on whatever they want, when they want. The problem with spending like this is that the same people are frequently talking about how they cannot pay bill x or bill y. Or they will say “I cannot go to lunch today because I have no money until payday.” Never mind payday is over a week away. In my mind this is a stressful way to live.

When my husband and I started budgeting for hobbies in our early 20’s the budget was $60.00 a month. Not a lot in terms of total dollars but reasonable in terms of income and ensuring all other obligations were taken care of. Over the years this sum has increased as we both grow our careers.  This not only reduces stress but it also makes us both feel like we had something to look forward to as a reward for working hard.

Some things to consider when working hobby expenses into a budget are:

  • Do you have a recurring membership to participate in your hobby?
  • Are there associated costs beyond the purchase of the initial item?
  • Does your hobby include travel?

I am sure there are many other things to consider depending on the type of hobby.

At work today my coworker and I were talking about this subject because my coworker loves to run and participate in marathons. She was saying how you pay for your work out clothes and a good pair of shoes. Then she started to break out the cost for her upcoming run. First $100 to sign up for the race, next $200 or so for a plane ticket, then paying for a hotel and food. The coworker said the funny thing is you pay all this money to run on a street that would be free to run on any other day. This was in no way a complaint, just a discussion about the funny things we do for fun.

If you look at my husbands’ hobbies, he pays to buy miniatures for tabletop games. Then he buys the paint, glue, and other associated items to assemble the miniatures. Usually he plays his game at the local game store but there are times when he and his friends go to gamer conventions. Thank goodness for business travel points because this makes the hotel part much cheaper. Again, not a complaint or judgement.  This is another example of knowing where our money is going and being mindful.

My main hobbies are reading and playing computer games. I buy a lot of books which, if I am being honest, I sometimes lose track of how much I spend on books. I do, however, have my game subscription on my budget. I used to swim a lot and worked with a coach once a week. When I was participating in that hobby, I set aside money for the gym and the coach. What I did not keep track of was the cost of my gear; such as swim suits and goggles.

All the expenses I have described are sneaky ways to kill a budget. But we need to make room for fun in our budgets and include hobby expenses. We should enjoy doing the things we do to relax but also make sure we can afford to do those things without compromising our ability to pay our bills like rent and car payments.

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