Saving Money Tips – Set an Entertainment Allowance

Don’t we all just love to be entertained? There is nothing nicer than looking forward to going to the opera or attending a musical performance. We live in exciting times, as there are so many functions for us to participate in, that it can be difficult choosing what to attend and it can certainly be hard containing our spending habits.A lot of entertainment can be quite expensive and most times we don’t realise how much a night out actually costs us. You not only have the cost of the event, but usually these sort of social outings cost us money in other ways such as taxis, drinks, clothes etc.The best way to control the money that you do spend on entertainment is to set yourself a quarterly / yearly entertainment allowance. Below are some clues to help you do this.1. Work out what you would like to do over the next quarter / year:
Visit galleries / exhibitions  
Attend concerts / musical performances  
Watch opera / ballet / dance  
Attend pantomimes / theatre / shows / plays / musicals  
Attend film festivals  
Participate in balls / charity events  
Go to circus shows / live performances / comedy shows  
2. Estimate how much the tickets / entrance fares are going to cost you.3. Spend time working out the ‘hidden extras’ so you know the full cost of the function / event. There are often costs to consider such as:
 Buying / hiring attire – formal / semi-formal outfits  
 Attending the hairdresser / make up artist  
 Paying for accommodation / flights  
 Hiring a car / paying for taxis / parking fees  
 Eating out / drinks  
4. Tally up the whole cost of your entertainment. Look at your budget and ensure your quarterly / yearly entertainment allowance will fit in with your overall budget. Remember entertainment is a “want” and not a “need”. You have other priorities and financial commitments in your budget to allow you to meet your “needs”. These must be met before deciding where else you “want” to spend your money.5. If your quarterly / yearly entertainment allowance is above what you have available in your budget, look for some alternatives:
Buy a cheaper class of ticket e.g. B reserve instead of A reserve
Go to a matinee showing instead of a night showing
Find an outfit in your existing wardrobe instead of buying / hiring an outfit
Get a friend / family member to do your hair / make up
Eat before going out
Drink water / juice / soft drinks instead of alcohol
Attend events locally to save on airfares / accommodation / car hire
Drive to avoid taxi fares
Cut the number of events you expect to attend
Find a cheaper option e.g. go to a local theatre to see a show, rather than a big performance centre
6. Find a way of monitoring what you do spend over the quarter / year. Use a software programme to record all of your costs for entertainment throughout the quarter / year. The programme should record how much you have spent and how much you still have left to spend. This will ensure you stay within your proposed budget.Entertainment need to be looked upon as a treat. We have mentioned earlier that entertainment is a “want” and not a “need”. The functions and events you attend should be looked upon as special times in your life that you can really look forward to. If you don’t consider them as a specialty / treat, then attending such events will become the normal. You will think of these activities as “must haves” instead of “nice to haves”. You will expect to go to them on a regular basis and you will find you spend lots and lots of money satisfying your wishes.Your money can only go so far. I am sure there are a lot of important things in your life that you are trying to achieve. This might be something on your wish list to buy, a holiday you want to go on, someone you wish to help financially etc. So, see if you can make a bit of a sacrifice with what you spend on your entertainment and start limiting what you spend over a quarter / year. You don’t need to cut entertainment out completely. You still need to have fun and look forward to special times, but ensure you do so whilst giving yourself an opportunity to meet your other goals and wishes.

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