For most of us, leisure and recreation are “wants” more than “needs”, especially in the challenging economic times we’re all experiencing. As a result, the importance of entertainment for enjoyment, relaxation, and recharging your batteries is more critical than ever.
The solution is to ensure you understand how to finance your recreation and leisure activities. You don’t have to break the bank — and you don’t need to sacrifice your happiness, either. So let’s take a closer look at how to finance your recreation and leisure activities.
Select Your Leisure
Identify the recreational activities you enjoy and create a list. Decide which recreational interests are most important to you, then do some research. The cost of some activities may be affected by the need for special equipment.
As with all lists, make sure it’s as specific as possible. Create a spreadsheet with various categories, including the name of the activity, equipment, potential cost, time taken, and any other type of information you’d like to include.
Using local event calendars can also help you generate ideas. Finding out about upcoming events in your hometown or surrounding areas, such as trivia nights, festivals, and music performances, is a great way to discover new activities. Making new friends with similar interests is easy when participating in community activities. A budget-friendly guide to free activities will also help you save money.
Create Your Budget
Before you begin specifically budgeting for leisure and recreation, you need to have a general budget. Keeping track of your income and expenses is easier when you create a monthly budget.
Your calculations should include critical costs such as mortgage payments, utility bills, insurance premiums, and other expenses. You can determine your disposable income by subtracting your required monthly expenses from your total income.
By evaluating your finances, you can generate the funds you need to achieve financial goals and participate in recreational activities. In addition, it clarifies whether your current profession will allow you to achieve short-term and long-term goals. Ensure you can save funds and afford recreational activities by reducing expenses and increasing your disposable income.
Get Specific With an Activity Budget
Setting aside funds for emergencies, covering living expenses, and protecting your assets is basic budgeting savvy. However, handling the rest can be easily tackled with a “fun budget.”
Working until retirement is miserable since you will not spend a penny on yourself. Even if you take away food and a Netflix subscription, you should still dedicate resources to your recreational activities.
Recreational activities require more discipline than necessities since you may be tempted to spend more than you planned.
You may feel tempted to join your friends in buying popcorn, even if it’s not included in your budget for movie night. Unfortunately, staying on budget and declining the popcorn requires a lot of willpower.
Creating a budget that suits your income and expenditure needs is essential. However, it helps to remember that you’re making the right decision for yourself. You can get help making good choices with the assistance of a qualified financial advisor. They can design a financially sustainable budget.
Making Leisure Fit – 50/20/30
When you budget 50/20/30, you start with your take-home pay, which is your gross pay minus deductions for taxes, 401(k) contributions, and health insurance premiums. Once you have an idea of how much you make each month, you’ll want to be sure that you dedicate 50% of that amount to required expenses, 30% to things you want (but don’t necessarily need), and the remaining 20% to savings:
- Your required expenses should consume no more than 50% of your income. These may include items like utility bills, money for groceries, and health-related expenses.
- Aim to spend no more than 30% of your income on “nice-to-have” items that you want but don’t need. This is the part of your budget dedicated to fun and enjoyment. It might include expenses related to dining out, clothing, entertainment, and hobbies.
- The last 20% should be dedicated to paying off debt and saving. Use these funds to pay off high-interest debt first. Once you’ve tackled debt, put money away for emergencies, retirement, and other savings goals.
Low-Cost Leisure Ideas
One of the best ways to ensure that your leisure and recreation activities are easy to finance is to keep the costs as low as possible. Here are some great ideas.
Museums, aquariums, and zoos
Admission fees are often waived on certain days at aquariums, museums, and zoos.
Go to the movies
You can borrow DVDs from your local library or stream free movies online with your public library card.
Outdoor and indoor games
Play a card game, board game, or puzzle. For those who prefer video games, you can find free or cheap ones in your mobile app store or try a free gaming site such as Pogo. If you cannot participate in a recreational sports league, you can attend as a spectator or play pickup basketball at the park.
Discover your local farmers market’s sights, sounds, tastes, and smells. Although locally grown fruits and vegetables have a reputation for being expensive, you can sometimes find them for less or in larger quantities than at the grocery store.
Hike in the mountains
Visit the natural world and take in the sights and sounds. Parks and trails can be found on the websites of your county or city.
Save money by being creative. Creating a photo album, cooking something tasty, starting a crafty DIY project, or writing a short story can be fun.
Learn something brand new
Almost anything can be learned online for free. Consider taking up knitting, a foreign language, or minor home repairs. You can start by exploring YouTube, which has an endless array of videos.
You don’t have to spend much on gym memberships to get in shape. A gym membership is just one of many exercise options. You can run, do squats and pushups, or work out at home with a free smartphone app.
Take part in community events
Often, you’ll find a calendar of free community gatherings in your city or town if you search for local events. For example, on the first Friday of each month, there could be a concert in the park in the warmer months. Another way to enjoy a low- or no-cost summer evening is to watch an outdoor movie on a patch of grass downtown.
In closing, remember that you need to reward yourself for all your hard work, and if you play your cards right, you don’t have to undo all your hard work while doing so!