I really wish I had something to actually evaluate in this step. We have a virtually non-existent entertainment budget. We have $10 a month for Dates, which doesn’t pay for much. Usually if we want a real dinner date we can only go out 3 or 4 times a year, if that, barring any gifts cards we receive throughout the year. We do consider our internet access a form of entertainment however, since it provides access to websites like Hulu.com which allow us to watch favorite TV shows without paying for cable. In the future, I would like to be able to have an Entertainment and Hobby budget. I enjoy knitting, but rarely have the money to invest in yarn. Usually, if I do buy it, I have to have a specific project in mind that will be a clothing item for my daughter or a gift for someone, and the money comes from one of those two budget categories. I used to take dance classes which I really enjoyed and miss very much. It provided me with a creative outlet and physical fitness opportunity. My husband is a computer gamer and programmer. But to his credit, he hasn’t bought himself a new game in quite some time. He also makes good use of the library for programming books, rather than buying them. I know he would like to have many of these books for reference and would probably get more than his money’s worth from them. But there is no money to buy them out right, so he makes do with the library copies.
I think Trent was right to point out that cutting back too steeply on your entertainment can be emotionally difficult. It hasn’t been easy for us. But it’s as simple as not having the money. As much as I enjoy my hobbies and entertainment, it’s hard to justify buying a new season of a TV show or a novel I’ve been dying to read when we have medical bills and student loans to pay. Entertainment may be important to my mental health, but paying for entertainment isn’t worth the cost to my savings account.