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How much do you spend on the non-essentials / fun stuff in life?

24 replies

ilovecake · 15/02/2008 14:35

We are a family of four - DS 20mths, DD 4yrs. Just remortgaged again to consolidate some debts and get a better rate and really want to sort out our finances and cut back. I think I am there on bills, shopping, insurance, we cut back to one car etc. But I like to be able to have / do some fun stuff - e.g. coffee with a friend, magazine, day out or lunch as a family. What do you spend on these kind of things - what would be a reasonable budget for the month?

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frazzledbutcalm · 15/02/2008 21:12

We live week to week. Try having no treats the first week - whatever money you have spare at the end of the week, thats your money for treats the following week.

ilovecake · 15/02/2008 23:23

Thanks for your reply frazzled. I hate the feeling that i can't have any little treats. Perhaps seeing how the week goes first is the best way to tackle it.

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MrsBadger · 15/02/2008 23:28

or have free treats instead - eg borrow books from the lib rather than buying magazines, have mates round for coffee rather than always going out, go on a walk with a picnic as a day out etc.

Everyone likes treats and fun stuff but tbh if you're having to cut back they are non-essential...

expatinscotland · 15/02/2008 23:30

we used to fritter quite a bit on that stuff when we lived in a city.

but now we're in the sticks and we hardly spend a thing because there's not a lot to spend money on around here except food and petrol.

ilovecake · 15/02/2008 23:36

i think i usually spend on this stuff as a temporary way of cheering myself up - but then regret it pretty quickly. There's nowt much to do here either so should be able to cut back really. Old habits die hard.

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hertsnessex · 15/02/2008 23:37

every month is different. varies from £20-i dread to think - depends on what moeny we have that month.

ilovecake · 15/02/2008 23:46

what do you call a treat or non-essential i am just interested in other's views to give some context really.

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hertsnessex · 15/02/2008 23:57

food treats
days out
dvd hire
meals out
computer games

etc etc really!

wineisthewaytomyheart · 16/02/2008 00:01

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gigglewitch · 16/02/2008 00:04

naff all. I think we get a (free) day out and chippy dinner one day a month or so. Mostly we do free stuff with picnics, and go to the cinema or something for something like a birthday or anniversary. Heavens, I'm tight DH probably turns up with a couple of bottles of wine (he buys, obv) but it is usually aldi or lidl two-for deals so therefore quite cheap.

ilovecake · 16/02/2008 00:08

Thanks for your hint of normality - i'm not so hard done by really and need to work hard at a bit of preparation for days out so as to avoid spending money.

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gigglewitch · 16/02/2008 00:14

Ah-ha. Have thought of our annual 'treat' - it is National Trust membership.
A whole year of days out for around sixty quid for the family. (you would get it for less as your children go for free) We make about three to four-fold on the membership fee. As in two hundred + quid worth of days out, which of course we wouldn't do if we had to pay entrance each time, so perhaps not a sensible debate.

wineisthewaytomyheart · 16/02/2008 00:21

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gigglewitch · 16/02/2008 00:24

you certainly do. Thus tons of places to go when at home or visiting friends / on hols, all for no more than you have already paid for the membership. see here. they often have a 15 months for the price of 12 months membership going at this time of year.

wineisthewaytomyheart · 16/02/2008 00:25

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gigglewitch · 16/02/2008 00:27

I know you would find it anyway but this page is better

hertsnessex · 16/02/2008 00:27

we are members of national trust and english heritage, saves loads on days out.

wineisthewaytomyheart · 16/02/2008 00:33

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frazzledbutcalm · 16/02/2008 08:41

My weekly treat is when i take ds2 to sports centre for softplay area. Afterwards we go to cafe with friends and spend a whole £2 on latte and scone!! They make the best latte and scones around!
Wineisthewaytomyheart - i can't believe you have that much to waste each month Isn't it funny/weird/sad though that we spend and don't realise the cost as it's over a period of time?

PerkinWarbeck · 16/02/2008 08:52

things are still cheap for us, as DD is only one. I also work three days a week, so there is not too much time to fill.

We normally do a cafe brunch on the weekends DH doesn't work, and fortnightly swimming. No DVD hire - we got heaps at Xmas still to watch. We have Private Eye on subscription at half the cover price - most mags are heavily discounted on subscription.

we buy the Saturday and Sunday papers, but read the daily paper on line in my lunch hour. Mother and Baby group is free, and we go the library. Monthly trip to the city farm is free. Odd trip to free museums. I don't seem to get time to do much else!

I think whilst London is a very expensive city in which to live, one small compensation is the variety of free activities available. I know it's harder to find free treats elsewhere.

kerryk · 16/02/2008 11:01

my dh used to spend a fortune on dvd hire and buying films from telewest through the t.v control. we now get all our films from, this cost us about £15 a month and he gets to watch as many as he likes.

MrsBadger · 16/02/2008 11:58

frazzledbutcalm, there is a school of thought that says if you do it every week it's not a 'treat' any more, it's a routine

(mind you at £2 it sounds reasonable to me!)

ilovecake · 16/02/2008 21:53

We had national trust membership couple of years ago and i was thinking of renewing with my birthday money this year - that would give us lots of opportunities for getting out.

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frazzledbutcalm · 18/02/2008 16:30

I guess you're right mrsbadger, however, it is the best latte and scone you have ever had, therefore it will always be my treat!!

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