Last week, I published our July monthly cash flow statement and a few readers have one big question.
How are you able to keep your entertainment spending at $0?
Well, it’s a combination of things and you might not approve of some of them, but here goes.
First off, we are really lucky because we live Portland. The summer weather is moderate and there are a ton of free events and entertainment around town. We also don’t really want to go to long (> 1 hour) events because RB40 Junior would get bored. Short free events are perfect for us at this time.
Here are some free events and local entertainment that we have been enjoying lately:
- Local splash fountains – Kids love splash fountains, especially on a sunny day.
- Swimming pool – Our condo has a community swimming pool. Any cost incurred is included in our HOA fees.
- Library – We have a great library and we drop by every few days to pick up some books and movies.
- Parks and Playgrounds – RB40 Junior loves to run around outside. He entertains himself with rocks, acorns, pine cones, sticks, dandelions, wild strawberries, and whatever else is lying around. Oh, he is also learning how to ride a push bike which keeps him occupied.
- Walks and Hikes – Healthy and free. What could be better?
- Community Garden – We like working in the garden a little bit every week and enjoying the fruits of our labor.
- Farmer markets – There are 3 farmer markets in the downtown area and it’s a lot of fun to go around and taste different local products. Of course, we spend a few bucks here and there, but that’s in our grocery budget.
Free live music – We just saw the Portland Festival Symphony at the Rose Garden amphitheater last Sunday. There are different free performances at 6pm everyday in August. Our local parks also have many free shows throughout summer.
- Cultural festivals – Italian festival, Oktoberfest, Bastille festival, Cinco De Mayo, there are a ton of free cultural events in the summer.
- Free movies – There are free outdoor movies, but they start a bit too late for us. Maybe next year.
There are a bunch more free events that we haven’t able to attend this year. This is why I love summer. It’s just so much fun without having to spend much money.
OK, actually I did spend some money, but it’s out of our cash allowance pool. We get $80 each per week to spend on groceries and anything else we want. The last time we went to farmer market, I purchased some organic Rainier cherries and I used cash. (Come on, who could say no to $3 per pound of great organic, local cherries?)
We also went out to eat a couple of times in July and paid cash. Cash works well for me because once I run out of cash, then I just have to wait for next week.
Mmmmm, I did go out a few times in July, but I charged these on the business account.
- Happy Hour – Met with a friend to talk about blogging and rental properties. He owns a few rental properties and we like to catch up once in a while. I need to re-stain the shingles on our rental house and he said I could borrow a ladder. I’d sold ours when we moved to a smaller place, so it is great to have a resource for such hard-to-store items.
- Blogger get together – I took a bottle of wine to the monthly local blogger gathering at Frugal Portland’s new home. We talked business a bit and drank a lot of wine…
- Meals and drinks during the World Domination Summit – WDS was a great conference and I charged my meals to the business account.
This is one reason why it’s good to have an LLC and business credit card. These are all legitimate business expenses, so why not write them off?
Imperfect Record Keeping
I guess this one is a catch all. We went camping in July and that is definitely entertainment (and a learning experience). We paid for the camp site in June so it didn’t show up in July. We did spent money on gasoline and food. I guess that should have gone into the entertainment pool, but I didn’t do that. I put the gasoline cost in the transportation row and we paid for food in cash.
I think that’s the only mistake in July. I don’t think it’s a big deal, do you?
So these are my secrets to having $0 in the entertainment category in July. It feels a bit like cheating now that I list it out… Did you spend a lot on entertainment last month? I know Financial Samurai spent like $10,000 traipsing around Europe.