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Christian Living

Finance

Dave Says: Having Fun on a Budget

Dave Says
Author Biography

Dear Dave,

My husband and I are debt-free except for our house. I've been having a discussion with a coworker over how much money to allow for fun in your budget. I think $100 for a bottle of wine is okay, but she says something like that is unreasonable. What do you think?

Elizabeth

Dear Elizabeth,

It depends entirely on your financial situation. Paying $100 for a bottle of wine is pretty dumb if you make only $20,000 a year. But what if you make $200,000 a year? Quit worrying and buy the wine! When you have a great income-to-asset ratio—and you're living debt-free, have control of your money, and are saving and investing for the future—that's the time to relax and enjoy a few things.

You've got to take the whole picture into account. Otherwise, you'll get caught up in the whole envy and jealousy thing. I know a guy who makes $15 million a year, and recently he bought a $400,000 car. Now, I grew up in a small town in Tennessee. I can't wrap my head around the idea of a $400,000 automobile. But as a ratio, that's a very small part of his income. It would be like someone who makes $150,000 a year buying a $4,000 car.

That's a good rule of thumb for determining if something constitutes an outrageous purchase. If it's a big enough percentage of your income to rock your world and mess with your finances, then you're spending too much. But to say that a certain item is too expensive or an irresponsible purchase based on price alone, that's kind of silly.

—Dave

 

 

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