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You see it on the television. You see it in online ads and posted on highway billboards. You hear about it at the water cooler, at weekend parties, and even at church.
It’s football. And it is everywhere.
For some football-crazed Americans, watching the sport takes up so much of their time and money that it borders on an obsession. And unless you’re actually getting paid millions of dollars to play, then a football obsession isn’t a good thing.
It will not only take up way too much of your time, but it will also rip apart your budget. And if you know us, you know we want you to have a healthy budget!
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So what does your football spending look like? And does it involve any of these?
The average cost of an NFL game ticket in 2014 is $85.
And that’s if you’re lucky enough to buy a ticket for face value. If you’re buying from online brokers, you’ll likely pay in the neighborhood of 25% more for a single game ticket. For a family of four to go to a game—factoring in the cost of concessions—you’ll be lucky to get out of the stadium without having spent nearly $400.
Premium cable isn’t cheap.
You can watch a lot of games by just having basic cable, but the truly football-crazed fans upgrade their packages to get even more sports channels. This increases their monthly cable bill well over $100. If you’re intent on seeing EVERY NFL game, then the Sunday Ticket package will run you a minimum of $250.
How much is Fantasy Football costing you?
If you’re in a free league, then this isn’t for you. But some football addicts get hard core into fantasy football, playing in leagues that can easily cost hundreds of dollars. One fan recently told ABC News that he’s lost $70,000 playing fantasy football. What?
Time is money too.
Even if you aren’t gambling money or buying super expensive cable packages, how much time do you spend on the couch watching football? What’s your opportunity cost there? In other words, what else could you be doing (to make money or get out of debt) that obsessive football watching is getting in the way of?
So where do you draw the line?
Now listen: We’re in the south, so you know we love football. Dave Ramsey loves the Tennessee Volunteers and the Tennessee Titans.
We want you to have fun, and we want you to get away from everyday stress and relax by watching a football game, if that’s your thing. But what we want you to think about is whether watching football (like any other addictive hobby) is getting in the way of your money goals.
If you’re out of debt, or if you’ve budgeted a reasonable amount for football in your entertainment category, then keep doing what you’re doing.
But if you’re in debt, and you’re spending half of your at-home time in the fall watching football, then you’re money situation probably isn’t getting much better. You might need to break the habit for just a bit.
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So where’s the line? How do you know if watching football is getting in the way of your money goals?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is watching football—and all the costs that come with it—in the budget?
- Does my money situation seem to get better, worse, or stay the same during football season?
- Does the amount of time I spend watching football have an affect on my marriage or other relationships?
- Am I spending money on football that could be better used somewhere else in my life?
The key to answering those questions is to be honest with yourself.
Whether you have season tickets or simply channel surf from your couch every weekend in the fall, make sure it’s a reasonable part of your budget—a budget that has full support from your spouse.
It may sound ridiculous to say, but it’s worth saying: Don’t let football cause your money situation to spiral out of control. Make a game plan, and stick to it.
Where do you draw the line in your household and budget? How do you enjoy football season without it overtaking your life?