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A fantastic evening out may involve seeing the latest blockbuster, attending a symphony concert, or going to a local play. Whatever the case, one thing’s for sure—we love to be entertained!
Even though there are many options for entertainment, the overwhelming winner in Americans’ budgets has to be movies. Consider this: In 2015, the top three releases (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World and Avengers: Age of Ultron ) grossed more than $1.7 billion combined at North American box offices . In comparison, the combined gross amount of the 15 most successful music tours in North America last year was just over $1.26 billion, as reported by Statista. That’s almost a $500 million difference!
The rising cost of movie tickets may help to explain that mind-boggling $1.7 billion. According to the Hollywood Reporter, in 2015, the average movie ticket hit an all-time high of $8.70. Factor in food, drinks, and other viewing options—such as 3D or Imax—and the total cost of seeing a new release adds up quickly. We don’t seem to mind the increasing costs too much, though. If the box office numbers are any indication, we love going to the movies!
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So How Much Should You Spend at the Box Office?
It’s totally fine to buy a ticket to see the latest action thriller or romantic comedy if that’s what you enjoy! Just make sure your spending habits on the extra stuff don’t strain the necessities of your budget. Dave recommends you keep your entertainment spending around 5% of your total budget. However, that percentage can vary depending on how much debt you’re working to get rid of and what the rest of your budget looks like. For example, if you run out of money for food (about 15% of your budget) or clothing (7%), you may need to reconsider your budgeted amount for entertainment.
Are You Over-Budgeting? What You Can Do
If you just realized you’re spending a little bit too much on the extra fun stuff, there’s good news. You don’t have to cut out the spending completely! Still budget for some of the events you look forward to, but get creative and see what other entertainment is available where you live. Here are a couple of ideas:
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See retro movies at the theater: Is there a cinema near you that is showing films from last summer for a buck or two? Or maybe the local theater is having an ’80s-themed night with the flicks and prices to match. These kinds of places give you the opportunity to see a movie without spending all your money.
Have a movie night with friends: Pick a food theme that everyone likes such as desserts or appetizers. One person hosts the event and the others bring dishes. Pick a movie you can all watch or split into smaller rooms to get multiple movies playing.
The Bottom Line
Keeping your entertainment spending in check is the key to having a good time without derailing your budget. Make a plan and spend within your means. It’s a surefire way for you and your money to have that happy Hollywood ending!
EveryDollar is a free online tool to help you keep track of your budget and spending anywhere, anytime. Check out all the helpful features, including an iOS app!