Here’s how much you should spend on ‘fun’ each month, according to a financial planner

Following a monthly spending rule could save you thousands of dollars, says a financial planner who studies rich people's habits.

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Following a monthly spending rule could save you thousands of dollars, says a financial planner who studies rich people’s habits.

If you don’t have a budget, the money you spend on a lunch out here and a dinner out there can add up. And that could be the reason why you never see your bank account balance rise above a certain number.

In fact, having strict spending habits is one thing many wealthy people prioritize and many non-wealthy people don’t, according to research from financial planner, accountant and author Tom Corley.

In his book, “Rich Habits, Poor Habits,” Corley describes how he surveyed 233 wealthy individuals on their financial habits and compared those answers to responses from 128 poorer individuals, or those who earn less than $35,000 in annual gross income.

One of the key findings? The majority of wealthy people lived below their means by keeping unnecessary spending to a minimum.

Tom Corley, financial planner, best-selling author and accountant.

Photo by Eric Vitale
Tom Corley, financial planner, best-selling author and accountant.

So what’s the most you should be spending on leisure activities and entertainment, or what you might call ‘fun’?

According to Corley, the magic number is 10 percent of your monthly net pay, or what you take home after taxes and other deductions.

That under-ten-percent figure covers going out to restaurants, bars and the movies. The occasional manicure, massage, boutique fitness class or road trip? Those also fall in this category.

So, for example, if you know you take home $1900 each month, you should not spend more than $190 for the whole month on entertainment. The number might sound like a lot, but if look over last month’s credit card bill, you may be surprised to find you went over it. In fact, keeping your spending on ‘fun’ below $190 a month might mean making some sacrifices.

“If getting rich was easy, everyone would be wealthy,” Corley writes. “If you want to be somewhere else, logically you are going to have to do things differently.”

Check out Corley’s advice on money habits to adopt in your 20s to be wealthier in your 30s.

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