Weekly Roundup: Discretionary Spending Edition

The theme of today’s roundup is inspired by the first post mentioned in the roundup below: discretionary spending. It’s fun to hear what others spend their “left-over” money on each month.

I’m a little strange in that I don’t really have a hobby. I have a video game system with exactly one game. I have golf clubs with cobwebs surrounding the bag. I’m not a car guy. I’m not a “techie.” I don’t collect music, or DVDs, or books.

Here lately, any left-over money is going to a “home improvement” fund. We hope to soon add gutters and a deck to our backyard. What about you? What do you spend your discretionary money on?

The Frugal Roundup

What We Spend Money On: Video Games. This is still a relatively new site, but is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. I enjoy watching a young couple make the right moves with money. In this post, they share a little about their discretionary spending – a category we should all have when properly accounted for in our budgets. (@Couple Money)

Three Things the Amish Taught Me About Money. I was always a little curious about how Amish businesses operated. (@Get Rich Slowly)

Never Cosign a Loan Unless You Want to Pay It Yourself. The pitfalls of cosigning have been well document, but this is an excellent reminder. I’d rather give someone money than cosign. (@The Simple Dollar)

The 7 Big Money Problems Most People Have. A great list of things that could stop your from succeeding financially. (@Gen X Finance)

Best of the Rest


  1. Thanks for including our video game spending post. I think that ignoring discretionary spending on your budget can hurt you. Not only is your budget unrealistic and ineffective, but you’re missing a point of having money.

    We don’t spend a ton of money on things we enjoy (we don’t have to buy every new game), but it’s not to have something to unwind with once in awhile. We’re trying to find a balance that works for us.

  2. My discretionary spending all goes towards travel and its associated expenses. Its what I love doing, so when the bills are paid, I buy plane tickets. I leave for Iceland in 2 days! I am trying to travel 50,000 miles this year…so far, so good. This will be the 6th country this year!

  3. I find if I immediately put the excess out of reach and leave only enough to cover the planned expenses, it is far easier to stay on track. On a weekly basis I skim off the “excess” and alternate between contributing to our retirement accounts or making an extra mortgage payment. I view these as “one way” transfers. Theoretically I can pull funds out of the retirment account or borrow against the equity in our home but realistically we’d have to be desperate to do it.

    Early retirement is our main focus. The only thing that occasionally takes priority over extra mortage and retirement payments is travel. We take a month long vacation with our kids every other year. If a payment is required for a trip expense we just skip the extra mortgage or retirement savings that week (or for a few weeks). Once the travel expense is paid we go back to the normal routine. Travel is always paid for in advance and we’re still on track to retire December 2020. If we skipped the month long trips aboad every other year we could retire a couple of years sooner, but it’s a trade off we’re happy making.

    There really aren’t any “things” we want to spluge on and can happily say we have everything we need. We don’t covet the latest in electronics, happily drive older vehicles (bought used, with cash), haven’t had cable in 20yrs, and only replace clothing when it wears out or when the kids outgrow something. Fortunately travel is something we all enjoy which means we never arguing about whether to take the holiday vs buy a _____ (insert nonessential object here). Our only problem is agreeing where to go next.

  4. Usually we splurge on restaurants. That is an easy one for us to cut out of our lives when we are running out of money.

  5. Over the last few months I’ve started to run seriously, not only more often but longer so I have spent a lot more than usual on Running, Shoes, Running Clothes, and Running Gear (ie. water systems for long runs which I have discovered are not cheap). Soon there maybe another expense with this as well races, I’ve done one and I’m sure there will be more and at a minimum of $20 a pop they’ll add up.

  6. Tennis. Tennis. Tennis. I recently bought a new racquet which is rather nice:) I’m very happy with it!

    But other than that, my discretionary spending goes RIGHT to my debt snowball. It has paid off, I just blogged about how I will pay off my first loan in less than a WEEK!!!:)

  7. My easiest little “extra” is coffee. I drink regular boring coffee during the week, but on the weekends, I do splurge on a latte here or a frappe there. It’s easy to cut out if the discretionary dollars aren’t there.

    Travel and Home Improvements are “extras” that I save for every month and feel no guilt about spending. Major landscape construction, a remodeled kitchen, and trips to Alaska, Hawaii, and either a Georgia or Florida will happen this year. Discretionary income well spent, IMHO.

  8. Our biggest discretionary expenses are vacations, our dogs, and our hobbies. All three of those make my life happier, so I’m pretty happy with how we spend the “extra”. Although I will never get over how much a vet visit can cost…

  9. I spend time and money socializing-it’s not usually a lot, but a cheap dinner out or coffee with a friend. This is really sanity-saving for me. I have a stressful job and without this social time I go a bit batty. I know I could socialize more frugally, but really, I can afford a meal out a couple of times a month, and it means I don’t have to stress about cleaning my house so people can come over. Basically, if I tried to always entertain at home, I would never see my friends (I’m a realist-I know I’m a poor housekeeper!)

    y other downfall is books. I have put myself on a book-buying moratorium for now. It seems to go in waves, but I should be set for quite a while-I hit upon a used book sale where a whole bag of books was only $2! Score!

  10. Clothes, clothes and more clothes. I’m starting to think my life would be much easier (and I’d save a boatload of cash!) if I had a job that require a uniform…

  11. im in my mid 20’s, and after doing my saving and paying my bills, i spend hte remaining on social acitivties on weekends including sports games, bars, clubs, etc. hey, i still can, so why not=)

  12. My extra money goes toward eating out at lunchtime during the week. It keeps me sane because I work from home and spend most evenings and weekends at home caring for the kids. So going out and seeing people at lunch is wonderful. That said, if I were short on cash this is one that can be left out (but hopefully for only a short period!).

  13. I have never had a hobby either, never had the extra money for one. I guess the difference between folks who have hobbies and those who do not is a feeling like they have the extra money to blow. Many folks I know blow other peoples money on their hobbies. I do not understand the person who when you go out to eat has you pay for over half the bill and they ate more than what half the bill cost then they have cash for what they consider fun and you do not.

  14. I’m glad I’m not the only one “hobby-less”, although I think that is even more unusual for a man. My only love is travel (foreign culture and sometimes the food), but those aren’t quite hobbies…but it is where extra money goes when we have it!

    • @Amanda Y: It does seem that most men have a hobby. But then again, so do most women I know – scrapbooking, photography, etc. For a while, writing was my hobby, and in a way it still is. I am just blessed to make a little money from it to help pay the bills.

  15. Some exciting new seeds for the garden, or a pretty edible landscaping flower or plant. Or something for the grandkids 🙂 Most goes into saving for retirement tho 🙂