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Recently a friend commented that it was great how I support the arts.  I thought that I couldn’t imagine not attending many of the events – plays, musicals, concerts – that I have over the past year.  But it also made me wonder, just how much do I spend to support the arts?

Well I’m not quite so candid as to tell you the exact amount I have spent, but when I look at the list for spending over the last 12 months in Quicken and see the list of expenses (which I guess should reflect my priorities, or the relative cost of things) “Groceries” is just barely above “Leisure!”

In my anal need to track all my expenses (see my blog post: How much did you spend on groceries this month?) I have things pretty well categorized.  However, for full disclosure, in addition to plays, concerts, musicals and even movies, my “leisure” category includes my photo developing habit (which was a little pricey with recent senior photos) and a few books and magazines.

Now that I am looking more closely, I also must confess that “dining out” and things like “coffee” (meaning from the coffee shop) are not included with groceries, instead they are listed in a line called “food.” The “food” category includes edible expenses other than groceries; you know, the line we all think we can live without if forced to cut our budget.  Obviously these foodstuffs were consumed to nourish my body while the arts nourished my soul…  In fact our family spent nearly the same amount dining out as on groceries!

What about you?  What do your spending habits say about your priorities?

I’m happy to say that further perusal of the last year’s expenses indicate that my charitable giving is just below the line for gifts and both are more than “vacation.”  Reflecting on this leads me to believe that my disposable income supports those I don’t know almost as much as those I do (family and friends) and both are more important than a trip for our family! Of course in the past 12 months our only “vacation” was worked around one child’s French camp and the others’ orchestra trip to Europe, not listed as vacation for them, but as “educational opportunities.”  This would explain why “school enrichment” was our highest expense, just after “home improvement” (which included a new patio and new bamboo floors).  The enrichment of my children included:  French  camp, tennis lessons, acting camps, choir fees, voice lessons, clarinet lessons, music trips and other performance opportunities that come with a cost.   Whew.

I guess this analysis says I am not only supporting the arts and stimulating the economy, but I am also prioritizing my children’s educational enrichment and due for a real vacation with my family!