If you are looking for inspiration for your budget then this article might just be what you are looking for. It is full of inspirational ideas that will jog your memory, there is nothing worse than completing a budget and getting the figures just right and then remembering yet another bill!
There are some items that I totally agree with and others can be done without, but that is just my opinion on categories that you must include in your budget. What is important is remembering all those little bills that crop up over the year, so you are ready for them and prepared with the money when the bill arrives.
I have a separate account that I transfer all the money that I save up for bills each month and then when the bill arrives I have the money waiting. How do you store you bill money?
The most overlooked area when you are preparing a budget is the daily incidentals. It is a really important aspect that you must take into account. If you are looking to cut back your spending this is normally the first area that gets trimmed and this is alright, within reason. It is important that you build into your budget a small amount of money each week that you can spend on what you want. It is your money to waste and that way you can budget for that bar of chocolate or your favourite cup of coffee but it must be just a treat, something to make you feel good inside.
The article highlights another important area for budgets that are often forgotten, entertainment. It is important that you consider the time that you go out each month. If you factor in an amount each month or every other month a little bit of money so that you can have some time for fun. This will give you the chance to work out the budgeting blues. It can be very difficult to stick to a budget especially if you are trying to reduce debt, but it helps if you can have some money that will allow you to let your hair down if only for a night.
You might find that you become an expert in finding free ways to have fun. It is important to talk to your close friends and tell them that you are trying to save money. Those that understand and want to stick by you through the difficult times are truly great friends.
Subscriptions and memberships
Subscriptions and memberships are important and you must budget for these expenses as they can be quite large. But if you are looking for areas where you can cut back this area is one of the first areas that you should consider.
Do you use the gym membership that you are paying for? Work out how many times you have been to the gym in the last month and work out how much each of those sessions cost you. The more that you have used the gym the better the value you are getting for your money. But there are many people that are paying the gym membership and haven’t stepped in the gym for months. But beware many gym memberships can be difficult to just stop paying it is important that you read the agreement that you signed, you might need to give notice before you can cancel your membership. If you need to give notice make sure that you use it, you are paying for the membership you might as well use it.
You might be paying for a magazine that you no longer read, if this is the case then think about cancelling that too.
The article mentions a few sections that I tend to club together, these include travel and parking expenses. It can be difficult to judge how much you will need unless you spend the same amount each week on travel and parking. But remember to put in extra into this category if you plan to have a shopping trip. That way you will not need to take money out of your budget for the shopping trip to pay for fuel and parking.
Birthdays and holiday presents
This is one area that I have a set amount that I pay into each month and if I have any spare money it will normally go here. This is because no matter how organised you are there are always the little extra items that you need and this is always handy to have the money ready and waiting. My holiday fund and birthday fund is never empty it is an on-going account that I just pay into every month, and if I see something that is suitable for a present then I normally have the money already saved. If it is more than I have got saved then I just won’t buy the gift.
Banking and safety deposit boxes
This is an expense that is going to be something you just have to budget for. If you can take out your money from ATM’s that are free this is always a great option, but there are always going to be expenses that you will have to pay and if you budget for them then this will make it easier.
This is one area that I don’t budget for and I think it would be difficult to work out the areas where the money would need to go, apart from in the grocery area. If I have money over each month from the groceries it will just accumulate and this always covers for the extra groceries that we need. As for the extra on the electric and the other household bills I really wouldn’t know what to add to those. This has made me think and now I might need to adjust my budget to take into account of these increases.
For me irregular expenses come into a different category, the article uses the example of going to a wedding, I would put these expenses in the travel and gift area. For me irregular expense comes from my flexi budget, I put an amount into my budget and if an irregular expense comes up I have the money and if I think that it is going to become regular I would then start to include it in my budget, but if it is purely a one off I don’t bother.
The article just mentions car registration, for me it will also include insurance, maintenance and car service payments to. I know that if I save this money over the year I can save money because I pay it off in one payment and I can save on the interest that many companies charge for monthly payments, like insurance.
For me all these are in separate categories to, I know how much certain items are going to be and this makes it easier to budget. The ones where you just can’t work out I look at the previous year and then divide this amount by 12 and just start saving.
This category is really important; you need to make sure that you have money put aside so that you can take care of your pets. Our vets have just started a pet care plan and it saves money each year, I save around 20% of the costs by getting their flea, worm and injections paid for each month. But I still budget for their food and any other problem that might arise. You might want to include pet insurance to in this section.
This category is important and if you add a small amount each month it will mean when you need to replace an item of clothing you will have the funds there ready. If you have children the amount that you need for clothes can vary with certain times of the year more expensive than others. It will depend on your personal circumstances as to the amount that you need, but normally it is not as much as what you might think. It is easy to cut back in this area if you are looking to make savings in your budget.
If you need to make payments to your family then it is important that you take this into consideration when budgeting. As the article points out sometimes this is taken directly from your wages, if this is what happens for you then leave this out of your budget.
If you own your own home one area that is always forgotten is the up keep of your home. You will need to have a budget in place that will allow you to improve your home with decoration or when you need to put things right when things break. If you have a budget for this, even if you don’t use it each month it will mean that you are prepared for the expense. This is a good point in the article but I like to take this a step further. I have a section in my budget where I save for my boiler and its annual service, I have a section for decoration, a garden budget and finally my white goods budget, here I save money each month for when they wear out and need replacing.
It is important that you support a charity if you can, many charities wouldn’t survive without some form of support.
This article is great for making you think about the different areas that are required when you are making a budget. It makes you think about the areas that sometimes get missed off and yet can be vital if you want an accurate budget.