Managing your money effectively starts with a budget – yeah, I know you’re surprised aren’t you? #sarcasm 🙂 But all jokes aside, budgeting is the first step in managing your money well and there are a few things that you should always include in your budget. Of course there are line items like your rent or mortgage payment and line items for your utilities, but there also should be a few other line items that should happen all year round.
By regularly contributing to these “funds” you’ll be setting yourself and your family up for success. (For more on how I use “funds” within our budget, click here to download my best-selling budget workbook FREE.)
I’m not just talking about budgeting for Christmas, I’m talking about budgeting for all holidays and planning for those holidays well in advance. The thing is, Christmas falls on the same day of every single year. It’s not a surprise but some how we end up forgetting all about it until December 1st.
So, in order to keep from having to scramble at the last minute to figure out your Christmas budget, you should really be setting aside money every month to pay for a debt-free Christmas all year long. The same holds true for other holidays and reoccurring events that happen through out the year.
Think birthdays, anniversaries, and of course holidays – like Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but even Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and New Year’s. Any special event that your family celebrates needs a place in your budget throughout the year.
We have an “auto fund” which is used to fund any car repairs, car maintenance, or even to fund paying for another car in cash should something happen to one of ours. We’re working hard to become 100% debt-free so taking out a car loan is a no-no in our book.
That is why we have the auto fund – to keep us from going broke having to pay for all the car related stuff. This is a reoccurring expense that is automatically drafted out of our checking account and is transferred to our auto fund savings account. By having this as a reoccurring expense in our one-income budget, we don’t have to stress whenever one of our cars needs fixing.
Saving for a Rainy Day
I know, this one is kind of obvious but given the stats, most Americans don’t have even a $1,000 in a savings account. So, I had to include this one here – saving for a rainy day. What I mean is, saving up an emergency fund. One where you only touch under extreme circumstances – like the breadwinner losing their job type of emergency.
By having an emergency fund set in place you’re guaranteeing your family’s chance of financial success. In fact, having at least one savings account is essential to creating an effective money plan, but I always recommend having more than one savings account.
Just like you need to plan for the holidays all year round, you need to make sure that you’re accounting for those yearly expenses. These are some common yearly expenses that often get forgotten about in the budget:
- Amazon Prime Membership
- Life Insurance Premiums
- Ad Valorem Tax (some states still charge this yearly – it’s also known as the “birthday tax” on your vehicles.)
- Property Taxes
Make sure you’re including these within your monthly budget or designate a place for them in your budget binder.
This one will get you every time – reoccurring subscription services. If you haven’t done this in awhile, I want to encourage you do this right now:
- Login to your online banking and look over the last 30 days’ worth of transactions.
- Highlight all of the reoccurring monthly subscription service charges you were charged for.
- Now write those subscriptions on a clean sheet of paper (the name of the subscription, what it’s for, and the price).
- Total up the amount of money you’ve spent in the last 30 days on your subscription services.
- Ask yourself if that number makes you happy.
I’m not judging you for subscription services because I have them too, I’m just challenging you because I know that I’ve signed up for many of “free trial” so I could get the free box of goodies and then promptly forgot to cancel said trial. It happens.
That’s why I want you to ask yourself it that number is worth it to you. If it, great! Now make sure it’s included in your budget planner, but if it doesn’t make you happy, take the time to cancel them today (yes, I know it’s annoying but it’s well worth it).
Okay so what would you add to this list?
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