1. PLAN AHEAD
Many of us are constantly planning ahead when budgeting for large expenses. If you have a large family or even many children, this is especially true. With the high cost of living today, household expenses can quickly add up and cause financial hardship for the entire family. When setting your budget for the year ahead, it is important to plan so that you know exactly where all of your money is going. Not only do you want to be sure that all of your expenses are factored into your budget, but you also want to make sure that there is something left over at the end of the year. It is never easy to come up with extra money, but planning ahead makes it much easier.
One way to budget for the future is to take stock of all your expenses each month, such as your Connecticut mortgage, electricity, natural gas costs, groceries, and insurance – as well as money set aside for the unexpected like car repairs, etc. You should have a good idea of what you have coming in each month and figure out your bottom line. Then, look at your list of expenses and see if there is anything that you can do with those dollars. While planning ahead can be time-consuming, it is definitely worth the time spent because you will be ensuring that your money is not being sucked from you by unexpected costs. Once your budget is planned, it is important to track expenses to stay on top of your budget. This is especially true if you have a majority of your bills on autopay. Autopay is great for paying your utility bills on time, but many people tend to not pay attention to their costs once their bills are on autopay. So by tracking your expenses regularly, you can tell if your energy bill has spiked or your promotional rate for your internet has expired.
If you want to plan and stay on budget, you need to keep track of your monthly bills, as well as those of your family members. Write down how much each person needs to pay, and then compare that amount to your estimated monthly income. If you find that you are spending more than you make, you may want to make some changes in the way that you live, including reducing your spending habits.
Look through your daily expenses and determine which items you can cut back on and which ones you cannot. Look through your clothes and jewelry and determine which ones you really do not need. If you are buying gift certificates or something similar, simply refuse the idea or find something else that is cheaper. When you can reduce the number of items you buy, you will be able to save money on your budgeting.
The best way to budget for these large expenses is to take the time to look over your expenses carefully. You want to know where your money is going and whether there are any areas that you could cut back. If you find that your household expenses are rising, but your income is staying the same, you should take the time to look at the ways you are spending your money. Some areas of your household expenses could include food, gasoline, entertainment, clothing, household chores, and your United Illuminating bill. By carefully examining your expenses, you can determine where you can cut back and still save money.
Set aside a certain amount of money for emergencies. When an emergency occurs, and you are not able to prevent it, this money can help cover the expense of the emergency. This can save you a lot of money over time as you will not have to fall behind on paying for an emergency. This can be a good way to take the stress off of budgeting when you are planning ahead.
2. IDENTIFY UNNECESSARY SPENDING
Identifying unnecessary spending in your budget is an important step when trying to get a handle on where your money is going. Many people make the mistake of only keeping a watchful eye on their monthly household budget and refrain from checking how much money they are spending on specific items such as clothing or entertainment. A household budget is a great tool to help you get a handle on expenses and track your money, but it’s not a magic wand that will prevent you from incurring large expenditures or keep you from impulse buying. In fact, once you have pinpointed your spending outside of your budget, you will be much more disciplined about keeping those expenditures within your means.
If you’re not careful about how you use your credit card and debit card, then you will end up spending more than you intended. Instead of purchasing things that are necessary only a few times a year, you may be tempted to buy them every day. This habit can quickly lead to a large debt load because credit companies bill you each month for purchases that you did not make. Instead of addressing these issues with your credit card company, take the time to check your spending to ensure you’re not incurring any unnecessary expenses.
One easy way to save money on the things you really need to purchase is to compare prices before making the purchase. Many people assume they can save money by purchasing items on sale, but in fact, you will typically get a higher price for items that are on sale. By shopping around, you can save quite a bit of money. If you are unsure whether an item is on sale, you can always check with a store manager or store salesperson to see if there is any information available for the particular item that you’re interested in buying.
Taking advantage of clearance sales is another great way to save money when purchasing large items. Large department stores often hold clearance sales to unload older inventory and close out their stores. This means consumers can save money by purchasing previously owned items at drastically reduced prices. Besides purchasing previously owned items, you can also find great deals at estate and consignment stores.
3. CREATING YOUR PERSONAL BUDGET PLAN
Creating a budget plan is a must when saving for large purchases. This includes anything from your home improvement to investments in your children’s college education. A budget can be a tool to help you budget effectively and know where all of your money is going. Here are some tips to help you put together a plan to help you save for big purchases.
To begin, sit down and make a list of the things you absolutely must have in order to live the life you want. These may include a car, new furniture, or a dream house. It is important that you only list the things that are absolutely necessary for living a comfortable and happy life now and into the future. Once you have listed these necessities, you can move toward making a budget that will help you save for those items. Your budget should include things like travel, entertainment, lunch, clothing, and household chores.
When you have listed your list, you need to break it down further. Look at your budget as if you were making a big purchase. What are your expenses for one month? How much money are you looking to save each month? If you are making a major purchase, such as a car or a house, start calculating your expenses by adding up your monthly bills and dividing them by the number of months you plan to spend that specific money.
As you put together your personal budget plan, you will want to consider any other necessary expenses you have. For example, if you will be taking a vacation, figure in the cost of gas, food, and rental accommodations. If you have any other family members, they may need to come along, or you may want to factor in their fees when determining your budget. Once you have your expenses worked out, you can create a realistic plan to save for these large purchases.
You may be surprised at how quickly you can rack up extra cash when creating your personal budget plan. Often unexpected costs such as a car repair or a forgotten bill will jump up on you before you have a chance to plan for them. By being organized, you will not feel so overwhelmed when this happens. Plus, you will know exactly where you are in regard to your finances, which will give you peace of mind.
Creating your budget plan is not difficult if you take the time to do it right. Knowing what you need to save and where you are going with your money is half the battle when it comes to living a more frugal lifestyle. By creating a budget and sticking to it, you will find that you will save a lot of money in the long run.