If you want to try a new restaurant in a state you’ve never visited, would you go without Google maps? I didn’t think so. Why, then, would you ever go through life without a budget? After all, a budget is your road map to an important place, namely financial independence.
Far too many live without this road map. If you already have an accurate budget, congratulations! If not, read on for five handy homeowner’s budgeting tips.
Homeowner’s Budgeting Tips
It’s easy to budget regular monthly expenses. The problem is that all expenses aren’t regular. You buy car tags once a year, and if you forget to budget for them, you may not have the cash when needed. Smart budgeting splits infrequent future expenses into a monthly savings contribution so the money will be there, and you can sleep like a baby!
Does your mortgage amount change annually? What happens to your utilities in the dead of winter? Stay alert for changes, be ready to adjust your budget, and make sure income stays ahead of budgeted expense to allow for the ever-rising cost of living.
Expect the Unexpected
Your car breaks down, the furnace quits, or rover breaks his leg. Unexpected events are inevitable, and just that quick, your budget is busted. There’s no way to accurately anticipate these costs. The best defense is to budget for a rainy-day fund. Set aside regular savings until you have a comfortable cushion. How much is that? The answer is personal, of course, but a rule of thumb is at least three to six months’ worth of regular expenses. That may seem daunting, but regular savings contributions can add up quickly, and any emergency fund is better than none at all.
Dream and Plan
You want something. Maybe you want to want to replace that linoleum floor with natural stone, a ski boat, or that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe. Use your budget to make the dream a reality. Set a target date, determine the cost, and set aside savings monthly to make it happen.
Don’t Forget Your Income
Does your income ever change? Maybe your hours get cut, for example, or if the news is better, perhaps you earn a bonus. Whatever the case, adjust your budget accordingly, and when a windfall arrives, save a little extra for future expenses.
Be Good to Yourself
Plan space in your budget for rewards. Treat yourself to lunch, shopping, and travel, but don’t do it outside of your budget! Make budget cuts so that you have room in your budget to be good to yourself!
Budgeting takes discipline and attention to detail, but it’s worth it. Master your budget and you’ll earn peace of mind!
written by: Hannah Whittenly