This may seem like an odd title to write about for a blog that is dedicated to managing home maintenance costs. However when you think about it if you know were you spend your money, then you can make some decisions about what to spend and what not to spend. Developing a budget is one of the tools that can help you with this objective to manage your overall home costs.
Save Money – Set a Budget
There are a number of guidelines when it comes to building a realistic budget. Here are a few:
- Be realistic about your budget. Setting it too small or too large will not allow you to achieve your objectives
- Track your expenses against your budget so that you can compare
- Develop your budget with the family so they can help you meet your targets
- Need vs. Want. Evaluate whether the planned expense is something you need to have or merely want to have.
- Always look for alternatives and ways to save money. This can be the difference between meeting your budget objectives vs. overspending
- Just because you have not spent all of your money in a specific area of your budget avoid the tendency to spend it anyway. You might need this to offset an over expense in another area
- Pay yourself as well. this is important so that you and your family have some mad money to spend on dining, hobbies etc
There are probably many other tips and areas that should be considered when setting up a budget. Based on my own experience, these are the important ones. If you have tips of your own, please feel free to leave comments on our blog. Spam comments will be deleted.
Categories for Your Budget
You probably cannot identify every budget item that needs to be included. We have listed some of the main ones for you to consider.
- Auto – including gas, maintenance and repairs
- Insurance – including home, auto, life, health insurance costs
- Groceries – self evident
- Utilities – cable, phone, cell, electrical, heat
- Taxes – federal, state, city, provincial taxes, property taxes
- Entertainment – including dining, movies, shows, etc
- Vacation – travel costs and hotel, including dining and vacation entertainment
- Home Maintenance – this is a big one and the expenses can be large. You may want to draw up a maintenance plan and then decide how much you need to set aside every month to ensure that you have sufficient funds to deal with the major expense. These include – window replacement, furnace , water heater, air conditioner replacement, roof repairs, driveway repairs, fence repairs etc
- Home Decoration – Allow some money in your budget for decoration and furniture additions or updates
- Pay yourself budget – although this may be a small item, budget to allow yourself to spend some money on frivolous items from time to time.
- Clothing – plan your expenses around sales and updates to your wardrobe. Take advantage of sales to stay within your budget.
- Office or work related expenses – lunch, transit, coffee at work
- School – folks with young children will need to set budgets in this area as well, particular for that back to school time frame.
Keep Your Budget Simple
Sounds like a lot of work to set a budget and track it. It can be unless you keep it simple and really assess if you really needs things or just want them. It can be very rewarding at the end of each month to know that not only did you meet your budget, but you saved some money as well. Stick to your guns with the family as well and set a time each week to over how you are doing relative to the budget for the month.