Pay attention to your expenses
If you’re budgeting carefully, don’t forget to plan for the future and be aware of the additional costs that your spending decisions may generate. Here we look at some common expenses that can trip consumers up and give our tips for limiting their impact on your budget.
When you set your budget, fixed monthly charges such as rent, internet, telephone package and insurance are relatively easy to predict. However, other expenses can become more onerous than we imagined.
This is an area where it is very easy to generate additional expenses. For example, you join a sports club or gym, budgeting for the annual cost, but forget you will need an outfit or additional accessories. In the same way, cinema or amusement park outings can cost more than the ticket price when you factor in buying food and other extras. Game consoles are also great opportunities to spend more with the desire for new games, additional content and paid subscriptions.
Are you planning to renovate a room in your house or apartment? Even if you have secured quotes and budgeted carefully, it is worth adding a little extra to cover additional costs that may arise. Once work begins, it is common to find problems that were previously hidden in the fabric of the building.
If you have decided to get a pet, make are you are realistic about the costs you are taking on. As well as food and day-to-day care, there is insurance, healthcare and the cost of care when you are away to think of. Animals have changing needs as they age so be aware the costs may rise in future.
If you decide to invest in a bread machine to make your bread or a sparkling water machine to limit your expenses, factor in all the costs. If you get carried away by the extras – such as different flours to test different recipes or syrups to create sodas, you may end up wiping out the savings.
The key to a successful budget lies in planning ahead: being able to cope with unavoidable expenses while leaving room for small pleasures.
- Be very clear about your income, fixed costs and expenses. When you plan your budget, be as precise and exhaustive as possible. Consider all scenarios that may arise.
- Learn to distinguish the necessary from the optional and choose which extras to spend money on. It’s not about denying yourself every small pleasure, but deciding which expenses to prioritise.
- Set your limits. By having in mind from the start the most you can spend on a particular item, you will be less tempted to exceed your income. For sport, for example, plan an annual budget for your needs.
- Your emergency fund should not be used to offset optional expenses. Keep that for a veterinary emergency or an unexpected drop in income.
- Certain expenses can also be offset by taking precautions earlier. Insurance can cover some unanticipated costs. Decide what cover you need for your pets, home, possessions and income.
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