Set out to make a budget, and you’ll quickly discover that there’s no such thing as a perfect month. Instead, there are usually unplanned expenses galore — at least at first.
Your kid comes home and needs $20 for a field trip, or your car starts making a funny noise. Then next month, the cat exhibits mysterious symptoms and requires a trip to the vet. The month after that, there’s a series of shower and wedding gifts. » Read more
Zero-based budgeting is a less-common approach to budgeting that can benefit you. In zero-based budgeting, you approve the plans for all of your money ahead of time. You don’t just assume that it’s OK to spend on item X this month because you’ve always spent that amount in the past. Instead, you take a few minutes to think about whether or not item X is really what you want to be spending your money on.
By contrast, many people who budget only plan out their fixed expenditures, leaving the more variable ones to be taken out of the “extra” that’s available each month — assuming there is extra. Many people also tend to forget about savings, or to leave that to last if there’s any money leftover. But savings should be a part of the money you “spend” (allocate) each month. » Read more
Ask folks creating a budget to list the categories they intend to use, and they’re almost certain to include one category that should NOT be on the list.
That category doesn’t usually even have a single name, despite the fact that it could eat up anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars each month.
So what is it? » Read more
The holidays seem to sneak up on us, and then all of a sudden they’re everywhere we look. And they often seem to end up costing more than we thought.
I suspect this is because we often forget to account for all of the little details that might be involved with a holiday. Take Christmas, for example. Depending on how you celebrate, it could involve a variety of purchases. (There’s everything from a gingerbread house kit to travel expenses.)
So what does a holiday budget include? » Read more