The world likes to throw curveballs from time to time, so it’s best to prepare now for potentially unexpected expenses when working on a budget – if only so you can stay within your means and have leeway to take that spontaneous vacation getaway you’ve always wanted.
There is something to be said about living in the moment, but your finances and budget are an area where many of us cannot afford – literally – to not plan ahead. Because life doesn’t care about our best-laid plans.
By taking standard charges into account as well as considering special situations, we should be able to withstand anything that comes our way. So below are a few tips to make sure none of us are left hanging out to dry when those expenses hit:
1) Figure out how much money you make
Before planning out what you can and will spend on, the first step is to simply find out how much you have to burn. Whether it’s a standard paycheck or some other means, always calculate what kind of money you are bringing in before doing anything else.
2) Plan out your standard charges
The first step in any financial planning or budgeting is to know what you know you will spend. Whether it’s mortgage payments, car loans, insurance payments, etc. – the list goes on. These types of payments can often be overlooked when planning since paying them is more like a reflex for many of us than anything else.
There are also those standard yearly or month expenses for things like groceries, outings with friends or gas for your car, which vary from month to month – but that does not mean they can’t be planned for. Sit down and take some time to figure out what your average expenses here have been over the last six months or year. It may seem tedious and time consuming now, but it will definitely pay off down the line.
And sometimes, some charges we claim were unexpected really weren’t really unexpected – in reality, we got caught up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle and simply forgot to take them into account. Whether it’s potential in-law visits or that planned vacation that sneaks up on you because of work, be sure to take everything into account.
3) Keep a rainy day fund
It’s always best to have some money set aside. Maybe you’ll never need it, maybe it won’t ever be touched. But you know what? That’s not always a bad thing.
It always pays to be prepared and have a “break in case of emergency” stash for those truly unexpected things like medical emergencies, car expenses, or anything similar
4) Gauge the necessity of certain expenses
This may not be something many of us like to hear, but we don’t need absolutely everything that catches our eye, and that can help us prepare for unexpected expenses.
Something like air conditioner repair is definitely necessary, especially in the summertime. But a home repair project might not be – at least not at certain times. If something is not absolutely necessary for quality of living, then it can probably wait.
That’s not to say that you should never do it, maybe just put it off until you’re in a better financial position to get it done.