In our years of primary and secondary education we learn one thing – no question is stupid. Even the most nonsensical of queries require an answer in order to satisfy our curiosity. With each passing year our quest for knowledge grows and, subsequently, so does the amount of questions we ask to others as well as to ourselves. This includes queries into our personal income.
Yes, a household budget is simple to create and maintain; however, questions arise when funds are added to each category. In order to maintain a proper budget, research is needed to fill in these fields. If not, the distributed amounts end up as random numbers are either be too much or too little for average expenses. To guide you toward more meaningful budget numbers, here are a few questions to ask yourself for some of the more common categories.
Questions to ask: Do I have my menu planned? Are there any special events coming up? Are there any sales where I can buy bulk? Do I have all the coupons I need?
It’s best to be prepared when food shopping. Without a list of meals, you may end up with a cart full of unnecessary groceries that produce very little in the way of meals. If you’ve never created a shopping list or a menu, websites like eMeals and Fresh 20 aid in creating meal plans and providing guides for grocery purchases. These sites can also generate ideas for special event meals and desserts.
In addition to meal assists, shopping lists can save money and be a starting point to review supermarket circulars for sales. Along with coupons, some market discounts result in bulk purchases that save money on future food shopping trips.
Questions to ask: Where am I going? Any special trips? Any immediate repairs?
Unless gas prices vary widely from week to week in your area, averaging how much fuel is needed for normal transportation purposes is easy. Factor in a scheduled trip for business or pleasure and it can get somewhat complicated, especially if you’re travelling outside of your state. Should this be the case, websites like GasBuddy help drivers determine the average prices in other regions of the country.
Another consideration in your transportation budget is normal maintenance of your vehicles. Do you need an oil change, air filter, or tire rotation? If so, check your repair shop to see if they’re offering any special deals during the time you budget transportation funds.
Questions to ask: Do I need anything replaced? Do my family members need anything? Any special events coming up?
If you’re a parent of small children, you know items like underwear, socks, and shoes need to be replaced more frequently due to wear and growth. Should this be your situation consider adding a regular amount of money to the budget each week for articles of clothing. Also think of creating special accounts for annual events, like the new school year or vacation, where new clothes will be needed.