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What are the most important things I should budget for?
For every person… it will be different. But the budget necessities are your needs. Everybody’s needs are different… but these are my needs in order of importance…
Ask yourself “Is this a NEED or a WANT?” Knowing the difference will help when budgeting. Make sure you think about your circumstance and do what’s best for YOU financially!
Here are the “needs” I recommend:
Shelter– this constitutes house a over your head such as mortgage or rent.
Food– Groceries… If you go out 2-3 times a week, make sure that is budgeted in. Although, if you are trying to save money on FOOD, the LESS you go out to eat, and the MORE you “Brown Bag” your lunches, the more you will save. Read more on how to save money on your grocery budget or find some cheap meal ideas.
Gas/traveling expenses– I consider this a need because I NEED to get to work to pay our bills. If you drive, or take the bus.. make sure you budget for that. Also, if you have to pay for parking daily or monthly… for work… this might need to go in there as well.
The “other needs”… that aren’t as need-y:
Utilities– Water, gas and electricity are all important needs for basic living. These can be expensive too! Make sure you search Pinterest for some GREAT tips on how to save money in this area!
Debt– Credit card, Student loan, medical, ect… Paying off debt keeps you from having to spend more money paying them back with high interest rates (I do not consider mortgage debt in this category, that goes with Shelter/Home). The sooner you can get rid of that debt, the more “in pocket money” you will be able to bring home and keep for other items. Read more about managing your finances.
Medical/Dental Insurance– If this is a monthly fee, taken out of your paycheck, you don’t need to include it in your budget (when setting up a budget, you ALWAYS want to use your “take home income” … what actually gets put into your account, NOT how much you made). If this is NOT taken out of your paycheck, PLEASE budget it into your monthly budget.
Internet– This and using wi- fi can be cheaper than paying for high data plans on your smart phone. Also, not having cable TV, you can stream videos through multiple places online. Our favorite is Amazon Prime, others are Netflix and Hulu
Phone bill– I recommend linking up to Wi-Fi whenever possible to save on your data usage plan. Also, getting rid of any land lines can save you a bundle as well.
Church Tithes– This is a need area for us. We believe many of our blessings come from paying tithing to the church.
Needs to Make Life Easier
Here are some of my other budget categories we personally have… to make life easier…
Car Insurance– we pay for it twice a year… I take out “x” amount each month and put it into my savings. Every 6 months when the bill comes, we have the perfect amount in savings to pay the bill.
Savings– We put money each month into our savings account for emergencies and other stuff.
Retirement– this does NOT get taken out of our paychecks. We work with a company which takes this amount out automatically each month.
Car– we put some money each month into savings for our “car” for things that need to be fixed, vehicle registration, ect.
Christmas– we take out money EVERY month and put it into savings so when Christmas comes we know EXACTLY how much we have to spend, and aren’t feeling stressed that we Don’t have Money for Christmas
Vacation– We love taking family vacations, and they can be expensive. We put money aside in savings each month to prepare for this. Then we can ENJOY our vacation instead of WORRYING how much we are spending on it.
Life Insurance– This bill comes once a year, so we put money aside EACH month to so we have the right amount when that yearly bill comes.
Are you preparing for a major one time expense? Read more on how to budget for one-time expenses.