Have you really budgeted for everything?

be-prepared

Hello Dear Reader,

Sorry, if you’re seeing my blog in capital letters. I didn’t type it like that. There’s some sort of glitch in WordPress that I can’t fix right now. My apologies. 

I had a bit of a chat with folks on Facebook about this. I was inspired when you contacted me Dear Reader, no more details than that but I thought I’d open the debate on this one. If you don’t budget for everything then those little bits and pieces can and will just pop up and catch you out and the next thing you know is that you’ll be spending money.

So, do you really budget for everything?

Here’s what I’ve got to budget for over the next twelve months.

Dog’s booster injections

Four trips to the vet in France before we come home each time – 32 euros each time for all three.

Two dental check ups and any subsequent treatment.

Eye test and any subsequent change of prescriptions and need for new glasses

Four ferry trips to France about £1200!

Four Christmas presents and four birthday presents

Car/home/French home insurance

Replacing my hair straighteners (feel free to send me yours if you don’t use them 😉

New work clothes/shoes next August for September for both of us.

Wood for the fire here and France.

Taxe Fonciere and Habitation in France, one payable by October and the other by December.£780

Materials for stud walls and two doors – for France

Materials to build a new shed here.

Paint for our utility room and down stairs loo floor and walls.

£500 a month to go into a long term savings account.

£250 a month to go into an immediate savings account, mainly to pay for the French water/electricity/tax/garden maintenance/renovations.

I think sometimes, we don’t take the time to think ahead at the year and budget for everything. We’re mostly on top of the bills, the housing costs, our food cost, the expense of transport, whether that’s rail season tickets or the running cost of a car. We also know, we do don’t we? how much we have spare each month after the immediate bills are paid.

If you have children at home then I remember well, in the days when I was less financially astute than I am now that costs can and will creep up if you’re not ready. If you’re a parent can you all join in and leave comments about the ‘fund raising’ over the year. You’ll know about World book day, Children in Need, CLIC sargent, Christmas parties and schools can often have information on their web page. I remember those dreaded letters in the bag! (Seriously, they used to make me seethe, I barely had money in those days to feed and clothe them, let alone give money away!) So, let’s help each other out of this one.

Then there’s family issues such as weddings, but remember, you can always say no. We turned down every invitation for years as we couldn’t afford to go. Now, I can admit, I don’t like weddings at all and still don’t go but not many people are like me. There’s Christmas, again, we don’t like it and don’t bother with either but most people do and it’s 91 days until Christmas so if you haven’t made financial arrangements, you have three salary payments to put what you can aside.

If it happens every year, then it needs to be in the budget every month or you’ll have to have the front to just say no and having done that, I know it’s tough. We stopped going to ‘works do’s’ in all the years we couldn’t afford to go and now we still don’t go. We budget differently and it is tough saying no but it can be done. If you want to go then it needs to go into the budget. £25 Christmas work do? You better get saving £2.08 a month.

If you’ve been reading my blog a while, you’ll know I’ve given up having my hair dyed and it was partly an economic decision as the white roots came through every three weeks. It cost £750 a year to get my roots done professionally. Now I just factor £25 a month for a hair cut and have saved £450 a year. As you can see from the list above, that money will be subsumed into the budget very easily. I intend to spend some of that money having more fun instead of coloured hair. Today, we went to see the new Brigit Jones film. It was the first time we’d been to the cinema in seventeen years. I wish I could have pressed pause when I went to the loo! Next month, we’ll do something else as well, I’m eyeing up the Cornish Pirates rugby home fixtures and we’ll go and see them.

So, if any of us are going to get on top of finances and on top of our budgets then we have to budget for everything that we’re going to spend money on any way. You can of course decide to not spend money which is more or less what we’ve done for years or you can be realistic and set aside money every month so you’re not squeezed by: new glasses, a costume for World book day, the office whip round for the retiree, new tyres for the car.

Over to you Dear Reader, if you’re a parent or work in a school, what can families financially prepare for? Also, leave a comment about anything any of us can be financially prepared for?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

 

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15 thoughts on “Have you really budgeted for everything?

  1. Hi, just a thought on the cost of taxe fonciere and taxe d’habitation in France that can be spread over 10 months, starting in January and paid by October. I found it much easier to opt for that payment method rather than having to pay as one lump sum.

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  2. You do such a great job of thinking of the big picture. We put aside funds for our property taxes and homeowners insurance as well as vehicle taxes. I also put funds aside for vacations and gifts but really need to be putting more away and doing less spending during the month. Your blog is amazing and gives us inspiration that we too can do this. We’ve got to be determined and simply do it.

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  3. We have many small budget categories and save all year for Christmas and numerous other expenses. Every month we make a car payment to our savings account so that we can one day pay cash when we need a replacement. It is such peace of mind to know that everything is covered. Our grown children have scoffed at my detailed budget but it works for us and we are sticking to it.

    Bridget Jones Baby was hilarious and aren’t you glad it turned out right in the end. I was worried for a minute there at the end. No spoilers here!

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  4. I totally agree, all known and anticipated costs are budgeted for with a bit of extra set aside for a future replacement car, future (unknown) household expenses such as the vacuum that I just had to replace. As far as children go: I never did a proper “back to school” clothes shopping spree, instead replacing items as needed. Yes, I did stock up on school supplies, socks and undies as they were cheapest come August. I also set aside funds monthly for expected “field trips.” Fundraisers? I simply recycled the flyer and if questioned, my response has always been, “we donate privately.” I do not need poor quality candies, wrapping paper, candles etc.

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  5. Car insurance, home owner’s insurance, and tax bills twice a year are all planned for ahead of time, as they are recurring expenses. We do have a certain amount per month which we call “pocket money” which covers unplanned for, one time only kinds of things. This summer we managed to make July’s pocket money last through July and August, which made me happy. Since all our income is direct deposited into the bank, what we don’t remove for pocket money just stays in the checking account. Pocket money is what we use for going out to eat, visiting summer festivals, entertainment, and in general anything small that we spend as cash. We are not in the habit of stopping out for coffee like we see many of our friends do, and buying ice cream at stands. We have ice cream at home–and cones (portion control–they only hold so much!) and it’s far less expensive to eat it at home at supermarket prices. Those are just old thrifty habits that we have not changed since prior to retirement. We limit eating out to about once a week although in summer we may go a little over that–there will be weeks in winter when it’s too cold or too snowy to bother, so it evens out eventually.

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  6. I’ve found the transition from primary school to secondary school to be an expensive one. I got caught out when my oldest child made the transition but have planned for it as her siblings have reached that stage.

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  7. Pool/Gym/fitness center membership. For many people, it’s a “want” not a “need.” However, at my last annual checkup a few months ago, my doctor made it very clear that I need to get more exercise, and this is a non-negotiable item. Due to sciatica and a problematic knee, walking and bicycling are not good choices. She told me my only choice is to swim. My town does not have a public indoor pool. The next down over does have one, as well as the town in which I work (30-45 minute commute away). I could get an annual pool pass about $300/year (non-resident rate). The YMCA membership would have been close to $600/year, so I will be getting the $300/year pool pass.

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  8. As daft as it sounds I put 300 euros a month aside in an envelope for odds and sods. All my bills are paid monthly (taxe d’habitation and fonciere) but I have that 300 to pay for heating fuel, car maintenance and anything that can’t be paid monthly (I also help out youngest son occasionally while he is still an apprentice). I think it is just a matter of averaging out your yearly “surprise” bills really. I say “daft” because I work in Switzerland and have a Swiss bank account of course but I still work with the “envelope” method. It’s strange because my ex spent (and still spends) like crazy and is always broke whereas I took on all the debt when we got divorced and I am doing well with my envelopes. I hope to pass on that to my kids because it really does work.

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  9. One thing I know I don’t budget for, my frequent mooching around charity shops. Of course it’s great to support charities and I don’t begrudge them the odd fiver here or quid there. But I can end up spending more than I thought by just popping into a shop while I’m passing. It’s kind of the more ethical version of nipping into the Sainsburys Local or Tesco Metro for a pint of milk and coming out with half a dozen other items. I really don’t need more vintage china, tunic style dresses or coats. Yet I spent £3.00 today on a coat as it seemed too good a chance to miss. A lovely nubbly texture to the fabric and it’s good quality M&S.
    I bet I’m not the only one to succumb to the lure of the charity shops way too much.

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  10. I’ve been in 3 roles during budgeting and a school age child. Of course as a parent, also as a Parent Committee member and now on the Administration team of a school.
    Parent: always as involved in the school as much as possible. Being in the loop gave me fair warning of most activities and also gave me a serious voice since I was known and respected. Primary was definitely easier than secondary. School clothes were limited to one new outfit (new like in new to her) and sometimes that would just be a new shirt to go with her jeans and new sneakers to start the year. Backpacks and lunch bags were reused and school supplies were bought after school sales the year before at huge discounts. I’d by for second grade when she was still in first grade. These were stored away. Sometimes something special was needed like a specific color folder and I would have to get it but only when on sale. One school she attended they bought at wholesale and you could shop at cost from them. This was great! Another school recommended a home computer and I sent in a note politely stating they were crazy and I hoped they had someone in their library after school hours so she could use theirs.
    Extra curricular activities. Volleyball needed an assistant coach. I was that gal, carpools were arranged, I was excused from providing snack (why do you need a snack for playing 1 hour of volleyball and there is a water fountain) and I received a very small stipend for my involvement. Field trips were 100% on the school and when we could dad and I volunteered to chaperone. This gave us some great time with our child her friends at the zoo and a few other places at no cost. I communicated upfront with her teachers and informed them that I needed all extra expenses at the beginning of the term. They always were good to do this for me. One time a late notice was sent home for a $4. fee for an in school assembly, this came from the Parent committee. It stated that if a child could not pay this they could opt out of the assembly. I went ballistic. This was a fun band playing during school hours and late notice was given for this fee. I knew I wasn’t the only one this created a problem for. I immediately emailed the school parent committee, Principal and school Counselor. I felt this was unfair separating these children due to the poor planning of the school. I firmly stated my child will not be paying this fee and will in fact be attending this assembly as will all the other children (yes, I can be THAT MOM). We had further discussions and it was decided that all children will attend the assembly and any fees needed would be paid in full by the Parent Committee. Good grief on top of this it was during school hours. Here is where I got involved in the Parent Committee. When daughter was in secondary school expenses were more but if we knew in advance we could plan and sometimes decisions needed to be made on which were most important. Daughter also had to contribute to these expenses. She had to have a job, babysitting at first and than at a local fast food. She knew ahead how much she had to contribute and we made sure she worked appropriate hours so her academics were not effected and lots of hours during holidays and breaks. (So much was learned by being in the work force that she was not getting at school win-win)
    Parent Committee: I had a voice, I was aware of planned expenses, I was able to suggest and vote on alternatives and vote to reject absurdities. And boy there were some absurdities.
    School Admin Team: I hate fundraisers that have children selling $6.00 candles to make $2.00 in profit to earn a $1.00 rubber snake toy. I refused them in my school but our needs are the same as other primary schools. So I researched fundraisers that do not involve selling and minimal parent participation (Sadly we have little of that). I found several and this is how we make ends meet. We have 92% families living at poverty levels or below. We provide a small clothing closet, free back packs and most of the student supplies from grants, private donation or classroom funding and a bit of creative budgeting. There is only 1 field trip that is paid through a grant and we get volunteers to come to school for assemblies. Some assemblies have been Reptile Man who brings in all kinds of creatures, Firefighters and police department K9, the high school provides a mini musical during the holiday season and we have lots of wonderful story tellers. We have a butterfly garden we created and wonderful playground equipment and field. A fenced in outdoor classroom is new this year and has been wonderful and ooey-gooey play takes place here. The school property has a patch of woods were the classes can explore and see wildlife as all outside floor 1 windows have bird feeders attached and the deer, squirrels and raccoons have gotten used to us. We are an inner city school with a good use of land. Instead of putting the burden of extra expenses on the parents we have an involved Admin team that seeks other alternatives.

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  11. I put aside $20 each month for my daughter’s birthday… it covers the party, presents, cake, everything! I put aside money for summer camp for her as well… camp fees all seem to be due in March! I also put aside money to make an annual Shutterfly photo book to document our year; a nice concise way to keep our photos. I also put away $20 a month for clothes/shoes for my daughter, and a separate amount for soccer/sports supplies. Also money for soccer (football!) since she’s on a Select team; it’s not too bad here, but I’m told in the large city near us it’s thousands!

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  12. There’s definitely a fine balance between budgeting and joy. For me, I enjoy staring at the ‘ol Excel spreadsheet as much as every other frugal personality out there. I would be careful, though, about budgeting so minutely that you’re spending more time and effort thinking about the next thing to budget, or what you may have missed while in your budgeting endeavors, than actually living and enjoying life. Money is a good tool, but budgeting so much that money (disguised as “saving money”) is what you love more than other things is bad. Believe me, I’ve been there before.

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