Financial planning

Hello Dear Reader,

We all try and save and something gets in the way. You’re saving for the holiday or car deposit and then the boiler breaks down or the washing machine just can’t be fixed again. 

There’s always something isn’t there? Next thing you know, it’ll be school holidays, new school uniform and it’ll be Christmas before you know it. 

If you’re interested, here’s how we make financial plans for the year ahead.

Bills and utilities – all our household bills, both here and in France are paid by direct debit and we make sure we only use electricity, gas and water sparingly. 

Insurance – we pay house, home content and car insurance annually and have policies that are not automatically renewed. We buy a calendar in December and fill it up with the renewal dates and write in reminders in each of the three months preceding. I also set up the next years reminders in outlook in my phone and sync that to my phone. There’s no surprises, I know when my renewals are due. 

We have a monthly saving budget, we’ll a few savings ‘pots’. We save more than we leave ourselves to live on so the insurances are saved for and there’s spare money to renew anything we need. The dogs need haircuts, so do we. The dogs might need the vet and we might need dental treatment. We have annual dental checks, bi-annual eye checks and new glasses and we have a budget for that and it all needs saving for. 

We also keep a close eye on household appliances, the boiler is serviced annually but we don’t use an expensive company like British gas, we use our local gas engineer. We have our chimney swept annually and know that every year, we have those expenses. They  go onto the financial planning g calendar and into outlook with plenty of reminders. We do the same with the car’s annual service and none of these are a surprise and happen every year. 

Then, importantly to us, we save for four ferry trips to France, which with a car, two passengers and three dogs and that’s a priority to us so we make January and February our pay for the the ferry trips months. 

All this might sounds as if every month we are saving for this or that and leaving us without ready cash. So we don’t go crazy, we set aside a small amount of money for something nice to eat once a week and have money for parking to get out and about at the weekend. We also go to the cinema about three times a year and pick up books, games and jigsaws from charity shops. We don’t live like misers but we budget carefully, we think there’s a difference.

My, what I pay, when I pay is just an example so here’s a few ideas of something you might need to budget and save for: school holiday care, school uniform, termly school lunch payments, school trips, birthday presents or party for the children, dental check ups and treatment, holidays, washing machine replacement, car break downs, car servicing or the car failing its MOT, a wedding invite, retirement whip round are all likely to happen and if any of you have children, a car or teeth then they are all expenses that will come up. Notice I said will and not might and none of them will be a surprise.

So, here’s where you can help. Let’s all put together a list of any expense that will happen, maybe not to you, but to someone.

As ever, I look forward to hearing from you.

Love Froogs xxxx

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16 thoughts on “Financial planning

  1. Contribution to your child’s wedding costs – we’ve been given almost 2yrs notice and cost and other arrangements haven’t been discussed yet – but we have started saving in order to contribute a little just in case ( it’s our middle son).
    (How lovely it would be to elope!! Lol)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I keep a ledger for my budget, and attempt to account for all known expenses. I have 8 categories: Housing (rent, electric, cable, natural gas, Netflix, cell phone); Insurance (rental, auto, life); Personal care (hair care, clothing); Pets(Vet for annual check ups plus a cushion just in case, supplies/food); Food(grocery, restaurant); celebration(Christmas, birthdays); auto (gas, repair, tax, car wash); MSC (newspaper, accountant, annual rug cleaner, postage, household goods). Here is the USA, out of pocket medical bills are of concern, with many employees being on a high deductive/health savings plan. For example, I must pay 100% of all bills until I reach $4000, as a family, for our expenses. The, I have a second deductible of an additional $2000 to meet BUT I now am only responsible for 10% of the bill as out of pocket, provided that I use an “in plan” provider. Go out of plan, my obligation rises to 30%. We stick in plan for all but 1 MD.It takes quite some time, even if a family has chronic medical issues, to meet the second deductible. Once that second one is hit, the ins. company will pay everything. How to address this? I know that my maximum obligation could be $6000 total for the family, out of pocket, so I set aside pretaxed income to cover that in what is called a HSA (health savings account). There is a credit card attached to this account, so I pay using that, leaving my checking account and cash flow in tact. I’ve had to explain this approach to several colleagues. It’s a rainy day approach that protects me, should the worst happen.
    Different life stages and circumstances will lead to different budget items. Those with children: day care, clothing, field trips, orthdonture (not always covered under medical plans), toys, books,fees and costs to participate in sports/scouts/religious education, school or social extra curricular events, school supplies. Those with young adult children in college or on their own are looking for kitchen/bath supplies, furnishings, food. Adults w/o children in the nest may have expenses related to caring for an elderly family member, may be going thru downsizing at work, looking for a career change and going to take classes for additioonal training/beefing up the resume. Older folks may be considering aging in place and have the expense of live out care takers, paying for services that they no longer can handle themselves (housekeeping, gardening), retrofitting the bathroom with grab bars, adding a stair lift

    I adjust my budget, based upon my circumstances. I currently rent, but hold aside $50/month to cover “household goods:” replacement towels, a new duvet cover over a ratty comforter, LED bulbs to replace standard and CFL’s, curtains for our new place, additional scatter rugs/door mat. I intend to own a home within the next few years. At that point, and depending upon the age of the home, the cosmetics I wish to do/have done, the age of the mechanicals/windows/roof/paint/appliances, I KNOW that this $50 will be much higher.

    Carol in CT

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am very wary of direct debit and thus refuse to use it for the following reasons.
    1. My health insurance took two years of payments out instead of one. So they took an extra $1800 which took me an three months to be returned.
    2. Utility bills are often wrong ie mistakes made and if the money had been taken out by direct debit I would have had to sit on the phone and fight for the money to be returned.
    Everyone is different but I prefer to be in control and check my bills before payment.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I have everything on direct debit except oil, car and house insurance , which I prefer to pay in full and check for best price each year. I save a monthly amount for oil and firewood.

        I also pay into insurance that will cover me if I fall ill and can ‘ t work. Life insurance is an expense,but when my husband died I was glad to have that safety net with children at home. The whole awful period would have been far more stressful without it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The beginning of the year is what I save for, state and national license renewals for my job, hefty deductibles for medical and prescriptions, car and drivers licenses…I set up a separate online bank account for these expenses and put money in from each pay…

    I also have student loans and retirement accounts to pay into monthly…

    I do use my credit cards…the balance is paid in full every month and I get from 1.5% to 5% cash back…I also made a large purchase using a card that 0% interest for 18 months and gave me $150 cash back if I spent $1500 in the first three months…when making large purchases I look out for these offers…since I know the bill can be paid in full at any time ( I am not tempted to get in debt)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As I stated in the last post I never seem to find all the things I need to plan for. I have made some stupid decisions and won’t be doing those again. I have my health insurance and one car insurance direct debited. The rest I save for. I know I need to cover two registrations over the nect few weeks. So it is use it up time.

    This week is tough for me. I went to a dietitian and have been placed on the FODMAP diet. IT is an elimination diet and suddenly I can’t have so many things. Of course my household doesn’t want to eat the way I have to eat for the next month. I will be checking some of your gluten free recipes and hope to save a little that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Funeral plan – sad to say this but so many people are not prepared for this and scrabbling around for the 4k minimum is not clever when it’s needed. Big worry for many families.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a Christmas fund but I am saving a little extra so it can be an emergency fund too. I have been caught out so many times in the past. I hope to have a smarter year this year as I have had a v high credit card bill in January.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Recently we had a true ‘rainy day’ event, and I can only say thank goodness I did not have any debt, and had some money in savings. Back in November a significant part of my home was destroyed by fire. Of course I had insurance, but it took two weeks for the insurer to provide me with emergency funds for our immediate needs. Those needs included accomodation, kennel for the dogs, greatly increased petrol use and greater food expenses. I cannot imagine how we would have managed without savings.

    Months down the track building is underway, but I am still waiting on more funds to replace the things we need and have had to go into my savings to buy expensive things like fridge, towels and sheets, strimmer etc….So whilst insurance is there, plenty of money was needed to get by in the meantime.

    Madeleine.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. In addition we keep a column in our budget for clothing, mostly foot wear. Hubby is hard on his shoes and needs a new pair of work boots about every 12 to 18 months. He needs new sneakers every year. I need little more, but still we budget a little extra, just in case. Last year I needed 2 specific garments due to my cancer surgery and this year I will need hiking shoes for an Alaska trip later in the year.
    We also, have a garden and plant landscape budget column. This is for seed, plants, grass seed and fertilizer. We get most of our plants for landscaping free but are adding fruit and nut trees that we have to purchase. Sometimes I think we are planting for the next owner, they take years before they produce. I just can’t plant enough trees and I started the kids out. In a few years they will have apples, cherries, pears and walnuts.The red Maple we gave them for an anniversary gift may one day hide a tree house for grandkids.
    It’s a budgeted item that gives me present-time joy and future joy.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi

    I am genuinely impressed. I was just wondering, do you pay for pet insurance (it appears not) or save instead just in case; self insuring as it were?

    Kind regards Irene Hemfrey

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

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