It’s hard to believe that winter has either arrived, or in the process of coming for many parts of the world. Just this week I had some pictures from our summer vacation printed and now we’re making appointments to have snow tires placed on our vehicle.
With a change of season comes a perfect time to really address your budget. It’s so easy to set your budget on auto-pilot and forget to tweak it as needed. I was reminded of that this week. Speaking of winter tires, it was something I forgot to add to our budget when I did it up months ago. Thankfully it’s not a huge amount of money so I was pretty easy to ‘’make up’’ but still an annoyance. Had I spent a little more care going over everything as I should have, it would have been a non-issue.
Creating a Winter Budget
For this reason I like to spend time every season to make sure everything is accounted for, especially the winter when, for us, bills tend to get a little higher. I know our bills will get higher because I pay attention to our spending history. Without this I have no way of making predictions but I know, for instance, that our electricity bill will increase significantly because we have electric heat and live in a cold climate. It only took one $1,100 bi-monthly electric bill, right after Christmas, to make sure I did what I could to get established on the power corporations annual ‘’budget’’ which allows us to pay a monthly bill year-round based on average annual consumption, rather than face extremely high bills in the winter and extremely low bills in the summer.
For us, winter also means Christmas and quite a few important birthdays. If I’m not careful these can easily creep up on us and we’d get stuck making some tough decisions about how to manage the un-budgeted amount which, quite honestly is never a fun situation to be in.
With kids too, seasonal things have changed. Hubby and I, traditionally, don’t do anything for Valentine’s day. But, with a kid, as I look forward into my winter months, I know we will need to budget something for it. She will have a little Valentines party at her daycare, as well want to exchange cards with her friends, though it isn’t much it’s an expected expense coming up.
Winter has a higher potential for emergencies too, while we could manage without A/C in a vehicle for example, we couldn’t easily get by without heat. While I don’t like to think about emergencies and dealing with things such as a potential accident, the probability is definitely higher in the winter which means we need to take a good look at where our emergency fund is sitting. This is something I don’t do enough and get lazy about reimbursing it when an issue does arise that we may need it.
A budget shouldn’t be something that you set and forget. It needs to be continuously addressed and as we approach the New Year, it’s a perfect time!
P.s. some readers like this article because they want a recommendation for snow tires. I can just say that Costco should be considered as part of your shopping list. They have really excellent customer service and although their automotive section isn’t always as well rated as their food or consumer electronics, Costco sells good quality tires and batteries. So check them out.