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!