Part of taking charge of your finances is controlling your money to handle old debt, current costs and plan for future needs. Many people are so caught up in the past that the present and future seem unattainable. With a good budget plan and the drive to stick with it, it is possible to cover all the bases. A home run budget is what you need.
Housing expenses - This category will cover mortgage/rent, property tax, homeowner’s/renter’s insurance premiums, maintenance, cleaning supplies, utilities, and room furnishings.
Food - Pay close attention to this category that includes groceries, restaurants/take-out, snacks and drinks. It is very easy to lose track of money spent unless you tally all the money spent each day on food and drink.
Transportation costs - Make sure to include the vehicle payment, insurance, maintenance, gas, repairs and any public transportation expenses.
Medical costs - Insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles, non-medical services, prescriptions, vision and dental expenses must all be part of the budgeted plan.
Clothing costs - Expect that at some point you will need new clothes, dry cleaning or repairs.
Personal - Plan for toiletries, cosmetics and haircuts.
Other insurances - This would include life or other insurances not previously covered above.
Education expenses - Even if your children attend public schools make a plan for school supplies, pictures, yearbooks and even teacher gifts.
Credit Accounts - Plan your monthly payments to each: creditors, banks, department stores, payday lenders or any other unpaid debt.
Gifts - Budget for holidays, birthdays, graduations, weddings and showers. You won’t want to be left charging all these costs throughout the year.
Fun - Leave room for recreational activities. Whether is planning a vacation or a night out to the movies, you will want to leave room in your budget for entertainment.
Savings - Don’t leave the saving account last on your list and give it the left-overs at the end of the month. Plan a specific deposit amount and date for short-term needs, long-term goals and retirement accounts.
Tithing and Charitable Donations - If you plan on giving, prepare your budget.
Whether you use the envelope system or pay for fancy budgeting software, you will want to make sure to include as much as possible. If you can’t measure your money, how can you manage it? Account for all your expenses so you are not caught off guard.