Plan for the Unexpected Financial Burdens

April 7, 2009 at 8:49 pm (Apartment Living) (, , , , , , , )

When I made my list of things that needed to be covered each month, I didn’t exactly jot down everything. I don’t buy birthday presents every month, nor Christmas presents. I don’t get an oil change all of the time nor get my car fixed. But these are all financial traps that can quickly bring you into debt if you’re a credit card happy fiend. I started a list that will probably have to be edited in the future of things that you WILL need extra cash for and will need to plan for when you run into extra money. Sometimes it’s not there to spend on yourself, but to plan for things down the road.

1. Birthdays: I’ve got a bit of a system with birthdays. I try to shop online on places like amazon to buy cheaper things that are the same as what they want. I also have a chase debit card that gives me points when I spend money so I can redeem them for gift cards. These make great gifts!

2. Christmas: Definitely watch out for this. Don’t spend beyond your means because one happy day may mean misery for years to come if you’re not careful.

3. Car maintainance: Oil changes, unexpected repairs, breakdowns…Cars aren’t MADE to last. Keep this in mine the next time you decide to eat out twice a week because “it’s only 5 bucks each time”. That’s 40 bucks a month! On just lunch twice a week!

4. Overspending on Groceries: It’s way easy to do. One friend get together here, 5 extra items beyond the norm there…the point is, EVERYTHING you do adds up. Holidays are a wicked time when it comes to groceries because most people plan on doing SOMETHING for them.

5. Pets: Vet care, food, shelter, water, anti-flea and worm medications, illness, litter, leashes, etc. Pets are EXPENSIVE. Do not think of them like plants that need some water and they are good. It’s not how the bargain between pet and owner works.

6. Personal maintainance: Medications, hair cuts, new clothes, makeup, cologne, perfume. I guarantee you aren’t figuring these bits into your grocery budget. On the occassion you need makeup, spend 10 bucks less on groceries so it makes up for purchasing it. It’s allllll about financial balance.

7. Fun time: Do you have a “fun” budget? Want to go to the movies? Go to a museum? Go out to the bar with friends? Take your lady or man friend on a date? And don’t forget to generously tip your server! Nothing looks worse on a date than appearing like a cheapass.

Watch your bad selves ladies and gents! Even if apartments can be cheaper than housing, don’t fool yourself into thinking it means you have more to spend!

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2 Comments

  1. kay* said,

    these are all great tips! and definitely need to be kept in mind for people considering moving out for the first time (or the second or third time…) i have comments on each point but i’ll not blab and just comment on a few.

    #2 christmas – i set myself a limit and do my best not to go over it. i pay only cash or debit card – NOTHING on credit. i keep all receipts so i can keep track if i’m on target…and to see if something goes on sale. you better believe this year i returned something i had ALREADY wrapped for my brother and went and bought it somewhere else where it was on sale $10 cheaper. every dollar counts. this forces me to be more thoughtful and not just buy the expensive gift. this year i did really well, i was about $50 over budget.

    #3 groceries – same as above. set a budget. when you first move out your first bill (or first few) will be kind of high as you’re buying those items you buy once but then don’t have to buy again for months. like salad dressings, crackers, spreads, oil, flour, sugar, etc. but after that. i keep an eye in the flyers for sales – for example if the cookies i love are on sale i’ll buy 2 boxes and put them in the storage cupboard. when they’re back at regular price the next week – i’m set! i generally go shopping about every 2 weeks and give myself a budget of $80 or $100 bucks. this is MORE than enough. i eat very well (not ramen noodles all the time) and haven’t starved yet 😉

    #5 pets – this has been my weakness! please get your pet pet insurance if you have one – i’m looking into that right now. my dogs been in perfect health since i’ve had him (1.5 yr) but wouldn’t you know in the past month he got an ear infection, a razor burn on his private and a insect bite or something. as of yesterday the vet gave him the all clear so he’s fine (thank goodness!) but not before i’ve spent about $225 in vet bills/medication. oh and he just decided to become picky with his food so i’ve spent another $50 at least trying him on different stuff. TOTALLY UNEXPECTED. at the least set aside an emergency pet fund of $15 or $20 from every pay cheque.

    sorry – LONG comment. but i could go on and on. what a great resource this is for people moving out. i’ve only been on my own for 2 months now so this is all still very new to me and i’m happy to comment away!

  2. aphroditesrabbit said,

    Well thanks for your thoughts! It helps people like us who had no other resource until we found out ourselves!

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