The seasons tend to sneak up on us. One day it’s spring, and the next day you’re decorating for the holidays! Seasonal changes can usher in additional expenses that are often not in the budget. For most of us, remembering our daily and monthly expenses is easy. However, seasonal expenses can fall through the cracks and derail any budget.
With a little planning you can stay abreast of these expenses and keep your budget on track. Here we’ll go over a few ways to prepare for seasonal expenses and look at what kinds of things you may want to plan for.
Examples of Seasonal Expenses
When you think of seasonal expenses, consider any expense that you pay infrequently. So, for example:
- Property taxes. Everyone who owns a vehicle or home pays property taxes. In most states, these need to be paid annually.
- School costs. From tuition to supplies, if you or a family member attends school, these costs will need to be factored into your seasonal expenses.
- Home maintenance. Preventative upkeep and maintenance like furnace tune-ups or other home spending can add up, but it can also help you avoid bigger repair expenses.
- Vehicle maintenance. Just like with home maintenance, plan to have your vehicle serviced regularly to prevent expensive repairs. Follow your vehicle’s suggested maintenance schedule to avoid hefty expenses.
- Holidays. In 2019 the average American spent about $1,500 over the Christmas holidays. Holiday spending is a significant seasonal expense for most people, so planning is crucial. Seasonal expenses can be different for everyone, but these examples may help you plan a more effective seasonal expense budget.
Create a Seasonal Expense Budget
One of the best ways to get ahead of seasonal expenses is by factoring them into your existing household budget. To do this, you’ll first need to calculate the approximate total amount of your seasonal expenses. Factor in your holiday spending, birthdays or other personal events, taxes, maintenance, or any other expenses that you run into throughout the year. You may even want to look at your bank account statements from the previous year as a reminder of how much you paid for different types of things.
Once you have a rough total for your seasonal expenses, divide it by 12 and then you’ll know how much to set aside each month to go towards your seasonal budget. So, for example, say your seasonal expenses add up to $2,400. Divided by 12, this means you will need to budget $200 every month to stay ahead of seasonal expenses.
Now, it’s super easy to accidentally overspend and then get to the end of the month and realize you never set anything aside for seasonal expenses. To avoid this, you may think about setting up an auto-draft on your bank account that automatically deducts a certain amount each month and deposits it straight into a savings account. This will help you save without having to do any work, and the money adds up quickly.
Buy During Off-Seasons
If you play your cards right, planning ahead could save you quite a bit of money. For example, if your air conditioner dies in the middle of a sweltering summer, you’re most likely going to pay more to have it fixed due to the increased demand on the HVAC workforce during those months. However, if you can replace or service your AC during the winter, you’ll pay significantly less. The same goes for many seasonal services and products – if you can buy or service them during the off-season, you may be able to save money and be better prepared for the future.
Get Help from an App
For some of us, factoring up seasonal expenses and building a budget is time-consuming and tedious. But thankfully – there’s an app for that! There are dozens of budgeting apps that categorize your spending, and they even track trends and spending habits to help you fine-tune your budget. Use one of these apps to show you your biggest expenses, then plan your budget accordingly – all from your phone. It couldn’t be easier!
Get Help in a Pinch
Sometimes planning is not possible, and that’s ok. Get your budget back on track and get the cash you need with LendNation. LendNation can help you get the cash you need, when and how you need it. Conveniently apply online or in-store. Select from an array of loans including title loans, installment loans and cash advances. When the unexpected hits, LendNation is here to help. Apply online today.