Budgeting your money every month is a good habit. However, if you only focus on one month at a time, you can get blindsided by big expenses. Focus on the trends of your year to be better prepared.
As personal finance site Mapped Out Money explains, some of your biggest expenses in the year have nothing to do with your monthly budget. Irregular car repairs, holiday shopping and holidays all result in massive expenditures. They also don’t happen every month. To prepare for these, you need to plan.
Instead of staying narrowly focused on month-to-month, you need to look for overall trends. If you’re still in your first 6 months of budgeting, don’t get discourage by not being on target. That’s fine, and it’s part of the process.
Don’t let it get you down and most importantly, don’t stop trying to hit your goals. After 6 months you’ll be able to see trends in your spending. Then after a year you’ll have a much better handle on what a typical month looks like.
The difference is small but important. When you’re examining long-term trends, you might save a bit more money so you’re ready to go shopping for the holidays. Or you might cut your extra spending the month before you take a holiday. Whatever you decide, take a look at what’s coming up after this month when you make your budget.