Question: Monthly expenses are easy enough to budget for, but how do you budget for all of those expenses (car insurance, dental cleanings, etc.) that hit once or twice a year?
Answer: Put together an annual spending plan, and turn those big, yearly expenses into manageable monthly expenses.
- Print out a copy of the Annual Spending Worksheet: Color, B&W.
- Gather copies of all of your yearly bills. (Refer to the worksheet if you're not sure which expenses to include)
- Fill in the annual cost for all of the expenses listed on the worksheet (skipping any that don't apply to you).
- Add any additional annual expenses not covered on the worksheet.
- Total the annual cost of all of your expenses, and write the resulting figure in the "Annual Total" field.
- Then, calculate the monthly cost of your first expense by dividing the annual cost by 12. Write the resulting figure in the "Monthly Cost" column. Continue down the list until you've calculated the monthly cost of all of your expenses.
- Add up the totals in the "Monthly Cost" column, and write the resulting figure in the "Monthly Total" field. This is how much money you need to save each month to cover your annual expenses.
- To estimate the annual cost of medical and dental expenses, review last year's spending totals, and then build in money for any additional services or procedures that you have planned for this year.
- Expenses like auto insurance, disability insurance, and life insurance are often billed quarterly or twice-annually. For these expenses, you'll need to calculate the annual cost before entering them on the worksheet.
- Make saving for your annual expenses easy by opening a checking or savings account just for these expenses – and no other. Then, set up auto-draft to deposit the necessary amount each month. It's a fuss-free way to ensure that the money will be there when you need it.
What You Need
- Copies of Annual Bills