Current expenses we don’t think we’re budgeting for (but should!)

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We created it. It’s 2022. The holiday season is over and now we have… debt? As we all head back to work to pay our generous donations, now is a great time to start thinking about ways to better plan our budget for the New Year.

There are a lot of expenses that, although they are common and in some cases annual, we don’t think we budget for them. Here are a few that I think you should factor into your budget this year.

Vacations.

Nothing kills the holiday spirit like a monstrous credit card bill. You don’t want to spend the next few years trying to pay for the gifts you bought your family for Christmas or Hanukkah.

We all know we tend to overspend during the holidays, so having a separate savings account that you can deposit a few dollars into regularly throughout the year can make things much easier in December.

Alternatively (or additionally), picking up a few gifts throughout the year and storing them away until the holidays could mean a lot less impulse shopping as you scour the shelves for last-minute gifts.

Health care.

We are all aware of the high costs of health care, but we usually don’t budget for these expenses properly, especially those that arise later in life. The older you get, the more you likely spend on doctor visits and medications.

Planning for these expenses may mean opening a health savings account, investing in long-term care insurance, or making sure you contribute to a liquid investment account, so you have money set aside in the future.

On a less financial note, taking care of your physical and mental health now will have a big impact on your health in the future. It is much easier to stay healthy than to regain health later.

Vacations.

Taking a vacation is a time to relax, unwind, and focus on something other than your day-to-day life. But stressing about the bill you’ll receive when you get home can take the fun out of that long-awaited trip.

When planning a trip, remember to set aside not only money for flights and hotels, but also for meals, incidentals, excursions, and even a little shopping. Knowing that you’ve budgeted for the whole trip, not just getting there, will make the reality check a whole lot less stressful.

New cars.

While some people like to buy a new car every couple of years, the most profitable method of owning a car is the “drive it until the wheels fall off” ideology.

When you’re done paying off your car loan, keep making those payments, but add them to your savings. After five years of the same bill every month, you’re probably not missing out on that $500. Redirect it to a separate savings compartment so that when it’s time to replace your vehicle, you can pay cash or at least have a big down payment on hand.

Planned obsolescence.

If you talk to your parents or grandparents about what they plan to pay later in life, you probably won’t hear things like streaming services or even cell phone bills. Life changes quickly, and you’ll want to make sure your financial plan can account for costs that don’t yet exist.

Basically, the future will always be more expensive than expected, so build a raise for yourself into your plan so you can afford the hovercraft or whatever that will one day become the norm.

The “what ifs”.

If you’ve ever lived in a condo and had a condo association, you’ve heard the term “replacement reserves.” As a single-family homeowner, you’ll want to have your own personal replacement stash because driveways, roofs, windows, and even foundations only last a limited amount of time.

Know the age of your infrastructure and appliances so you can plan ahead when different things will need to be repaired or replaced, so you don’t have to pay for a new driveway and a new HVAC system at the same time time.

Lesson:

We all experience the same expenses throughout life, and yet they always manage to surprise us. Planning ahead and having cash reserves will make these expenses more bearable and make your life much less stressful.

The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. It is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations to anyone. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, lawyer or tax advisor regarding your personal circumstances. Comments regarding past performance are not intended to be forward-looking and should not be taken as an indication of future results.

Securities offered by Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered by Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), a subsidiary of Kestra IS. Brotman Financial Group, Inc. and BFG Financial Advisors are not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS.

Investor Disclosures: https://bit.ly/KF-Disclosures

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