Including Fixed Expenses in Your Budget

Many people are using the current economic downturn as a way to reinvent themselves.

Whether it is going back to school, switching careers, launching their own business or getting out of debt, there tends to be a silver cloud emerging.

If your desire is to take the economic lemons and make lemonade, the first step would be to take the time by cleaning your financial house and building a budget. That way you can focus your energies on both cleaning up debt and finding additional money necessary to pursue other options as well.

Building a budget is a key tool in helping maximize your financial resources. By taking the time to fully address your money flow, you can honestly asses your situation and make improvements to it. Individuals can easily create a budget by using a spreadsheet program, free online software or even simply using a pad of paper and a pen. Regardless of the system you plan on using, the first thing to do is make a list of three columns, fixed expenses, non-fixed expenses and total income.

Fixed expenses are those costs in your budget that are non-negotiable, meaning you have to pay them every month in order to maintain a minimum quality of life. Fixed expenses include your rent or mortgage payment, car payment, insurance premiums, utilities and other costs that remain at the same level monthly. 

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By taking the time to analyze fixed expenses you can then see if there are anyways to lower the costs of them.

Perhaps you and your husband have different cell phone providers and have fixed rate plans for each. Potentially you can save some cash by switching over to one provider’s family plan, thus lowering that fixed expense. Or perhaps you are an empty nester with a spare bedroom? Renting out the spare room can bring in additional income that can help mitigate the fixed rate of your mortgage.

Once you figure out where to cut expenses, take that spare money and make building a savings account a fixed expense. If condensing your phone plan saves you $12 a month and a roommate brings in $300 extra, take that money and funnel it into a savings account. With that money set aside small budgetary calculation mistakes can be easily handled.

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