29 Jul Act Now to Adjust Your Budget from Summer to Winter Expenses
4 Ways to Adjust Your Household Budget During Summer & Winter to Save Money
The summer and winter seasons tend to be the most expensive times of the year. A survey by LendEDU revealed that consumers spend an average of $2,314 in the winter and $2,229 in the summer, followed by $2,064 and $1,952 in the fall and spring respectively. Higher seasonal costs can result in rising credit card debt if you do not adjust your budget to account for the different expenses you experience at various times of the year.
For example, the summer months could bring an increase in childcare costs due to full-time care or camps for school-age children. Add in an annual vacation and back to school spending and costs could increase by more than $1,000 a month. In the south, high temperatures can also bring significantly higher HVAC bills.
Winter expenses can hit those living in the north harder, as heating the home can add hundreds of dollars to the monthly budget. Electric bills also rise due to shorter days and the increased use of artificial lighting. In addition to utilities, holiday spending and entertainment tends to cost more in the winter.
Planning your budget to account for these seasonal cost differences can help you stay on track financially. Here are a few strategies to use:
- Review Annual Utility Costs. You can order a record of your electric, gas and water bills to get a breakdown of what utilities cost throughout the year. You can then adjust the budget to account for seasonal cost differences. Another option is to enroll in an annualized plan with the utility company, which allows you to pay the same amount every month based on the previous year’s bills rather than your actual usage. If you find sharp peaks and valleys in your bill, an annualized plan can make budgeting easier.
- Spread Out Due Dates for Intermittent Bills. Most consumers have some bills which are due quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. To avoid large outlays in any given month, you can schedule intermittent bills at different times. Moving some monthly bills to annually or semi-annually can often save a substantial amount of money.
- Examples of irregular bills might include car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, property and real estate taxes, and annual subscriptions like Microsoft Office or Sirius radio. Identify the due dates for non-monthly bills and then reset the due dates to spread them out more evenly throughout the year.
- Use the Off-Seasons of Fall and Spring to Save for Summer and Winter Costs. Milder weather allows you to lower utility costs by delaying your use of heat or air conditioning. You can also lower entertainment costs by participating in more outdoor activities during the months with milder temperatures. These lower cost months allow you to put money in savings to cover the higher costs incurred in the winter and summer months.
- Use the Change of Seasons to Evaluate Your Current Budget. It is best to make adjustments to your budget during the year, so it accurately reflects actual spending. The change of seasons is a good time for a budget review.
It is easier to use the same set of costs each month of the year. However, expenses do not remain constant. Weather, work schedules, and other factors can create different spending patterns you must account for in your budget.
Adjusting the household budget from summer to winter can help you save money and provide a more accurate assessment of costs you are likely to incur.
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