Most students entering college have limited financial education. And, moving out of the house for the first time can create problems. The actual costs of college, like tuition and fees, are generally known. Usually it’s the ‘living expenses’ and other incidental costs that throw budgets out of whack.
There seems to be no shortage of advice on how to create and live within a family budget. Simply entering those two key words into either of the major Internet search engines, Yahoo or Google, reveals hundreds of thousands of websites that offer to guide the American family through the financial thicket and into the golden realm of solvency.
I understand that 25% of my monthly income should be for mortgage, taxes and insurance. How much should I plan for the remainder of my budget? There are two of us in our household. Is there a set formula? Also, if I plan to retire in the next 5 years, should I be carrying a mortgage for the sake of a tax write off?
We really don’t need to do any unusual spending. Just go back to doing the same things economically that you did before the attack. If your family goes out for pizza on Tuesday nights, go out this week. If you were going to visit Grandma at Thanksgiving, buy those plane tickets.
For many in the U.S. this has been a scorching summer. Fortunately, about half of all homes have central air conditioning. The bad news is that it does cost money to run them. Central air conditioning and heat pumps rank third in total residential energy usage. Only heat and water heating consume more.
Why do people advocate Flexible Spending Accounts? Unless you are sure you will use the total amount in one year it is not a good idea. With flexible spending accounts you lose the money you don’t use at the end of the year. I have never understood this since it is the employee’s money.
Part of the difficulty of estimating prices is that each home and job is different. Building codes and practices vary from place to place. And that will affect the way a job must be done and it’s cost.
If you can stick to this plan and follow your budget you will have a better grasp on your finances and feel better about where all your money is going!