Having a zero-based budget that you make once and forget sounds like the easiest way to get the job done. However, budgeting just doesn’t work like that! Life isn’t the same from month to month, so you need to remake your budget monthly to plan for those changing circumstances. When you do this, you’re less likely to be blindsided by an unexpected annual and seasonal expense that send you completely off budget.
So, here are budgeting items for August you need to pay for:
Things to Budget For in August
School supplies are a big one! Many schools not only have specific items you need to purchase, but they also have specific amounts and specific brands to buy. That means you have very little control over how much you spend on school supplies. Here are some tips for budgeting for these supplies despite the constraints:
- Most back-to-school sales have already started, so grab your school’s supply list and add all the required items to your Walmart/Target/Amazon cart. Don’t purchase yet, but look at the total and budget that for August!
- Add your supplies to an online cart in a few places and see which stores are cheapest.
- Hunt for coupons and sales. There are a lot this time of year.
- Remember, your children don’t need new backpacks every year! If your child’s backpack from last year is in good shape, keep it and use it again.
School Clothes and Shoes
Chances are your kiddo grew over the last year and needs fall clothes and shoes. Before going on an all-out shopping trip, go through all the fall clothes from last year and determine what you really need to buy. Then, set your budget and weigh your options.
You could shop at a place like Goodwill and get a lot more for your budgeted amount. Or, you could get a few needed essentials at a standard clothing store. I do recommend avoiding pricey name brand clothes and shoes that your child will quickly outgrow. They can get Air Jordans when their feet stop growing! (And, when they have their own job.)
School and Activity Fees
At the beginning of the school year, there are often a lot of extra fees. And, this goes for kids of any age! Even college students will have annual bills that hit at the beginning of the semester. Here are a few you can prepare for:
- Sports/Activity Fees and Supplies
- Technology and Library Fees
- Parking Passes
With the return to school, comes the return of lunch money and meal plans. Budget in that first month’s meals right away, so you’re not surprised when that bill comes in. If you don’t know the cost of food monthly, consider calling the school or look back at your bank statements from the spring.
If your child is in private school, preschool, or college, August may mark the beginning of tuition payments. These can be really pricey, so don’t forget to add those to the budget! This could be a good time to set up auto-pay as well to ensure you never miss a payment.
End of Summer Fun
Going to the fair? Trying to get in a few more pool or zoo trips? Seeing a movie together? Checking out the new bowling alley? Whatever you have planned for the end of summer, don’t forget to add it to the budget. In summer, we tend to do a lot of things on a whim based on that day’s weather and mood. That’s fine as long as you have some “for fun money” budgeted.
If you have a vacation planned in August, make sure it’s in budget. Even if you’ve already paid off the big stuff, don’t forget you’ll still potentially need cash for snacks, gas, souvenirs, meals, and more. And, if there’s no vacation planned, but you’re planning something for Labor Day, it’d be a good idea to budget that in August, since it sneaks up on us at the end of the month!
Higher Utility Bills
August can get hot! This makes our electric bill go way up as our air conditioner tries to keep your house bearable cool. Plan for this, or consider setting up a budget plan to keep your utility bills the same every month. You can also lower your energy consumption using blackout curtains and opting to keep the house a little warmer than what you’re used to.
Other Annual Budgeting Items to Look Out For:
- Car Licensing and Registration
- Property Taxes
Budget for August expenses now to avoid surprises later!
Budgeting is all about being proactive. To make a budget effective, you need to think about each month carefully. What will you be doing? What annual expenses are coming up? Asking questions and considering each part of the month will help you stay on budget, achieve your money goals, and boost your motivation. Every month you hit all your financial objectives is a huge win for your pocketbook and your peace!
For more budgeting help, consider jumping on a free call with me. I help clients budget and reach their big money goals every day as a financial coach! You can also find more smart money tips and tricks on the Strong Tower Consulting blog. I hope you have a great month!