#FinancialFridays: Spring Spending

The birds are singing and the snow is drip-drip-dripping. Spring is coming. With new seasons also come new costs.

When we look at budgeting, we mainly look at monthly expenses and ways to manage those expenses. But there are also seasonal expenses as well. Some may be switching from winter to summer tires, a few new clothes for the coming spring or summer, March Break or summer camps for the kids, family vacations, a new basketball net, etc.

Because these costs are outside of our regular monthly spending, we may not plan in the same way for them. But looking ahead, prioritizing, and making a plan can help make sure these expenses don’t cost us more than we can afford.

One strategy to prepare is to sit down by yourself or with your family and talk about ideas for experiences and things that you would like to buy for the coming season. Make sure to be clear that this is a wish list and not a guarantee list. Take your list and put the items and experiences in order from most wanted to least wanted. Estimate when you would like to buy the item or go on the experience. Now research how much it is going to cost. Shop around!

Now comes the financial part. Take the total cost of the item or experience and divide it by the number of weeks or pay cheques between now and when you want it. The divided number is the amount you would save each week or pay cheque towards the total cost of the item. Be serious with yourself and your family. Is that weekly or per pay cheque amount realistic for your budget? Is it is, start saving! If it is not, what can you do by yourself or together as a family to work towards the goal? Change the timeline, your expectations, or your budget.

Remember, anytime we use credit to buy something and don’t pay it off before the grace period, we are paying interest or fees. That item or experience is now costing us more than if we bought it with debit or cash.

Are you facing financial challenges? If you need help getting your finances back on track, reach out to Sharon, our Financial Literacy Program Coordinator at advice@unitedwaybg.com or 519-378-4773. She can help you look at your financial situation and decide on a positive path forward.