Budgeting: Spring Has Sprung…Or Not

Posted March 24, 2017 by in Lifestyle

Generally, Spring is the time for the flowers to bloom and the sun to shine and everything starts to feel that little bit warmer in the neighborhood. You switch your winter coat for a lighter jacket and the sunglasses you’ve left to gather dust start to get a clean-up.

The thing is, when you live in the city you can’t guarantee the weather and sometimes, Spring doesn’t get the memo. If you’re still finding yourself wrapping up in a knitted scarf and bending against the whipping cold winds when you’re out of the house, you can bet that inside the house you’re feeling the cold, too.

Unfortunately, most of us who plan our monthly budget don’t account for needing the heat on longer through the Spring months. We don’t budget for needing a new set of insulation in the attic and we don’t think that we’re going to need more blankets and rugs in the house due to cold. So, how can you stick to your household winter budget when it’s not a winter month?

The first thing you must do is think about what you spend through the winter on heat, extra gas and electricity. Make a spreadsheet forecasting what you can afford and through the ACTUAL winter months, spend what you need. Any surplus money you don’t use on utilities should be added to a savings pot so that you have emergency funds for when Springtime doesn’t get the memo. Think about keeping a note of what you spend each month on your utilities and slightly over reach so that you always have a savings pot for when the inevitable freeze happens.

In the winter months, you may be acutely aware of the risk of the pipes in the home freezing. This is never good as frozen pipes tend to crack and cause leaks. You can buy electrical heat tracing for the pipes to protect the pipes from freezing over if there’s an unexpected cold snap when anticipating warmer weather. The emergency funds you would have saved would be there for you just in case a leak did happen, and to allow you to afford to keep the pipes warm. Living on a budget when pipes burst or the electrics cut out is always difficult, but if you’ve overestimated on your utilities for a few months of the year, you accidentally make savings which can save you when in a pinch.

Hopefully you will already have blankets and rugs in abundance through the house to keep warm, but if not, instead of buying huge new throws for each room and rugs for the bedrooms, how about using one of these awesome tutorials to learn to arm knit? When you can spend less money on materials and yet still make something beautiful to keep you warm in the house, it’s a success all round.

You don’t have to panic when the seasons misbehave and don’t stick to the script, but you must always be prepared for the worst to happen so you aren’t left short for the month. Plan carefully and you’ll be at the ready, any time.

*This article was contributed.