We’ve been totaling some of our big expenses and then breaking them down in order to spread out payments over our pay periods instead of in one big lump sum. So far, we’ve worked on creating an Auto Fund and a Home Fund.
Today, we’re talking about another large one. . .utilities expenses. The idea is to calculate the average of all of your regular utility bills. Simply add together the totals of what you may spend in a year, then divide by one of the following: 52 if you are paid weekly, 26 if you are paid every 2 weeks, 24 if you are paid twice a month, or 12 if you are paid monthly. Members to ListPlanIt can use our Utilities Fund Worksheet to help calculate the amount you will need for your auto fund in Financial Planning.
Electricity – Some people use electricity just for their lights and/or electronics. Others use electricity to heat and cool their homes. The amount of this utility can fluctuate wildly depending on the time of year.
Gas/Oil/Wood – Some people, especially in places of extreme temperatures, supplement the heating and cooling of their homes with a more fuel-efficient or cost-efficient method. It may or may not require a frequent and regular payment, but it may be something that is necessary to save for through several pay periods. Add up how much you spent on these things in the past year and then divide that by the number of pay periods in a year.
Telephone – Telephone service has changed so much in the past years. There are still people that have regular home phone service. There are others who have a service through their DSL or Cable internet connections (Vonage or Skype). Many people have dropped home service and gone straight to cell phones. Whether your bill is a set monthly fee or you are charged by the minute, you will need to add this to your utilities fund.
Cell Phone – Today, many households have at least one cell phone. These usually come with a basic monthly fee, data usage, text options, and other additional charges. Cell phones have become our security blanket, safety net, and personal assistants. They’ve also come to represent a pretty large chunk of our utilities fund.
Internet – The internet is such a useful tool. We can search for information, be entertained, shop, renew our vehicle registration, and do a myriad of things that we never dreamed possible just a few short years ago. Once again, there is a cost associated with the privilege of having it available in our homes.
Water/Trash – If you live in a town or city, you likely pay for the water that is pumped into your house for washing and drinking. Trash may be combined into that bill or you may use a private trash service for the convenience of not having to take your family’s trash to the dump yourself.
Cable/Television Entertainment – Whether you have cable, satellite, or use an entertainment service (such as netflix or hulu plus) through one of your devices (such as blu-ray player or video game player), you are likely paying a monthly charge for this privilege.
Are there any other utilities that you pay regularly?
ListPlanIt.com has everything you need to not only track what you spend, but budget your money so you are prepared for future purchases and expenses with registers, budgets, and worksheets in Financial Planning and in ListPlanIt’s Finance ePlanner.