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Budgeting by the Month: February

There is no month like February.

We don’t mean that in a romantic, it’s-the-month-of-Valentine’s-Day-so-everyone-tells-you-that-you-must-spend-a-bunch-of-money-to-convince-your-man-or-woman-that-you-love-him/her way. We mean that to say that February, like any other month, is unique.

It has its own expenses. And since we only see February once a year, you may forget that some of those costs come up during the month of Cupid. That’s where we come in.

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Here are some common (and not-so-common) things to consider for this month’s budget, including items that are typically on sale:

  • Winter clothes that may go on sale. Discounts and clearances happen a lot this time of year, so if you budget for clothes that are going out of season, you can score some big buys.
  • Hiring an accountant to do your taxes. You may elect to do them yourself, which means the only thing you’ll pay for is the software you use. But at least know that you’re going to spend it. If you want to use a pro, we know some.
  • Higher utility bills because of the cold months. When the temperature drops, your heating bill certainly won’t. Be ready to pay more by putting it into your budget.
  • Super Bowl (extra money for snacks). Big game. Need food. Pay cash. ’Nuff said.
  • Valentine’s Day. (Obviously, but you’d be surprised at how few people budget for it). All the prices are jacked up for Cupid Day, so budgeting for the festivities is extra important. As long as you’re allocating money, look for ways to not spend as much of it. You don’t need to spend much to say, “I love you.”
  • Keep saving for Christmas. We’ve only got 11 months to go. If you start saving now, you can save a little at a time, which is much easier.

The Sale Light is On!

  • Electronics. After the Consumer Electronics Show in January, stores start selling their older models of phones, DVD players, cameras and so on at a discount. It’s good chance to get a great deal.
    Outdoor furniture. Everyone thinks about buying patio chairs, tables and outdoor items when the weather starts to warm up. To help you get into that mindset, many stores discount such items (and more) in February. Keep a lookout for them.
  • Bathroom fixtures. Going from outside to inside, home improvement stores can really give good prices on do-it-yourself stuff such as bath fixtures and vanities this month.
  • Perfumes. Once Valentine’s Day is passed, don’t be surprised if you find good deals on a lot of the perfumes that are out there.

During this month of love, take advantage of your time together to talk about money and your family budget. Not your idea of romance? Well, it doesn’t have to be the only topic of conversation over a candlelight dinner, but you shouldn’t shy away from it. Talking about money could be one of the healthiest aspects of your marriage. It shouldn’t be foreign, and it shouldn’t be restricted to special occasions.

As Dave has said many times before, the number-one cause of divorce in North America today is money fights and money problems. Money is a big issue, but when you get down to it, it’s a stupid reason to break up a marriage. The issue really boils down to trust.

Trust and responsibility go hand and hand. By making a budget together every month, you open the doors of communication and transparency. So don’t look at it as a chore to do; look at is as an opportunity to strengthen your marriage. Plus, Dave’s online Gazelle Budget tool makes budgeting easy—maybe even fun! The budget wizard will get you started with a handful of simple questions, then you’re off and running. And the first seven days are free. That’s a budget no-brainer!

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