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Ask Dave

The Ever-Changing Budget

A Twitter listener asks if a budget should change every month. Dave says yes.

QUESTION: A Twitter listener asks if a budget should change every month. Dave says yes.

ANSWER: Yes, because every month, your life changes. Now some things don’t change. We spend about the same thing on food every month at our house. If you had a house payment, it would be the same every month. If you had rent, it’d be the same every month. That doesn’t change. So you have some fixed items in there that are just auto-entry, so to speak.

We heat, at our house, with natural gas. Our gas bill is much higher in the winter than it is in the summer because we don’t use much gas in the summer. Vice versa on electricity. We cool in the summer. In Tennessee, we burn electricity to keep that air conditioning running, so my electric bill is higher in the summer. Christmas is always in December, so that’s a different month, and you buy turkey usually at Thanksgiving to have the turkeys over that are your family. You have to do all of that, and all of that is different every month. You look at that month and say this month the kids have soccer pictures. This month the kid’s going on a field trip. This month we’ve got to buy back-to-school clothes. This month… You itemize out those things so that your budget is an accurate reflection. You can’t have that perfect month from Heaven. It doesn’t exist.