Check out these four tricks used to get you to spend more (without you knowing it).
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No two months are exactly alike. So no two budgets should be either.
As you write out your February budget, here are some fun (and not-so-fun expenses) you may want to include this month. Remember, it’s your money, so make it work for you!
First, the Serious Stuff:
Okay, let’s get this one out the way. If you elect to do your own taxes, you’ll need to pay for the software or online service you use (plus whatever you owe dear Uncle Sam, of course). Or if you’d rather use a tax pro, we know some great ones in your area.
Higher Utility Bills.
When the temperature drops, your heating bill certainly won’t. So be prepared to pay more for your toasty home this month. Unless you’re one of those people who prefer to live in an icebox and cook over your wood stove. More power to you. (Or less, as it were.)
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Cold and flu season is in full swing. That means you can count on a few extra visits to the doctor this time of year. And anti-viral medication isn’t cheap. Work these unexpected medical bills into your family’s budget now, and you can focus on getting yourself and kiddos well without any financial stress later.
Now, the Fun Stuff:
This one’s really obvious. But you’d be surprised by how many guys—er, we mean people—forget to budget for it. Since prices are seriously higher for Cupid’s Day, budgeting for this holiday is extra important. You don’t need to spend much to say, “I love you.” But you do need to spend something—even if it’s just quality time.
Girl Scout Cookies.
Who can resist a sweet kid tempting their sweet tooth? No one, that’s who. Everyone buys a box (or 10) of the limited-edition cookies each year. So budget an extra $20 or $30 for these annual treats. Calories don’t count when they benefit a nonprofit, right?
Big game. Need food. Pay cash. ’Nuff said.
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Don’t Forget the Sale Stuff!
After the huge International Consumer Electronics Show each January, stores usually discount their older model TVs, phones and cameras to make room for all the shiny new ones arriving in March. This is your chance to get a great deal—as long as you leave the store without any impulse buys. Put those back!
Everyone thinks about patio chairs, tables and outdoor items when the weather starts to warm up. To help us get into that mindset, many stores discount these items in February. How nice of them. Also, be on the lookout for indoor furniture markdowns around President’s Day.
According to Consumer Reports’ ShopSmart magazine, February is also a great time to buy elliptical machines and treadmills. Apparently, it pays to procrastinate on your New Year’s resolutions. Who knew?
Whether you’re buying Buffalo wings for the big game or an outdoor couch for your screened-in porch, make sure you budget now—before the month begins. And pay cash. Always pay cash.
What special expenses will you add to your February budget? Leave a comment letting us know.