Paul wrote a post about budgets previously, but I just wanted to share one more bit of information that can make the budgeting process easier.
From Paul's post:
After a while I discovered that many of my utilities varied, but only a little each month (like my phone bill). Once I realized this I included the average amount as an expense in my budget and if my bill was less than the average one month I'd add the extra into my surplus and if it was more I'd subtract it.Great idea, Paul. But our readers might point out that one category of utilities varies by more than just a little. If you're thinking "yeah, energy bills", then I feel your pain. The monthly gas bill in our last home went from the $20/month range in the summer to the $200/month range in the winter. That's an order of magnitude change! Having a nice cash reserve in savings keeps us from having to worry in months when our spending goes up, but if you need more stable expenses, check with your utility companies to see what kind of billing programs they offer.