Starting A Budget
When people are starting a budget, the miscellaneous category can really get out of hand and become a black hole that just siphons the money right out of your wallet. Here are some effective ways to manage the miscellaneous category.
What Is The Miscellaneous Category For?
The miscellaneous category is for all of your expenses that do not fit neatly into any of the other categories. Some of the things that you could use the miscellaneous category for, if you have these expenses, are: allowances, pet supplies, lunches out, magazine subscriptions, toiletry items, laundry, cable/internet, haircuts and gifts.
That’s A Lot!
Some of those items could easily fit in other categories. For example, you could choose to put your pet supplies and your toiletry items in your Food category because you pick all of those things up at the grocery store. And, for simplicity’s sake you group all those things together instead of breaking apart the receipt. This is your budget and you can do as you please. Lunches could go in your Entertainment category because lunch out is a non-essential expense. You could make your lunch at home and bring it with you. Your cable/internet connection could go under your Housing category. This is all about the personal choices that you make and what is easiest for you.
One of the best ways to minimize your spending is to closely track your spending in this category and be willing to be accountable for the items in this category. If you are married you already have an accountability partner. When you start to see that you are running out of money before you run out of month, the miscellaneous category is the first place to look to start cutting back.
Examine Every Expense
Look closely at all of your expenses. How many magazines do you subscribe to? Do you read them all? Do you enjoy them all? What about haircuts? Are you getting value for your money? Can it be done less expensively? There are no “correct” answers here. It is about the choices and decisions that you are willing to live with.
What About Gifts?
Gift giving is sometimes a hard area to control. The very first thing to do is determine how much you will spend on gifts. Break down by person and by occasion. How many people are you going to buy birthday gifts for this year? How much do you want to spend on that person? Determining in advance how much you want to spend is critical to maintaining control in this area. You are guaranteed to find the right gift that is just a little outside your limit. Be disciplined and stick to your plan.
One thing to consider when thinking about gifts is can you make something? Can you knit a scarf or a sweater? Can you embroider on a tea towel? Can you put together a scrapbook? What about building something out of wood? Hand-made gifts are always appreciated because it represents your time, effort and care that went into creating that particular gift. It is unique. Don’t discount your God-given talents.
Be A Wise Steward
The first step to getting any of your budget categories under control is starting a budget. This is especially true for the miscellaneous category. You begin that process by tracking your spending. Be a wise steward of what God has entrusted to you.
How To Make A Budget from Starting A Budget - Miscellaneous
Biblical Personal Budgeting Homepage from Starting A Budget - Miscellaneous