The next big ticket item on our budget is definitely our transportation expense. This will include things like your car payment and how much gas you put in your car every month. This is an important part of our budget, because your car is a vital part of your lifestyle. It helps get you to work, so you can make money to support your lifestyle and it helps you get out to do things you enjoy, because work and money are not everything.
The first thing you need to list when you are making out the budget for your transportation expenses is your car payment. If you do not have a car payment, congrats! But, this is often the second largest monthly payment people make next to their mortgage. Most likely you have a set amount you pay the bank every month and like your mortgage, this payment does not fluctuate. So, its pretty safe to just list the amount you pay monthly on your budget.
After you get your car payment down, then you need to list how much you spend on car insurance. Whether you pay it monthly, quarterly, or twice a year, it is still important to include on your monthly budget, because if you set out money every month, you'll be amazed how it is to write that car insurance check every six months! Depending on your car insurance company, sometimes you will save money every time it renews and you have not had any accidents. You may also save money on your car insurance when you turn 25 or when you get married, but your overall savings really depends on your insurance company, so if you feel like it was for you, then maybe its time to start price shopping and see if its time to switch insurance company's.
Your fuel expense is the next item on this part of your budget. Because of rising gas prices, this may be another portion of your budget where you should figure a little higher, and this maybe an area you would want to transfer the savings from other areas of your budget. You can also conserve gas by making a list before you go out and doing everything on your list, instead of coming home several times and having to make several trips. Need to pick your kids up from school at 3:00? Maybe you could save that trip to the grocery store until right before you have to pick them up. If you live close enough to bike or walk to where you need to go, give yourself extra time and do that instead wasting gas to go a mile up the road. Conserving fuel is hard, but it is possible.
Another part of your transportation budget that you may not think about is the amount of money you spend on repairs and car services. This amount should include the amount of money you spend on oil changes, check-ups, and inspections. Its also a good idea since you probably do not do those things every month, to put money away every month for those expenses, plus bigger car expenses like new tires, a new transmission, or fuel pump because you never know when the worst will happen, but it helps to be prepared for it.
It's harder to cut cost in this transportation area of your budget to save money, but this may be an area you want to put your savings from other areas of your budget, to give yourself some wiggle room. This is definitely one of the places most of your finances might go, but that is why you are writing your budget down on paper, so you can evaluate each part of your expenses and see where all your money is going.