Anybody here do quarterly, semi-annual, or even annual budgets?

sleuth

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My goal is to get to the point where we can budget semi-annually or even annually so that we can shop year-round for the best deal and buy in bulk.

For example, I have a 200 gallon gas tank at my farm. I'm not currently using it, but I envision being able to wait until there's a seasonal drop in price (like right now it is $2.95/gallon, then buy in bulk at even lower wholesale prices and have almost all the gas I need for a year (obviously need a few more gas tanks). Also, I'd like to be able to pay my fixed bills annually. For some, I could get discounts for doing that. I would also have fewer bills to manage.

Anybody else do this? I guess the first step is having a stockpile of cash for 3 months of expenses and start budgeting quarterly until you can get 6 months stockpile and budget semi-annual, up to 1 year of expenses in the bank and budget annually? Anybody else do it another way?
 

heatherlynnky

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I do monthly budgets but do them 6 months at a time. This year for the first time I did a full year because I wanted to work yearly financial goals.
 

moolie

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We do monthly budgets, but for the entire year.

If we know we will have a big payment somewhere, we average that amount throughout the year and save monthly.

E.g. holidays/trips, garden seeds/garden start-up costs, summer canning costs (mostly food items at this point but also used to include jars and lids), 2 meat orders per year, fall school fees, Christmas expenses etc.

It's not easy, and for us it means keeping a spreadsheet and having a separate account for the savings, but it works for us :)
 

Wannabefree

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We pretty much budget for the year, but the money doesn't come in big lumps, so we manage it each month. I know what we need to make it, and know when I need to get it in gear because we may come up short if I don't. We're debt free except for the house, and getting it gone slowly but surely, so we're not in bad shape, our income has just suffered the last 4 years or so due to the economy. Also, another point...sometimes stocking up you need to wait for the lowest price, and the lowest price doesn't come around the same month every year, or at the beginning of every year. But, sometimes it's predictable. We get grilling supplies and condiments July 5th :lol: We buy a good bit of Christmas items the week following Christmas, etc. etc. Stock up fuel in February usually is the lowest yearly price, and you can save a BUNDLE getting it then before the mixture changeover every Spring that causes a hike in prices for several weeks. The predictable times for sales can be planned ahead months in advance, even 11-12 months in advance.
 

Denim Deb

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I tried, but hubby has his own plan and pays all the bills so there's not much I can do.
 

Living the Simple Life

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We work on an annual budget. We pay our house insurance, car insurance, and license plates annually; taxes are paid bi-annually; sewer is paid quarterly; utilities and telephone/internet are paid monthly. These are all of our bills. It has taken a bit of time to get into a rhythm with this but it really works for us. With online banking, it only takes a few minutes each month. Here goes:

Annual, biannual and quarterly bills are figured out to the monthly cost (ie. divided by 12, 6 or 3). Each month, the monthly amount is moved into a special savings account. We have one account specifically for taxes and another for all other bills. When a bill comes due, the amount is then transferred from the savings account to the checking account and the check is mailed off.

For our utilities, we average our utility cost over the year (ex. $200 average). When the utility bill comes, if it is less than $200, we write the amount of the bill and move the difference between the bill and $200 into our Utilities account (ie. bill is $180, we paid $180 and move $20 to the utilities account). By doing this, it creates a fund balance for when larger bills come in (ie. extremely cold months). If the bill is over $200, we move the difference from the Utilities account to the checking and pay the bill. Most utility companies will do this for you with a "budget plan", I just don't see letting them sit on my money for me.

Telephone/internet is a fixed amount so that is just figured into our monthly budget. Our monthly budget also includes "paying ourselves" - ie. putting money into a savings account. We get paid every other week, so our budget is based on two pays per month. Twice per year we get three pays in a month. Those extra pays are used for either big, unexpected purchases (like a new pump, etc.) or put into our savings account. Our truck is not going to last too many more years, so those extra pays are going to be going into a vehicle fund for the next couple of years.

Once you get your savings accounts set up with your bank/credit union, this process becomes really simple. Don't let your financial institution tell you that you can only have one savings account - that is baloney (only one checking but as many savings accounts as you want). Name your savings accounts something that is meaningful. If you just have them numbered 1,2,5,6 it is easy to look at that money as "accesible". If you are looking at the balances in accounts called taxes, quarterly bills, new car, etc. it will really make you think twice before dipping into that account.

This is a great time of year to start this system if you are getting an income tax refund. Figure out when your bills are due and how much you need to put in to get yourself "caught up" (ie. if a bill is due in September and you are starting in February, you will need to put in for 4 months - Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan). Then start putting your regular monthly amount in and when the bill is due, no headache, no stress, the money is there is pay it!

If you aren't getting a refund, start anyways and when that bill is due, you will at least have part of it saved. Once the bill is paid, keep doing the monthly thing and next year, you WILL have the total amount saved up.

It is an awesome feeling when a bill shows up to know that there is no stress about where the money is going to come from to pay it.

Another thing that we do is "zero out" the checking account each pay. When the next pay hits, whatever monies are left in the checking account get moved to the savings (might only be $20 or $30). So each pay, we are starting out with the "fresh" balance. The leftover funds don't seem like a lot, but they add up over the course of the year. These funds are used for birthdays, Christmas, etc.
 

k15n1

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Most of our line items are annual, but some of them roll over. Some of the line items are broken down for weekly shopping trips.

BTW, don't buy 200 gal of gas. It'll go bad before you can use it.
 

Wannabefree

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Fuel stabilizers will help, and proper storage otherwise helps also.

I can't wait for income taxes to get done!!! We usually get a refund, and i NEED a few things.
 
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