LEARN TO BE MONEY SAVVY WITH THIS BASIC GUIDE TO BUDGETING
Utilities such as electricity, garbage pick-up (in some areas), gas, and cable can add up quickly and should definitely be factored into your monthly budget — separate from rent. While these expenses may fluctuate by season, it’s best to factor in the maximum amount you could pay when you are setting a budget. If your monthly utility expenses ever fall below your allocated budget, add the leftovers to your savings!
However you get to work, the cost of commuting is a an area of budget that you don’t want to overlook. If you drive, think beyond the cost of filling up your tank and factor in parking, maintenance, and insurance. If you take public transportation, account for how many days a week you will be commuting and multiply that by the cost of the ticket price.
For most of us, housing is the largest monthly expense. Most experts recommend allocating one third of your monthly income towards housing, but if you are just entering into the job market or living in pricier cities like San Francisco or New York, this may seem like a pipe dream. Aim to stay as close to the 35% range as possible by sharing an apartment with roommates and maybe opting for a less trendy or expensive area. If you can’t hit 35% initially, simply cut back in other areas of your budget to make up the difference. Your future self will appreciate your careful planning!