You work tirelessly day in and day out to try and make ends meet, but do you know where all your money is going? The answer is likely, not all the time. As much as this realization may come as a shock to you, you are not alone. In fact, according to Pam Dumonceau, only a few people can track their expenses to the last coin. Not being able to account for all your money can be a stressful situation. However, with this checklist, you can improve your budget sense and make better financial decisions in the future.
1. Find a Reputable Estate Lawyer to Work Through Family Inheritance Matters
People often shy away from discussing life after their death. However, by doing that, you are only delaying the inevitable. Unless you have a time machine, you only get one chance to get your affairs in order. That said, doing so before it’s too late is easier said than done, and more often than not, you will need to hire an estate attorney to help you through the entire process.
To kick off the process, your first step should be to find an attorney to represent you, but with 1,999,738 estate businesses to choose from, finding the right lawyer can be a daunting task. You need to find a lawyer specializing in estate planning to ensure you get the best information when planning your estate. You can choose to talk to family members or friends to see if any of them can recommend an attorney they have worked with before and can vouch for them.
Once you settle on a lawyer, get organized and talk to your family about your plans. This will help to ensure no one is left in the dark. Other than helping to improve your budget sense, a qualified estate attorney will ensure all your important documents stay updated, help you draft professional documents representing your wishes, and will also help you avoid unwanted probates.
2. Discuss Pricing and Preferences for Engagement Rings
After searching all your life, you have finally found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Now, your next step is to see if the feeling is mutual by popping the question. Of course, this is not a question you raise during a phone call or a random conversation at a restaurant. It’s a question that will require you to carefully think through how you want to pop the question and the amount you are willing to spend on the engagement ring.
So, how much should you spend on an engagement ring? The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer; you need to get a ring that makes budget sense. You don’t necessarily need to use three months’ salary on a diamond engagement ring that you can’t afford.
Luckily, there is a wide catalog of rings. You will surely get one that doesn’t require breaking the bank. If you are adamant about getting your partner that expensive ring, you may have to postpone popping the question to a later date as you secure the amount you’ll need.
3. Speak to a Tax Professional When Facing Difficult Financial Times
Lately, inflation and the cost of buying items are on everyone’s mind. Regardless of how much one makes, this global economic crisis has impacted people from all walks of life. However, some are worse hit than others and face challenging financial times.
Worrying about money is a major trigger for stress among many people; if not properly managed, this stress may result in more severe conditions such as depression. So, what do you do when you find yourself in a financial crisis? For most people, their first option is to seek help from friends and relatives. Unfortunately, your friends and relatives may not be able to ease your financial burden completely. Therefore, you should consider getting tax relief services to help settle any debts you may have accrued.
In addition, you may also want to review your budget and cut expenses that don’t make budget sense. For example, if you used to order takeout every other day, you could opt to have home-cooked meals, which typically cost much less and are often healthier. You could also substitute expensive brands for other, more affordable brands to ensure you save some money.
4. Inquire About Pet Insurance
According to Statista, as of 2022, about 304 million people had some health insurance coverage. A medical cover helps to save you money that you would have otherwise had to use to make out-of-pocket payments. As you get a cover for all family members, don’t forget the furry family members in your home.
The truth is, taking care of these furry family members can create a significant dent in your finances through veterinary bills, which are inevitable. According to Met Life, the annual average cost of caring for a dog ranges between $534 to $1285 and $374 to $965 for cats. Therefore, finding the right insurance for your pets makes budget sense as it will help to ensure you are reimbursed for any covered medical expenses you incur.
According to Forbes, pet insurance is more affordable than people think. The average monthly cost is $44 for dogs and $30 for cats. When looking for a local pet hospital, ensure you get one that allows you to use your cover.
5. Ask Trusted Friends and Family About Who Doesn’t Overcharge for Auto Repairs
Cars are a basic necessity. You drive them to work, the grocery store, school, and to visit friends and family. Due to frequent use, cars often require routine maintenance and repair of broken parts.
Unfortunately, the maintenance and repair costs can come as a surprise for many drivers. According to AAA, routine car maintenance costs about $800 annually. However, unexpected issues cost between $500 and $600, although the price may go up to $10,000 or more depending on the severity of the damages.
With over 415,823 mechanics to choose from, finding one that is not only qualified but also makes budget sense can be intimidating. However, you can get referrals from friends and family of a local auto repair contractor who is skillful and affordable. Most small towns rely on word of mouth to get business. You can also call different shops to ask for estimates and choose the one with the best rates.
6. Choose an Affordable Family Dentist Who Takes Your Insurance
Oral health is a vital part of our everyday lives. It not only ensures you have a picture-perfect smile but also helps to protect your mouth from bacteria-causing infections and illnesses. It’s, therefore, important to ensure you have a family dentist who will cater to the entire family’s oral health.
According to Kelly Maxwell, there are over 156 million people with dental coverage. However, dental insurance is one of the most misunderstood covers in the U.S. This is because most covers don’t cover all procedures, and some are not specific on what procedures are covered. Therefore, before settling on a specific family doctor, it’s important to ensure they can allow you to use your cover.
For young family members, it’s important to get a pediatric dentist as they’re best equipped to handle such patients. Remember, the cost of dental services varies from one dentist to another. Some reasons the costs vary include location, operational costs, and standard of care. Therefore, it is important to choose a dentist that makes budget sense by offering affordable quality services.
7. Assess if Your Loved One Requires Porcelain Veneers
With more people looking to improve their smiles by having whiter and better-aligned teeth, cosmetic dentistry in the United States has continued to grow. According to Precedence Research, as of 2022, the market size was estimated at $23.17 billion and is projected to grow to $41.60 billion by 2030. If you or a loved one plan on having a cosmetic dental procedure, it’s important to note that the procedures will require you to dig deep into your pockets.
For example, if a loved one requires porcelain veneers to fix crooked teeth, according to Brook West Family Dentistry, porcelain veneers cost between $400 to $2,500 per tooth. This means that, on average, you can expect to spend $1,500 per tooth. However, suppose you have a limited budget and are looking for an option that makes more budget sense. In that case, you can choose to use composite veneers, which are a durable and more affordable alternative.
8. Learn About the Cost of Hearing Aids for Your Loved One
According to data from the National Health Interview Survey, 40 million Americans have trouble hearing. However, some are completely deaf, and others experience hearing loss as they continue to age. Typically, hearing loss happens gradually, and currently, in the U.S., more than half of the people aged 75 and over suffer age-related hearing loss. However, age isn’t the only cause of hearing loss. Some people lose their hearing ability due to loud noise, some medicines, some illnesses, and for others, it’s passed down through genetics.
Other than the obvious inability to hear, ear ringing, muffling of speech, and trouble understanding words are indicators of hearing loss. If any of your loved ones complain about these symptoms, immediately seek help from a qualified ENT physician. Luckily, by using a hearing aid, your loved one can live a normal life without depending on others.
According to statistics by Cara Everett, only 16% of Americans aged between 20 and 64 years and need hearing aids use them. Most people who forego using hearing aids cite cost as the main reason for not getting them. According to Adam Rowden, the cost of hearing aids is between $1,000 and $6,000; this is exclusive of other additional expenses that may be necessary. Therefore, you should look through different websites for hearing aids for sale and opt to buy from the one that makes budget sense.
9. Search For Affordable Golf Carts for Your Loved One
When the weather is right and you have time on your hands, golf is an exciting activity to take up as a hobby. Although this hobby can initially be intimidating due to the skills and focus needed, it is still a hobby that appeals to people of all ages, skill levels, and genders. People often have preconceived notions about golf. Most of them see it as an expensive hobby to take up.
Although yes, the hobby can be expensive due to golf clubs that charge hefty membership fees, you don’t necessarily have to join a club to play the sport. In addition, you don’t have to buy gear from these clubs since the prices will be typically exaggerated. Instead, look for options that make budget sense, like sourcing your gear from a wholesale golf cart service provider who would typically have better prices.
10. Protect Your Pets and Children With a Good and Affordable Fence
Most American houses don’t have fences around their homes. Homeowners who wish to fence their homes install fences in the backyard but not the front lawn. Having a fence around your home will help enhance the curb appeal and protect your children and pets from wandering off to the streets.
According to Fence Gnome, the average cost of fencing a backyard is about $3,440. Of course, this amount could vary depending on the size of the fenced property, the contractor, and the material used to fence. If you want a fence around your home but have a limited budget, there are various fencing solutions to choose from that make budget sense.
One of the most affordable fences you can use on your property is a wooden fence. This type of fence is ideal for creating a rustic curb appeal. However, as much as the initial cost of installing a wooden fence is significantly lower than other fences, a wooden fence requires occasional maintenance that could significantly add up to the initial installation cost. Therefore, if you are looking for an affordable, low-maintenance fence, you should consider installing an aluminum fence instead.
Whether you run a business or need to budget for personal use, budgeting will help you accumulate wealth over time. You only need to carefully draft a budget that ensures you live a comfortable life within your means. If you have trouble coming up with an effective budget, you can choose to work with your accountant to ensure you get all your finances in order.