A month ahead - into extreme uncertainty...?
Thanks to some windfalls with the government stimulus check and unemployment bonuses, I find myself in a position where, as thing stand, I can comfortably budget (at least) a month into the future. However, I am expecting a LOT of change in the next couple months. The unemployment bonus is going to end, and either I'm going to continue being unemployed until my seasonal job takes me back in September (not ideal) or I'll be getting a new, higher paying job, but have to move (adding a large one-time expense, increasing living expenses, and depending on the situation, possibly needing to find another 2nd job, ew.)
With the job market what it is right now, this is all really nerve wrecking, and I'm having a hard time setting my budget to reflect 'safety,' beyond just having an obnoxiously big 'buffer' category.
Thoughts and tips?
I've used my own windfalls and money from selling things to fund all my true expenses as far as possible: Money for home repairs, car repairs, my next computer replacement, emergency buffer etc.
I'm probably (hopefully) not in a situation where there are a lot of changes down the road but if I were I could roll with the punches, adjust my budget when I know what these changes are and take money out from, say my next computer when I have clarity about where my priorities lie.
If I were you, I would create categories that reflect Plan A (return to job in September) and categories that reflect Plan B (new job with big move, higher expenses). Then you can make conservative estimates for each situation. You could even call up movers or companies to get accurate quotes. Play around with setting goals in your budgets for each plan so you have an idea what they would cost you and how screwed you might be.
Then just wait and see! If either plan kicks off, you'll have some kind of budget ready either way.
Thanks for the input! I've gone ahead and budgeted out July as those costs should be pretty much the same. Everything left over has been plugged into 'savings': moving expenses, car maintenance, vet, etc. I think next week's unemployment will go to this area as well.
Once July hits, I'll enter funds into August until the normal categories are filled up, and anything extra goes into the 'savings' again. It'll be the end of July before the unemployment bonus goes away, so my savings should be fairly well set by August...
This was all WAY easier to visualize by actually budgeting out next month instead of just plopping the money into a 'buffer' category!
I guess my worry is how quickly that is going to get sapped if I'm not able to get new substantial income soon after. But on the other hand... How friggin cool will it be if I can get a new job and move without completely busting my month-ahead-ness? 😍
I wish you the best of luck. What I also did when my situation was unclear: Look through all categories and challenge my assumptions, find out what I really need. Are there subscriptions I can pause or cancel? Can I switch something to a cheaper plan?
Turns out I was able to reduce my running costs by a good bit and now that my situation stabilized I feel I don't really need to re-activate the old plans, not missing anything