Two questions about changing expenses/ income
1. I have expenses that I know are going to change later in the year. My income is decreasing next month so I am afraid that if I get used to a certain amount to budget, I will be in a panic in November when expenses increase. I am thinking of a kind of "placeholder" savings until November. Any ideas?
2. Because my income is decreasing and I am trying to get more accurate about true expenses (like vehicle repair/maintenance) but can't figure out how to determine a realistic savings goal.
A placeholder savings category will help in the short term, but realistically you will need to cut expenses elsewhere. It's worthwhile figuring out how you can do this; for example, in a blank month so you can keep the Budgeted header under your expected income.
Having a plan as to how you'll allocate when that time comes is invaluable.
It's fine to put yourself on that plan right now, putting the leftover income in some category (e.g., emergency fund) to gauge how it feels. Changes will be less drastic when things change "for real", and you're more likely to be mentally stressed. Refine the allocations as you move forward.
Here is how I approached the car repair/maintenance fund-I budget a set monthly amount. When I first started out it was a little bit more than what I thought I would need for annual oil changes. As time went on I have slowly upped my contribution.
I also add to it any money from the fuel category I don’t use on a monthly basis. In this period where I under stay-at-home orders I am socking quite a bit of money away.
My long-term goal is to have $5k in this category. But I have set shorter term goals to make it feel more attainable. An easy foreseeable expense is tire replacement - so maybe set a goal for the estimated cost of tires for one of your vehicles.
The most important is to start putting money aside because a costly repair is going to happen.