The process of buying a new home can seem like climbing a mountain, where each slow, steady step brings you closer to your goal. You save for a down payment, determine how much you are willing (and able) to spend, tour lots of homes to find the perfect house in the right location, apply for a mortgage, make an offer, have a home inspection, close on your new home – and then, finally, you reach the top. You’ve accomplished something amazing. You are a homeowner.
Now that you’re at the top, it’s a new perspective.
Especially when it comes to budgeting.
You no longer are saving for a down payment, but you may need to build up a cushion again. You will want to ensure you have a financial safety net, and our article on building an emergency fund can help with that.
Also, you now must factor in other expenses that you never incurred in your days of renting or living at home, including:
- Property taxes
- Homeowner’s insurance
- New or higher utility bills
- Home-maintenance costs
- Home furnishing and decorating costs
- Homeowner’s Association fees
It’s time to budget like a homeowner.
You’ll need to determine how much you need to cover all of the above, plus your mortgage and other necessities like groceries and transportation (including gas and car maintenance). You’ll also need to consider all those extras you spend on, like eating out and entertainment, and any debt payments you are making, like college loans and credit cards.
You’ll also need to figure out where you can cut costs, if necessary.
Seem like another mountain to climb?
There are a number of tools you can use to help with budgeting and tracking expenses. If you’re more of a pen on paper type of person, you can download our Daily Spending Worksheet and Monthly Income And Expense Worksheet. If you prefer managing your finances online, there are many budgeting tools and mobile apps that can help you plan – and even visualize – how you are spending and saving.
Just like buying a house, homeowner budgeting is part of the journey. And just like the buying process, with a little dedication, organization and the right tools, you can be in control.
Need an easy way to build a household budget?
Old National Money Management, a feature in online and mobile banking, makes it is easy to track your budget, set goals, monitor transactions and categorize your spending. Get an overview of all your accounts, even those at other financial institutions, and receive alerts when you're nearing your budgeted numbers.
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