5 Steps To Profiting From News Feeds
Looking at News Feeds, you might think they're some of the most complex things to set up. Nothing could be further from the truth. They're actually super-easy to create once you have the system set up properly.
You can break down the news feed system into a fast, low-cost system that you can do once, or several times over.
First I'll answer a few of your questions about news feeds. Then I'll reveal the "secret" steps to setting up and profiting from a news feed.
Common Question #1: What is a news feed?
A news feed is an automatically updating list of the latest news on a particular subject. For instance, the news feed on my Web site is on the subject of small business marketing.
Common Question #2: Why do I need one?
Other than being a really cool thing to have on your Web site, News feeds are also really great traffic boosters. Not only do they make your Web site more attractive to the all-important Web crawlers that view what's on your site, but News feeds also inspire visitors to come back to your site for fresh news.
So the benefits are two-fold:
• new visitors, and
• return visitors.
Please keep in mind there are a few things you need to do to see benefits from news feeds.
1. Choose a subject of interest to your audience. I chose small business marketing news. For you, it could be the latest news on a tough problem gripping your industry. The great part about it is that you don't have to provide answers, just create a forum where your target market can access information about an issue.
2. Find your news feed. There are several services providing news feeds of various pieces of information. In my experience it's best to locate news aggregators based only on your industry.
3. Place the feed on your Web site. This is where I initially ran into problems, but a programmer friend passed on a rather affordable solution that I was able to easily place the news feed on your Web site. The great thing about it is, once you set up the feed, you never really have to touch it again.
4. Make your site profitable. Consider placing advertisements on the same page as your news feed. No doubt the regularly updating news will be a hit with your audience and as more people come to the site you'll be producing passive profits. (Say that five times fast!)
5. Drive traffic to your site. Over the years I've found the best way to drive traffic to a site is through article writing and distribution. It's like an instant shot in the arm for quality traffic.
And that's the "secret" formula to profiting from news feeds. Really, it's no secret. It's all about know which resources to use to make the news feed work for both you and your target audience.
Since you use your car to travel, it’s more than likely important to you. You may not know a lot about cars, but you might want to learn. If this is so, keep reading to find out about auto repair.
Make sure that you do not neglect the radiator in your car. You should let your car run for a few minutes, shut the engine and open your hood. Then check the coolant level, but while the car is not running. You do not want the coolant to get hot; it is dangerous. Check radiator fluid by using a dipstick and remember to dilute coolant with water prior to adding it.
The best way to find a good auto mechanic is getting referrals. Ask co-workers, friends and family for recommendations. You can find out great information about price and value that way. You can find out about the experience with a mechanic and if they can be trusted or not.
Keep track of all the repairs and maintenance you do on your vehicle. It’s wise to keep them in your glove compartment in case you need to go to a auto repair shop on the fly. The auto mechanic will need to refer to these records. They will be able to find the problem easier and faster.
Don’t get stuck with a mechanic who will make repairs on your vehicle that are not necessary. A good mechanic should let you know if they noticed parts that are starting to get worn down and will need to be replaced soon but they should not replace the part without your approval. Don’t trust a mechanic who has done repairs without asking.
Car care is priority one. Understanding basic maintenance is a great first step. Use these tips for the next time your vehicle starts acting weird or you start worrying about it.
Facebook marketing does not have you employ certain “set in stone” rules. Instead, you must learn how to adapt the different strategies to your business. You have a target demographic that has certain things in common. This article gives you ideas on how to get started using Facebook marketing to open up these profitable resources.
The best way to engage your followers is to reply to what they write on your wall or about your company. You have to not only watch your page, but also messages which include your name with an @ symbol (like @Microsoft.) Make sure to reply to all inquiries or complaints.
Host a giveaway to generate attention. Give away a desirable product to get people excited. Announce the winners on your Facebook page, and repeat this strategy every time you need to get more subscribers for your campaign.
Create a Facebook ad. Regular posting, while valuable and beneficial, only goes so far. To achieve real results deep into your customer base, Facebook ads may be ideal. They don’t cost a lot of money and they can make quite the difference.
Never ignore comments and questions on your Facebook page. If a person has taken the time to reach out to you, thank them for their time and answer any query they have as quickly as possible. Additionally, post a link to an article on your site if it can answer their questions.
If you use custom audiences you will be able to use email addresses of the current customers you have to send them targeted ads. This is a good way to improve your conversion ratio and reduce what you spend to develop your campaign.
Just using what you’ve learned here is a great first step. Take it and build a campaign which will take advantage of all Facebook has to offer. The quicker you get started, the quicker your profits will grow.
Quickly Saving The Big Bucks On Auto Coverage
Auto insurance is a necessity if you are a driver. You may think you can get away with not having it because you are a good driver, but you can’t. Why? Other drivers. You may be the best driver there is but other drivers could still cause an accident that can damage you and your car. Use the tips below to purchase auto insurance now.
When it is possible to do so, try not drive your car. In many states, the premium amount is based on how many miles you drive each year. If you do end up driving less, make sure to call and let the insurance know so that they can lower our premium rate.
A few years ago, it might have been wise to drop medical payments from your automobile insurance policy when it was common to be able to expect your health insurance policy to cover almost all of your accident-related medical costs. Now, with health coverage becoming more restrictive, it’s worth doing the math to see if it’s worth getting the extra medical payments coverage reinstated to your auto insurance plan.
A big part of setting the cost for your auto insurance premiums has to do with the type of car that you drive. Remember that when you are in the market for a new car – cars that are more expensive to repair, for example, will often result in higher insurance rates.
Make sure your auto insurance covers car theft, vandalism, hail damage, fire or damage due to hitting an animal, if those things are important to you. Damages from any of those issues will not be covered if you do not have comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive covers damage resulting from other things outside of a car accident.
After you do all the research and you decide exactly which company you will want to use, go over with the agent the type of coverage you will want. Then when you get the policy, read over it and make sure that it is exactly what you requested. It is easy to make an error, so it is always good to check.
Know the value of your car and get coverage accordingly. If your car is old, then it probably doesn’t make sense to have full coverage on it, but you may want full coverage if you have a new car. Also, look into purchasing Gap insurance for the first couple years that you have a new, financed car that was purchased using less than twenty percent down.
If you’re looking for ways to reduce your auto insurance premiums, check your policy for any coverage that you can reduce or drop. For example, collision coverage pays for any damage done to your vehicle in the event of an accident. However, this coverage isn’t required by law. If your vehicle is worth only a few thousand dollars, it may be more cost effective to cancel this coverage. Similarly, comprehensive coverage pays for loss or damage to your vehicle that is not the result of an accident, such as theft or a flood. Again, compare your vehicle’s worth to the cost of premiums, and drop the coverage if it isn’t worth it.
Don’t let bad drivers destroy your pocketbook if they involve you in a wreck. Be protected by getting auto insurance as soon as possible. The tips above are meant to guide you and help you find the auto insurance plan that best suits your needs. Be a protected driver today!
One of the first things people notice about your home is cleanliness of your floors. Those with carpet struggle with keeping it clean, so they should hire a professional cleaning service. Keep reading for what you need to know about finding a carpet cleaning professional.
Carpet companies usually do more than just clean carpets. Many carpet cleaning companies also offer upholstery cleaning services. A local cleaner may also offer cleaning services for your furniture or rugs.
Industrial carpet cleaners can be tricky, so you have to read through the instructions carefully. Knowing exactly what types of chemicals the cleaning company is going to use on your carpets is important. Those are the things you must know if you plan to use that particular project.
If you have a very difficult stain in your carpets, consider hiring a professional. Professionals use better techniques to get the stains out of your carpet. The products and machines used will not damage your carpet and you will definitely notice an improvement.
Baking soda is an affordable way to mask bad odors and keep your carpet fresh. In fact, the vast majority of carpet deodorizers you can buy are simply fragrance mixed with baking soda. You should find ways to help you save money when hiring a carpet cleaning company. You can also put a few oils into the mixture to give it a nice aroma prior to laying it out on wax paper.
Talking to someone at the chamber of commerce can help you compile a list of companies in your area. They know the local companies and if there are complaints against it. This will help you find a great company.
Perhaps your carpet is light in color. Or, maybe you have pets and kids that dirty it. Whatever your reasons are, you may need a reliable carpet cleaner. Remember these tips so you can hire someone who will do their job well!
If you are careless with your car repairs, you can end up shelling out a lot of money. In addition to knowing some basic facts about your car, there are other things that can help you out. You could save both money and time moving forward by doing so.
Don’t sign anything until you know the total cost of repairs. Should you need clarification about the repairs, speak with the service manager or your mechanic before work begins. You don’t want any unpleasant surprises when you get your bill.
Tag the important pages in your vehicle manual. When you’re trying to get something repaired on your vehicle, you’ll be able to get more assistance if they’re able to read information quickly about your car. The issue may be very simple to fix, saving you time and money.
Watch out for obvious warning signs that a repair person is not up to snuff. If they ignore your questions or talk in circles, you’d be wise to not use their services. Find a mechanic who seems trustworthy and knows how to answer all your questions.
You ought to always have a spare and a jack in the car. Nearly every car has them equipped standard. Stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire is bad news. Stuck without a jack and spare tire is bad news and a big bill. It is cheaper and easier when you do it on your own.
As you can now see, knowing auto repair basics will prove to be very beneficial. Not only can you prevent having to rely on others whenever car problems arise, you can also save a lot of money and teach others. Keep these tips in mind; you may even be able to do minor repairs on your own.
Do you have stains all over your carpets? Did you try cleaning your carpet yourself? The time has come to consider calling in a professional. However, there are things to take into consideration when shopping for a service. Keep reading!
Always move fragile items yourself before the company arrives to clean. You want to be careful about trusting another in your home regardless of how many assurances this person offers.
Look for carpet cleaning companies in your area that have been around for a long time. That way, you can always find them if you have problems with their work. If a company is using a post office box for their address, look for a different company.
Industrial carpet cleaners can be tricky, so you have to read through the instructions carefully. There should be clear instructions about what materials the product works on, if you should ventilate the room and what needs to be done if you accidentally get the product on your skin. You should know all of these things before you turn on the machine.
Spend some time vacuuming every area of the house. If you spend more time vacuuming each area, you can eliminate a substantial amount of dirt and stains. This can prevent stains and help your carpet last much longer. The time invested will be worth the results.
Don’t use any other products on it before they arrive. Most deodorizers are simply baking soda mixed with some fragrance. Save money by using regular baking soda. You can temporarily mask bad odors by mixing some essential oils with some baking soda but you should find a professional who can apply a deodorizer to your carpet if you cannot get rid of bad odors yourself.
These tips can help you find the best carpet cleaner for you. Use these tips as guidelines so you don’t spend money on poor workmanship. Don’t rush, and carefully consider all your options. You’ll reap the reward of clean carpets as a result.
Update Your Ase Certification At An Auto Mechanic School
Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification sets the skilled mechanic apart from the amateur grease monkey, allowing employers and customers alike to verify a mechanic’s level of expertise. However, as automotive technology is continually changing, ASE certification needs to be updated periodically. Any good auto mechanic school will usually offer programs for mechanics who want not only to renew their certification, but also to stay on the cutting edge of automotive repair.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, the non-profit organization that devised the ASE certification system, was founded in 1972. The organization and its certification system was established in order to enable consumers to easily recognize qualified mechanics, as recent years had seen a growing need for the establishment of standards in the field of auto mechanics. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence offers recognition as an “expert” to mechanics who pass at least one test and provide proof of at least two years’ relevant work experience. There are more than 40 tests, each corresponding to a specific area of expertise. In order to maximize one’s salary and value to an employer, mechanics are advised to become certified in as many specific areas as possible.
Part of the need for standards in the automotive field is due to the field’s constant state of flux: automotive technology is constantly changing and becoming more complicated. As a result, each ASE certification must be updated every five years. This means that in order to retake the certification tests, a mechanic must be knowledgeable about any changes or advancements in automotive technology during the past five years. Auto mechanic school provides an easy forum for mechanics to continue their education and maintain their ASE certifications.
Auto mechanic school has always offered beginning automotive students a way to learn the trade and earn their ASE certifications. Curriculums are dedicated to ensuring that students fully understand and have experience with the subject matter of each test. The programs offered in auto mechanic school aren’t just for beginners, however. Most good automotive schools offer programs for continuing education to established mechanics. These courses may range from a refresher course for reviewing the subject material that will be addressed on the test, to a more detailed briefing on recent changes in automotive technology. Some courses may also be geared toward established mechanics who do not currently have any ASE certifications, but would like to, without having to go through the entire degree program.
ASE certification reassures your customers that you are an expert in the field, much as the “Ph.D.” after your doctor’s name reassures you that she knows what she is doing; and just as in your doctor’s field, continuing education is the cornerstone of a mechanic’s business. Frequently updated ASE certifications relay to customers and employers that the mechanic knows the most recent advancements in the field, ensuring quality work even on the newest of cars. As a result of the regulations put in place by the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence, auto mechanic school caters not only to beginners, but to returning students and experienced mechanics as well.
Stains on your carpet can be very frustrating. Stains occur over time and you may not be able to remove certain stains after they have dried. When this occurs, you need to consult a professional. If you are interested in a carpet cleaning company, read on for some advice.
You should vacuum your carpets prior to having them professionally cleaned. This means you can see what areas you already did so you do not double track. If your room is in the shape of a square, it should be divided into four quadrants when you’re cleaning it.
Do not clean your carpet without vacuuming it. Use a good vacuum cleaner for eliminating loose dirt prior to having cleaning products or water put on the carpet. A professional company will be able to get all the dirt up that your vacuum misses. It may be necessary to wait for the stain to dry before vacuuming.
Before a carpet-cleaning company uses a solution on your carpet, they should test it out on a small component of your carpet that won’t be noticed. Don’t skip this step as some solutions cause permanent staining. By doing this test you will be sure to save some money and time and it will only take you a couple of minutes.
Check customer reviews and ratings for a prospective cleaning company. Just because a service has been in business for quite a while, there is no guarantee their service is really good. It is up to you to find out if they have a reputation for quality work and happy customers.
Having hideous carpet stains can be very frustrating; however, you no longer have to suffer with them. With just a quick phone call, you can easily have your carpets cleaned. Make sure you memorize the contents that have been presented so that you can put these tips to use. Hire a professional cleaner, and those stains will be gone forever.
Supplemental income can help make ends meet in tough economic times. There are millions of people who want to be more financially independent. If you need to supplement your income and have been entertaining investing in the forex platform, here is some information you should read.
Forex depends on the economy even more than stock markets do. It is important to understand basic concepts when starting forex, including account deficits, interest rates, and fiscal policy. Without an understanding of these basics, you will not be a successful trader.
Beginners to forex trading should stay out of thin markets. A “thin market” is defined as a market to which few people pay attention.
Practice builds confidence and skills. Using the demo account will give you lots of live trading practice in real market conditions. This way, you get to experience the foreign exchange market and not have to worry about losing any money. The internet is full of tutorials to get you started. Try to prepare yourself by reading up on the market before making your first trade.
Forex is a serious business, not a form of entertainment. People who are interested in forex for the thrill of making huge profits quickly are misinformed. People should first understand the market, before they even entertain the thought of trading.
One common misconception is that the stop losses a trader sets can be seen by the market. The thinking is that the price is then manipulated to fall under the stop loss, guaranteeing a loss, then manipulated back up. This is not true. Running trades without stop-loss markers can be a very dangerous proposition.
Foreign Exchange can be used as a main income source or just as supplemental income. Whether or not you can be prosperous at trading depends on how much time and effort you put into it. For now, your focus should squarely be on understanding the fundamentals of trading.
Learning auto repair may seem daunting if you’re not sure how to begin. Luckily, this advice can give you a head start. By taking the time to read this article, you could be well on your way to saving money on auto repairs.
Check the radiator regularly. Start your car, wait a few minutes and shut it off so you can safely inspect the radiator. Do not open the radiator if the car is running. Check the radiator fluids using a dipstick and remember to always mix the coolant with water before putting it in the radiator.
Keep your car clean to prevent rust. Your car will rust out but you can easily delay this process by washing off salt and chemicals. Use a decent wax for protecting paint jobs as much as you can.
Referrals can be helpful for finding an auto mechanic. Get recommendations from family and friends. Ask them how good the work was, how much they were charged, and if they were satisfied. Their experiences can be a huge help.
Be wary of auto technicians who perform unneeded repairs on your vehicle. All reputable mechanics will notify you before doing any repairs and will inform you of any parts that could require repairs in the immediate future. Never return to a mechanic that ripped you off.
When getting auto repairs, take all items out of your car. These items may need to be removed anyway, and they aren’t responsible for lost or missing items. The same is true of your trunk or the bed of your truck.
Learning about the warning signs of impending car problems can save you money. You will be more knowledgeable about car repairs following the advice provided to you in this article. Remember what you have learned here the next time your car starts having problems.
Car Shipping Help
Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for your next auto transport company:
Make sure the auto transport service you select has the proper insurance in case you have any damage to your vehicle
Do they have a history of good service and customer satisfaction? Visit website like autoshipments dot com for a list of auto transport companies and reviews to help you make your selection.
Confirm your auto transport company is bonded
Do they have a toll free number you can call
Are the sales agents knowledgeable and courtesy on the phone?
Do they offer door to door service?
Always make sure the price they give you is the final cost and there are no hidden charges
Request at least a 3 day window for pick-up and delivery of your vehicle or vehicles
Do they have a physical location address available at their website you can verify
Many times shipping your vehicle is cost effective with today’s rising gas prices so you should always explore the option when you need to relocate your car, truck or SUV. This also allows you to focus on your move and your family relieving you of stress of driving your vehicle.
Here are a few things to remember prior to shipping your vehicle:
Insure your vehicle has no obvious fluid leaks.
Be sure that the battery is secure, has no leaks, and that the fluid levels are low enough to accommodate expansion.
Make sure that your vehicle is clean enough to ensure an accurate pickup inspection.
Leave only about ¼ tank of gas in the vehicle, as a full tank of gasoline adds a lot of costly weight to the transport.
Disable or disconnect anti-theft devices or alarms.
There can be serious problems and unnecessary expenses if the driver is locked out or if the alarm goes off during the auto shipping process or the car transport.
Remove all personal belongings except standard vehicle items such as jack and spar tire.
Remove after-market or not build-in radios, cassette decks, CD/DVD players and/or toll passes/tags and garage openers.
Secure or remove any loose parts or specialty items such as ground effects, spoilers, fog lights, bike racks, grill covers or wide mirrors, and lower or remove the antenna if possible.
Repair or seal any tears or open seams on convertible tops to prevent fast-moving air from causing further damage.
Make sure the radiator has adequate levels of fresh antifreeze and prepared for new climates.
Very slightly open one window to relieve pressure due to temperature and elevation changes. This will allow for your vehicle(s) to breath and protect window(s) from blowing out because of the temperature and pressure changes during transport.
There are literally thousands of choices in today’s market place but applying some prudence and asking the right questions will all but guarantee you a safe and reliable auto relocation.
Cleaning your carpets on your own can save you a lot of money now, but it could cost you more due to the less than desireable results. It is much easier if you hire a professional to do the job. The article below has some great tips on how you can select the best carpet cleaning service for your needs.
You should always check out the reputation of a company prior to hiring them. There are many carpet cleaners available but keep in mind that all not businesses are reliable. Seek referrals from family and friends and read online reviews. You can then be better able to find the carpet cleaning service that fits your budget and needs.
When vacuuming, divide the room into smaller sections to make your job easier. Focus on one area at a time and vacuum against the grain of the carpet before vacuuming again, this time in the direction of the grain. For example, a square room can be divided into four equal quadrants.
Don’t allow a company to use too much heat when cleaning your carpets. If you have a delicate fiber or lots of vivid colors in your carpet, these can be ruined. That is critical when you have a stain but want to avoid permanent floor marks.
If a carpet-cleaning company advertises a per-room price, or they contact you via the phone, then you should be leery of them. Room sizes vary, so a one-price-fits all policy is bound to cause trouble. A good cleaning companies quotes prices based on the size of the room they are contracted to clean.
Cleaning your carpet is tedious and exhausting. Your carpets will look as good as new if you let a professional carpet cleaning service take care of them. You could never make them look as nice as the professionals can. Use what you have learned here and you’ll get the most out of your money.
Don’t feel helpless when dealing with your car’s need for repairs. Making good decisions requires knowledge. Read on and learn what you should do the next time your car needs a repair.
Check out your mechanic to see if he is A.S.E. certified before allowing him to do any work on your vehicle. Being A.S.E. certified ensures you that your mechanic has proper training and experience. This is a good way of finding a qualified mechanic who will care about doing a good job so they can keep their certification.
Invest in high-quality battery chargers and keep them inside your car. A dead battery is more common than you think and you will be able to help other broken down drivers if you have a battery charger with you. Learn how to find the points where the battery charger connects.
Do not underestimate the importance of having an emergency kit in your car. Your kit should include jumper cables, tire changing tools and maybe some extra gas. A few blankets, flashlights and spare batteries are also great to have.
Wash your car regularly to prevent rust from becoming a problem. While cars are going to rust eventually, you can definitely slow this down by ensuring all chemicals are cleaned off your car as quickly as possible. Use a decent wax for protecting paint jobs as much as you can.
Before you bring your car to a repair shop, try to determine what is wrong with your car. You can save a ton of cash via diagnosing the issue yourself, and you could prevent fraud. As you have likely heard, some mechanics will lie about the problem in order to make more money.
Now you should have a better idea about how to care for your vehicle. The tips that have been discussed should make you feel good about dealing with auto repair situations instead of feeling lost. Keep in mind all the advice that has been discussed so that you can do what is right.
Multi-level marketing is responsible for the fortunes of some folks, but those fortunes were not amassed overnight. It takes lots of time and effort to attain their goals. Be sure to educate yourself about MLM before you begin. This article is a great starting place.
Keep moving forward each day. You need to constantly work at it, and not let a day slip by without putting effort into your building your business. Work on your goals each day. Even one small thing accomplished each day can bring results. Sharing on social sites may be enough.
Don’t oversaturate your multi-level marketing ideas into your personal relationships. It is okay to share your products with family and friends when you first start. But, you ought not be overly forceful with them as you try to grow your customer list. Doing so can make you seem pushy, straining your relationships.
Don’t push loved ones with your sales pitch. This can create a lot of tension between you. Do not allow your enthusiasm to create tension with these important people. You should tell them about opportunities, but balance yourself.
When you start multi-level marketing, try listening to others’ advice carefully. Sharing is a huge part of MLM. Success for one person helps create success for everyone. You can trust the others in your group. This will help them to become more successful.
Set goals to accomplish daily. In most MLM situations, you are the boss. This means you will have to take responsibility and hold yourself accountable when it comes to building your business. Starting with a list of achievable goals is they key. Keep track of them and focus on your success. Turn this to a habit to keep track of your success.
In this article, you found the information you need. Use this data as a foundation on which to build a sound multi-level marketing platform. The sooner you use this advice, the sooner you can find success and earn large profits.
Budgeting: The Critical Flaw That Causes Most Budgets to Fail
Budgeting. It’s a word we’re all familiar with. Everyone knows what a budget is, right? Yet how many of us actually make and stick to a solid monthly budget? The truth is that most of us start out with the best of intentions, but an unexpected expense comes up and busts our budget. Then we give up and go back to juggling our finances and worrying about having too much month left at the end of the money. However, if you are striving to create a budget for the purpose of systematically paying off your debts or to start a savings and investment program, then it’s critical to develop a workable and realistic budget.
So what’s the problem? Why do most of us fail at the simple task of creating a budget so we can live within our means? The simple truth is that most budgets don’t work because they fail to account for irregular or variable expenses. Everyone knows how much their rent or mortgage payment is. It’s the same amount month after month. If your rent is $1,000 per month, that’s a no-brainer. The same is true of many other fixed expenses, such as auto loan payments, cable TV subscriptions, insurance premiums, and so on. It’s easy to budget for these expenses because the amounts don’t change from one month to the next.
Besides expenses that are the exact same figure each month, there are numerous types of expenses that vary a little from one month to the next, yet we still have a pretty good idea what we spend each month. A good example is our grocery bill. Most of us have a fairly clear picture of how much we spend each week at the supermarket. So, we can insert a realistic figure into our budget-in-progress and not be too far off the mark. The amounts may go up or down slightly each month, but we usually know the range we’re dealing with. Other examples of this category include telephone bills, utility bills and gasoline (when prices are stable, that is).
The real culprit in busted budgets is the variable or irregular expense. How much will you spend on car repairs over the next 12 months? What about medical bills? Home maintenance costs? It seems that bills for these types of expenses hit us out of left field, and there goes our budget. Before long, we’re using food money to cover a new set of tires for our car and the whole budget comes crashing down.
So what’s the solution? There is no perfect answer to this problem. But we can come to a close approximation by using the simple technique of monthly averaging. Start by gathering 12 months’ worth of checkbook registers, bank statements, and credit card statements. Write down (or enter into a spreadsheet) how much you spent each and every time your money went toward something that was not a fixed expense. Group these expenditures into categories, such as auto, home maintenance, clothes, etc. Don’t try to break it down too far. What you want is a handful of useful categories. Then keep listing each of these expenses under their relevant categories for the full 12-month period.
When you are done with this exercise, you should have an excellent idea of your total annual expenditure for these variable expenses. For example, if you add up all the automobile repair or maintenance expenses for the year, and the figure comes to $1,200, then divide by 12 to get the result of $100 per month average. That’s how much you need to allow in your monthly budget in order to build up enough reserves to handle an auto repair when it comes up. Again, this method isn’t perfect, because an expense may come up that exceeds your estimated outlay, but at least it takes into account a closer approximation to reality than simply guessing, or worse, ignoring auto maintenance in your budgeting.
The trick here is to set up a separate savings account in which to set aside these “extra” funds. Let’s say the “extra” $100 goes into the savings account for six months, and then you get hit with an auto repair for $400. You pull the money from your $600 savings that was purposely built up for this type of expense. This way, you’re automatically setting aside amounts intended to cover each type of irregular expense that you encountered over the previous year.
Most people are shocked when they perform this 12-month analysis of irregular expenses, and it immediately becomes clear why their budget is always breaking down. This technique leads to the discipline necessary to recognize that “extra” money is seldom really extra. If we think we have our bills covered, and there is some cash burning a hole in our pocket, our tendency is to spend it on something fun. But if we know that there really is no cash left over, because we haven’t yet set aside the extra $100 needed to keep our car on the road, then we’ll be less inclined to spend it on pizza, beer, and movies.
Budgeting can be successfully accomplished by this technique of monthly averaging, especially if we consistently apply it year after year. As we move forward, our understanding of our true expenses becomes clearer and clearer, and we are no longer surprised by the occasional unexpected expense.
The best way to implement this approach is to set up a regular savings program, where the amount you’re setting aside to cover irregular expenses gets automatically deducted from your paycheck and forwarded to your savings account. If the money is deducted from your paycheck before you even see it, then you will be less tempted to skip this critical part of the budgeting process, and you will greatly increase the chances of making a budget work over the long term.