It’s happened again. You are 2 weeks into your monthly budget and you’ve blown it. You’re wondering where on earth your money went! If you feel like giving up and throwing in the towel, you are not alone. We have been there. You could be overlooking items in your budget. Now, I’m not talking about emergencies that you could not have predicted (like your dog needing an emergency leg amputation – true story for another blog post). I’m talking about items that you should be budgeting for, but you aren’t. Next month, set yourself up for success and budget for these 10 items that you might be missing.
It can be easy to overlook gift giving when you sit down to write your monthly budget. So often I would sit down, write out what I thought was a flawless budget, and then realize that I had forgotten about an upcoming birthday, anniversary, or housewarming party. Keep track of these dates and reference them when you sit down to build your budget. Don’t forget about gifts for birthday parties that your children are invited to!
2. Car Maintenance
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but here it is: cars break. They are not built to last forever, and in the meantime, they require oil changes, tire replacements, and registration costs. If you put a set amount of money each month into a car maintenance sinking fund, then you can offset (or completely cover) these costs when they arrive. Our family currently sets aside $100 each month to pay for upcoming car expenses.
3. Entertainment Money
Just because you want to save more and spend less doesn’t mean that you have to skip out on entertainment entirely. So many people think that when you are on a budget that you can’t have any fun. Truthfully, you can have a lot of fun but you have to plan it out. Consider setting aside some money each month to do something fun with your family and friends.
4. Medical Bills
Are you overlooking any upcoming doctors or dentists appointments? Copays and deductibles can get expensive and can be a strain on a budget if you are unprepared. Before you sit down to make your budget, check your calendar for any scheduled appointments. And don’t hesitate to call the doctor’s office in advance to determine the amount that you will be charged. Preparation lead to success!
Clothes don’t last forever. Seasons change and children will need new clothes for school. Just because you made a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t have new clothes. Anticipate the need and plan for the cost. When it comes to buying a lot of clothes at once (like back to school clothes) think about budgeting the cost over several months to help spread out the large expense.
Don’t get caught off guard by yearly memberships such as Amazon Prime, magazine subscriptions, or Costco. Many times these memberships are on autopay and you don’t even realize they are due until the money has already been taken out of your account! I recommend that you keep a list of your annual memberships with their renewal date in your budget binder so you can reference them often.
7. Home Maintenance
Having a home is expensive! Not only is there always a possibility of big items breaking, but there is also a ton of maintenance that comes with purchasing a home. From replacing filters to keeping the yard outside mowed and trimmed, the costs can pile up. Don’t forget to budget each month for necessary fixes. This will help you keep your home and budget in line.
8. Holiday Extras
During my first year of getting my finances back on track, I always failed to plan for the “extras” around each holiday. Christmas cards and pictures with St. Nick add up. And I don’t know if you bought candy last year for Halloween, but those bags are not cheap! Valentine’s flowers cost money too and the Easter bunny doesn’t bring eggs for free. Don’t overlook these extra expenses!
True story: I have begged my husband for years (years!) to let me cut his hair. I told him that it could save us $30 a month and that OF COURSE I could cut his hair just as good as the lady at Sportclips. For years he has refused, saying that I would butcher his hair. Well, when my son was old enough to justify a haircut by a professional, I did what any frugal momma would do. I equipped myself with a pair of scissors, clippers, and a how-to video on youtube. Within minutes my son was bald on one side and on his way to a professional who could fix mommy’s mistake. Needless to say, our monthly budget includes professional haircuts for every person in our family.
Are you forgetting to factor in the cost of hosting overnight guests? You will likely buy extra food for breakfast and snacks as well as use extra electricity and water. It all adds up and should be accounted for. Plan for an increase in your grocery budget this month and an increase in your utility bills next month.