Creating a budget is never easy, as it can take months or even years to perfect the process. And on top of that, life is always changing so a budget that worked a few months ago might not necessarily work now.
In fact, even the most detail oriented person often have a hard time creating a budget that works. If you overspend and the budget fails, it isn’t necessarily for a lack of trying.
One of the most common reasons people find budgeting so hard is because there are so many different expenses to keep track of. The big ones, like housing and food, are obvious. But there are so many little things we forget about that can derail a budget from the start.
The next time you evaluate your budget, consider these six expenses that people often forget:
It seems like every week, we’re always celebrating something. From birthdays to weddings to holidays, our schedules are jam packed with these social events.
However, we often forget that these celebrations come with hefty price tags. Gifts, travel costs, and party attire can add up quickly. Not accounting for these items can really throw your budget off.
For example, if you know you have a few weddings coming up in the next year, make sure to set aside funds to cover any associated costs. Also be sure to increase your budget during the holiday season to account for gifts and travel.
2. Pet Care
We love our pets, but there’s no denying that caring for them gets expensive. We tend to only think of pet care expenses in terms of things they use everyday, like food, but any pet owner knows that there are many other major costs associated with our furry friends.
Health care, including regular veterinary visits, are a big one. Grooming and pet sitting is another. These are expenses for your pet that may not happen every month but they’re regular enough that you should include them in your budget.
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Any good budget will include a category for food and dining, but don’t forget to include your coffee in there as well. We all know how much a cup of coffee can cost – anywhere from $2 for a regular cup to $6 for a latte.
It’s something many of us can’t live without and it definitely adds up. Whether you make your own or go to your local Starbucks, make sure you understand how much you’re really spending on your coffee addiction every month.
4. Home Maintenance
Owning a home is a dream to many, but when that dream finally comes true, many first-time homeowners are unpleasantly surprised by the cost of home maintenance. Aside from utilities, and minor repairs, there are many recurring expenses, such as lawn maintenance and weather proofing that homeowners forget. Expenses like these drive up the cost of owning a home considerably.
5. ‘Me’ Fund
When we’re trying to stick to a tight budget, we often forget about ourselves. If you’re trying to cut your budget, spending on things we enjoy is likely the first expense to go.
Don’t underestimate the value of having a ‘me’ fund, though. It can be anything, from a night out or a pedicure, but doing even something small from time to time can drastically improve your mood and increase your productivity.
6. Emergency Fund
The one thing people most often forget to account for is an emergency fund. This is also the most important. With all that’s going on, saving up for a rainy day is probably the last thing on your mind.
But as with life, you never really know what can happen, and you need an emergency fund to protect you from whatever life throws your way.
Your budget should include a portion to set aside for emergencies. Many recommend that you have 3 months of expenses on hand at any given moment. You can decide the amount you’re comfortable with and slowly save up for it. Just remember to make this a priority.
David’s Note: You can also account for the easy to forget expenses by looking at last year’s budget to estimate this year’s outlay. For instance, our family always spends quite a bit more during the summer months due to kids being out of school and also during December when we donate more to clarities, pay property taxes, and buy gifts. By looking at the total, you don’t have to remember every single expense you’ll need to budget for because you have a general idea of the total amount of money you can spend.
What is one thing you often forget to budget? Let us know in the comments below.