Hopefully, you already have a budget and you’re working with it every month. But you may find that you’re coming up a little short. That may be due to that fact that you’re leaving off some important items that you didn’t consider when you created that budget. And if you have too many unplanned expenses, your budget could be going sideways quickly.
Usually, these items aren’t left off intentional, they just seem so minor that the get overlooked. Here are a few things that you might need to add to your budget to make it work:
If you love Amazon and shop there frequently, you probably have a Prime membership. And since you only pay your membership fee once a year, you probably didn’t add it into your budget. But you need to include that $99 fee along with any other services and subscriptions you may only pay once a year like magazines, Spotify, or Netflix. And of course, don’t forget your monthly memberships like the gym and monthly subscription boxes. If it’s something you only pay once a year, figure out the monthly cost by dividing the total by 12 then set that amount aside each month starting now to cover next year’s expense.
Birthdays only come around once a year as well so you may not be including those in your budget. But if you have more than one gift to buy in a month, it can really spread you thin that month. Go back and take a look at what you spent on gifts last year, who you bought for and an average of what you spent. Then, divide the total by 12 to get an amount to put in your monthly budget. Do this for holiday shopping as well so you don’t end up with a huge credit card bill in January.
Your monthly car payment is most likely in your budget, but did you remember to add in gas and tolls? How about oil changes, new tires, safety inspections, and any other regular maintenance costs? These items are easy to forget because they don’t come up that often. But they do add up so add a line for routine car maintenance to your monthly budget.
If you are a parent, you know that your kids grow quickly and always seem to need new clothes so you probably have a budget line for them. But what about you? If you don’t shop for yourself too often and like to shop sales, you’ve probably neglected to add these costs to your budget. In addition to new clothes, you’ll need to buy necessities like undergarments and socks. And don’t forget new shoes!
You work hard for your money so you deserve to treat yourself once in a while. Maybe it’s dinner at your favorite restaurant or tools for a new DIY project. Add “Fun Money” to your budget and treat yourself to something you enjoy.
Your fur babies have expenses too. They need food, toys, treats, and annual vet visits. If you go on vacation, you might have to hire a pet sitter or board your pets. Add a “Pet” line to your budget then estimate your yearly costs so you can break them down into a monthly budget line item. And keep track of your actual expenses so you know what to budget for next year.