You’ve done it! You finally got around to making a budget so you can take control of your money! However, as the months go on, you start to notice a few overages. Then you remember there are some common expenses you forget to budget.
Don’t worry. This happens to just about everybody. Heck, it still happens to me and I’m a freakin’ financial coach! But there is something you can do.
Just for you, I’ve identified some common expenses you might forget to budget. Hopefully, this will help you gain a better hold on your finances.
After all, it’s much better to make a plan and learn from your mistakes. Not to mention, these are all things I’ve forgotten about, too! So, I hope you can learn from my mistakes as well!
First, Some Resources for You
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Now, are you ready to learn about the common expenses you forget to budget? Good! Keep on reading!
15 Common Expenses You Forget to Budget
You’ll notice that a lot of the expenses below have one thing in common: They don’t come around very often. However, failing to plan for these can have some serious consequences.
For example, failing to plan for a bi-yearly car insurance payment can be a $600 mistake. And that’s NOT a position you want to find yourself in.
Also, others can have even more serious consequences. So make sure you plan for these common expenses and don’t forget to budget!
Does anyone like paying taxes? Me neither. In fact, it’s one of my least favorite things to pay in the world. But we still owe the Gestapo… *ahem*… I mean the IRS our dues.
This is especially true if you’re a small business owner, as you have to pay your quarterly taxes. Make sure you put enough back every month to cover yourself.
Also, don’t forget about local taxes. For example, here in Henrico County, Virginia we also have to pay personal property taxes. This includes both our homes and our cars. And there’s nothing worse than an unplanned $200 bill showing up in your mailbox!
Don’t you just love Sam’s Club? Me too! How about Amazon Prime? Yep, it’s pretty awesome! Disney Plus? Disney yes!
These days you can get subscriptions for just about anything. And if you’re like me, you might take the yearly payment option to save a few dollars.
There’s only one problem with this: it’s pretty easy to forget. So, don’t let $129 sneak up on you! Most of these places send plenty of reminders before they renew. Make sure you plan for these!
3. Christmas Presents
Look, I want nothing more than for you to be outrageously generous during Christmas. But in order to do this, you have to plan for it.
Therefore, I encourage you to start budgeting for Christmas NOW! That means you need to start budgeting for Christmas at the beginning of the year.
4. Car Insurance
Are you one of those people who pays for car insurance bi-yearly? Me too! You can usually save some money when you pay in a lump sum.
However, it can put a strain on your finances if you forget about this money-saving convenience. Put aside some extra money each month so this doesn’t sneak up on you.
5. Car Tags/Inspections
I have to say, I envy those of you whose states don’t require yearly inspections. Sure, it doesn’t cost much in most cases. But it’s still a pain if you forget about it.
In the same vein, you definitely don’t want to forget about your yearly tags, either. And some states make it even easier to forget this! (Here in Virginia, we can have tags that last for three years!)
6. Car Maintenance
I know, I’m on a bit of a car kick right now. But for good reason! It’s easy to forget how much goes into taking care of a car.
You’ve got oil changes, tire rotations, tune-ups, new tires, and a host of other needs to maintain your car.
Here’s the thing: you know when you’ll need most of this maintenance. Your tires wearing out doesn’t exactly sneak up on you. Neither do oil changes, seeing as you have to do every so many miles.
Of course, you might have the occasional unforeseen mechanical issue. But that’s what a good emergency fund is for!
7. Gifts and Clothes for Formal Occasions
Weddings, galas, and the like are super fun engagements. You know what makes them even more fun? Not going into debt to participate.
Normally, you receive a wedding invitation several months in advance. If you’re in the wedding, then you usually know even further out!
And there’s a lot to plan when it comes to these types of events: clothes, travel, gifts, food, and hotels are just a few possible expenses.
Fortunately, receiving an invitation months ahead of time should give you plenty of time to prepare.
You know what? I never paid much attention to how the flower bed looked until I bought a home. Now I care immensely about how my flower bed looks. Not because I care what you think. On the contrary, I just want to enjoy it!
But that involves some planning. We have to shop for good flowers, buy mulch, buy gas for the lawn mower, use tools, and more.
Over time, it can get quite expensive. But when you pay for those flowers with cash, they smell all the sweeter!
9. Organization Dues
Do you involve yourself with a lot of organizations? Or are you with a group that does great things in your community? Wonderful! I’m glad you are! Just make sure you don’t forget to pay your dues.
After all, not paying could put a hamper on your relationship with them. Nor do you want to go into debt to maintain your memberships. That means you need to add these to your budget!
Now, this is something I have a hard time with. Mostly because my wife is my barber (and her sister cuts her hair as well). Even so, I know a lot of you guys and gals use someone outside your family to maintain your style.
And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! But it does tell me that you get your haircuts done like clockwork. Therefore, there’s little excuse for leaving this one out of the budget.
Trust me, you’ll love your hairdo more when there’s no credit card debt attached to it!
11. Doctor Appointments/Dentist/Eye Doctor
Hopefully, you go to the doctor at least once a year. If you don’t, then you should. And I’ll throw in regular visits to your dentist and eye doctor as well. These are all important to your overall well-being.
And that means it’s essential to plan for them! Familiarize yourself with your insurance plans and know how much you’ll pay out of pocket.
12. Extracurricular Activities
Do you have kids that involve themselves in tons of extracurricular activities? Wonderful! It’s important for your kids to have some things to do. However, some of those can end up being expensive.
And they become even more expensive when you can’t pay cash for them. So make sure you know the cost before your child becomes involved in too much.
13. Parties and Hosting
My wife and I absolutely LOVE hosting guests. In fact, it’s a big part of our marriage mission and vision statement. Yes, I am such a nerd that we have a vision and mission statement for our marriage. (Actually, the pastor who married us suggested this and we thought it was a great idea!)
And I hope you love hosting people too! But have you ever noticed how much it costs? It can get expensive as you plan for food for multiple people. Therefore, leave some room in your budget for your joy of hosting.
Who doesn’t want the occasional night away from their kids? When they’re young, you may not want to leave them alone. Unless you want to come back to find they’ve tried to flush everything down the toilet.
No, you need to plan for a babysitters. Make sure your date night budget includes a provision for this.
Or maybe even have grandma or grandpa spend some quality time with the kiddos! In all probability, they won’t complain and they’ll happily return your kids all sugared up!
15. Computer Software
This one really hits home for me. After all, I’m a blogger! A lot of software gives you the best price if you pay yearly.
Of course, most of you probably don’t use things a lot of the software I do. But I would bet money that you use things like Microsoft Office or Photoshop.
All that software can add up quickly! If you need it, make sure you plan for it.
Make a Plan for Those Monthly Expenses
It can be easy to forget to budget those common expenses. However, if you dedicate yourself to making a plan, you can ensure you never forget them!
Here’s how you can do it:
Make Sure You Have a Monthly Budget
Having a budget is key to your financial success. And yes, that’s a hill I will die on. You cannot succeed in your finances without a budget.
Therefore, I recommend you start there. Personally, we often budget for more than we actually need. This helps us leave room for some of those often-forgotten expenses.
And if you’re worried about what to do with the extra money, don’t! You can just put that money towards some of your financial goals!
Write Down All Your Not-So-Often Expenses
Take some time to write out all of those yearly or bi-yearly expenses you tend to forget about. Make sure you note exactly how much they come out to. It could look something like this:
- Car Insurance: $1,200
- Christmas gifts: $1,000
- Car Tags and Inspection: $75
- Shed Renovation: $500
- Computer Software: $200
- Doctor Appointments: $200
- Car Maintenance: $500
I’ll leave it there just for brevity. But it’s likely you’ll have even more expenses. And that’s okay! Just make sure you know where your money goes.
Create Some Sinking Funds
So, what is a sinking fund? To put it simply, a sinking fund is just a savings account you use to save up for certain items or categories.
Now, before you say anything, you don’t have to open up a separate savings account for every single item above. There are people who do that, but I personally find that overwhelming.
Personally, I only have two sinking funds. One for car stuff and one for just about everything else. Most other things usually fall into other budgeting categories like “miscellaneous” or “fun money” or other normal categories. That’s just because we typically allow enough room in our budget for most of those not-so-often categories.
But for bigger things like Christmas, personal gifts, and car insurance, we really need to plan ahead.
So we simply add up how much those things would cost and divide it up evenly every month. In other words, I know that if I need $3,000 for one-time expenses, I just put in $250 a month. Then I take the money out whenever I need it.
Easy as pie!
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