Now that the new year has officially begun, many of us are hoping to get a hold on our finances and give them a good tidy up. The best way to do this is to list each income and expense and come up with a monthly budget that works for you and your family. However, if you start to notice that, even with this clear budget to follow, you continue to run out of cash before your next payday, then, chances are, you’re overlooking an important cost or two. With that in mind, here are ten of the most commonly overlooked expenses you must remember to include in your budget.
- Charitable Donations
Donating to charity is an admirable act and worthy expense, whether you do so on a regular basis or sporadically. However, unless you plan for this extra cost, you may find yourself needing help at some point down the line. For this reason, you should ensure you put aside a set sum of money each month for a potential donation. This allows you to give regularly, if you would like to, or seize a spur of the moment opportunity to help out a close friend, family member, or cause.
- Birthday Gifts
Christmas only comes once a year, making it one of the easier gift-giving occasions to plan for. You just need to figure out how much you’re willing to spend, and put aside money throughout the year, buying gifts as and when you can. Other events, like birthdays, weddings, and graduations, however, aren’t as simple. After all, you will face a number of these, so they tend to sneak up on you. Because of this, it helps to build a gift-giving fund that you can dip in to.
- Vehicle Maintenance
Owning a car or another vehicle comes with a number of costs that are far too easily forgotten. We all know that we need to fuel and ensure our cars, but many of us forget to consider other expenses, like registration fees and maintenance. If you fail to stick to a proper maintenance schedule for your vehicle, you’ll likely end up paying much more than is necessary to run it. With that in mind, be sure you budget for costly maintenance tasks and regular professional services.
- Car Insurance
When you pay your car insurance in monthly installments, it’s hard to forget that this is an expense you need to pay. However, if your policy is set up to be paid every six months or year, you can forget about it, which leaves you with a huge bill, that you simply can’t afford. Paying your insurance in larger installments generally works out cheaper, but, if this is something you do, then you must ensure that you set aside money each month to be able to pay it later.
- Medical Costs
With a comprehensive health insurance package, no one would blame you for thinking that you don’t need to worry about medical costs. However, even the best policies in the world don’t cover you for everything. From checkups to medications and health aids, there are a lot of medical expenses you may need to pay out of your own pocket for at some point. Because of this, you should go over the terms of your policy and estimate how often you may need to pay yourself.
- Pet Care
While you consider your own medical costs, don’t forget about the furry, scaly, or slimy members of your household. Just like you, your pets will require annual checkups and health care, but, unfortunately, there won’t immediately be paid by your pet insurance. More often than not, you have to pay for your pet’s medical costs yourself and then claim the money back later. If you don’t have this cash to spare, your pet won’t be treated, so ensure you budget for the cost.
- Babysitter Services
Being a parent is never cheap, but many of us forget just how expensive it can be until the costs jump out to scare us. We live in an increasingly busy world, so it’s highly likely that there are going to be instances where you’re not available to watch your children yourself. This could be because of work commitments, a hobby, or a date night with your partner. Whatever the cause, don’t forget that you’ll need to pay the babysitter or childcare provider you hire to watch your kids.
- Birth Control
Having kids is far from cheap, but, unfortunately, neither are the options used to avoid having a baby. Whatever method of birth control you and your partner tend to use, be sure you plan for this cost. If you’re looking for a more permanent and cheaper option, then you may want to consider a vasectomy instead of your usual method. If you do plan to do this, then do your research and find a trusted clinic or doctor that suits you and your budget.
- New Clothing
Most of us have no need to buy new clothes every single month, even when we have children, and, as such, don’t bother planning for it in the monthly budget. However, this is a cost that you can’t avoid, so, if you don’t prepare for it early, you may find yourself unprepared when the seasons change, a seam rips, or your children grow. To make this simple and fair for everyone, consider giving every member of your family a clothing allowance to use throughout each year.
- Household Upkeep
Whether you have someone power-wash your driveway or clean your carpets once a year, you must include it in your budget. You can do this by dividing the cost between the twelve months of the year or by adding an extra expense to the month when you have such services done. When making big changes to your home, you should be even more careful with the cost, and ensure that you have backup funds available if and when things don’t quite go to plan.
Overlooking important expenses is one surefire way to ruin your budget, so be sure that you remember those listed above every month.