You’ve created your first zero-based monthly budget and things are going great. You’re starting to get comfortable with budgeting, until the unexpected happens. An expense pops up that you forgot about. You didn’t even realize that you needed to include it in the first place. What do you do now? Don’t panic! Forgotten budget expenses happens to all of us, new and budget experts alike. Read the 13 most commonly forgotten budget expenses and how to fix them.
13 Commonly Forgotten Budget Expenses
1. Vehicle or Commute Costs
Vehicle or commuting costs are a necessity. Most of us commute or use our cars on a daily basis. It’s normal to forget about your car’s regular maintenance costs. Remember that your car needs regular oil changes, repairs, smog checks every two years, and annual registration fees to operate. If you commute, you still have costs like bus, train, or subway fares. Don’t forget to include these.
Read this blog post from Direct Auto Insurance, Easy Tips for Budgeting for Car Expenses to learn how to estimate costs.
2. Home Maintenance Costs
Home maintenance costs are normal recurring fees that you should include in your monthly budget. Your home has regular ongoing maintenance costs. You may need to replace a small kitchen or cleaning appliance. Don’t forget outside maintenance either. Include lawn service, or gardening tools if you do it yourself.
3. Utility Bill Fluctuations
Seasons change and so will your utilities. Your usage most likely fluctuates throughout the year based on the weather. Don’t blindly just roll over last month’s bill amount. Try to estimate how much you think you may use next month. Take a look at last year’s monthly utility costs. Increase or decrease it based on the weather.
4. Medical Costs
Don’t forget to include medical or dental copay amounts. If your family normally gets sick during a specific season, budget an amount for medical copay visits. If you don’t use it, you can reallocate it towards debt, savings, or simply spend it at the end of the month.
5. Medicines, vitamins, or supplements
Medicines, vitamins, and supplements are easily forgotten budget expenses. Take the time to take stock of all your medications, vitamins, and supplements before you start budgeting for the month. Budget the expense in if you need to restock your prescriptions, vitamins or supplements.
6. Birthdays & Special Events
Check your calendar for upcoming birthdays and special events. Schedule them into your plan and estimate how much you’ll need to spend for gifts and dining out.
Holidays happen every year like clockwork. but they still sneak up on us when we’re not paying attention. Don’t let the holidays catch you by surprise. Plan for holiday expenses in advance, and budget how much you plan on spending.
8. Child care and activities
Don’t forget to include all child care expenses including after-school activities, babysitting, and school pictures or field trips.
9. Personal Care
Shampoo, soap, and toothpaste are easily forgotten expenses. Take a quick inventory of what you have on hand, and make a list of what you need to buy that month. Haircuts are another expense that are often missed.
10. Pet Care
For most families, pets are loved family members. Don’t forget to budget in annual vet visits, vaccinations and treatments. Include pet food and any medicines that your pets may need. You don’t want to forget these expenses, so they don’t sneak up on you.
11. Subscriptions or Memberships
Don’t forget about subscriptions and memberships. Most of them are set on auto-pay from your bank account, so it’s normal if you forget about them.
12. Donations, RAKs (Random Acts of Kindness), tithing, or church offerings
Giving back through donations, RAKs, or tithing, or church offerings are great endeavors, but don’t forget to budget these in too. Figure out how much you’re planning on giving next month, and budget it in.
13. Quarterly or Annual Payments
Review your past year’s banking transactions to find quarterly or annual payments that you may have forgotten. These expenses don’t regularly hit your budget monthly, so remember to budget them in.
Tips on How to Fix Forgotten Budget Expenses
Even if you’ve taken the time to build a detailed budget, these common forgotten budget expenses may catch you off guard. Here are a few budgeting tips that will fix your budget for good.
Tip #1 Check your schedule
Check your schedule for the next few months. Do you have any birthdays, holiday, or special events coming up? Are there any quarterly or annual payments due?
Tip #2 Review prior bank transactions
Review your bank transactions for monthly bills or electronic transfers that you’ve missed. Check last year’s transactions too. Are there any upcoming expenses that you need to budget in?
Tip #3 Check seasonal expenses
Do you need to adjust for seasonal expenses? Will you be spending more or less on utilities based on the weather? Do you have specific home or car maintenance expenses that you need to do to prepare for the season?
Tip #4 Set up sinking funds for expected expenses
Consider setting up sinking funds, separate savings apart from your emergency fund. Sinking funds are smaller savings accounts set up for expected expenses like holiday, birthdays, and car maintenance.
Be intentional and save a little each month for each sinking fund. You won’t be surprised and will have the money waiting for you when one of these expenses pops up.
Tip #5 Stay organized and take stock of your inventory before you start to budget
Learn how to stay organized so you know when you’re running low on household items or medications. Designate a spot to store each item and take a quick inventory at the end of the month.
Tip #6 Use your emergency fund
Don’t be afraid to use your emergency fund for unexpected expenses if you can’t fund it with your current budget. That’s what your emergency fund is for.
Final Thoughts on How To avoid Forgotten Budget Expenses
A budget is simply a roadmap for how you’ll be spending, saving, and investing your money. Even the most well-laid out budgets have unexpected expenses. Don’t let these 13 common forgotten budgeting expenses catch you off guard. Start including these expenses by using these tips. First, check your schedule for upcoming events and seasonal expenses. By staying organized and setting up small savings accounts called sinking funds, you’ll never forget these expenses again.
You’ve made it this far with budgeting. Don’t let a few forgotten budget expenses throw you off! Stick to your budget and, in the end, you’ll reap the rewards.
Other Budgeting Blog Posts:
- How To Create a Zero-Based Monthly Budget
- Budget Categories
- Budgeting Mistakes that are Costing You Part 1
- Budgeting Mistakes that are Costing You Part 2
What budget expenses are you always forgetting? Let me know in the comments. If you liked this article, please pin or share on Facebook.