If you have a household budget, you’re doing better than most! No matter how thorough we attempt to be when constructing a budget, there are usually a few things that escape our minds. It’s the little surprises that can ruin well-laid plans. This is especially true with personal financial matters.
Remember to consider these areas when creating your budget:
1. Pet-related expenses. This category includes food, boarding, health care, toys, grooming fees, bedding, and any other supplies you feel your pet needs to be happy and comfortable.
2. Big ticket items. Is there a new car, vacation, or new washing machine in your near future? These items often slip our minds when making financial plans. Plan for and include these expenses in your budget projections.
3. Non-monthly bills. Since most bills are paid monthly, budgets are set up on the same schedule. However, some bills aren’t paid twelve times a year. Depending on where you live, the water and trash bills might be quarterly.
* Automobile registration is an annual bill. This is a small amount in many states, but it can be a very large bill in others. Set aside a little each month if the expense is considerable.
* Property taxes can be built into your monthly mortgage payment, but this isn’t always the case. If you’re no longer carrying a mortgage, it certainly isn’t the case. Plan ahead.
* Insurance premiums are often paid annually or quarterly. Remember to budget for these.
* Subscriptions and memberships are another non-monthly bill. These can include gym memberships, magazine or newspaper subscriptions, and warehouse club membership fees.
* Home and car maintenance and repair costs can vary from year to year. It’s easy to plan for oil changes and furnace filters. But how is your roof looking? What about the tires on your car? These possible expenses can also be budgeted for if you remember them.
* Eye examinations, dental checkups, and annual trips to the doctor are other expenses that many of us forget when creating a budget. If you need a new pair of orthotics each year, include them, too. Consider your regular medical expenses and accommodate for them within your budget.
4. Clothing. Think about your clothing costs over the course of a year and include a line item in your budget. Do you have any special occasions this year? Perhaps a wedding or other formal event will require special financial consideration. Everyone needs to buy clothes on occasion.
5. Gifts. Christmas and birthdays have a way of sneaking up on us. It might be a good idea to start saving, and maybe even shopping, in January. Christmas can be a major expense, depending on your traditions and the size of your family.
6. School-related expenses. School supplies, field trip fees, school lunches, physicals for sports, and numerous other expenses can add up over the school year.
It’s important to account for everything in your budget. A household budget isn’t very effective if many of your expenses are excluded. There are many financial expenditures that are routinely forgotten when a budget is constructed. Go over your bills from last year and ensure you’re including everything relevant.