Setting up your first budget can seem daunting. You have to gather together all of your bills and paperwork from the past few months so you can see what you are really earning and spending each month.
But there are a few expenses that you don’t necessarily get an actual “bill” for every month. These are the things that are harder to predict and you might forget to budget for them all together.
This is something I always forget about. When calculating what how much money to dedicate to supplies for your home, don’t forget to add money in there for toilet paper and cleaning supplies. It’s amazing how quickly you can go over budget when you forget to add in things like that.
You may not spend money every month on these items but having it there keeps your budget on track and allows you to save that little bit extra that you don’t spend each month for larger household purchases when things run out or need replaced.
One way to budget for eating out is to group it in with groceries. But, it’s easier to track what you are spending when you go out to eat if it is separate versus together with food. You most likely spend more than you think eating out. By tracking this separately, you can adjust and plan for nights out or make sure to keep some quick meals in the pantry for those evenings you don’t want to cook an elaborate meal. This is the area of my budget where I’ve had to make the most adjustments over time.
Medicine and Doctor’s Appointments
Many budget templates have a place for you to plan for medical costs, like doctor’s appointments. But even if you don’t visit the doctor often, you still need to fund this category. Even basics like ibuprofen costs money, as well as first aide equipment, and personal hygiene products that you might decide to include in this category. Once again, these aren’t things you have to buy all the time, but accounting for them in your budget helps you stay on task and change purchase habits as necessary.
If you have a car payment, you definitely budget for that. You probably also remember to plan for gas and insurance too. But one thing a lot of people forget to budget for is other expenses related to their car. Don’t forget about the potential for tires, trips to the car wash, windshield wipers, etc. Eventually you’ll have to use this money for other repairs and maintenance costs as well, so it’s a good idea to carry that money forward as a “buffer”.
When you think gifts the first thing you think of is Christmas. One way to budget and save for Christmas gifts is to join a savings program at your bank or put money aside throughout the year so you don’t spend as much come December. But, what about birthdays? Or a baby shower for a close friend? By setting a little more aside than just your Christmas money, you’ll be able to buy gifts for these occasions when they arise without feeling stressed.
Do you like going to the gym? Do you have a professional or hobby group you like being a part of? Does your alma mater mean a lot? If you have memberships, be sure to account for those in your budget as well.
One way to avoid missing anything in your budget is to track your spending for a few months before making a budget. This way you’ll be able to see what you are spending on and how much these things really cost. There may be a category you didn’t realize you buy a lot of but need to account for it in your budget. The good thing about a budget is that it is not set in stone. Adjust as you need but don’t forget the little things as they are what can add up the most.
Have you had to make adjustments to your budget? Have you ever forgot to budget for something?
Photo courtesy of: Daw8ID
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