You have this great spreadsheet on your computer. On it, you have budgeted everything – utilities, rent or mortgage, car payments, gas, and groceries. Unfortunately, when you get to the end of the month, you are still scraping to pay something even though your spreadsheet says you should have money left over. Why can’t you seem to get a break when it comes to the household budget? Chances are, you’re overlooking a few expenses that are killing your budget.
If you have a vehicle, it needs regular maintenance. You may need your oil changed or your tires rotated. These regular expenses will dip into your budget if you do not plan for them, and you will find yourself unable to reach that magic in-the-black number you are looking for at the end of the month.
If you have pets, you have pet expenses. Not only do you have to budget for food. You also have to budget for other regular care expenses, such as cat litter, flea treatments, pet shampoo, and of course regular vet visits and vaccinations. Even indoor animals need to have regular vet visits and vaccinations to ensure their health. When you don’t plan for these expenses, you will find yourself without that extra money at the end of the month.
Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Birthdays, and other holidays come every year, just like clockwork. Are you budgeting for them and saving money aside? Stores love holidays because they are guaranteed to make money as people come in to buy items. You will not love the holidays if you do not plan because each holiday will eat into your bottom line by the end of the month. Include setting aside money for special occasions in your budget so that you do not get surprised at the end of the month.
Do you have a bank account? You are probably paying fees. While we may not think anything of a single $2 fee for the emergency ATM use, fees add up over time. If you are having to hit the ATM regularly for cash and you’re paying a monthly maintenance fee on your account, you are watching money slip away. Avoid the ATM. Shop bank accounts for fee-free accounts. While these expenses may not seem like much, they add up over time.
Memberships and Extracurricular Activities
If your children have extracurricular activities, you have an expense you may not have planned for. You may have budgeted for fees and dues, but what about the incidentals that surround going to and from these activities. Do you get food on the way or after? Do you pick up drinks to have there? If you are not planning for the things that happen around the extracurricular activities, then you are spending money you are not budgeting for.
Memberships are another item people overlook. If you have annual or semi-annual memberships, be sure to plan for them. Make sure that you capture all of the incidental memberships in your budget, no matter how small. Do you have Netflix? Include it. Make sure you include your child’s game memberships as well as any you or your husband may have. Do you have a membership for a social website? Do not forget it either. While one membership fee may not seem like a lot, if you’re not in the habit of capturing these expenses, they will get away from you.
Any other expenses you realize you have been overlooking?
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