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15 Things People Forget To Budget For


The economy today is putting a strain on numerous bank accounts. It is essential to have a complete budget that covers all everyday expenditures and still leaves room for savings. Many people forget to include some crucial expenses which can sabotage an otherwise thoughtful budget. Here are fifteen things that people often forget to budget for.

1. Dues and fees – Various types of fees are due throughout the year and they are often overlooked. This includes annual credit card fees, gym memberships, professional associations, magazine subscriptions, newspapers, and even homeowner’s association dues. Since this are usually only due once or twice a year, it is easy to forget when they will hit.

2. Taxes on unexpected or extra income – The interest earned in a savings account or a CD is taxable. This and other types of taxable income are often forgotten until taxes are due at the beginning of the year. Winnings from gambling, rewards from points programs or credit cards and income from freelancing are all taxable. Making quarterly payments can help to avoid penalties and help with planning.

3. School expenses – Children who are in school have many expenses that are often missed. There are fundraisers, field trips, uniforms, extra supplies, pictures, yearbooks and parties. Everyday spending for things like meals or snacks can add up as well.

4. Summer activities – Don’t forget about the times that children are not in school. Day trips, camp and other family activities can put a drain on the bank account.

5. Gifts – Birthdays, anniversaries, showers, weddings, and babies all happen throughout the year. It is best to make a list of these events so an adequate amount of money can be put aside for gifts, cards, postage and celebrations.

6. Junk food – Dining out and stopping for fast food often happens spontaneously. Monitoring habits can help to plan for an average amount of spending that can then be budgeted.

7. Office accessories – Postage stamps, printer ink, paper, stationary, and software can be costly and don’t usually have their own place in the budget. Purchasing apps or accessories for devices can get expensive and should be accounted for to keep spending in line.

8. Landscaping – With home ownership comes added responsibilities. Landscaping expenses such as maintenance of mowers or a lawn service, flowers, fertilizer, grass seed and additional water usage can be a hefty amount of money. In the winter, snow melt and shoveling should also be accounted for.

9. Household supplies – Cleaning supplies and things like paper towels and toilet paper are often lumped into the grocery budget. However, these are not food items and should be thought about separately to best control how much is spent on these supplies.

10. Car maintenance – Having a car means more than a car payment, gas and insurance. Regular oil changes, registration, inspections, tolls and car washes are all part of car ownership.

11. Pet expenses – Being a responsible pet parent also has its costs. Trips to the vet, food, flea, tick and heartworm medicine, vaccinations and grooming are all regular needs of pets.

12. Personal care – Trips to the salon, tips and spa treatments are hard enough to find time for; finding money for them should not be an issue too.

13. Non prescription medicines – Many people use eye drops, vitamins, cold medicines, and antacids regularly but don’t account for them as regular expenses. Personal care items such as toothpaste, floss, shampoo and first aid should be included in the category as well.

14. Annual exams and other doctor visits – Trips to the doctor and dentist happen at least once a year and sometimes have prescriptions associated with each visit. Other exams such as vision, gynecological, and specialists should be budgeted as well.

15. Emergencies – Problems with health, pets, homes or cars can arise at any time. Being financially prepared can help ease the stress of an emergency. Generally, it is best to have 5% of your salary put aside in case of an emergency. This will avoid causing debt by using a credit card or a loan to pay for an emergency situation.

Keeping track of spending and creating an accurate budget can help keep finances and savings on track. These fifteen items are often overlooked, but including them in a budget can help avoid financial issues and a shortage of cash.

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4 Responses to “15 Things People Forget To Budget For”

  1. Pat S. on March 21st, 2011 8:44 am

    Christmas! Every year it seems so easy to overspend on the holidays. We started a $50 a month savings account at ING for this purpose.

  2. Tanya on March 23rd, 2011 9:55 am

    It’s so easy to forget things like dues and office accessories that you may not need to spend money on for months at a time, and then, suddenly there you are facing a $40 office expense or a $200 bill to renew membership in an organization. We all need reminders to tuck money away when we can so we’re ready for these expenses.

  3. JS on March 23rd, 2011 11:42 am

    We have a savings account earmarked purely for irregular transportation expenses. We added up the yearly cost of bus passes, car insurance, registration and maintainance, added $100 a month for repairs and $50 a month to save for a future car purchase, and divided by 12 to get our automatic monthly contribution. The sheer relief of always having money to pay for an unexpected car repair is far better than anything we could buy at a store. And we’ll have a nice chunk of change for a down payment on a future car, especially if we get lucky with car repairs.

  4. Dave A on March 24th, 2011 6:45 am

    I like your list of items. The only thing I question is the 5% of salary for emergencies. This is a lot less than the more typical recommendation of having an emergency fund equaling 3 to 6 months of living expenses.

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