19 Expenses that are Ruining Your Budget
It’s true, some of your expenses are wreaking havoc on your budget.
I’d even go so far as to say that these expenses are what cause so many budgets to break.
Don’t forget to include these items (or as many as pertain to you) in your budget or it will likely fail.
How many times have any of these given you an “oh crap” moment because you forgot it was coming up or surprised you?
- Do you celebrate your anniversary in a big way? Or do you go out for a simple dinner? The amount you spend on your anniversary might change each year. If you are hitting a big milestone year, you may need to add more to your budget.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t tend to remember my annual membership fee until it’s zapped from my bank account.
Be sure to put a line item for each membership that applies to you in the month you are expecting it to show up so you don’t forget about it.
Here are some common memberships you might encounter
- Amazon Prime
- Gym/Recreation Center
- Kids Activities/Sports
- Online Software Subscription
Some subscriptions show up more frequently than yearly. If you’re not used to the fee being included in your monthly budget, it might sneak up and bite you.
Baby showers can come when you least expect it. The best way to be prepared for this is to have a bit of extra savings set aside for things you don’t know are going to happen.
I wouldn’t put a baby shower in the same category as an emergency (and therefore not use emergency fund money), but a category of miscellaneous savings should help.
Back to School
Back-to-School can be very expensive between clothes, schools supplies and fees. You may want to save for several months in order to afford everything for each of your children. Be sure to add the amount you want to save to your monthly budget.
Birthdays & Gifts
Another major expense can be birthday gifts and parties for your loved ones. Certainly you don’t have to go overboard, but you’ll want to make a note of any birthday you’d like to contribute to and add it to the appropriate month of your budget.
If you have kids who might be invited to attend birthday parties of friends, this could be another unexpected gift to buy. (Another item to pull from your miscellaneous savings).
We all know that vehicles need regularly scheduled maintenance and will eventually need new parts.
Don’t wait for car maintenance to be an emergency and have to whip out a credit card to cover costs.
Set aside money from each of your paychecks to go toward a car maintenance fund. This can be for routine oil changes, brakes, tires, etc.
You’ll have greater peace of mind if you know you have a fund specifically for maintaining and fixing your car.
Depending on where you live, there will be different regulations around getting your car registered each year.
Set aside the fee your state will charge and for any mandatory testing you must get done (safety and emissions). You may also need to dip into your car maintenance fund if any part of your vehicle fails inspection.
While most clothes can be laundered at home, if you have special garments that can only be dry cleaned, be sure set aside some money in your budget to get your clothes cleaned.
If you are planning a vacation, you probably already know you’ll need to save money for it. You’ve likely planned for travel and accommodations.
Don’t forget the details of all the extras you’ll encounter on your trip:
- Food/Dining out
- Admissions to attractions
- Car upkeep and fuel costs if you are driving (i.e. tune up, extra oil change, rotate tires, etc.)
Haircuts and Haircare
Do you or your family members frequent the salon?
This may or may not be a monthly expense, but when it comes time for a visit, services can easily add up and get pricy. Think ahead to how frequently you need to have money available for these expenses.
Many people save for Christmas, but there are plenty of other holiday’s where the bill can get expensive.
Here are a few popular holiday’s that can get costly:
- Valentine’s Day – from jewelry and eating out to gifts and card for your kid’s classmates
- Independence Day – if you live where you can set off your own fireworks, be sure to plan for it
- Halloween – costumes for multiple kids (or even yourself) can get pricy. You might also want to decorate your property inside and out with fun decorations.
- Thanksgiving – Is it your year to host the big feast? Do you have a lot of people coming? Plan for food, decor, house cleaning or repairs you need to welcome your guest
- Any other holiday you like to celebrate and spend a little money on.
Are you a homeowner? You’ll be the one making repairs to your home. It’s a great idea to start a “sinking fund” to repair or replace items in your home that get old and wear down.
Even if you aren’t a homeowner, there are many things in your residence that will need to be replaced or repaired that are your responsibility.
Take an inventory of things that might cost you and add that amount of money to your household expense savings.
Whether or not you have insurance, there will likely be extra fees when taking care of your medical needs.
A HSA (Health Savings Account) or FSA (Flexible Spending Account) can help with this expenses in addition to insurance.
If you don’t have HSA, FSA or insurance, set aside money on your own for medical expenses.
Mother's Day & Father's Day
Ah, another gift category.
Whether you’re a parent or not, you likely have parents you want to give a gift to. Don’t forget these gifts in your May and June budgets.
Pet expenses can range from licensing, shots, and supplies to vet care, pet daycare and grooming. Your pet is a valuable part of your family and will have its own expense.
I’m a bit of a homebody, but I still like to go out and about once in a while. (So long as we’re not in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.)
Include your form of entertainment and recreational hobbies into your budget after you know you can afford life’s necessities.
It’s important to give yourself a little freedom in your spending so you don’t feel stifled, but you can still do it within a budget so you don’t go overboard.
Taxes and Tax Preparation
Unless your taxes are in the EZ category that can be completed on a single sheet of paper, you may want to get an at home tax software or pay a qualified individual to file your taxes for you.
One more thing to pay for with taxes (not a happy thought), but will help if you plan this expense into your budget toward the beginning of each year.
Not escaping those one-off gifts very well, are we?
A thoughtful wedding gift doesn’t have to break the bank, but if you want to invest in something nice for a newly married couple, it’s nice to have the money already set aside for it.
(Remember that savings account we talked about earlier? … Yeah, I knew you would )
Yard Maintenance/Pest Control
Some areas of the country and some neighborhoods are strict with their regulations for yard care.
Even if that is not the case, it’s a good habit to take good care of your property.
Evaluate the type of yard care and or pest control you may need for your property each year and include it in your budget.
This may only be seasonal, so it’s easy to forget about.
At Triggator, we like to call this list “Alligator Expenses”. (Perhaps you’ve heard our terminology before.)
Alligators are stealthy hunters that lay dormant for up to a week before they jump up and ambush their prey.
That’s why we call these “Alligator Expenses”. They are there, just waiting to be paid. You may periodically think about an upcoming expense, but before you know it, it jumps out and surprises you.
These are the kind of expenses that don’t show up in your budget every month. You should know they are there waiting for you, but life happens and you forget.
“Has it really been a year since I last paid Amazon? I feel like I just paid it.”
Then you find yourself shuffling your budget around to make things work only to have another “Alligator Expense” jump in your lap.
What a delima.
How do we fix this chronic problem?
No More “Oops, I Forgot” Moments
There you have it. A whole-lot-a-stuff you may have forgotten to put in your budget.
Here’s an easy solution to help you save and be ready to pay for each of these expenses
- Evaluate the expenses that apply to your situation
- Organize these expenses into which month you expect to need to pay for them
- Calculate how much each expense will cost you
- Figure out how long you have until the next expense will be due
- Divide the amount you need by the number of paychecks until the expense is due
- Save a little bit of money each paycheck so you have the money you need when the expense shows up
Joe will need $120 for his car registration in 6 months. He gets paid twice a month.
$120 / 12 paychecks = $10
If Joe saves $10/paycheck (remember he gets paid twice a month), he will have enough to register his car and not put a dent in any other portion of his paycheck.
Bada bing! Now you can budget confidently and know you’ll have money when you need it.