Budget Items to Include
Maintaining a current, accurate household budget is one of the most powerful ways to protect and grow your wealth as well as get control over your finances in order to pay down debt. However, a budget is only helpful if it is accurate. While most of us know to include “major” expenses like rent/mortgage, car payments, groceries, gas, and “fun money,” there are several other subcategories of budgetary expenses that can add up or sneak up on you in unexpected ways.
For some, having a solid emergency fund is all that is necessary, but for those of us still building up that nest egg it’s important to plan ahead before you get caught off guard. Here are 8 of the most common items that many people leave off of their household budgets. Did you remember them all in yours?
1. Work Expenses
You go to work to make money. However, as someone who has spent time both in an office and working from home, I can unconditionally tell you that you also spend money for that privilege. There are a lot of small costs to going to work every day which range from parking fees and tolls to putting money in the community coffee fund.
Furthermore, it is important as a professional to maintain and update your work wardrobe. This means replacing items like shoes as they wear out, buying bigger or smaller sizes when needed, and generally maintain a clean, professional, current look. Depending on the type of industry you are in, dry cleaning may also be necessary.
2. Guests and Parties
Spending time with friends and family you rarely see is one of the true joys of life. However, when you host them in your home, they are also an expense you need to consider. Therefore, it is important to plan for guests who stay over or small get-togethers which includes accounting for items such as extra food, laundry, and transportation costs. This is an easy expense to add into an “entertainment” line on your monthly budget.
3. Technology Malfunction
The convenience of modern technologies such as cell phones and laptops has changed our world and, for many students and professionals, these devices have become essential for survival. However, technology is also fragile and there is no telling when your smartphone screen might shatter or your toddler will spill milk all over your laptop keyboard.
Other “mysterious” malfunctions are also common, so it is important to consider these expenses by either investing in insurance, a repair plan, or setting aside a replacement fund. The final option also serves the dual purpose of ensuring you have money to get a new device when your current one becomes obsolete – which happens sooner and sooner these days.
4. Home and Vehicle Maintenance
From flat tires to a broken AC, from brake jobs to roof replacement, owning a home and a vehicle includes more than just a monthly loan payment and “normal” expenditures like insurance and gas. It is critical to have an emergency fund set aside specifically for home and vehicle maintenance so that if your boiler explodes in the middle of January you don’t have to worry about how you are going to pay for a new one alongside getting the heat back on before the pipes burst.
5. Childcare “Extras”
Anyone who uses regular childcare services likely incorporates those regular weekly or monthly payments into their budget. However, the cost of childcare often includes more than just paying a provider. Everything from school lunches to birthday party gifts need consideration as well.
6. Pet Care
Furry friends truly make life more special, but, like everything, they come with a price. Outside of monthly “maintenance” fees such as food, litter, and treats, cats, dogs, and other pets also need medical care and some need grooming as well. Some vet offices offer yearly care packages with monthly payment options that include checkups, vaccinations, basic grooming, and tests which are easier to integrate into a budget. If yours doesn’t, you can still create your own “plan” by calculating your yearly expenses and paying into a monthly fund for your friends.
If you love to knit, find pleasure in building scale models, love digging in the dirt, or even getting lost in a good book, you are in good company. However, hobbies cost money too and some more than others. Figure out what you want to spend on supplies, memberships, fees, and tools needed to pursue your favorite pastime and add in as well.
We all usually remember the importance of budgeting and saving for holiday shopping, however that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to yearly “giving” to friends and family. From weddings and christenings to showers and birthdays, accounting for all the expenses of your circle of friends and relatives is essential, especially if you are “of a certain age” when weddings and babies seem to pop up every time you turn around.
**What items can you add to the list of “forgotten” budget lines?**