These commonly forgotten budget categories can make you go over budget month after month. Fix your budget once & for all by including these forgotten budget items.
Who here has gone over their budget before? ::slowly raises hand::
Who here has gone over their budget several months in a row? ::slowly raises hand again::
I’m not alone. You’re not alone. Budgeting is hard especially when your budget is missing categories.
Below is a list of the most commonly forgotten budget categories.
Run through the list and identify any expenses that are currently missing from your budget. Then, (of course), add them to your budget so you will always be prepared for any expense that comes your way!
Commonly forgotten budget categories
1. Formal occasion clothes (dresses, suits)
Each year, my husband’s work holds a formal event. It’s the fancy party where you are supposed to wear floor length gowns. Those things are expensive! And then there is wedding season – dress after dress after dress (although now I’ve stopped buying new dresses and simply cycle through my wardrobe).
2. Wedding and baby shower gifts
You probably have holiday and birthday gifts in your budget, but don’t forget there are other event, like weddings and baby showers, that you have to buy gifts for too!
3. Wedding events (bachelorette parties, bridal showers)
You’re still on weddings? Yes, I am! Because they are expensive! Now brides and grooms are having vacations as bachelorette/bachelor parties – that means plane tickets, hotels, restaurants, and pretty much bye-bye to your budget (just joking, since you added this category to your budget you can attend guilt-free)
4. Hobby supplies
Do you have a cool fun hobby? Do you know how much it costs you each year? Whether you are a scrapbooker, a budding woodworker, or a green thumb gardener, the cost of hobbies can add up. There’s always a new tool you have to buy for a new project you want to try. Make sure you include your hobby costs in your budget.
5. Office supplies (especially printer ink)
I love office supplies. I was that kid who would get excited for the first day of school because it meant fresh Lisa Frank folders, glittery pens, brand new erasers, binders with rings that fell right into place, …. and I could on and on. But now I realize that office supplies are expensive. I just spent $75 on printer ink. So not cool! And then there’s the paper, the pens that I’m kind of picky about, the endless supply of post-it notes. This stuff adds up!
6. EZ Pass
I was shocked when I went to college and my roommate didn’t know what a toll was. While some parts of the country don’t have to pay to drive on their roads and cross bridges, some of us do…and it can add up. It’s $12.50 to cross the George Washington Bridge!
7. Speeding Tickets (and other fines)
I have no words. Speeding tickets are the worst. I have cried over each one I got because they simply destroy the month’s budget. If you are prone to getting speeding tickets (I used to live in a place with speeding cameras on every corner), then you may want to put aside some money in case you get a ticket. There are some other fines that hopefully you don’t get too often – library late fees, credit card payment late fees, or free trials you forgot to cancel (yep, I’m calling that a fine on your forgetfulness).
8. Doctor appointments
Besides your annual checkup, you or a family member might get sick and require extra doctor visit(s). But hopefully not. However, better safe than sorry and make sure you budget for doctor appointments.
9. Trips to wholesale clubs (Costco, Sam Club’s, BJ’s)
Can you even leave these stores without spending at least $100? These wholesale clubs can make a big dent in your wallet, so make sure you are budgeting for them.
10. Technology replacements
We like to think that we’d never be that girl who drops her phone in the toilet, but it *just might* happen. In addition to your phone, at some point you’ll probably need to replace your computer, tablet, or TV.
Whether you have to pay for Microsoft Office or some specialty software like Photoshop, make sure you budget for those large expenses.
12. Car maintenance (the small and large kind)
Whyyyyy do cars have to be so expensive?? The list of maintenance costs is exhaustive. Don’t forget to budget for tire replacement, brake replacement, oil changes, new windshield wipers, wheel alignments, mileage checkups, and the time that something is going to break and you know it’ll be expensive (happens to everyone!).
13. Car registration, inspection, and emissions test
Every year (or every other year depending upon your state and age of car) this bill comes up.
14. Renewing ID cards (driver’s license, passport)
A rare expense, but one that pops up for everyone.
If I don’t get to work early enough, I have to park in a private parking lot which costs $10/day (oh, the joys of big city living). That adds up! Also, you have to pay for parking to get into some mall parking lots around here!
Alcohol can easily blow up your budget.
17. Amazon Prime
Find me one person who hasn’t been surprised by their Amazon Prime subscription renewing each year.
18. Sirius XM
Oh how I love Sirius XM. But they are another sneaky subscription cost that may surprise you and your budget.
19. AAA Membership
If your insurance, warranty, or credit card doesn’t cover the cost of AAA-type services, then make sure you budget for an AAA membership each year.
20. Professional society fees
There are two professional work societies that I am a part of. Unfortunately my work does not pay for them, so each year I fork over some money to remain a member.
21. House maintenance
Make sure you have a budget category or a house-maintenance fund for all those surprises that come up when you’re a homeowner. Some are big expenses (like plumber-related problems) and some are smaller expenses (like air filters).
22. Pest Control
Worth every penny, right?
23. Renters Insurance
This is a pretty cheap monthly expense so make sure you have renter’s insurance.
24. Haircuts and color/treatment
It’s so unfair to be a girl sometimes. My husband can get a great haircut for $12+tip while my hair costs…a lot more than that.
25. Entertaining at home
It can cost a lot to throw a party. Alcohol alone can cost an arm and a leg.
26. Work wardrobe and tailoring
This is one expense I didn’t see coming. I seem to destroy my work clothes about 5x faster than my casual clothes (I have no idea why). My work shoes also don’t have nearly the shelf life that my casual shoes have. And then of course I sometimes have to tailor my work clothes, dresses, or cobble my heels (okay, I only did that once…I love those shoes!)
27. Public transportation & ride share
The subway/metro and Uber/Lyft are so convenient – but certainly add up.
28. Pet equipment & toys
If you have pets, you likely have a budget category for pet food. But what about doggie beds or doggie toys?
29. Kennel & doggie day care
If you go on vacation, a huge expense is putting your dog in a kennel (or paying someone to dog sit). Make sure you include this in your budget. Or maybe you put your doggie in doggie day care some days a week to tire the little guy/gal out.
30. HOA fees
I’ve been part of two HOA – one that charged quarterly and one that charged yearly. Since they were not monthly expenses for me, they always seemed to surprise me and my budget. Just gotta put it in the budget so there are no surprises.
31. Eye glasses, eye doctor visits, general eye care expenses
It’s not cheap to see.
32. Stamps & shipping
There’s so much joy in receiving (and sending) hand written letters and cards. But stamps are expensive. Also, if you live far away from friends and family and find yourself mailing a lot of gifts and packages, make sure you budget for shipping costs.
33. Yard up-keep
Time and money suck here! Lawn mower, lawn mower gas, lawn equipment…
34. Snow Removal Services
Make sure you include this expense if you hire someone to shovel your driveway or sidewalk.
35. Emergency Fund Savings
Making sure that you have a fully funded emergency fund is very important for your financial health. The emergency fund is there for you to use and if you do, you need to make sure that you replenish it ASAP…so don’t forget to make it a budget category if you need to.
Alternatively, you could just add vitamins to your medications budget category.
37. A/C tune-ups
Cleaning the condenser coils yearly can really improve the efficiency of the A/C unit and reduce your energy costs.
38. Magazine subscriptions
If you love your magazines, you should definitely check out an Amazon Prime membership – you get free access to a ton of magazines (and of course like a million other perks like 2-day shipping, access to a great selection of movies and TV shows, unlimited photo storage, music, books, etc.). Read more about Amazon Prime perks here.
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Stop forgetting these budget categories
Everybody has gone over budget. It’s going to happen…even to those who are Type-A about their budgeting. But by using the list above of commonly forgotten budget items, you won’t be surprised by any expense again.
If your expenses outweigh your income, and you can’t seem to get your budget to work, it may be time to start a bare bones budget.
What budget category have you been forgetting to include? Did I miss anything on this list?