One of the most important aspects of personal finance is making a budget. It needs to encompass all of your expenses, and provide the guidelines for how much money is needed and where it should be allocated. Budgeting is a proven method to staying in control of your finances, by monitoring how much you earn and how much you spend.
In addition to paying bills and paying off debt, you should be funneling some money into a retirement account and an emergency fund. What most often trips us up, however, isn’t necessarily emergency expenses. Yes, those happen, but if you properly prepare yourself with an emergency fund you don't need to worry!
Instead, it’s the little remembered expenses that put us at risk. Those fees that aren’t so surprising, but come along so infrequently that we forget to incorporate them into our budget.
20 expenses to look out for:
1. Late Fees
Bills aren’t always due on the same date each month, which can (inadvertently) lead to you paying late. This normally means an extra fee. Even though these add-ons are small, they can still throw a wrench in your monthly budget. To help avoid this, set your bills to be paid automatically via your bank account, so that you never miss a payment.
2. Checking Luggage
We’re still not over the fact that this isn’t built-in with ticket prices, but that doesn’t make the extra cost any less real. Be sure to factor in baggage fees when setting your budget for trips. Even better, check your airlines baggage information before booking.
3. Work Lunches
These are often last-minute events. Planning ahead for such expenses will allow you to be part of the fun lunch group.
4. Meals Out and Gas Station Stops
You might find a budget friendly activity, or a short trip, but don’t forget to add in snacks and drinks, or anything else that might be needed. To save even more, buy at the grocery store and pack a meal!
Birthdays, holidays, weddings, etc. all require gifts and this extra money can add up in a hurry! Look ahead for upcoming holidays and special occasions, and set some money aside in your savings.
6. Treating Others
Everyone loves to be on the receiving end of a kind gesture, but ultimately getting to treat another person is even more fulfilling. Rather than being stingy, plan ahead for “It’s on me” moments so that your budget remains intact.
7. Varying Utility Bills
Depending on weather or seasonal needs, utility bills can vary throughout the year. Remember to budget for both averages and extremes.
8. Additional Insurance
If you’re renting, insurance is often needed. You’ll also need additional coverage for valuable purchases such as laptops and cell phones. That extra coverage is usually billed every month, but can split into lump payments for a lower rate. Either way, it’s an additional cost that needs to be accounted for.
9. Parking Tickets
Sure, it’s better to not get them at all, but should the situation arise it’s better to be prepared.
10. Parking Meters
On that same note, parking isn’t always free. Take meters, garages, or valets into consideration, depending on your intended location setup.
11. Car Updates, Insurance, and Registration
The oil needs to be changed every few months, but what about spark plugs or belts? They’re less frequent, but often times more costly. Not to mention car insurance that is normally paid for in a lump sum every six months, registration costs, smog checks, car washes, etc. It’s definitely important to set aside some money when it comes to automotive expenses that are sure to pop up.
12. Electronic Accessories
Electronics themselves are expensive, which is why you want to keep them lasting as long as possible. That means purchasing cases, extra chargers, screen protectors, and more.
Whether you’re inviting others in or heading to a friend’s house, various costs will arise. (Yes, even if you aren’t eating out.) There are hostess gifts, bottles of wine to drink, pizza money, or grocery store stops in order to make a side dish, etc.
14. “Cheap” Entertainment
Saying, “Oh, let’s just Redbox” won’t break the bank, but it’s still not free. Increase your entertainment budget, if only slightly, to pick up these affordable nights in.
Though these necessities are often long-lasting, they still need to be replaced from time to time. Add in shampoos, soaps, etc. to the grocery budget each time you shop.
16. Apps or Music
Every time you find an app you just have to have, it might seem like a mundane few dollars. Until it’s a regular occurrence.
17. Treating Yourself
Whether you like shopping at garage sales or high-end shops, everyone likes some luxury. Consider it a reward for a job well done, but be sure to set aside savings accordingly! And if you have to struggle in order to get that new designer bag or big screen TV, don’t get it at all.
Not only is moving mentally and physically taxing, it can be hard on the wallet. Moving trucks, additional help, supplies, etc. all can end up costing you money you weren't budgeting for.
Generally due at the time of service, copays can easily be forgotten about, yet tend to add up in a hurry. Especially if you have a rough cold season, or a bout of infections. Add these fees into your medical expenses to stay ahead.
You might try to limit your coffee shop visits, cut back on drinks, or maybe even avoid the extra pair of shoes. Everyone has their weaknesses. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to abstain from all these types of purchases. However, those vices still have a cost and should be planned for, no matter how often they might take place. ”