If you have made a monthly or weekly budget, congratulations! You’ve now taken a step that most people instinctively avoid. Personal finance begins with a sound plan for monthly spending, so better spending habits and debt control are right around the corner. However, there is a problem lurking inside that budget: expense items that routinely reoccur that you forgot to add. Don’t let these extra costs sneak up on you.
1. Pet Needs
According to the Humane Society, approximately 35 to 47 percent of Americans have dogs, and about 30 to 37 percent have cats. With the love and companionship of pets also comes bills. Vet bills, food and litter expenses and associated costs can bite a surprising chunk out of your budget.
Mark down the dates when your pet is due for a vet checkup. Also categorize their food and accessory expenses along with your food and grocer costs.
2. School Expenses
School supplies are a common expense at the start of the academic year, but in reality parents are hit with school costs throughout the entire year. Cut costs by using hand-me-downs and used items whenever possible. Include back-to-school costs in your August and September budgets, and don’t forget to buy supplies during your state’s tax-free holiday.
During the year, plan to have money to pay for field trips, school lunches and sports physicals.
3. Entertainment Memberships
Are you a cord cutter? Did you happily sever your cable contract in favor of smaller expenses for Netflix, Hulu and Amazon? If so, you have probably saved yourself around $50.00 a month. However, don’t forget to add in the fees for streaming services in your monthly budget. Most of them are debited automatically, so you might miss them in your spreadsheet.
To stretch your entertainment expenses further, consider signing up for Amazon Prime. Prime allows you access to massive numbers of TV and movies on demand, but also provides you with free shipping on many items you purchase on Amazon.com.
4. Car Tags and License Fees
Have you looked at your driver’s license lately? Be certain that it is not about to expire. Once it does, you usually have to pay a higher fee to renew. If you purchased a new vehicle or moved to a new state, you’ll owe registration fees. Your car tags are also an expense not to miss.
Other licenses are also costly. Fishing and hunting are a big part of many people’s recreation. If you hunt or fish, make sure you budget for licensing fees.
5. Home Inspections and Pest Control
If you are a homeowner, you will want to include pest control and certain inspections on your yearly or quarterly budgets. HVAC maintenance is important and it can save you a bundle by troubleshooting problems before they result in a much bigger problem – such as the need to replacing your air conditioning unit.
Pest control is a must in some areas of the country. Include monthly fees for pest control in your budget.
6. Car Expenses
Maintaining a car takes extra money. In addition to maintaining insurance, be sure to add routine oil changes to your budget.