If you don’t know how much money you take in versus how much you spend, you’re playing a dangerous game with your money. Therefore, having a budget or spending plan is a crucial part of being financially stable. But there are 6 common expenses that many of us forget about when planning out our budget. These are 6 of the most common budget busters:
Dining out/Junk good/Coffee on the go
Include nights out for dinner and drinks, a drive-thru or pizza order, coffee shop drinks, and even hitting the vending machine or snacks at the gas station.
Be sure to estimate the best you can for oil changes, new tires, routine maintenance, tabs, and insurance.
Think about birthdays, baby showers, weddings…and what can be the most expensive of all: Christmas presents. Some people can easily spend upwards of $500 or $1000 in a large family.
Dog food, medications, and vet bills are often not thought of, but pet purchases add up and should be included in the budget.
Annual memberships like the gym, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. can be forgotten easily. If you have children, this also can apply to school supplies or children’s activities, like fees for sports.
What else do you spend your money on that you might not think of every day? Do your best to minimize budget surprises by planning ahead. The best way to do this is to determine what you spend on things that don’t come up every month. Add it up and then divide it by 12 months. The amount you come up with is what you should set aside each month.
This is called saving for periodic expenses and it’s helpful to use a separate account so you’re not tempted to spend it. Without that savings, you might be forced or tempted to use your credit card. Debt and paying extra money in interest are usually the consequences of not paying off the card right away.
Realistic budgeting while building up periodic and emergency savings is the best way to avoid falling into the debt trap.
If you need a little help creating your budget, call LSS Financial Counseling at 888.577.2227 for your free financial counseling session. Our counselors will help you create a realistic spending plan. And if you are already paying on a credit card, there may be a better option for you to pay that card off faster and save money. So give us a call or click the button below to get started online. Start improving your finances today!
Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.