8 Budget Expenses You’ll Probably Forget to Plan For

by Kevin on February 17, 2011

Planning your financial life with a budget is one of the best things you can do to get on the right financial track. Budgeting has been a learning process for me. It started out as simple as “Income minus expenses equals what’s left to save” or Income – Expenses = Savings.

I say it has been a learning process because I try to learn when I get budget “surprises”. You know, you have an unplanned expense that you probably should have seen coming. It doesn’t qualify as an emergency but it still takes a hit on your budget.

Every time I get an unplanned expense I turn around, open my budget spreadsheet, and make an adjustment. The unplanned expense becomes the planned expense.

This can complicate things if you let it so I do try to categorize and make an educated guess as to what the monthly (and thus, annual) expense might be. Learn and adjust as you go. If you still spend more than you planned you need to set aside more money in the budget. Find yourself with a budget surplus in that category? Make a downward adjustment.

Here’s 8 expenses that you’ll probably forget to put in your original budget plan.

Don’t Forget These Budget Expenses

Annual medical expenses

You know that every year you or a member of your family needs to go to the doctor for:

  • annual physical
  • annual gynecologist visit
  • biannual teeth cleaning at the dentist
  • annual eye exam

… so why not plan for it? You should know your insurance situation well enough to make an educated guess at what the total cost of the visits should be. Remember to factor in meeting a deductible or co-pay. Also remember to factor in any additional costs stemming from these visits. For example, I order contacts online after receiving my updated prescription from my eye care professional. I need to plan in advance for that expense.

Landscaping expenses

Think of all the things that go into maintaining your yard:

  • fertilizer and weed killer
  • mowing service or mower maintenance
  • flowers to plant
  • water

… all of these can add up to quite a lot of green. Set aside some money each month to cover your annual expenditures on landscaping.

Personal care expenses

Do you like to go to the salon every few months to the tune of $75? That’s $300 per year. Instead of letting your budget take a $75 surprise (not a small amount in my household) just plan for it. Put back $25 per month and you won’t feel guilty using what you’ve budgeted for this area.

Household supplies

A lot of people I talk to like to squeeze household supplies like toilet paper, toothpaste, and cleaning supplies into groceries. Last time I checked you can’t eat toilet paper so we don’t take this stuff out of groceries.

Unexpected medical expenses

Setting aside money to get your eyes checked or your annual physical won’t, unfortunately, keep you from getting sick or having accidents. If you’ve got health insurance a large percentage of the cost of these unexpected trips to the doctor or emergency room will be covered… but not all of it. I’d much rather have money set aside (whether in a Health Savings Account or my checking account) to cover the extra co-pay and prescriptions that follow.

Pet expenses

Consider the following expenses we have with our dog:

  • food (easily planned, she eats the same amount every month)
  • flea and heart worm medication (monthly expenses)
  • annual shots

The last time we took her to get her shots it cost about $150. That can be a budget buster if things are tight. We stick $12.50 per month aside for this expense so when the time comes to get her shots we don’t have to worry about the impact on our budget.

Memberships and association expenses

My wife has a couple of memberships she maintains as a teacher. They amount to approximately $150 to $200 per year. In the months those invoices appear that amount could kill our budget. So we stick $15 per month aside ahead of time to offset the impact.

Taxes on unexpected income

This is one that I bet a lot of you forget. If you’re earning interest on a rewards checking account, savings account, or certificate of deposit the income you are paid comes without tax taken from it. If you earn a significant amount of 1099 income through interest and freelance contracting work you need to make quarterly tax payments. Failing to do so can result in a tax penalty being tacked onto your annual tax bill.

We set aside 25% of my freelancing income and our interest income from all of our bank accounts. That’s usually a bit too much because tax deductions drop us below that tax bracket, but it never hurts to set aside too much money.

Is there something missing from the list? Let me know what other expenses you think should be on the list in the comments section below.

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