Creating a spend plan that you will stick to is not always a walk in the park. What’s the secret sauce? It’s all about getting savvy with your spending game. We’re talking about creating a monthly expenses list that makes sure no sneaky costs sneak past you
There are a bunch of monthly expenses that we tend to forget about when we’re trying to get organized like the automated monthly subscriptions and the little things we don’t think about. While it’s unlikely anyone would overlook their rent or mortgage payment, the same can’t always be said for the numerous other spending habits and financial commitments we have. It all adds up! Add in those variable expenses, and you’ve got a recipe for budgetary chaos if they’re omitted from your financial plan. Be honest with yourself in order to truly get your finances on track! Here are 8 expenses that you may be forgetting about in your monthly spend plan!
Subscriptions and Memberships:
We’re all subscribed to something, whether it’s your daily newspaper, that delightful beauty box, or a slew of streaming services like Spotify, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. Oh, and don’t forget those gym memberships!
Now, individually, these monthly fees might seem like small fry – $12.99 here, $9.99 there – but trust me, they can gang up and play some serious financial tricks on you if you’re not vigilant. The key here is knowing exactly how much each of these subscriptions costs and when they sneakily siphon money from your account.
But here’s the kicker – if you’ve got subscriptions that are gathering virtual dust because you hardly use them, get rid of them! Letting go of those unnecessary subscriptions can free up some extra cash for things that truly matter to you. So, take a closer look at those recurring expenses, and make sure they’re still adding value to your life and your spend plan.
Your health insurance does its fair share in covering most of your routine medical appointments, but it is important to think about co-pays. At about $25 a pop, and sometimes even more per visit, they can add up.
So, here’s the prescription for planning success: if you’re a regular visitor to the doctor’s, stimate how many times a month you usually go, and make sure you’ve got those copays penciled into your budget.
You may also opt to allocate funds into a Health Savings Account (HSA). But remember, there are specific contribution limits, and whether it’s an option for you depends on your health plan. If you do decide to give your HSA a little extra love, don’t forget to add those contributions to your spend plan too!
Prescription drugs can be a real wallet cruncher, adding up to more than $1,000 a year for the average American! Sure, your health insurance might swoop in and cover a chunk of that bill, but you’ve got to keep an eye on those out-of-pocket costs too.
Co-pays, deductibles, and any medications not covered by your insurance plan can really throw a curveball at your finances if you don’t plan for them. So, when you’re drafting that monthly spend plan, be sure to factor in these health-related expenses.
When we talk about home repairs, we’re not just talking about fixing a leaky faucet or patching up a hole in the wall. It encompasses a wide spectrum, from routine pest control to preparing for those unexpected, wallet-draining surprises like a major plumbing issue.
You’ve got to be proactive about this in your monthly spend plan. Setting aside a portion of your income each month for home-related expenses is a great way to be prepared. It doesn’t just cover the small, recurring costs like a fresh coat of paint or minor remodels; it’s your financial safety net for larger undertakings. Think about a new roof, a much-needed HVAC repair, or even a complete system replacement. You never know when something could need a little TLC.
Car Maintenance & Transportation Costs:
First, don’t forget about the basics. Budget for those oil changes that keep your engine humming smoothly. Plan for tire replacements, because worn-out rubber can’t grip the road. And remember those routine inspections; they’re like your car’s doctor visits, catching problems early. Cars are notorious for throwing surprises your way. That sudden clunk or squeak? It’s the car’s way of saying, “Hey, I need some TLC!” Be ready for unexpected repairs because they can sneak up on you when you least expect them.
Now, if you’re like most of us, your monthly gas bill is unpredictable. Why? Because life happens. Your commute might change, you might need to drive the kids to school, or you might take a weekend road trip. These variables can cause your transportation expenses to go all over the map.
Besides your daily commute, think about occasional expenses like parking fees, tolls, and public transportation fares. Whether you’re parking at work, the mall, or that special event downtown, those parking fees can add up. Don’t forget to account for them, no matter how big or small. And If you’re cruising along the highways or crossing bridges, tolls are part of the deal. They might not be daily expenses, but they can take a chunk out of your wallet over time.
Your car needs protection, too. Don’t forget about car insurance premiums. It’s not just a legal requirement; it’s your financial safeguard in case of accidents. These costs are real and unavoidable. Whether you’re fueling up your car, hopping on a bus or subway, or summoning an Uber, you’re dipping into your wallet each time.
Pets bring us joy, companionship, and a whole lot of love, but they also come with their own set of expenses. Here’s what you should keep in mind:
- Pet Food: This is the most obvious one. Your fur ball needs to eat, and the cost of pet food can add up, especially if your pet has special dietary needs.
- Grooming: Depending on your pet’s breed, grooming might be a regular necessity. Budget for grooming services, which can include baths, haircuts, and nail trims.
- Veterinary Visits: Just like humans, pets need healthcare too. Regular check-ups, vaccinations, and any unexpected health issues can lead to veterinary bills. It’s wise to budget for these expenses to ensure your pet’s well-being.
- Pet Insurance: Pet insurance can be a financial lifesaver in case of serious illnesses or accidents. While it’s an optional expense, it’s worth considering for peace of mind.
Because they occur less frequently, costs like HOA (Homeowners Association) fees, property taxes, or even insurance premiums can catch you off guard if you’re not prepared. Add these 3 costs to your monthly spend plan so they don’t get forgotten!
- Property Taxes: If you own a home, you’re likely subject to annual property taxes. These taxes fund local services like schools and infrastructure. It’s important to plan for this recurring expense so you’re not caught off guard when the bill arrives.
- Income Taxes: If your employer doesn’t withhold income taxes from your paycheck (such as in the case of self-employment or certain contract work), it’s essential to set aside a portion of your earnings throughout the year to cover your income tax liability. Failure to do so can result in a hefty tax bill come tax season.
- Other Tax Obligations: Beyond property and income taxes, you may have other tax obligations. This could include sales taxes for business owners, self-employment taxes, or other regional taxes specific to your location and situation.
Tax planning is about more than just setting money aside; it’s about understanding your tax obligations and ensuring you’re in compliance with tax laws. It’s wise to consult with a tax professional or use tax software to help you navigate the complexities of tax planning and ensure you’re prepared for your tax responsibilities. Proper tax planning can help you avoid financial stress and potential penalties down the road.
Beyond the basics like electricity and water, consider expenses for internet, cable TV, and phone services. Be mindful of any potential increases in usage. Whether these utilities arrive bundled or as separate bills, they are essential for daily living. Including them in your monthly expenses list ensures that your plan accurately reflects your financial reality. By staying on top of these costs, you’ll have better control over your finances and be prepared for any fluctuations in your utility bills
Lastly, what would a budget or life be without some room for unexpected fun?
Account for birthdays, holidays, weddings, and other special occasions. This includes gifts, decorations, and travel expenses.
By putting aside a fun money amount dedicated to spontaneous events, like a day trip to the beach, drinks with friends, or a date night with your partner, you’ll be able to enjoy these activities without stressing over whether or not they’ll break your budget.
Things like entertainment, shopping purchases, or anything else that comes up during the month are important to include in your budget. Remember, creating a spending plan isn’t about restricting your life but about managing your finances in a way that allows you to enjoy both planned and spontaneous experiences without jeopardizing your financial well-being. By accounting for these often overlooked expenses in your monthly spending plan, you’ll have a more comprehensive and realistic budget that can help you manage your finances effectively and avoid surprises.
Need help creating a spend plan that fits your needs? We got you, sister! Book a discovery call here!