Budgeting is an important part of planning your financial future. While this may seem easy for some people, there are essential things we tend to take for granted.
The best way to start proper budgeting is to have a good idea of your spending habit. Take a month or two to understand it by tracking your expenditures. This information tells you where the bulk of your money is going or the ‘leak’ expenses to watch out for so you can adjust your habits accordingly.
However, it is important to note that our expenses are not so linear every month. Our savings/spending pattern in December is usually different in January or February, and so on. Sometimes, we also get the estimates for our expenditures wrong, and this contributes to the oversight in budgeting.
To avoid falling back on your emergency funds, watch out for these often-forgotten budget expenses.
You are probably thinking, “How do you budget for savings?” It is extremely necessary that you do so. Retirement is a certain part of our future. While many people tend to ‘spend now, save later’, experts advise doing exactly the reverse. Save for the future, and spend what is left. Whether you use Elizabeth Warren’s 50/30/20 rule, or some other way, ensure you plan your savings.
We often get too excited about the experience we look forward to during a vacation, that we forget to budget our trip. Yes, holidays are a time to unwind and enjoy the fruit of your labor, but think about the future, or your retirement. Don’t gulp all your savings on a single trip. Before you travel, consider budget flights, or less expensive hotel accommodations. You can still enjoy your trip without ostentatious spending.
It is no surprise that things wear and tear, or break down. It is easy to set aside a monthly budget for home maintenance and auto servicing/repairs. But the problem is the major issues that occur. That unexpected storm that takes out a part of your roof or the careless driver who bashes your car. Keep aside a budget for monthly maintenance, and when you don’t use it, the excess can be channeled to major repairs. If you are faced with an unexpected expense, you can get auto parts deals online.
It is common to budget for gifts, but the problem is underestimating the true amount we ought to spend on the gift. Sure, holidays like Easter or Christmas require a lot of spending. It is important to have a near-accurate figure of the value of each item. Look up the catalogs and brochures of the stores and find out the cost of items you plan to buy. Then plan the number and amount for each recipient and you should be fine.
Finally, one thing people ought to budget for, but overlooked is insurance. It is not everything that you insure. First, consider what is most important to you, the probability of risk and budget an amount you are comfortable with.
While they appear like regular expenses (and they are), it is important that we include them in our budget. Are you omitting any of them? Consider revisiting your cash-flow plan.
Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.