When you’re planning your budget, you’ll probably start by gathering as many bills as you can together and going through them one by one. This will give you a good insight into where your money generally goes each month. Combined with an estimation of how much you’re likely to spend on food each month, your bills and bank transactions are helpful for showing you how much money you use.
However, it’s incredibly easy to miss a few basic expenses when you’re getting started with a budget for the first time. That’s one of the reasons why it’s such a good idea to have an emergency fund you can tap into “just in case.” Here are some of the things that people frequently forget when arranging their budget.
You probably have a section in your budget that’s dedicated to regular food expenses – but what about when you decide to eat lunch with your colleagues at work, or order a pizza after a long day? Even if you only eat out once a month, you need to make sure that you’re including that expense in your budget.
The good news is that if you start to realise that you’re spending hundreds of pounds on work lunches and takeaways each month, you’ll find the motivation you need to make a change to your lifestyle. This could save you money and improve your health too.
Indulgent or Impulse Spending
Sometimes, the things that we buy are necessities; they’re the meals that we can’t live without, the utilities that we need to manage at home, or the car expenses that get us to and from work. However, there are also occasions when you might spend money for “non-necessities.” For instance, you might decide to grab a bar of chocolate after a tough day or grab a cup of coffee.
Usually, these small expenses are so minimal that we assume that we can ignore them. However, the extra couple of pound out of your budget here and there can quickly throw your entire financial plan off balance. Make sure that you put a section in your budget for the little “extras” that you buy that cost £5 or less.
Most people have a “loan repayment” section in their budget that covers the principal costs and interest of the loans that they’re repaying. However, what if there are extra fees in your loan that you need to think about too? Maybe you have an annual cost that you need to pay just once a year or an extra expense that comes out once every six months.
Make sure that you take all of your expenses from loans into account when you’re planning your budget. What’s more, to keep those expenses to a minimum, it’s a good idea to compare your loan options carefully before you commit to a deal. Quick Loans from Happy Penguin are a great example of reputable, no-fee lenders.
Whether it’s a night of drinking with friends or a trip to the cinema, your entertainment costs should all have a place in your budget. Many people cut back as far as they can in this category when they’re trying to save extra money. However, if you leave yourself with no leeway here, you’re more likely to give up on your budget entirely, because you won’t have any money left for fun in your life. Ensure that you have an entertainment category in your budget – even if it’s only small.
You might not need enough money in your budget to pay for designer brands or a new outfit every time you go out somewhere special, but you do need money for clothes. Leaving clothes out of the budget is a common mistake that many people make.
Whenever you’re assigning your cash to different parts of your budget at the end of each month, ask yourself if you need to put something away for a new pair of shoes, or a coat if yours is getting worn. You’re going to need these things eventually.
Finally, annual expenses are one of the most often forgotten components of a budget. If you’re not buying things every month, then it’s easy to forget about them. However, your television license, water bills, or other non-regular expenses can hit you hard if you’re not prepared for them.
The best way to make sure you’re ready for annual expenses is to divide their cost per year by 12, and put that amount of cash away each month.