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Every 4th week of the month, I sit down and do our family budget for the next month. You would think that after almost 20 years of budgeting as an adult, I would have it down by now, but I can admit there are times when I have trouble. What trouble? Budget categories that I forget to budget for.
My memory is horrible; as in most days I can’t recall whether I ate breakfast or not. What this means is that when we take on a new expense, I usually forget to add it as a budget category.
Steve has become great at reminding me.
Budget Categories and Forgotten Expenses You Might Be Overlooking
It can actually be pretty funny when I forget to add new budget categories, but the truth is that if you have this same habit, you’re putting your finances at risk – the same as I am when I do it.
Side Note: You do have a budget, right? If not, learning how to create a budget that works for your family is easy to do.
Forgetting which expenses categories you need to budget for is a great way to find yourself overdrawn if you’re not careful.
What Are the Categories of Budget I Am Forgetting?
I like to pay my bills then pull the rest of our money out in cash. Doing so keeps me from wasting money with online shopping.
There is just something about having to get in the car and drive to the store that stops me from spending as much.
The idea itself is great, but at the same time, those budget categories that I can forget combined with the fact that I leave very little money in our account can create an explosion for our finances.
How Forgetting a Budget Category Puts Your Finances in Danger
When a category of budget I have forgotten swings through our checking account and there’s no money to cover it, what happens?
We bank with Regions and are lucky they give us until midnight to cover overdrafts with no fees. This gives us time to deposit the cash I forgot I needed to budget to cover the item.
$39 in overdraft fees for each one would be hugely detrimental to us and I’m positive it is for you as well.
That’s why you need to make sure – and I do as well – that you’re covering these forgotten monthly expenses and forgotten budget categories each and every month they charge.
Budget Categories List
Want to know how bad my memory is?
Every single month, I 100% forget about our Amazon Music Subscription.
Literally every single month. It may only be $16.23 a month, but if I forget to cover that $16.23 a month, it can quickly become an expense that costs us $50.00 or more.
Monthly subscription boxes, monthly subscriptions such as Amazon Music, Hulu, Netflix and more all charge the same day each month. If they are one of the forgotten on your budget categories list, make sure to add them as a reoccurring expense to whatever software or spreadsheet you use for budgeting.
Having the one membership I know I forget about auto-populate each month is the only way I am able to plan for that charge.
They’re also one of the easiest budget categories to forget.
Trials can be especially dangerous to forget since it’s often more than simply forgetting. Once you’ve forgotten it, it usually takes you quite by surprise when it charges.
Often, the charges are far more than your budget is able to handle since you did not plan for them.
Do you, your partner/spouse or kids eat lunch at work or school? Make sure you aren’t forgetting to budget for the costs.
Better yet, start packing those lunches to save money instead of spending it.
If that isn’t possible though, forgetting about the monthly expense can send your family budget careening downward.
Fluffy and Fido need care too.
From vet visits to flea treatments and more, they can cost almost as much as a child. Pet emergencies can also be a budget buster.
Make sure you’re adding a pet fund to your budget so you’re ready to cover everything your fur babies need.
There are some budget categories that you may not need often, but know eventually you will. Car repair and routine maintenance is one of them.
You know that eventually your car will break down or will need an oil change or tune up. Why not plan for those expenses now before they become huge?
Add a car repair fund to your budget and stash those “sinking funds” away for when you need them.
Car Registration & License Fees
Just like car repair, once a year you must renew your registration and license plates.
Depending on where you live and how many vehicles your family has, it can be quite expensive.
Divide the total amount by 12 (or however many months you have until you’ll need to do it) and budget for that amount each month. Then, when the time comes, you will already have the money you need.
Like it or not, the tax man comes every year and preparing for that is one of the most forgotten budget categories period.
You may not be able to know exactly how much you may owe, but you can estimate by using your previous years tax return.
Again, divide this amount by how many months you have left until they’re due and budget for that amount each month.
Not only will doing so keep you from forgetting about them, but it will ensure you have the money to pay them when you need to.
Car insurance, health insurance, renters insurance and life insurance are all easy to forget about.
Some of them can also be very expensive if you forget about them and get caught without them – car insurance for instance.
When you’re doing your budget, don’t forget to add all of your insurance costs as a category. The fines and charges of not having them paid for just isn’t worth allowing yourself to forget them.
Medical Expenses You Pay For Out Of Pocket
We pay for all of our medical expenses out of pocket which makes it very easy to need a lot of money all at once.
My own medications and my daughter’s new medications alone are $100 a month. Add our Direct Patient Care membership through our local PRN and we’re well over $200 a month just for health care.
That does not include incidentals such as vitamins or headache medication or the other two people in the household.
If we forget to budget for our medical costs, we are in big trouble.
You will be as well if you forget them and need that money.
Bank Charges & Fees
Even if you have a fee free checking account, I can just about guarantee there are some fees hiding somewhere.
If you allow your account to overdraft, there are fees associated with that.
If your savings account falls below a certain amount, there are fees associated with it.
Failing to budget for these fees can lead to more fees – overdraft.
Home Ownership Fees
Owning your own home is great, but it can also lead to expenses you may not be ready to cover.
Home repair, HOA fees, home owners insurance and more can really stack up when you’re not ready.
Instead, do as I suggested with car repair. Set a budget amount each month and stash the money away for when you really need it.
Commonly Forgotten Budget Categories
Birthdays aren’t something most people forget, but paying for those birthdays is one of the easiest to forget budget categories.
We get excited about the birthday itself and it slips our mind that we will need to account for the needed funds somewhere.
To make it easier for yourself, be sure to add each person’s birthday to whatever calendar or spreadsheet you use to help keep track of them.
Holidays – especially Christmas – can be like birthdays.
Easily excitable but an easily forgettable budget category.
The easiest way to save for holidays is to open a savings account and keep it solely for Christmas savings.
Add a small deposit to your new savings account each month and by the time Christmas rolls around, you’ll be good to go!
Your Garden Supplies
Starting a garden is a great way to save money, but if you forget to add a gardening supplies budget category, you may very well find yourself going broke.
The cost of soil, compost (if you don’t have a compost pile of your own), seeds and more can all be very expensive.
Be sure you don’t forget about those costs.
Child Care & Other School Fees
My Emma was homeschooled for years so when my husband Steve and I combined families, I was floored at the amount of school fees Laura needed.
Now, I have to make sure those fees – for both girls – are included in our budget.
If you’re forgetting them, you should too.
House have pests? No? Great! I’d bet you paid for pest control to keep the creepy crawlies away (Spiders bad! No spiders allowed!)
Because pest control is a monthly expense that doesn’t happen every month, it’s easy to forget. Be sure you’re adding it to your budget and not to your forgotten budget categories.
Haircuts & Other Salon Charges
Haircuts are supposed to happen once every six weeks or so. In our house, they happen less often than that for one reason.
I forget to add them to our budget categories and refuse to pay for them unless they’re budgeted for.
It only affects two of us in the house since I have hair to my waist and am not planning on cutting it. The other two I cut at home using a THESE hair clippers.
Yes, we have girls. One has a side shave.
Big Family Events
Are you getting married soon? If so, Congrats! Are you pulling money from your budget each month to cover it?
Side Note: If you’re planning a wedding soon, be sure to check out our HUGE List of Free Wedding Samples right HERE.
High school graduation soon? Are you budgeting for it?
Keeping a savings account with money for these events and add a budget category to your family budget each month.
You’ll be glad you did when the event comes up.
Technically, funerals would fall under family events, but I wanted to mention them separately.
It may seem morbid, but planning for your funeral now while you can saves your family the grief of doing it later. I can speak from experience on that one.
Choose your funeral home and plan your ceremony. Most of them will allow you to make monthly payments until your service is covered.
Once a Year Expenses
As a small business owner, most of the blogging tools I use are yearly expenses.
90% of the time, I would forget about them. They aren’t one of my regular budget categories so I used to just overlook them.
Once I’ve forgotten them, I end up getting charged and scrambling to the bank to deposit enough money to cover it.
I found the easiest way to fix this was to add each charge to my Google Calendar. Set a reminder for 3 weeks before and again for 1 week before and it gives me the notice I need to make them a budget category for the upcoming month.
The “Stuff I Forgot to Budget For” Budget Category
My family giggles at me over this category, but frankly, it is just plain smart to have one of your budget categories be for random charges or stuff you forgot to budget for.
This way, if you do forget one of your budget categories, you still have money available to cover the forgotten monthly expense.
For our family, I keep this category at $100.00 a month on our budget, but any money that does not get used rolls to the next month.
We add the $100 to a specific savings account for it and over time the money accrues.
This means our “stuff I forgot to budget for” category doubles as an emergency fund.
I am quite certain these are not the only budget categories you might be overlooking. Each family’s personal budget will be different though so what you may be overlooking someone else may not even have to deal with.
For instance, we do not have homeowners fees since we are renters (by design, we are not ready to buy a home yet).
If you liked this post, you may also like:
- Why You Should Skip That No-Spend Month
- 18 Frugal Living Myths and Money Myths that Will Destroy Your Finances
- “I Don’t Make Enough Money to Survive” – What to Do When You’re Struggling to Make Ends Meet
- 53 Frugal Living Tips from the Great Depression
- 17 Foods that Stretch a Long Way for Cheap Meal Ideas
Do you have any budget categories you often forget that I didn’t mention? Leave me a comment and let me know! You may be helping someone else remember it by doing so!