Budgets are to money as maps are to roads -- which is to say, they’re an integral part of helping you see where you’re going.
But while you might think you’ve got your money all mapped out and each area of your life budgeted for appropriately, no one is immune to the possibility of being hit by an unforeseen expense.
An unexpected expense can leave even the most well thought out budget in shambles. But preparing for the unexpected may help you keep your budget in tact.
Ten expenses to budget for
The experts at Quicken Loans suggest setting aside some cash for the following expenses in order to deter their budget-busting effects.
- Home maintenance. “It’s always something” may as well be the homeowner’s anthem. Repairs and maintenance typically set homeowners back $1,000 each year, according to HSH.com. To err on the side of caution, repairs -- especially big ones, such as water heater, furnace, and roof repairs -- should be planned for in a budget.
- Weddings. Receiving a wedding invitation often implies that you’ll be forking over a bit of money in the near future. Before witnessing the I do’s, you’ll likely be spending money on travel, food, clothing, and gifts.
- Pet bills. Pets come with many expenses, and even more can crop up as they get older. Pet insurance can help with costs, but consumers should also be saving for pet-related expenses such as annual vet visits, vaccinations, and pet food and litter.
- Charitable contributions. If you regularly donate to charity, be sure a specific amount of donation money is budgeted for. If you’re the type who donates to charities on a whim, it may be wise to add a few extra bucks to that amount.
- Work clothes. Your work clothes won’t last forever, especially if you tend to wear the same few outfits over and over. In the event that you need to freshen up your workday look, it can be helpful to have money already set aside.
- Car repairs. Expensive auto repairs can take an uncomfortably large bite out of your bank account -- but cushioning your account in anticipation of such repairs can help. Even if you don’t end up using it, putting money into a car fund each month can help you save for your next vehicle.
- Personal care. The cost of beauty products and appointments can really add up month-to-month. But keeping a close eye on how much you spend on personal care items will help you budget accordingly.
- Snacks. Many of the snacks you bring home probably weren’t on your list of budgeted-for essentials, but they eat up money regardless. Give your grocery budget a little flexibility by working snacks into it.
- Subscriptions and memberships. Your gym membership might be meager, but it can become less budget-friendly when combined with other subscriptions and memberships. Eradicate subscriptions and memberships you’re not using, even if they’re only setting you back $10 or $20 a month. Budget, instead, for subscriptions and memberships that you get the most use out of.
- Fun money. Fun money isn’t for planned entertainment or dining out; it’s for those spur-of-the-moment events that you simply don’t want to miss. Setting aside some cash for fun (as little as $40 a month will do) can add a little wiggle room to your entertainment fund.