I think you’ll agree with me when I say that trying to remember all your monthly bills each month can become a bit overwhelming. Then add the task of remembering your annual subscriptions and memberships on top of that and your budget can start to feel defeated. Well, it turns out, you can dramatically improve your budget every month to avoid commonly overlooked expenses by adding one simple method to your budget. A method that has taken me from an overwhelmed financial mess to prepared and relaxed budgeting boss. And in today’s post, I’m going to show you what that method is and exactly how you can easily add it to your own budget.
Before we dive into the one simple method, let’s look at 35+ commonly overlooked expenses that break the budget.
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Commonly Overlooked Expenses That Break The Budget
- Monthly subscriptions and memberships such as Netflix, Hulu, Audible, or gym memberships
- Annual memberships like Amazon Prime
- Free trials that don’t get canceled
- House cleaning supplies
- Quarters for laundry (if you live in a complex)
- Laundry detergent
- Lawn care expenses
- Gardening expenses
- Shower curtain liners
- Renter’s Insurance
- Homeowner’s Insurance and dues
- Printer ink & paper
- Car insurance
- Car maintenance
- New brakes
- Oil changes
- School fees (field trip costs, lunches, yearbooks, school pictures)
- Kids’ sports equipment
- Travel to and from sporting events
- Flea treatment
- Vet visits
- Grooming expenses (shampoo, brushes, teeth cleaning)
- Travel expenses – Not just for vacations but for holidays, weddings, showers, birthday parties, etc)
- Christmas (it comes the same time every year! Why don’t more people budget ahead of time for this?!)
- Gifts not associated with holidays such as birthdays, graduations, weddings, and anniversary gifts.
- Hospitality expenses when guests come to visit or last-minute dinners with a friend that’s in town
- Emergency Fund – If you don’t have your starter emergency fund in place yet, check out this post!
- Postage stamps
- shipping fees and charges
- Seasonal pharmacy items like sunscreen, bug spray, and allergy medications
- monthly subscriptions/memberships
- annual memberships
How to Avoid Commonly Overlooked Expenses
Now, unfortunately, there’s no way we can make all these expenses go away completely. BUT, there are ways that we can be better prepared to handle them ongoing.
This is where sinking funds come into the picture. Simply put, a sinking fund is money that you save to pay for something in the future. This is NOT to be confused with an emergency fund, however.
With a sinking fund, you know that you will be using the funds eventually. A few examples of a sinking fund include Christmas or birthday gifts, an upcoming vacation, and car repairs/maintenance (which we all know are inevitable).
The main sinking funds that I usually plan for are Amazon Prime annual membership, Christmas, unemployment (my husband is a seasonal firefighter with CALFIRE so every year we need to prepare for 3 months of unemployment), car maintenance, registration, and insurance.
Using Sinking Funds to Avoid Commonly Overlooked Expenses
A great way to avoid that “oh shit” moment when an expense comes up or an automatic payment comes out of your account is to be proactive. Plan ahead with a sinking fund and save yourself the financial overwhelm of an overlooked expense.
A sinking fund is simple to get started. You can go old school and keep cash in an envelope in your sock drawer or open an entirely separate bank account for the expense. Either direction you choose, you can’t go wrong because there’s nothing more financially sexy than being prepared!
These commonly overlooked expenses that break the budget don’t need to be common any longer. With some strategic planning and a good budget in place, you can completely eliminate the overwhelm that comes along with an overlooked expense.
Let me know in the comments what common expenses you forget to budget for every month!