Tell me if you’ve been in this situation: You’re enjoying life, thinking you’re doing pretty well with the whole budgeting thing, and then SURPRISE! You have to renew your driver’s license and you didn’t budget for it at all. It’s one of those things that only happens every 4 years, so you don’t even think about it until it suddenly pops up!
I like being prepared, and I’m sure you do as well. Here are some little things to include in your budget that you may not even think of until it’s too late.
We just recently started giving ourselves fun money each month. It’s $20 for each of us to spend with no guilt or agenda; Starbucks, snacks, whatever we want, as long as we use only that cash. This has been SUPER helpful in helping us stick to our budget!
This is separate from your grocery budget. If you like eating out, make it higher; if it’s a once a month occasion, make it lower. We budget $40 a month, which is enough for one good restaurant for the 3 of us, or maybe 2 fast food stops.
Drivers license/car tags
This is a good one, because they only come up once a year and every 4 years. They don’t cost that much to renew, but it’s always good to remember those expenses are still there and to budget accordingly.
This includes print subscriptions like newspapers and magazines, as well as things like Netflix and Amazon Prime. We no longer use cable, so we’ve replaced that expense with these subscriptions and have saved a ton of money thanks to buying a Roku!
Kids grow out of clothes like crazy. Shoes wear down. You may not need clothes every month, but setting aside around $10 a month would help tremendously when the need arrives.
Back-to-school happens every year, so make sure you budget some money for July and August for this! Crayons, pencils, backpacks… it all adds up. See how to save money on school supplies here!
This isn’t a necessary expense, but when you find yourselves with extra money, paying someone to take care of your lawn can be a huge help! We no longer have weeds and our lawn looks so much better, and is worth the money we set aside every month.
Sam’s Club, Costco, and other club memberships come up once a year so it can be easy to forget about them when they’re due. Small and large families alike can benefit from a club membership! See: Is buying in bulk better?
This comes up once or twice a year and can be a lot of money up front, so make sure you’re prepared!
Not only are museum memberships fun for the kids, some will offer reciprocity to other zoos and museums- this means you can get in either free or at a discount to other areas. It’s awesome for when you go on vacation and are looking for cheap entertainment ideas! These memberships are also due once a year and can set you back about $100.
One-time monthly expenses
There are some events that you know come up the same month every year- Easter, Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, back-to-school, birthdays… instead of scrambling to find the money every time these come up, just plan ahead! If you know you’ll be handing out Halloween candy, set aside $20 or $30 when you’re planning October’s budget. A little planning will make your year so much easier and stress-free!
One thing that John and I did is create a separate savings account solely for those random yearly expenses, so that when the time comes we just pull the money out and pay the bill. We put money into it monthly; so for example, let’s say your Sam’s Club membership is $40.00 a year. $40.00 divided by 12 months equals about $3.33 per month, so we set up a monthly automatic transfer from our checking account to this long-term account.
Also make sure you keep track of when those expenses are due! If your Sam’s Club membership comes up in October, make sure you put that money back into your checking account to pay for it in October. Make a note on whatever calendar you use, whether on paper or your phone. I use Google Calendar for scheduling, and I put a reminder on the days/months my expenses are due, with a reminder alarm the day before.
Some of these little things in our budget just escape our minds, but hopefully this list will help jog your memory and make you write them down so you don’t forget when the expense comes up! What else would you add to this list? Share with us in the comments!
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Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.