11 Non-Food Expenses to Factor Into Your Monthly Budget
Many people incorporate food expenses into their monthly budget, but forget to account for other expenses. It might be that these are the expenses they think of most actively, or perhaps they feel they have the most control over food purchases. Those who have lived previously as students or with their families might, in fact, be unused to any other kind of budgeting. However, in planning for every category of expenses, you can give yourself a much better chance of flourishing financially. Some of these expenses may seem obvious, such as rent or utilities, but should still be included in your official budget. Others might only be thought of after a few months of budgeting, leaving you behind and trying to catch up. Some expenses, unfortunately, are often only thought of once they occur, which can have a very damaging effect on your finances. Here are 11 non-food expenses that you should be factoring into your monthly budget.
This will often be the largest amount in your budget. If you own your own home, then mortgage payments will be budgeted for monthly. You might also include savings for home maintenance and repairs in this category. Other expenses such as fees for a Home Owners’ Association should also be included. If you do not own your own home, your monthly housing budget will be your rent.
You might prefer to separate insurance payments into other budget categories, such as including auto insurance with transportation. Otherwise, your insurance category can include all of your insurance payments, such as health insurance, life insurance, home insurance and others. You can work out your budget for each by dividing the total amount of the insurance payment by the number of months it spans. A year-long home insurance plan, for example, would be divided into twelve.
If you do not have taxes automatically deducted from your paycheck, putting money aside in preparation for your eventual tax payment can save you time and stress when tax season comes around. Of course, it can be hard to judge how much you should be saving. If your income is roughly the same as it has been in previous years, you can use your previous tax payments as a guide. If not, perhaps you could seek advice from a financial professional for an estimate.
Utilities and Home
If you have a fixed rate for water and electricity payments, then they are easy to budget for. If not, try to estimate the upcoming month based on past bills. Also included in this category are any phone, television and internet bills. Make sure to budget for cleaning products and items such as trash bags.
Loan and Credit Payments
Make sure to give these the space they need in your budget. This includes payments for credit cards, car payments, student loans and other debts. It is important to avoid any potential fees or extra interest that a late payment might accrue. If you consistently struggle to make these payments, you might need to adjust your payment plan.
Aside from insurance payments, you should make additional room in your budget for medical expenses. Regular prescriptions for medication will fall into this category. You might also need to buy pain killers or other medication or restock your first aid kit. Costs involved with dentistry should be included here as well as any payments for glasses or contacts. You might also need to meet your health insurance deductible if any of your family does become ill or injured.
Children’s Activities and Care
This includes any fees or dues paid to your children’s clubs or private lessons such as music or dance. You can also factor in other recreational activities such as the child paying to go bowling with friends. Allowance money should also go into this category. If relevant, you can also include payments for after school care or babysitting.
You may prefer to save up for clothing items as months pass rather than setting a specific budget category. However, you can include the amount you save as a category itself. If you have children, it is advisable to budget a certain amount for clothing every month. They will need new clothes more often that adults as a combined result of daily wear and growing. You might also include laundry expenses in this category.
If you own a car, then your transportation budget will include your average gas costs as well as regular maintenance. You might choose to include all car expenses, such as car payments and auto insurance, in this category as well. You may also want to account for emergency expenses in this budget, in the event you need to replace a tire or other part. If you do not own a car, your transportation budget will include your average spending on public transportation or ride shares.
This category might include soaps and shampoos, lotions, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other toiletry and sanitation items. You might also choose to include hair care in general in this section, including any haircuts that your family needs. Although most individuals do not think to include this in their budget, hygiene products can become quite expensive if they are bought at once.
It can be all too easy to forget the importance of having savings on hand. You might only think to put money away toward a specific expense, like a new refrigerator or a vacation. Without money already saved, however, a sudden unexpected expense can throw out your whole budget. There are a number of savings plans you can use to take advantage of long-term interest. Otherwise, a general emergency fund should still be an important and immediate goal. Factor monthly payments toward it until you have enough to cover between three to six months of living costs.