Setting a strict monthly budget to adhere to is no easy feat and often involves having to factor in every small element of your monthly spend. However, regardless of what budgeting tools you’re utilising and the budget tips you’re following, there are always those pesky extra expenses that you forget to include – and often, these can add up to blow your budget each month.
That’s why today, we’re taking a closer look at 4 of the most common expenses you always forget to budget for, showing you how to budget money more effectively in future to ensure you’re never caught out by any unwelcome surprises.
An MOT is an annual requirement on any vehicle over three years old, however this doesn’t stop it from being a total (and often bitter) surprise each year if your vehicle requires repairing! With the average cost of MOT repairs totalling £143 in 2018, this expense can wreak havoc on your budget if not originally accommodated within your budget for.
As such, when working out your total monthly expenditure at the beginning of the year, take out a sum from your total gross income and leave it to one side, basing your budget off the new income amount. This way, you’ll most likely forget about the extra cash left over from your initial budget calculations, meaning you can afford to fork out on any necessary vehicle maintenance without exceeding and subsequently readjusting your budget.
No matter if you spend £200 on the full salon treatment or you’re a simple £10 ‘short, back and sides’ kind of guy, there’s one avoidable fact – hair grows.
There can be a fine line between a good hair day and wondering where your eyes went, but we can usually predict the timescale between haircuts based on our desired look. As a result, be sure to factor this cost in at the beginning of each relevant month. As a means of remembering, why not look to utilise budgeting tools like Vault, a smartphone application that enables you to track future spending on a user-friendly calendar.
When calculating a monthly budget based on income, expenses and overheads, gifts can easily be an afterthought. But with everything from birthdays to graduations, mandatory gifts can often be costly enough to constitute a significant proportion of your monthly budget. What’s more, with events such as engagement parties, baby showers and promotion celebrations being generally unpredictable, knowing how much to set aside each month can be difficult.
As a result, the best way to approach how to budget for gifts is to set aside a set amount each month. If you don’t spend the full amount, roll it into the next – this will ensure typically more expensive months, such as December, are still financially manageable. If you’re struggling to keep track, look for assistance from budgeting tools such as Monzo that enable you to organise your funds into different ‘saving pots’.
Undoubtedly the most significant expense that isn’t factored into your monthly budget is emergency costs – whether that be fixing an unexpected plumbing problem, paying emergency veterinary costs, covering essential vehicle maintenance or anything else of the sort.
In situations like these, it’s common for people to reach into their savings to cover the costs. However, with enough foresight, you can ensure your budget remains flexible to accommodate emergency situations. The best way to do this is through keeping an emergency (or ‘rainy day’) pot that is separate to both your savings and monthly disposable funds – aim to have £1000 in this pot at any one time. This way, you’re able to cover any unexpected costs that come your way without having to exceed your monthly restrictions or sacrifice saving towards your long-term goal.
Sticking to a budget each month is much easier said than done, especially when there are forgotten expenses popping up left, right and centre. With that in mind, we hope this article has helped you understand how to budget more effectively, making those pesky extra costs more manageable in future.