Are you struggling to make your budget work but keep coming up short?
If your budget isn’t working, you might think that you’re just not trying hard enough to stick to it. But I don’t think that’s always the case.
Instead, it’s likely that there are some categories missing that are causing you to have to pull from other categories when those things come up. Doing this makes you feel like you’re failing at budgeting. When in reality, you’re just missing a few pieces of the budgeting puzzle. Here are the five categories that are missing from your budget.
With the average debt-free journey lasting anywhere from one to three years, it’s not very likely that you’ll NEVER have to buy new shoes, pants, or even underwear during that time.
So if you find yourself skimping on your clothing budget, give it another look over and put some amount in your clothing budget each month.
It may just be a small amount that will add up over time, and you may go several months without touching it. But at least when your last good bra wears out, you’ll have the funds saved up so you can go buy a new one without the guilt of having to pull the money from your grocery budget.
2. Car Repairs
This is a common budget buster that can seem to come out of nowhere to throw your plan off course.
Just when you think you’ll be able to pay off that credit card, you realize that your car needs new tires and it’s not going to make it through the winter without them.
So if you’ve been neglecting car repairs in your budget, be sure to add some money to your car repairs fund each month. This should cover your normal oil changes and maintenance, including the cost of tune-ups and new tires if you can reasonably expect to need them in the next year.
Review your car manual to determine when your periodic car maintenance is recommended. And make sure that you’re saving monthly for the expense so that you can get it done worry free when the time comes. Your car will last longer, and you’ll avoid “surprise” emergencies so your pocketbook will end up thanking you later.
3. Home Repairs
If you’re a homeowner, then you’ve got to have some money set aside for home repairs and maintenance.
Did you know that you should get your HVAC system serviced every single year? We didn’t know that until we got ready to put our house on the market last year and realized it hadn’t been done since we bought the house six years earlier!
Yes, you should have an emergency fund to cover some unexpected costs. But you should also be proactive to save for any future repairs so that you don’t completely wipe out your emergency fund when they do come up.
If you know that you’ll be needing a new roof, water heater, or other major appliance in the coming months or even year, add this to your budget now and start saving.
4. Spending Money
This is another one — like clothing — that people want to cut out of their budget when they want to reach a financial goal quickly.
They think that since spending money on themselves is typically a “want” and not a “need,” they should avoid it completely.
And while you should make sure that your spending habits are in alignment with your goals and priorities, your budget should also have some balance.
Again, it’s not likely that you’ll never spend another dime on yourself while you’re getting out of debt so decide on a realistic amount that won’t delay you from reaching your goals.
When we were paying off our non-mortgage debt, my husband and I allocated $25 per month to us each for spending money. Now that we’re down to just our mortgage, we’ve decided to up that amount to $30 per month.
So it doesn’t have to be a lot, and you and your spouse should decide on an amount that is right for you. But you should have something set aside for when you want to go to happy hour with the girls or treat yourself to a mani/pedi.
Last but certainly not least is gifts. This is the biggest budget buster of all, and it’s one that is so often overlooked that I wrote an entire blog post about it.
On that post, I’ve even included a free template for you to use to make sure that you’re saving enough for gifts.
To give you some context, in 2014, my husband and I spent nearly $2,000 on gifts. And during that same year, we paid off more than $56,000 of debt. So suffice it to say, we were trying to be frugal while still giving generously to our loved ones.In 2015, we spent even more on gifts.
Think about all the gifts you buy for the people you know and love — for birthdays, Christmas, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, graduation, baby showers, weddings, retirements, going away parties, birthday parties for your kids… The list goes on and on. And it all adds up!
If you’re like us, then you love to be generous and help your loved ones celebrate their special occasions. So check out the free template and take a few minutes to forecast all of the people for whom you expect to buy gifts for the next year. Then save an appropriate amount each month so that the next time one of your kids are invited to a birthday party, you can feel good about helping them purchase a gift for their friend.
[bctt tweet=”If your budget isn’t working, it may be missing one of these five categories.” username=”MonicaRLouie”]
If your budget hasn’t been working, then it may be because you’re missing one or more of these five categories.
Make sure to add these to your budget, and you’ll be well on your way to budgeting success!
For more on budgeting check out these articles.
Now I’d love to hear about you!
Which of these categories are missing in your budget? What are some other categories that may be missing, as well? Please share in the comments below.
Have you joined our free community yet?
Join me in our private Facebook group called Your Debt Freedom Family, where we share more tips like this. We’ve got an energetic community of people who are kicking debt to the curb so they can break free and live life on their terms.
I’d love to see you there!
Keep moving forward toward your goals. You really can live the life you dream about!
Team Our Debt Free Family is the administrative WordPress user account for Ourdebtfreefamily.com. Our Debt Free Family is a premium classic personal finance blog. Our mission is to inform, educate and help you get out of debt.