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So. I’ve talked before about why you want a budget and even taken you through the steps of creating a budget that works. But. What if you just can’t seem to make your spending meet up with your budget at the end of the month?
The truth is, our money can slip right through our fingers if we’re not careful, and we won’t even notice until the figures don’t add up at the end of the month. Are any of these hidden expenses blowing your budget?
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Bank fees or credit card fees
Some, but not all, banks and credit cards have fees, and you may be paying one without even realizing it. These are usually charged on an annual basis, and unless you are going through your statements line by line you may not even be aware. First, look into all the accounts you have, and then decide whether any fees you may be paying are fees that you want to be paying. Bank fees and credit card fees are among the things that I don’t pay for.
These are pesky little things and again they are things that can go unnoticed. Library fees and Redbox fees are among the ones that I find the hardest to keep in check, but maybe yours are something different. Even paying late fees for credit cards and loans or on various monthly bills can go unnoticed. These are generally smaller in nature, but if you pay just one or two of these a month, these late fees will really end up blowing your budget
Making impulse buys
We all find things that we would love at the last minute, but these little exciting things so often leave us not quite as excited at the end of the month when our money has somehow vanished. Certain times these unexpected things can’t be avoided, but when your impulse buy is only a want, sleep on it first.
Not having a “what if” fund
This is not to be mistaken with an emergency fund. This is a smaller fund that would come into play for a last minute birthday party gift or school field trip, your son’s shoe that has gone missing, or when your coffee maker stops working (who can go without that?). This is a fund that is for all of those little things that annoy us when we need to buy them.
Gift shopping at the wrong time of the year
We love showering our loved ones with gifts, don’t we? However, this can also be a place where we can blow our budget really fast. In order to most effectively shop, which means saving the most money, it really is a year-round commitment. I shop for gifts year round. You can read more about that in stress free gift shopping.
Not having a budget for each person you buy gifts for
Of course sticking to that budget is also a part of it, but predetermining how much you have to spend on gifts each year and then dividing that up between the people you have to buy for is key. As kids get older, their gifts get more expensive. How will you account for that? When one of our children gets a higher value gift for their birthday, this will make for a more lean Christmas for them. This is because each person has a specific amount for gifts each year.
Not looking into fixing things before replacing them
So often when something breaks we head to the store to replace it. Oftentimes we could actually fix some of these things if we just put forth a little effort. When bigger things break we often call for the repairman, but even these things can be easily fixed at times, too. We saved more than $1000 last year by fixing and/or installing three appliances ourselves by watching videos and buying all the parts on our own.
Not adjusting your money out when your money in changes
Whether you earn your income on commission, receive a cutback in hours, or even experience job loss or a layoff, your spending habits simply must be changed when this sort of thing happens. These changes are usually only for a time, but to keep spending as though your income stayed the same simply will not work when it comes to your budget.
Not being open and honest about money matters in your marriage
It can be so hard to tackle difficult money issues in a marriage, but not facing and handling your money matters together means that they most likely aren’t going to be faced or handled at all. Having a budget meeting once a month or so is such a good thing. If one of you a spender while the other is a saver, read here.
Not shopping around
Whether it is insurance, cable or phone packages, or things at the grocery store, not doing your homework before making a purchase could be blowing your budget. Rates change, packages change, and things go up in price. Not making an accounting for these things and being a smart shopper is costing you money.
We can all have the best of intentions when it comes to the money we save, the money we plan to spend, and the money we actually spend. The best part is when all of these things actually go the way we think they will, but there are hidden expenses that can be blowing our budget and sabotaging our best efforts.
Make sure that these 10 hidden expenses aren’t blowing your budget!