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Secret Costs You Didn’t Put in Your Budget

brown-haired man in a blue shirt and olive pants fixing the pipe under a bathroom sink

Whether you’ve been budgeting for a few months, or a few decades, everyone knows that all it takes is one surprise expense to throw off your whole balance sheet. Maybe it was something simple like needing an exam from a specialist, or maybe it was something more difficult to tackle like a broken down vehicle. It’s impossible to plan for every little thing, but if you save for some things, you just may be able to keep up.

Identifying Hidden Costs

When it comes to getting proactive about surprise costs, it’s important to think through different types of things that could pop up. Some of the top sources of surprise costs include:

  • Home Ownership
  • Car Maintenance
  • Family Health
  • Special Occasions

Every homeowner accepts responsibility for replacing a leaky roof or running toilet when they sign the deed. 20- and 30-somethings can expect at least one wedding invitation a year. Buying a wedding gift, getting the right outfit, and booking a hotel can add up!

Take stock of where you are in life and what could be coming around the bend. This will help you get an idea of how much you should be saving out of your budget to turn those surprise costs into planned costs.

Build Out Your Budget

After laying out your overlooked expenses, it’s time to break it down into your budget. After using past experiences and general guesses to estimate that unexpected cost, simply divide by 12 to get a clear picture of how much you should save each month. If you know a cost may be more immediate than that, adjust the equation to achieve your savings in fewer months.

Of course some things, you simply can’t save for. Keep in mind that every little bit helps! Adjust your budget as much as you can comfortably adjust. You can keep your emergency fund in your regular savings account or even open a separate account just for that.

Need some help getting your budget started? Try one of three proven techniques to get you on track!


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