We know budgeting and the critical role it plays in the success of your financial goals. At this point, you’ve probably done the essential budget categories and your monthly budget is up and running!
We want to go a step further and fine-tune your budget. We are going to seal off ‘spending leaks’ that we rarely considered when coming up with a budget. The mindset that budgeting is a boring task, and one that prevents us from enjoying our hard earned money, causes us to miss out on a lot while budgeting. And these things we leave out become leaks in our budget, because we are unable to account for how much we spent and on what. So we are constantly wondering where our money went. Do you relate to this? Because I most definitely remember a time I used to wonder why my money was going. I really couldn’t see it.
Here are 7 commonly forgotten budget categories that you should include in your budget.
Rarely do most people take into account their wardrobe needs when doing their budgets. While most families with kids take into account clothes and shoes purchases, those living alone are prone to overlook this budget category. Most rely on opportunity/impulse buying for their wardrobe needs. But, for someone on a financial freedom journey like you, this is not a healthy personal finance habit. It is prudent to create a budget line for items such as shoes, clothes, bags and accessories. This way, you will manage to dress nicely within your means.
Giving and special days
We all want to be generous, especially on special occasions with friends and family. Weddings, baby showers, graduations, and kids’ birthday parties gifts may all be very expensive if not budget for well. To include this category in your budget, you should set a spending limit for giving and special occasions. Even better, you should go ahead and create a gift-giving sinking fund! This will allow you to save and accumulate money and attend to those gifting needs as they arise.
Home improvements and technology upgrades
Owning a house can be costly, but these costs do not have to take you by surprise. Many homeowners tend to overlook home maintenance fees. Consequently, these maintenance fees arise at a time when the budget is tight and the money has been allocated to other needs. The same also goes for electronic gadgets like laptops, digital TV receivers and the likes. Don’t forget to budget for critical repairs and upgrades at the beginning of each month.
Bank Fees and Mobile Transaction charges
How keen are you with the M-Pesa transaction charges? How about the interest rates on mobile loans? I am convinced that mobile transaction charges are one of the leading ‘money leaks’ among Kenyans today. Now that ATMs are slowly becoming a thing of the past as more banks integrate digital banking, it is easy to overlook the bank fees attached to your bank account type. This budget category is tricky, especially with M-Pesa transaction charges, but with careful budgeting and periodic reviewing of your budget, you will be able to know roughly how much you can allocate to the category.
Of course you don’t have to give up on fun just because you are budgeting. So many people believe that having fun on a budget is impossible. But the truth is, you can have a lot of fun if you plan ahead of time. In fact, budgeting for entertainment makes budgeting even more fun and will motivate you to keep at it. Consider the amount you want to allocate to this budget category and note it down at the beginning of each month. You deserve to enjoy your hard-earned cash. Activities like eating out, ordering in, outdoor activities, luxury shopping should have a play in your budget.
TV and Online Subscriptions
The list of tempting and useful annual subscription services available these days is endless. From streaming services to learning platforms, subscription services are the norm of the day. As much as you should be careful to sign up for only those that you need and make use of, you should take a step further and include them in your budget. Even if the cost of each of these items is very tiny, the total cost can quickly build up.
This is both the most frequently overlooked budget category and the hardest to prepare for. This category is for items that we don’t always see coming like urgent Uber rides, bereavement contributions, emergency pharmacy runs and other small household items. These items don’t fit neatly into any budget category, but they may take a big chunk out of your finances if you don’t plan for them.