Make Sure Your Budget Isn't Missing Any of These 14 Expense Categories

Wednesday, May 19, 2021


Whenever I explain to people how to set up a budget, they always ask how I know what categories to include. I tell them how I evaluate my spending in the months before and figure out where all my money went but still, there are always random expenses you completely forget about it until the time comes and you’re kicking yourself. Sometimes it’s because it’s such a rare expense that you forget it exists and other times it’s because the way you paid for it or the fact that you misplaced your receipt and you paid cash so there’s no online record. Either way, I’m helping you all out today by giving you a list or things that your budget could be missing. Ensuring every category is accounted for whether you pay into it monthly or weekly is a way to help avoid surprise expenses that cause you to tap into your savings or use a credit card.


You may already have a Christmas fund but trust me, there are sooo many occasions that pop up before then. What I do is I make a list of all the people I buy gifts for and the occasion which means secret Santa exchanges at work, anniversaries with my husband, and I account for 1-2 baby/bridal showers a year. So make the list of those people and occasions and then next to each, write down a budget. Then total it up. Now you can divide that by 12 months and see what you should set aside monthly. Doing this also allows you to tap into your gift fund without draining it before Christmas. This is also an excellent way to stick to a budget when buying gifts.

Tax Preparation

While you can often deduct the fees from your tax return amount, it can still be helpful to prepare for that, or in the case where you don’t get anything back or you owe money, it’s helpful to have an idea of what tax prep will cost you.

Car Registration and License Fees

Some people factor this into their car maintenance budget which is a great idea. Check to see if you’re driver’s license is up for renewal this year as well. This lets you figure out how much to save for registration and a license before the time comes.

Special Annual Events

Personally, I use my fun category for event tickets but I also think of any yearly events that occur like a regular fundraising 5k, Girl Scout Cookie purchases from a coworker’s child, or a neighborhood picnic. For the months those events occur, perhaps you can add a little extra money in your fun category. Some people even create a budget category specifically for that special event and then add to it every month.

Gardening Costs

For people that grow their own food or take pride in their landscaping, gardening is a big deal. That being said, garden tools, seeds, plants, and soil are a typical expense each year. Don’t forget to set some money aside for this!

Home Maintenance Costs

Depending on your home, you may have yearly expenses like heating/cooling inspection, chimney cleaning, and lawn care that you should save for during the year. This is a great category for emergencies as well. You never know when you will need to call the plumber!


If you subscribe to any magazines, security services, web-hosting, etc. you will likely incur annual fees for those things. Don’t let them surprise you! Write everything down and total it then divide by 12 to determine how much you should set aside each month.


This is important for people that don’t have their parents at the ready to babysit. You never know when you may need a sitter in a bind, and having the money ahead of time is one less thing you’ll have to stress about plus money won’t be a factor that holds you back.

Hosting A Party

Some people build this cost into their grocery budget. If they are hosting something, the food gets paid for out of this category. That’s how I do it too because it really makes me think of how much I want to spend and it encourages me to ask guests to bring a dish of their own.

Self Care

Whether it’s a yearly massage, a haircut, or a nail salon visit, these are things you should account for. I have a specific nail and hair fund where I set money aside each paycheck and by the time my appointments come, I have the exact amount I need, tip included!

Car Maintenance or Long Term Replacement Costs

Your car tires won’t last forever, so start setting money aside now so that by the time you need them it’s not a stressful thing for you to deal with. Also, don’t forget about oil changes and little things like replacing bulbs or air filters each year. All of these expenses should be included in a car fund.

Medical Costs

While most of us have health insurance, we still have copays and prescription costs. Make sure you write down what appointments you have throughout the course of a year (doctor, gyno, dentist, etc.) and figure out the copay for each then make sure to have that amount at the ready in a medical fund. Also, write down the costs of all prescriptions, allowing one or two emergency prescription costs (in case you’re sick and get prescribed an antibiotic).

Kid Costs

Those extra curricular activities come with a price, so make sure you budget for them. This is also a great excuse to limit how many activities your kids are in.

Pet Costs

An emergency vet expense category is great but don’t forget food, medications, supplies, vaccinations, grooming, and dog license fees!!

I hope I’ve helped to jog your memory of some yearly expenses you may have forgotten about so you can be better prepared for them! What other expenses can you think of that people often miss?

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