It’s easy to draw up a monthly budget that takes into account your regular bills and expenses, but it’s also easy to overlook the less regular costs that eat into your hard-earned cash. We have highlighted these expenses to help you draw up an annual budget that reflects your financial reality. Here are some of those often overlooked expenses that you should be factoring in every month.
Servicing your car Car services are usually recommended at every 15 000km, depending on your vehicle. That means that, depending on how much ground you cover, you will most likely service your car once or twice a year.
Replacement parts for your car Unfortunately, services don’t cover everything and you’ll need to replace windscreen wiper blades, brakes, shock absorbers or tyres. While these aren’t as predictable as services, they are inevitable expenses, so be sure to factor them in.
Visits to the hairdresserFor some, visits to the hairdresser or barber are a monthly – or even weekly – outing. But if you don’t mind getting a bit shaggy between trims, you may find that you overlook the costs of grooming.
Throwing birthday parties and giving giftsYour birthday comes but once a year, but if there are four people in your family, that’s four parties plus gifts you have to fork out for. And if you have a kid in school, chances are that you’re buying at least two birthday presents for someone else’s child each month. And don’t forget Christmas!
Clothes when the season changes or when your children grow Whether you’re updating your winter wardrobe, or buying new school shoes for a growing child, you need to budget for new clothes.
School supplies, outings, class photos and cake and candySome schools have a flat “extras” fee that you pay at the beginning of the year, while others request money when the time comes for stationery, excursions, photos or special events at the school. Make sure you’re prepared, either way.
Medical expensesYou should visit your dentist every six months to a year, and most people visit the doctor at least once in winter – and then have to buy medication. Depending on your health and your children’s development, you may also have to visit various specialists or therapists in the course of a year. While your medical aid or medical savings account may cover some or all of this, most people end up having to pay out of their own pockets towards the end of the year.
Pet vaccinationsDogs and cats should get their shots annually. Don’t neglect this important aspect of pet care because you haven’t budgeted for it.
Any holidays you plan to takeWhether it’s for your year-end holiday or two long-weekend breaks during the year, you should be putting aside the money for any trips you plan on taking.
Pay your TV licence, car licence and radio licenceYour TV licence is a fact of life. Budget for it. Pay it. Same with your car. And if you have a burglar alarm with armed response, you’ll need a radio licence for your transmitter, which probably comes off your fees every January, so make sure you’ve factored it in.
Pay for your kids’ extra murals Some extra mural fees are charged monthly, others every term. Don’t forget to make provision for a bundle of money every few months to round out your children’s talents and interests.
Staff bonuses at year-end If you employ domestic staff like a gardener or a housekeeper, you should be paying them a double salary in December – so make sure that’s been listed in the budget as well.
The bottom lineOf course, all these costs don’t crop up at regular intervals throughout your year. You may coast along for a couple of months with no extra expenses and then find yourself having to buy a new school uniform and replace the tyres on your car, just after you booked – and paid for – that weekend away in the Berg. But if you make a budget that truly reflects the money you’ll spend, you’ll have a far clearer idea of your true expenses and your disposable income. This will be vital to making it through 2016 – which is set to be a tough year for everyone – in good financial health.