A household budget is one of the best tools you can use to make sure your savings tick up rather than down.
Try to factor in every cost you can – home loan repayments, credit cards, energy and water bills are just the start. But sometimes, it’s impossible to think of everything and even the most organised people can forget the most basic day-to-day expenses. Here’s our short-list of things you might accidentally leave out.
1. The car
Most people do remember to include the car in the household budget, but with so many different expenses, you might end up forgetting one. Costs include petrol, rego, compulsory third party and comprehensive insurance, car loan repayments, servicing, parking, car washing and repairs. Yep, owning a set of wheels is one big money pit.
2. Interest rate rises
If you’ve got a home loan, there’s every chance your interest rate will be at least two per cent higher before you pay it off. Try to budget this in – or better yet, be proactive and start making these higher rates now as additional repayments. A home loan calculator will help you work out how much these extra repayments will be and show you how many thousands of dollars you’ll save in the long run.
3. The dog (or cat)
It’s hard to forget the family dog, but surprisingly they can get left out of the household budget. Start with the essentials – food, vet bills and flea and tick treatments – and work your way back from there. A comfy bed, collar, lead, bowl, grooming, treats and toys are just a handful of items your favourite family member might need.
Things break. It’s a fact of life that no-one really likes but all too often everything seems to go at once. The car might accidentally go into a shopping cart, your phone might turn up in a glass of water or your TV might decide to turn to snow. It’s always good to set aside some money in the family budget for wear and tear on your favourite devices and gadgets.
5. Birthday presents
Whether it’s a first birthday or a 90th, presents are pretty important things to take along to a party. If you end up celebrating two birthdays every month and spend $50 a pop, that’s $1,200 a month, before you’ve even factored in Christmas. Time to start thinking about introducing that “no present rule”.
6. Bank fees
Depending on what kind of savings and transaction accounts you use, there may be monthly fees. If you do, its worth thinking about using a comparison tool to find an account with lower, or better yet, no fees. That way, it’s one less thing to budget for.
7. Personal care
You might have your grocery budget sorted but have you included toiletries? Moisturisers can be astronomically expensive, while other day-to-day items such as shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes and deodorant can really start to add up. Keep an eye on how much you spend on toiletries a month and consider buying in bulk from providers offering specials.