What’s Missing from Your Budget?

November 12, 2020

It’s November in Maine, which can only mean one thing: snow is on the horizon. While this is good news to skiers and snowmobilers, it also means a handful of expenses that don’t come up in the summer:

  • Oil/propane.
  • Snow tires.
  • Plowing the driveway.
  • New winter jackets for the family… the list goes on!

As winter and a new year approaches, it may be appropriate to revisit your budget and consider the items you may be leaving out. Few people track every dollar they spend to manage their budget, and you don’t necessarily need to. But just going through the process of listing your expenses can give you a truer picture of your spending – and what’s left over for you to give, save, or invest.

The most often forgotten items are those that come up annually or a few times per year, such as:

  • Car registration & maintenance.
  • Home maintenance.
  • Holiday gift-giving.
  • Vision or dental expenses.
  • Veterinary bills.

Another big one that’s becoming more common: subscriptions and memberships. While individually these tend to be small items, they may add up to a larger amount than you’re budgeting for. A Netflix subscription is about $13 per month, but do you also pay for Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO?

This year, I wouldn’t judge anyone who subscribes to all those services and uses them! In all seriousness, an occasional review of your budget and spending is foundational to your overall financial plan and provides a sense of control over your finances.