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5 hidden costs to include in your monthly budget

(NC) Creating a monthly budget allows you to anticipate and track your spending so that your credit card bill isn’t a surprise. While things like rent, groceries and transit may be top of mind, there are few costs that may slip through the cracks. For example, automated payments are easily forgotten and can add up overtime.

It’s important to have an accurate picture of your spending to get a better handle on your finances. While there are plenty of hidden costs, here are five you may not be budgeting for:

Repairs. It’s crucial to set up a monthly budget category for repairs. This can be broken down into categories such as transportation (car, bike), house (plumbing, electrical, roofing) and technology (computer, phone) repair. Look at the average costs to repair items in those categories and set that budget aside. If you don’t end up using it, consider moving it to the next month or absorbing it elsewhere.

Pets. For those with pets, there are several expenses you may not consider budgeting. PetSmart suggests tracking payments that occur frequently like food purchases and grooming. Grooming needs to be professionally done every four to six weeks.

Pet emergencies is a category many may not think of, but can have the biggest impact. You never know when your pet may need to see a vet, and in the moment, you will do anything to help them, no matter the cost.  Call your local vet to understand potential emergency costs and consider looking into pet insurance.

Gifts. Gifts for special occasions can creep up, so it’s always important to budget when you know a major milestone is happening. The first step is setting a budget for birthdays and anniversaries as they occur every year. Set out a maximum spend, consider giving a homemade gift or provide a gift card so you know the chance of it being left unused is lower. 

Afterwards, plan for unexpected gifts such as weddings, engagement parties, baby showers and retirement parties. If you know these things could happen in the near future, look at average costs that people give as gifts.