This piece was originally written for and published on Business Insider
Ever get that feeling you’re forgetting something? Something big and important … and potentially expensive that you should have started saving for a while ago?
You might if you’re forgetting to save for one of these big items that many people tend to not think about, until it’s time to make a payment and they don’t have the cash on hand to do so.
Don’t let that happen to you! Take this as a quick reminder of three major things that most people always forget to save for:
1. Mid-term goals
While it’s a really big goal that will take time to reach, you know you need to save for retirement now (even if it’s 20 or 30 years down the road). The need to save up for things that you’ll want in the next few months or years probably seems obvious, too.
But what almost everyone forgets to account for are the years in between the near future and the very long term.
It’s easy to forget to save for what you might want to do or use your money on in 10 to 15 years because it’s really hard to imagine what life will look like in this mid-term period. The thing is, you don’t need to know exactly what your 10-year goals are, or what your lifestyle will be 15 years from now.
It’s enough to know that you will likely have some kind of goal and want to use your money to fund some kind of lifestyle … so you better start saving for that now!
As you get more clarity, you can add more detail to your plan. For now, just make sure you’re putting something away that you can use in the mid-term.
2. Everything you have to buy after you buy a new house
You know you have to save not just for a down payment on the home you want to buy, but also for the closing costs that you need to pay when taking out a mortgage. What you might forget, however, is everything you probably need to buy after you close and get the keys to your new place.
If you’re moving from a small starter home or apartment into a larger home, you should budget for things like furnishings and supplies. That includes more furniture if you have some extra rooms that you didn’t have before … but it might also include items you never needed before, like a lawnmower or stepladders.
As part of the process of evaluating how much house you can afford, consider making a list of items you’ll need once you actually own a home (or a new property). Are there specific items you’ll need? Furniture you know you want to buy?
Estimate the costs and build those into your home-buying budget, so you don’t forget to save up for these expenses ahead of time.
3. Known expenses with irregular due dates
Even my most financially savvy financial planning clients struggle with this last one. Almost everyone forgets to save or budget for expenses that you know are coming at some point in the year… but they have unusual, irregular, or unpredictable schedules in terms of when they’re due.
This could range from membership fees to subscription services to car or home maintenance that doesn’t happen on an easy-to-remember schedule. (For example, we have a well on our property and we have a water treatment system in place that is on a 16-week schedule.)
To find known-but-irregular expenses in your budget, pull up your bank and credit card statements for the last 12 months — and go through all of them, line by line, to find and mark the expenses that snuck up on you over the year.
Yes, it’s a bit tedious. But it also helps you identify precisely what you forgot to save money for. Once you find those costs, put reminders or alerts on your calendar or phone so you know when to expect them again.
You can also total up all those expenses that don’t necessarily occur monthly, and then divide by 12. Take that number and put it in your monthly budget as a line item.
Then, move the amount to a savings account each month. That way, you’ll start building a slush fund you can use when those things you tend to forget about come due.
Want more financial advice you can actually use? Check out Beyond Your Hammock, a fee-only financial planning firm that specializes in helping 30- and 40-somethings get clarity and start building wealth.