Hey, it’s Danielle from Busy Mom’s Helper again…
Okay, so I know normally I’m sharing some tasty recipe or fun craft project here, but today I wanted to touch base on something a bit different: finances. Specifically, how you can Avoid Getting Burned by Irregular Expenses. Trust me, I’ve now learned the hard way!
Most people that know me well, know that I’m a budget fanatic. Seriously! I love doing our budget, and get excited when I have an excuse to tweak it (a raise, or one less credit bill, preferably…although sometimes a spike in food costs or the like happens). That being said, despite how meticulous I’ve been with our budget every single month for over four years now, we got burned over the past 6 months….badly! Yes, a few things that happened were ‘Emergency Fund’ type occurrences, but many were simply Irregular Expenses that I failed to plan for….again.
Now, you probably know all the basic aspects of a good budget, right? One area that many fail to include (myself included, I’m finally accepting) is a spot for Irregular Expenses. Basically, this is anything that DOES happen, but not every single month. This can be things like vehicle oil changes, gifts for birthdays or holidays, HOA dues, or many others. Add these up, divide by twelve (add a little margin for error, too) and put that in your monthly budget as Irregular Expenses. Then you can plan on the same amount every month, even if the expenses aren’t as regular.
Bit of advice, though…put it in a separate bank account, such as its own savings. Or even use the envelope method! Otherwise one month it could be so piled up you think ‘what the heck, I’ll just spend some on a fun girl’s night out’. Next thing you know, you don’t have enough when the bills do come rolling in!
Here’s a list of Irregular Expenses to consider:
- Vehicle oil changes and maintenance
- Vehicle registrations and inspections
- HOA dues
- Quarterly bug sprays or services
- Gifts (birthday, Christmas, anniversary, valentines, etc.)
- Holiday expenses (decorations, extra food, etc.)
- Insurance premiums (home owners, auto, life, etc.)
- Medical expenses, co-pays, etc.
- Dental expenses, co-pays, etc.
- Glasses and Contacts
- Tax payments (property, income, etc.)
- Home maintenance and repairs
- Lawn care and services
- Class or school fees
- Club memberships
- Insurance deductibles
- Pet grooming, check-ups, prescriptions, etc.
- Your grooming, hair appointments, etc.
- Clothing and shoes
- Newspaper or magazine subscriptions
- Vacations and travel (I would keep this separate, but that’s just my opinion)
- Amazon Prime, etc.
- Season tickets/passes
*there could be others, this is just to get your brainstorming started
*If you’re wondering where I got these budget printables, they’re from my friend Abby at Just A Girl And Her Blog!
Still wondering how we totally got burned this year by my lack of planning? I was basing my plan on PAST years, which is hunky-dory unless things change. We didn’t make it to the dentist last year, so of course, we didn’t have any dental payments to factor in. We didn’t own a home before, so guess how bad I panicked when the first tax stuff came due? It wasn’t pretty, I’ll tell ya that! Hubby had a minor auto accident, and I hadn’t factored in our deductible. Along with the house, I wasn’t used to HOA dues every 6 months.
Needless to say, it’s been quite an adjustment the past year, but I think I’m getting more on track now that I’ve really looked hard at our situation NOW versus our situation BEFORE. The past can help plan for the future, but don’t base everything on it. Life changes, so must we. And good planning, especially with our money, can really help with that life!