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Suggestions for unpredictable yet bound-to-happen expenses?

Last post Thu, Mar 13 2014 3:47 PM by Walt34. 11 replies.
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  • Thu, Oct 3 2013 6:45 PM

    Suggestions for unpredictable yet bound-to-happen expenses?


    I'm new!

    I've been very good at tracking my day-to-day spending - yay me!

    I've sorted out a budget in the past but for some reason it's never really lasted long. I think the main reason is that some expenses I fuind hard to baudget for.


    For instance, clothes. We very rarely buy new, instead we sew, buy in thrift stores or have hand-me-downs. but occasionally we have to buy new (shoes mainly) but I can't rpedict when my kids will have a growth spurt or when my shoe will break. 

    Haircuts...I've never been a regularly hair salon person but my hair does need cutting every few months...maybe I need to make it a regular thing so I can budget for it?

    Does anyone have any suggestions for unpredictable expenses pls?


    thank you

  • Thu, Oct 3 2013 6:54 PM In reply to

    Re: Suggestions for unpredictable yet bound-to-happen expenses?

    We have a budget item called "the slush fund" where we put a certain amount of money every month. Its not exactly an emergency fund, but its for those irregular expenses that come up. The key is to define exactly what the money can be spent for. For instance, we said our slush fund can only be used for car repairs, gifts, travel, and charitable contributions. So we'll be dipping into that fund this weekend to attend a wedding, we used some last month to pay for a car repair, and we'll use some for Christmas presents. Usually you know a few months ahead of time if you'll have an event (like a wedding) and you can usually estimate that your kids will need 2 pairs of shoes a year or that you'll need to get your brakes and tires done. So add it all up and divide by 12 and save it away.
  • Fri, Oct 4 2013 6:01 AM In reply to

    Re: Suggestions for unpredictable yet bound-to-happen expenses?

     Thank you for the suggestions, sounds like a good method.

    I'll plan for 2 pairs per kid per year and plan 1 coat as well and see how I go.

  • Fri, Oct 4 2013 9:39 AM In reply to

    Re: Suggestions for unpredictable yet bound-to-happen expenses?

    The 'problem' with a slush fund (for me, anyway) is that if a $ amt. is budgeted for that I'll be sure to use it all! :( A few years ago we included a $ amt. in our budget for credit card payment (pd. end of every month). Discovered that we sometimes charged things that were not needs because we had allowed ourselves so much. I understand that this is a flaw in my makeup but wanted to pass on this caution to others.
  • Fri, Oct 4 2013 10:45 AM In reply to

    Re: Suggestions for unpredictable yet bound-to-happen expenses?

    I would budget in haircuts and shoes. We have 5 in our family and while none of us get a cut once a month, someone does. So I put that amount in each month just so I know it is there. I always budget for clothing and shoot high because of shoes. Since I do my budget for the next month during the last 10 days of the previous month, I can sort of tell by looking at shoes who may need them. For example, in Sept, I noticed that middle child was outgrowing his shoes. We didn't have another pair at home so I put a reasonable amount in my clothing budget for october. With a Kohl's coupon and cash, I came out $12 less than I planned so a bit left.

    I know you can't plan for the truly "unexpected" so it's good to have a small "extra" fund for small purchases like haircuts and shoes.

    For me, it's not hte occasional shoes or haircuts that cause me budget problems, it's the big ones, like a $400 car repair or my dryer conking out. So instead of having those in my monthly budget, I put $100 in savings each month (split it up, 1/2 for repairs, 1/2 for gifts and travel). So it's more of a safety net/emergency fund.

    Good luck and welcome!

  • Sat, Dec 7 2013 10:37 PM In reply to

    Re: Suggestions for unpredictable yet bound-to-happen expenses?

     The typical way to handle recouring, but not monthly, expenses is to set an amount(IE: you know what a trip to the hair salon costs). Then, each month you put a bit asside to cover the expense when it comes up. For me, I would make sure I put some money into savings each month that was separate from the emergency fun. i would keep a separate record of what went in and out of that acount. 

  • Sun, Jan 26 2014 8:08 PM In reply to

    • rolo
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Apr 4 2007
    • Michigan
    • Posts 1,932

    Re: Suggestions for unpredictable yet bound-to-happen expenses?

     We deposit $X into our savings account that is earmarked for those types of expenses.  Each category has a set amount in it.  We track how much is in each cateory on Excel.  When we need to use the $ we transfer it onlline into the checking account. 

    We keep $X in a cash envelope for clothing.  Other categories are in the savings account: vehicle repairs/maintenance, home repairs/maintenance, annal insurance premiums. 



    "People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost." ~~ Dalai Lama XIV -

  • Fri, Feb 14 2014 7:44 PM In reply to

    Re: Suggestions for unpredictable yet bound-to-happen expenses?

    I have a budget on Mint, which includes all of these, clothes, car repair, gas, even coffee shop!  ($10 a month, for me once or twice or to save and bring the older kids every few months.) Travel, dining out, and charity are catagories I use, as well as gifts, kids, and home supplies, which covers cleaners, paper products,  grass seed, even little expenses like shampoo and smoke detector bateries. 

  • Thu, Feb 27 2014 11:56 AM In reply to

    • pmburk
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Jan 16 2013
    • DFW, Texas
    • Posts 109

    Re: Suggestions for unpredictable yet bound-to-happen expenses?

    We put our haircuts into the budget. My husband goes every 4 weeks and I vary mine every 8-12 weeks. I would just find out what amount that's going to be, and then put it into the budget every 12 weeks (or however often you need to go).

    For something like clothing I would just allot a certain amount per month, like $20 or whatever.

  • Fri, Feb 28 2014 5:18 PM In reply to

    Re: Suggestions for unpredictable yet bound-to-happen expenses?

    When I was a single parent and kept track of all income and spending I had both an "emergency" category and an "irregular" category. Emergency funds were not to be touched except if something just quit and couldn't be lived without. Irregular funds would have covered this odd genuine but otherwise unaccounted for needs. AM
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