How can you expect the unexpected when you’re on a budget? When every penny has a plan, what about things that are more than just a monthly expense? Things can take you by surprise. Sometimes accidents happen. Maybe someone needs emergency medical work.
So what do I have in my surprises budget?
I like my house, and I don’t want it to fall apart. Homes need to be maintained so that they don’t break and a catastrophic way. Fixing small things before they have a chance to become big things, is so important. It is very important to make sure that you set aside expenses for chimney sweeping, house painting, roof maintenance, plumbing maintenance, and any other kinds of expensive that it will take to make sure that you maintain your home so that it doesn’t break. These expenses I will always make sure that I keep in my budget.
After we first bought our house, someone said to us “now you get to sit around and wait for stuff to break!” Two years in a row, our basement got flooded in a flash flood. It was one of those hundred year floods, but we still got water in our basement. Thankfully, it was covered by insurance. But we still needed to cover a huge ductable. Plus all of the items in the basement that were ruined. Since then we made sure to set aside money for any kind of potential repairs that need to happen around the house. Houses can be tricky. Roof leak, windows crack, appliances break, and so many other things can happen. If each month you set aside some money plan for the unexpected problems, you will be much happier if you need them.
I don’t know about you, but I am highly dependent on my car. So is my husband! We absolutely need to make sure that our cars function well and are taking care of properly. I would much rather pay for an oil change and a tire rotation and fluids check every 3 months then have to skip all of that and wind up breaking something like the transmission. Now, I am NOT a car person. So I probably wouldn’t actually break the transmission if I skip the oil change that that that I don’t know I might. But I don’t want to chance it! That’s why I always make sure there’s money for car maintenance in my budget.
Special occasion and treats
We’ve all had a bad day at some point. I don’t know about you, but is the end of a bad day, all I want to do is order some takeout and maybe have a glass of wine. And lots of chocolate.
For my husband, he works hard and sometimes she is a tough day. He deserves to be able to go out and get beer with friends every once in awhile.
For the kids, maybe they’ve had a long day. Or maybe they had a particularly scarring doctor’s appointment. It’s at this point in time that I’m glad that we have a treat budget.
Not to be confused with the going out budget, the treat budget is specifically for special occasions and once in awhile when someone has had a bad for a tough day. I allowed $20 a month and whatever is left over from our grocery budget. It’s not much, but it’s just right for a pint of ice cream for some really good beer.
Charity and tithing
Now, this isn’t exactly unexpected. But it’s definitely something that I always make sure to work into my budget. We’ve been so blessed and we believe that we should help where we can both in church and with charity. When we were really struggling we got help when we need it most. It’s time for us to help others in the same situation.
We give to our church in the form of tithes. But we also make sure that we donate to some of our favorite charities. Our personal favorite charity is the Baltimore Water Project. My husband is from Baltimore and he’s always had a heart for Baltimore City. It’s really a fantastic charity to donate to. You can learn more about them here.
I know, I know. Technically it’s not a surprise expense. But unless you plan for it throughout the course of the year, it can be a surprise expense. Each year we go on vacation with my husband’s extended family and we all share a gigantic house in the Outer Banks. It is absolutely the best vacation in the entire world.
But each year, for whatever reason, the expenses of vacation crept up on me in July. We go on vacation in August. They give me about a month to come up with the needed $1,500 for our vacation. I am NOT making that mistake anymore.
We started saving for our vacation the day that we got home from vacation last year. We are now absolutely ready for when we have to start paying for vacation. For us, vacation is absolutely necessary; not only does it give my husband a much needed week off of work, it also gives us a lot of quality time to spend with family. I will absolutely always make some money in our budget to ensure that we are able to go on vacation as a family. It is that important to me.
It is important that when you have a budget to expect the unexpected. Things happen. Life is not predictable. There can be emergencies there can be a million different things that could happen or go wrong. You can’t predict the future, but you can make sure that you save up for it.
What do you plan for in your budget?
Angela @ Setting My Intention says
Hi Caroline! I love that you budget these things in. We’re just starting to seriously budget this year with a zero based budget. There really isn’t any extra income right now for “treats” which has been a problem in our 2nd month of budgeting! But we’re making progress and that is hugely satisfying – as well as necessary!
Jamie @ Medium Sized Family says
The Outer Banks is our favorite vacation spot!! We love it, but it’s a big treat when we go for sure.
I really like how you plan for maintenance. It’s so important. You might think you’re saving money by skipping those things, but boy do you pay big time when you do that.
Angelina @ Peonies & Orange Blossoms says
Great budget tips! I save for all of these things too. http://honeybearsandsydneybeans.blogspot.ca/2016/03/winter-games-and-rewarding-m-cookies.html
Caroline, we definitely need to be setting some aside for emergencies. It’s kind of like when you have a lot of money burning a hole in your pocket and you go shopping and you can’t find anything. But the time you go to the mall to window shop because you have no money you find everything you want and it all fits perfectly. So I figure if we have an emergency fund there will be no emergencies. Simplistic thinking I know but a girl can hope, right?
That’s really cool that you set aside money for a vacation with your family it sounds like a great time your kids will remember it always.
Julie @ Logger's Wife says
We have learned the hard way to have separate savings funds for home repairs and car repairs. No matter how well you maintain both, the both have a way of needing work. New tires alone can wipe out a lot of savings. (visiting from Welcome Home Wednesdays)