Don’t let unexpected expenses bust your budget. Inside, an experienced financial coach shows you what unexpected expenses really are and helps you prepare, starting with this list of 48 examples to avoid.
Shortly after my husband left for a guy’s mountain biking day, he arrived back home with a broken arm. Six hundred dollars later, we had a new monthly payment.
Not long after, a friend dropped by with an invitation for her daughter’s birthday party and now I needed a gift.
These were good things: healthcare, gifts for loved ones, but each unforeseen expense took us further away from our goal of paying off debt.
Just when I thought I had our budget under control, it seemed another unexpected expense would jump out and surprise me, leaving me feeling frustrated.
How to Plan for Unexpected Expenses
Along the way I kept track of all the different unexpected expenses, so I could plan ahead and include them in my budget.
I hope this list will save you some of the frustration that comes along with going over budget due to unexpected expenses! Many of these are things you pay only once a year, or every few years, or things that are somewhat unpredictable.
You might simply forget about them, or it may be hard to predict the cost. But that’s still no reason to leave them out of your budget.
Include this list of unexpected expenses in your budget this month.
48 Unexpected Expenses
Did you make a budget this month? I hope so! Here are 48 unexpected expenses you might have forgotten.
- Car Registration
- Income Taxes
- Drivers License or ID card renewal
- Roadside assistance membership
- Oil Changes
- Car Repairs and Maintenance, eg. brakes, alignment
- Professional Licenses and Memberships not reimbursed by work
- Fines, eg. Library fines, speeding tickets
- Electronics Replacement, eg. computers, phones, cameras
- Printer Cartridges and paper
- Gifts, eg. weddings, birthdays, baby showers and Christmas
- Hospitality, eg. guests visiting, throwing a party, food
- Hosting, eg. baby shower, etc.
- Shipping costs
- Attending potlucks or get-togethers where you need to bring food
- Home repairs and maintenance
- Furnace filters
- Pest Control
- Termite Inspection
- Utilities Paid Annually
- Safety Deposit Box
- Post Office Box
- Household supplies, eg. cleaning supplies
- Gardening expenses, eg. soil, seeds, fencing
- Lawn expenses, eg. gas for mower, mower replacement
- Furniture and appliance replacement
- Seasonal yard maintenance or snow removal
- Travel, not just for vacation but also for holidays, weddings, births, and funerals
- Medical, dental, and vision expenses
- Pet food
- Flea treatment
- Veterinary care
- Pet License
- School Supplies
- School Pictures
- School Uniforms
- Sports and extracurricular equipment and dues
- Teacher and Coach gifts
- Field trip fees
- Seasonal Gear, eg. coats, snow pants, hats, boots, etc.
- Gifts for when your kids attend their friends’ birthdays
- Costco and Amazon Prime Membership
- Tax Preparation (software or accountant)
- Taxes on extra income from work from home income or interest earned
- Property Taxes
How to Pay for Unexpected Expenses
That kid birthday party we were invited to? Well, we ended up gifting something that we already had at home to stop us from going over budget.
Then each month from then on, we saved a bit toward our gifts budget, so we’d always be ready. Healthcare, too.
You don’t want to rely on your emergency fund as a catch-all for these unexpected expenses because most aren’t emergencies. If you do you’ll soon find yourself without an emergency fund.
Instead, set aside a small amount in your monthly budget for each of these expenses, and you’ll have no added stress when any of them pop up. (Here’s how I organize these non-monthly budget expenses.)
Planning for these unexpected expenses now will help you budget successfully and achieve your financial goals faster.