Rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, transportation, entertainment- those are the good old-fashioned budget categories we remember and plan for month to month. Emergency room visits and unexpected car repairs are among the simultaneously unanticipated yet inevitable events for which we store some extra cash in our savings accounts. Then there are the big ticket items that range from laptops to vacations for which we save our precious pennies for months ahead of time. Even with a solid financial plan and budget for all of these scenarios there is one category that consistently takes me by surprise and threatens to disrupt my carefully allocated funds.
I haven’t figured out a name or title for it yet- perhaps you can help me, but it’s something along the lines of the “Oh shit, yeah that thing” account. These are expenses that are typically recurring but inconsistent. For instance, the inspiration for this post was my passport renewal, $110.
I can just say, “Oh well, it’ll all even out next month, I don’t have to pay that for another ten years”, but the fact is, something like this comes up just about EVERY month and sometimes several come up at the same time. In August I had to replace my dance/work shoes costing me $227. In July, I had to order more headshots, $175. In June I had some dental work, $100. And so on and so forth.
To prevent further “surprises”, I’m adding a miscellaneous or rather, an “oh shit, yeah that thing” category to my budget of at least $150 per month. If I don’t need it all in a given month, I’m sure the excess will get used shortly thereafter.
Do you have a category of expenses that consistently surprises or creeps up on you? What would you call it?