If you’re building out a budget for the first time and you’re being your best responsible self, you know the importance of taking those big non-monthly expenses/variable expenses/True Expenses/what-have-you and breaking them into monthly chunks.
How to Budget for Non-Monthly Expenses
There’s nothing worse in the budgeting world than a rogue expense popping up and derailing your carefully calculated plan—and sometimes your checking account.
But really, non-monthly expenses aren’t unexpected…it’s more that they’re just easy to forget. Incorporating them into your budget helps keep your financial plan organized and adds predictability to bills that pop up on an irregular basis.
So first, grab a notebook and a pen, or a fresh Word document, and ask yourself, “What are irregular expenses?” Don’t forget annual expenses like that AAA membership or Amazon Prime subscription that’s set to renew automatically!
Looking for more advice on how to budget for variable expenses?
Examples of Variable Expenses
Here’s a list of potential budget categories to consider.
- Water bill
- Trash service
- Gas bill
- Transportation costs (gas, bus pass, tolls, parking)
- Auto maintenance (oil changes, new tires)
- Car registration (license, tab renewal)
- Car insurance
- Home maintenance (new roof, new hot water heater, new dryer)
- Renter/home insurance
- Health care (dental, eye care, therapy, doctor, medical deductible, etc.)
- Gifts (birthdays, anniversary, graduation, wedding, baby)
- Charitable giving (tithing, spontaneous donations, etc.)
- Computer/phone replacement
- Software subscriptions (Adobe, iCloud, Squarespace, gaming service, etc.)
- Entertainment subscriptions (Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, etc.)
- Gym membership/fitness
- Other Holidays (Fourth of July fireworks, Halloween candy, Mother’s Day brunch)
- Beauty (hair cuts, makeup, nails, etc.)
- Property taxes (if they’re not rolled into a mortgage)
- Phone bill
- Life insurance
- Warehouse membership (Costco, Sam’s club, Amazon Prime, etc.)
- Credit card fee (some cards have yearly costs)
- House decor
- Banking (interest owed or fees)
- Household goods
- Pet care
- Child care
- Kids’ Activities (piano lessons, summer camp, etc.)
- Kids’ Sports (travel soccer, lessons, cleats, etc.)
- School fees
- Weddings (for yourself or others)
- Lawn care
- Stuff I forgot to budget for (there’s always going to be something…)
Once you’ve created your list, make sure those non-monthly expense items are included in your budget categories. Then take the total cost of each irregular expense category divided by 12, and voila! Suddenly your non-monthly expenses are as steady and predictable as the rest of your monthly bills when it comes to budgeting.
Do you have any non-monthly expenses that we forgot about in our list? Let us know in the comments!
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