40+ Variable and Non-Monthly Expenses You Might Want in Your Budget


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.

  1. Water bill
  2. Trash service
  3. Gas bill
  4. Transportation costs (gas, bus pass, tolls, parking)
  5. Auto maintenance (oil changes, new tires)
  6. Car registration (license, tab renewal)
  7. Car insurance
  8. Home maintenance (new roof, new hot water heater, new dryer)
  9. Renter/home insurance
  10. Health care (dental, eye care, therapy, doctor, medical deductible, etc.)
  11. Clothing
  12. Gifts (birthdays, anniversary, graduation, wedding, baby)
  13. Charitable giving (tithing, spontaneous donations, etc.)
  14. Computer/phone replacement
  15. Software subscriptions (Adobe, iCloud, Squarespace, gaming service, etc.)
  16. Entertainment subscriptions (Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, etc.)
  17. Vacation
  18. Gym membership/fitness
  19. Education
  20. Gaming
  21. Christmas
  22. Other Holidays (Fourth of July fireworks, Halloween candy, Mother’s Day brunch)
  23. Hosting
  24. Dates
  25. Beauty (hair cuts, makeup, nails, etc.)
  26. Property taxes (if they’re not rolled into a mortgage)
  27. Movies
  28. Phone bill
  29. Life insurance
  30. Warehouse membership (Costco, Sam’s club, Amazon Prime, etc.)
  31. Credit card fee (some cards have yearly costs)
  32. House decor
  33. Banking (interest owed or fees)
  34. Household goods
  35. Pet care
  36. Child care
  37. Kids’ Activities (piano lessons, summer camp, etc.)
  38. Kids’ Sports (travel soccer, lessons, cleats, etc.)
  39. School fees
  40. Braces
  41. Weddings (for yourself or others)
  42. Taxes
  43. Lawn care
  44. 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. 

Add non-monthly expenses as budget categories.
Add non-monthly expenses as budget categories.

Do you have any non-monthly expenses that we forgot about in our list? Let us know in the comments!

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