You know what’s frustrating? Blown tires. Cracked windshields. An unexpected trip to the vet. A leaky faucet that needs a plumber to fix. Heck, even CHRISTMAS can be frustrating! Ok, maybe not on December 25…because wonder and joy and merriment and all…but the moment December 26 hits, so does the realization that your credit card is of epic proportions.
For Jamie and Oscar, these unexpected expenses brought about seemingly inevitable frustrations. Until, that is, they learned a little trick that took the sting right out of these expenses.
Jamie loved Christmas: she had a top-secret toffee recipe that had been passed down for at least one generation in a total shroud of silence. She usually baked a batch to give to friends and family.
And Oscar? He loved to get the biggest Christmas tree he could find out in the lot and tote it home on top of their car (and yes, they’d always have to chop a bit off the bottom because what he thought would fit and what actually fit were always two very different things).
But between presents, decorations, and all the festivities, Christmas tended to be pretty…expensive. On December 26, they’d realize they were left with a giant credit card bill and spend the first few months of the next year digging out from it.
But this year was going to be different. This year, they were going to pay cash for Christmas—and their budget was going to help them do that.
Even though Christmas was months away, they set up a Christmas category in their budget and set a goal to fund $600 by December 25.
Christmas was nine months away at the time, and now in their budget they get reminded to set $67 aside each month to reach that target.
And that’s not all. Christmas would never catch them by surprise again! The cash-flowed Christmas was here to stay.
While the momentum was going, they also set a goal to set aside $50/month for a new phone or laptop (they’d probably need a new one in a year or so). Plus, they set a goal for their $150 car insurance that only came every quarter (saving $50/month).
What a feeling: to expect the unexpected! Maybe it wasn’t so unexpected after all!
Need some help setting up goals in your budget? See how to add your own goals in your budget.
Wondering what other “unexpected” expenses might be helpful to add? See our growing list of non-monthly and variable expenses you might want to add to your budget.