Dealing With Unexpected Expenses

Dealing With Unexpected Expenses

For those of you who have read this blog for a bit you will most likely get the idea that I like the notion of personal finance. And that is true I LOVE personal finance. I love talking about investments, strategies to get out of debt, hearing about people’s success stories, reading other inspirational blogs (check out the blogroll, which I also need to update because there some other great blogs out there), etc.

However, there is one thing that I don’t like: Budgeting. I hate budgeting. I think the only person who hates it more than I do is Mrs. ROB. The truth is I don’t have a hard and fast budget where I mark every dollar, etc. Maybe I should because I know our general expenses and I know what our income is to meet those challenges.

The problem that often occurs every month is unexpected expenses. Every month I keep saying that I can’t wait to get back to normal (e.g. house payment, food, electricity, gas, debt payments, etc). But every month there is something that comes up whether it be taxes, car registration, medical bills, etc. And every month these little items bleed our budget like death by a thousand cuts. So when I think that I might clear a couple of hundred bucks I have to some kind of dental work done (which is what I am doing now, which will cost me about $300). I hate these little expenses they drive me nuts.

How I Should Deal With It?

The truth is I don’t have a specific plan. I mean I could have a miscellaneous category in my budget, but that would mean I need to get down to a zero-based budget. I need to lay out those expenses ahead of time or put much more thought into what will happen for the next month.

So how do I deal? Right now, I just pay the bill, try to mentally work it out, and hope to find a little bit of dinero to cover those expenses.

How should I really deal with it? I need to take Dave Ramsey’s advice and create a zero-based budget because there is NO such thing as a normal month. Every month is going to have these little expenses that pop up like oil changes, medical bills, a gift for a friend, etc. And because every month is different and unique I need to do a unique budget for every month.

So the answer to the question how do you deal with unexpected expenses is: Make a Unique Budget every month. I know it sucks but I need to start to sit down with Mrs. ROB and better plan out our expenses and maybe set aside a little bit of money to make sure I have those expenses covered because some of them I can predict, some of them I cannot.

So it is time to do something I don’t like personal finance and that is creating a much more defined, detailed budget than I have before. If I don’t do that these little expenses are going to drive me crazy.

Any other ideas?

6 thoughts on “Dealing With Unexpected Expenses

  1. We have a set budget each month but in that budget is money that rolls over from month to month. For instance we pay our insurance 2x a year. Every month you will see a line item in out budget for insurance but we don’t spend anything…until the month when the bill comes. As long as we stay on track for the year we are okay. Does this mean our savings rate changes month to month…yup! Does this mean if a lot of these unexpected or expected bigger costs happen in the same month we might not be able to save at all…maybe but we will have saved more in the other months to make up for it. Don’t know if this makes sense.

    If we ever had a BIG unexpected expense we would have to pull out of our emergency fund/town home fund. I would hate it but that’s what it’s there for I guess. I understand your frustration. It is hard to plan out your finances when there are so many unknowns. I guess we keep trying the best we can 🙂

    1. I think this is a great idea and perhaps is something that I need to do. Having that rollover would help manage those small expenses and it always seems that i don’t have a problem with insurance because I get that extra paycheck in the month that insurance comes. Thanks for reading.

  2. Budgeting is one of the hardest tasks behind getting out of debt, but at the same time the key to staying on your financial path. I don’t think I will ever get my budget down to a “T”, but stick to it as much as I can. Without budget I know for a fact I would never have had paid off so much of my debt to date. Hang in there!

  3. Suze Orman used to recommend 6 to 8 months in an “emergency fund” but I think she also counted money in a Roth IRA as part of that emergency fund. With interest rates so low, it’s difficult to set aside money that sits in a savings account, but helpful when you have sudden expenses.

    1. The key, as you noted Petrish, is to stick with it. I am just starting to dip my toe into the water, trying to figure out how this best works for me and who knows it may not, but I am going to give it a try for the next few months and see how it goes. Gotta start somewhere.

  4. Hi Tom, I have also heard about Suze Orman’s advice (and when I have a really boring Saturday night watch her program). You are right about putting money aside, but I think that my budget needs to adjust for just those small little things that always seem to come up. They don’t amount to emergencies, but are $50 here and $20 here that seem to drain any savings I want to put aside. I just need to do a better job of budgeting and anticipating those things. And that includes positive things like going out to dinner with friends and the like.

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