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Home > Planning for Irregular Expenses - Just Do It!

Planning for Irregular Expenses - Just Do It!

October 2nd, 2013 at 12:12 pm

If you are responsible for a living being (yourself, spouse, children, pets, etc.) or a major asset (house, car, etc.) there WILL be irregular expenses.

I had to replace the tires on my car earlier than I had expected to. This hard on the heels of DH having a broken tooth extracted (we have dental insurance but still had out-of-pocket expenses) and replacing the batteries in our lawnmower.

The lawnmower battery actually lasted longer than average, thanks to living in a warm climate, so I can't complain about all of these irregular expenses.

But still ... 3 irregular expenses in 1-1/2 weeks!
1 earlier-than-expected (tires)
1 later-than-expected (batteries)
1 "expected" only in the sense that "life happens" to all of us ... otherwise, completely unexpected (tooth extraction)

Fortunately, we have the funds to pay for all of these irregular expenses. (And yet I still find myself feeling a bit down in the dumps about the tires ... what can I say, I'm human.)

I don't believe that there is any one "right" way to prepare for irregular expenses. You can build cushions in to your budget and absorb irregular expenses there (this is what we used to do). You can have a larger-than-otherwise-necessary emergency fund or general cash cushion and pay for irregular expenses out of that (this is what we do now). When you are just starting out on the path of financial responsibility and independence, you may have to dip in to your small EF to pay for irregular expenses and then build it back later.

It really doesn't matter what your plan is, as long as you have one!

P.S. - Food for thought for the younger folks. I think one thing that helped me stay out of total financial ruin when I was young and not-very-financially-savvy was that I did not own a car or home, so I faced irregular expenses less frequently.

4 Responses to “Planning for Irregular Expenses - Just Do It!”

  1. MonkeyMama Says:

    As someone who has always had a car, and bought her first home at age 23, I will say that the irregular expenses have never amounted to a hill of beans with a solid plan. (Though I still think it is good advice to question these things and avoid any unecessary expenses. But, just to say, the PLAN is everything).

    Lord knows we have had quite a few irregular expenses this year ourselves. !! I have always done "save x amount every month" for what we know we will likely need later. I don't know how you do anything else if you aren't doing that first. Just to say I think it is a very important financial building block. Maybe one of the first things anyone should do?

  2. scfr Says:

    MM - We are in complete agreement. You were much more financially savvy and prepared at 23 than I was. I would not have had a plan, or even been aware that a plan for irregular expenses was a good idea, at age 23. Thankfully I started wising up before I got in over my head.
    Text is http://scfr.savingadvice.com/2008/01/24/ann-landers-and-a-defining-moment-in-my-_34655/ and Link is

  3. scfr Says:

    Should add that you do NOT have to have a "perfect plan" in place to take action. Just setting a little bit aside each month, even if you are not sure exactly what it is for, may end up saving you down the road.

  4. Kiki Says:

    I agree with this blog so much.

    I try and save a little each month in the expense categories (no house expenses) that I know I will need something someday: health (my own health savings account) for co pays, dental visits etc., car repairs (tires, oil changes, more expensive repairs in a few years as necessary), buying glasses or contacts if I broke or lost them.

    These savings are in addition to the emergency fund. It is so important! Any executable plan is a good plan! even $25 a month is a great plan.

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