Don’t let unexpected expenses bust your budget. Inside, an experienced financial coach shows you what unexpected expenses really are and helps you prepare, starting with this list of 48 examples to avoid.
Shortly after my husband left for a guy’s mountain biking day, he arrived back home with a broken arm. Six hundred dollars later, we had a new monthly payment.
Not long after, a friend dropped by with an invitation for her daughter’s birthday party and now I needed a gift.
These were good things: healthcare, gifts for loved ones, but each unforeseen expense took us further away from our goal of paying off debt.
Just when I thought I had our budget under control, it seemed another unexpected expense would jump out and surprise me, leaving me feeling frustrated.
How to Plan for Unexpected Expenses
Along the way I kept track of all the different unexpected expenses, so I could plan ahead and include them in my budget.
I hope this list will save you some of the frustration that comes along with going over budget due to unexpected expenses! Many of these are things you pay only once a year, or every few years, or things that are somewhat unpredictable.
You might simply forget about them, or it may be hard to predict the cost. But that’s still no reason to leave them out of your budget.
Include this list of unexpected expenses in your budget this month.
48 Unexpected Expenses
Did you make a budget this month? I hope so! Here are 48 unexpected expenses you might have forgotten.
- Car Registration
- Income Taxes
- Drivers License or ID card renewal
- Roadside assistance membership
- Oil Changes
- Car Repairs and Maintenance, eg. brakes, alignment
- Professional Licenses and Memberships not reimbursed by work
- Fines, eg. Library fines, speeding tickets
- Electronics Replacement, eg. computers, phones, cameras
- Printer Cartridges and paper
- Gifts, eg. weddings, birthdays, baby showers and Christmas
- Hospitality, eg. guests visiting, throwing a party, food
- Hosting, eg. baby shower, etc.
- Shipping costs
- Attending potlucks or get-togethers where you need to bring food
- Home repairs and maintenance
- Furnace filters
- Pest Control
- Termite Inspection
- Utilities Paid Annually
- Safety Deposit Box
- Post Office Box
- Household supplies, eg. cleaning supplies
- Gardening expenses, eg. soil, seeds, fencing
- Lawn expenses, eg. gas for mower, mower replacement
- Furniture and appliance replacement
- Seasonal yard maintenance or snow removal
- Travel, not just for vacation but also for holidays, weddings, births, and funerals
- Medical, dental, and vision expenses
- Pet food
- Flea treatment
- Veterinary care
- Pet License
- School Supplies
- School Pictures
- School Uniforms
- Sports and extracurricular equipment and dues
- Teacher and Coach gifts
- Field trip fees
- Seasonal Gear, eg. coats, snow pants, hats, boots, etc.
- Gifts for when your kids attend their friends’ birthdays
- Costco and Amazon Prime Membership
- Tax Preparation (software or accountant)
- Taxes on extra income from work from home income or interest earned
- Property Taxes
How to Pay for Unexpected Expenses
That kid birthday party we were invited to? Well, we ended up gifting something that we already had at home to stop us from going over budget.
Then each month from then on, we saved a bit toward our gifts budget, so we’d always be ready. Healthcare, too.
You don’t want to rely on your emergency fund as a catch-all for these unexpected expenses because most aren’t emergencies. If you do you’ll soon find yourself without an emergency fund.
Instead, set aside a small amount in your monthly budget for each of these expenses, and you’ll have no added stress when any of them pop up. (Here’s how I organize these non-monthly budget expenses.)
Planning for these unexpected expenses now will help you budget successfully and achieve your financial goals faster.
38 thoughts on “48 Unexpected Expenses that will Bust Your Budget (and how to prepare for them)”
LOL! This Is Sooo TRUE Especially Men Who Tend Y Forget These Things!!
This Sooo Very True!!
i just have these filed under “other” ;)
I’m probably a little over-the-top when it comes to perfecting my budget! :) It has helped me to be more detailed, but I know it’s not for everyone!
Great tips. I so forgot about my car registration this year and had to scramble to pay it on time.
And stamps. We always forget about stamps.
good one!! we buy the roll of 100 so that is almost $50 bucks! That’s alot to have “forgotten”
@Miranda, I don’t think the original post was suggesting that these items need their own categories; just that we have to remember to account for them. :)
I am sitting down to figure out our expenses this week and this will be a huge help. They are definitely things that I forget.
New tires, brakes.
lawn mower gas, pitch-in dinners, yard equipment upkeep, surprise dinner guests/hospitality, shipping charges
These are all such great additions! Keep ’em comin’!
Fortunately for us medical/dental/vision expenses are covered by our FSA which is money we never see in our income. Other items on this list I have found myself trying to think of all the things that could come up that I have forgotten. Like gas for the mower which will increase the gas budget for the cutting season. The one thing I have been really thinking about is car maintenance (i.e. tires and front end alignment/oil changes and tune-ups) so don’t forget things like that because that can be costly.
So true! Car expenses can really add up! We really got serious about that one when we started driving older used cars. But it’s still much cheaper than a car payment!!
One I forget about and just received : yearly sewer bill :(
Having recently moved from a sub-tropical climate to the Midwest, seasonal gear is a big one for us. With four kids, buying heavy coats, snow pants, gloves, hats, snow boots, rain boots, etc. for each of us has gotten expensive. We ended up with some hand-me-downs to get us started, and some of this stuff can be worn several years and by more than one kid, but as long as we are living here, there will be a need to budget in some of these purchases each fall for each of us.
School Fees for field trips, school pictures (now costing $50.00), school lunches, snacks and the yearbook (also $50.00)
Goodness me! My kids aren’t in school yet, but I really don’t think I could afford to send them to “free” PUBLIC school!
I wanted to add that most schools now require computer access at home. With that comes paper, printer ink and last but not least the cost of the computer, software, and associated maintenance.
The schools do not require it yet, they just assume everyone has access at home. Do remember that scheduled trips to ur local library can help. There are also local organizations that assist with computers in family home that have school aged kids. They are low cost and affordable for all budgets. There are ways to minimise ur budget. Thank outside the box “ur home.”
School uniforms, school pictures, field trips, fundraisers… it keeps trickling down throughout the year!
This is such a great list! Some things that are not quite emergencies but often forgotten because they are unexpected: hosting a party; medical prescriptions, vitamin supplements, or natural remedies for “surprise” illnesses throughout the year; extracurricular activities for the kids; it never fails that even with your best efforts you will have to pay a fine at some point in the year even if it’s just an overdue book (the worst is a speeding ticket when you are going 35mph at 10pm at night!) It happens.
One that i always forget is various school expenses, lunches, field trips, yearbooks, etc…
Great list. I always include home maintenance because it is something that is just going to happen! Never fails that we have to use that money every year.
Kids sports equipment and any dues they have to pay. I just spent a small fortune upgrading a glove, bat and getting new pants.
I definitely forgot my Amazon Prime, that $99 coming out definitely hurt!
Post office box fee
Furnace air filters
Garden needs (fencing, seeds, soil testing and amendments)
Nothing throws me off track quite like my sinking fund items throughout the year.
Gifts for children’s birthday party’s (when my children are invited), school trips, contributions to teacher and sports coach gifts, extra food shopping when the in laws come to stay (always a lot more!)
yes the extra food! i always mess this up and blow our budget :(
I might add the fee for borrowing or buying a billy goat. And for chicks and feed etc. also gardening.
What about Batteries for Fire Extinguisers, and other home items. Printer Catridges
I’d add – quarterly pest control, annual termite inspection, annual safety deposit box fee, home owner association dues, annual furnace and air conditioning tune-ups…
I have a calendar print out from a budgeting website. I enter any item that is a yearly expense and mark the month it is due. It is helpful to see the year in advance snd I can budget accordingly.
Filling up the propane tank for the year while the prices are lowest in late summer.
I didn’t even think of more than half of these. Thank you! Also I sent an email to you last weekend with questions about your online course and a vegan/whole foods diet.
Oh great! I’m glad this list helped you prepare for those pesky unexpected expenses. :) I’ll get back to you about your question asap.
Craft supplies, seasonal pharmacy items like sunscreen, bug spray, allergy meds, new swimsuits, goggles and towels for the kids. Also, unexpected invites to the water parks, amusement parks and ice cream outings during the summer.
I’m trying to start a skinning fund . And really looking for help.
It’s sad ? that at my age I m just started one