Save for Surprises

Week 5 | Day 26 | GB 101: Budget Bootcamp

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In our experience, expecting the “unexpected” is a good idea — especially when it comes to budgeting. The reality is that many expenses that feel unexpected are things we can actually plan for, like car repairs. Every car eventually breaks down at some point, so we can prepare for it. By saving up now, we can turn something that might feel like a huge emergency into a simple inconvenience. Our budgets won’t take as big a hit — or no hit at all — when it comes time to get those new tires.

Today’s Assignment

  1. Read Chi-En’s story about preparing for (un)expected expenses
  2. Think of some items you might start saving up for and add them to your budget. These might include car repairs, Christmas gifts, or other annual or irregular expenses.(Protip: You can use an Annual Envelope for these kinds of expenses. If you call it “Car Repairs” instead of “Savings,” you’ll know exactly what it’s for and you might be less likely to take money out of it for something else.)
  3. Start building up that Envelope by filling it immediately. You may need to adjust budgets of your Envelopes and your monthly Envelope Fill to make space for this Envelope.
  4. What expected expense did you decide to add to your budget? Be sure to tell us in the comments below. That way, everyone can check too to make sure nothing was missed 😉

Note for couples: Two brains are better than one here, since each of you is aware of different kinds of unexpected, yet predictable expenses. One of you might know all about how often you call a pro for repairs, while the other knows how often you’re buying birthday gifts for friends.

Happy budgeting,

-The Goodbudget Team

P.S. Extra Credit: If you’ve already started saving up for those expected expenses, and you’re ready to set more savings goals, check out this article to help inspire you.

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1 thought on “Save for Surprises”

  1. When I think of “unexpected” expenses, I prefer to think about them as “unpredictable” or “timing-unknown” more than “unexpected.” Some envelopes I have for these kinds of expenses are for auto repairs (including flat tires and broken windows) and health (like appointments and medications). I also have a “miscellaneous” envelope that is distinct from my “emergency savings” envelope. If anything comes up that I want to spend money on that I haven’t planned for, if it’s important enough to me, I can choose to spend from my miscellaneous envelope even if it’s not as dire of a situation that it would require me to dip into my savings. However, at that moment, I usually try to reevaluate my budget and decide whether I think something similar might come up in the future and if I might want to build that into my budget going forward. Sometimes I decide that I do want to adjust my budget a little, and sometimes I decide it’s just a one-off thing and I leave it.

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