18 Budget Busters You Forgot to Plan For - Savvy Savers Academy

18 Budget Busters You Forgot to Plan For


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Will you or won’t you have enough money?

It’s the dreaded “other” column in your budget. The intermittent surprises that wreak havoc on your well planned monthly budget. All the miscellaneous things you want to have money for but you can’t seem to remember them all.

Saving for the less frequent expenses can be a life saver! Here’s a list to jog your memory:


All the miscellaneous budget items I can't seem to remember. A good list of things to include in your budget.

1. Taxes and Tax Preparation

  • ​Are you a contract worker? You need to set aside a portion of your paycheck so you’ll be able to pay at tax time.
  • Speaking of tax time, how do you plan to file your taxes? Do you hire a specialist? Purchase software? Better include it in your budgeting plans.

2. Car Registration

  • ​Depending on where you live and the age of your car you might incur fees for safety inspection, emissions, taxes and registration. If you’re car doesn’t pass safety you’ll also need to plan to pay for repairs.

3. Car Maintenance

  • ​An overall fund to include oil changes, new tires and breaks. Anything you might have to take your car to the mechanic for and DIY small repairs that you can get at an auto shop.

4. Medical/Dental/Vision

  • ​Depending on your insurance coverage you may need to save extra to cover the more expensive fees involved.

5. Birthdays & Gifts

  • ​Think more than just immediate family. We have a fund at our house for each other, our kids and our parents.
  • You can also pad the birthday account for gifts of cousins or friends birthday parties that your kids might get invited to.

Related Article: How My 4-Year-Old Bought Her Own Bike

6. Anniversary

  • ​Do you have a big celebration planned for this day? Or maybe just going out for a nice dinner. The amount you save for your anniversary might change year to year if you are hitting a big milestone.

7. Mother's Day & Father's Day

  • ​You can save for your spouse and/or your parents.

8. Holidays

Here are a few that might put you out if you don't plan for them in advance:

  • Valentine's Day - Do you do anything special for your significant other? A special date night and/or gift? How about kids valentines for class, candies and favors?
  • 4th of July - Are you a fireworks fanatic? If you live in an area where you can set them off yourself and it's something you enjoy, remember to budget for it. They can get costly!
  • Halloween - Kids costumes, parties and candy to hand out.
  • Thanksgiving - Are you hosting this year? Or every other year? You might need more than just food. Do you need extra tableware, folding chairs and folding tables? If you're not hosting, do you need to pay for travel to visit family?
  • Christmas - This one can be a doozy if you don't save up all year. Of course you'll think of your family first. Do you also need neighbor gifts, charity (Sub-for-Santa type donations), co-worker gifts, extended family, etc. What about décor,  gift wrap, and shipping charges?

9. Family Vacation

  • Plan out your travel, accommodations, food and dining, souvenirs, admission passes, etc.
  • Are you driving? How much gas money do you need? Do you need to get an extra oil change or other maintenance? Be sure to consider wear and tear on your car.

10. Household Maintenance

  • ​This would include general maintenance like HVAC tune-ups, air and water filters, printer cartridges and other such expenses.
  • Large unexpected expenses could come from your emergency fund savings (or otherwise known as a rainy day fund). 

11. Yard Maintenance/Pest Control

  • You can hire a professional service provider to come out weekly to cut the lawn or every couple of months for fertilizer and bug control OR
  • If you manage this yourself plan for lawn mower maintenance, fertilizers, garden flowers and seeds and any other tools you need.

12. Pet Care

  • What type of licensing, shots, vet care, shelter, and supplies will you need?
  • Are you planning a vacation? Do you need to plan for accommodations while you are away? What would you need in order for your pet to come along?

13. Kids School (different than a college fund)

  • There's a huge laundry list of school items to think about for your kids each year: tuition, school supplies, seasonal clothing (summer/winter), pictures, field trips, fund raisers and sports fees and supplies.

14. Annual Memberships and Subscriptions

  • A few examples that I can think of: Sam's Club, Costco, Amazon Prime, gym membership, magazine subscriptions

15. Recreation and Entertainment

  • We have a fund for going out and having fun as a family. It kind of depends on what we want to do but we can take money from this fund for movies, going out to eat as a family, going bowling, going swimming, etc.

Related Article: 20 Ideas for Free Family Fun

16. Celebrations for Others

  • Do you have any weddings or baby showers in your near future?

17. Dry Cleaning

  • Not only for clothes that needs special cleaning but for bedding that won't fit in your washer

18. Haircuts and Haircare

  • If you love getting your hair done, it's totally fine, just plan for it so it doesn't give a big hit to your budget. It's also a good fund to have if you have a house full of boys who need frequent haircuts.

Why an "other" column is not enough

It’s inevitable that things will pop up so yes, an “other” column in your budget is needed, but it’s not good enough. Your other column should be a small amount of money (maybe $100) for “just in case” something you need or want isn’t otherwise covered.

As you can see from the list above there are far too many things you need to plan for to count on a generic “other” column.

What if 2, 3, or 4 of them all happen simultaneously? And then Christmas is only 2 months later?

There is immense peace of mind that comes from planning and being prepared. It virtually eliminates stress!

Now to fix the problem (how to pay for it all...)

Now that you've identified all those pesky charges, it's time to come up with a plan so that you always have the money to cover them.

Create a rockin' budget that runs on autopilot so you're never surprised and ready for the unexpected. Take the From Busted to Balanced 5-Day Budget Challenge.

Check out these two articles to find out more about keeping on top of all these expenses.

How to Pay Cash for Big Expenses

Buckets of Money, a Brilliant Way to Save

Why I Use Cash for Everyday Purchases (And Maybe You Should Too)


Cameron is a Financial Coach who works with couples and individuals to achieve financial freedom and peace of mind. She believes being in control of money = less stress + more fun! Join her on the journey to think about money less and enjoy life more.