Budget Lesson, Part 4

Part 4 of the Budget Lesson series.  Please see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 to catch up.  The Google Doc of this example is here.

The final category in my budget is “Set-aside funds”.  These are the categories that don’t have specific payout amounts and happen at irregular intervals.  When my car is paid off, there will be a car fund added to the list, instead of a new car payment.

  • Parties –  We throw two parties each year; a Halloween party and a summer barbecue.  We also have three children who have varying expectations and needs for their birthday parties.
  • Gifts I don’t buy presents for my friends, and the number of relatives I buy gifts for has decreased dramatically over the years.  I do, however, buy birthday and Christmas presents for my wife and kids and I participate in some form of gift exchange with my brothers and their wives.  Combined, we set aside about $100 per month for parties and presents.
  • Pet Care – We have four cats and a dog.  This is to cover cat litter and food the bunch.  We have too many pets, but we can’t give them away.  They are family.  However, there is a moratorium on new animals for a few years.   Two cats and a dog are our hard limit.
  • Car Repair – Cars break.  Tires wear out.  This isn’t a surprise, and it certainly isn’t an emergency.
  • Warranty Fund – We are building up our own “Warranty Fund“, to replace appliances when they break.  I’d rather have the interest accruing than see this as a line-item fee on any of my bills.
  • Medicine/Medical – Kids get sick and prescriptions need to be filled.  We figure our monthly prescriptions plus one office visit per month, but the money accrues in this fund.  On low months, we have more, so we can cover the visits during flu season.
  • In The Hole – This isn’t actually a fund we set aside.  If, for some reason, we go over budget one month, it gets entered here to immediately pay ourselves back for the over-spend.  This month, this number is $170, which is how high we went over for Christmas.  Since we have all of the “Set asides” and non-monthly bills stored in the same account, there was no actual debt, just this “paper” debt to ourselves.  This serves the combined purposes of a mild punishment for overspending and a method to get back on track.

That is my entire budget laid out.   As the series continues, I’ll be examining how I have lowered the bills, how I could lower them more, and how I’ve screwed them up.

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    1. I heard it somewhere that ‘it’s the little foxes the rob the vine.’ So true. It’s great to see that you have thought ahead about those unplanned things that bust a lot of budgets. Great post!

    2. Thanks. Just last night I found 2 items that my budget was missing. More for February’s “In the hole”.

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