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.