2 Simple Ways You Can Better Plan for Irregular Expenses

By Sara

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Last Updated: June 30, 2022

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Budgeting for your regular bills and expenses can already be tricky for some. However, adding irregular expenses can make that process even more difficult.

For example, it can be hard to plan for a car service or property tax bill when you don't know the exact cost, but you can prepare for these expenses and not ruin your budget. 

Irregular expenses can be in the form of quarterly, bi-annual, annual, or emergency expenses.

Preparing for an emergency expense is tough, but even these semi-regular costs can sneak up on someone. These irregular expenses can easily mess up any savings or financial goals you have put into place.

If you don't plan for these occurrences, you may have to tap into your savings or, even worse, go into debt for these bills. There are ways to prepare for these irregular expenses to help you stick to your financial goals and budget.

 

 

What are Irregular Expenses? 

Irregular expenses and bills will look different for everyone depending on your life.

However, there are certain expenses that most people have or know of. For example, you must pay car insurance if you have a car. This payment is either done yearly or every six months. It's not a regular cost, but you know it will come up.

Similarly, there can be emergencies that you may know will happen but not when.

For example, you might have an older home and expect your AC unit will need to be replaced, but you don't know when. Again, this is an expensive emergency cost, but there are ways to prepare for it.

You may even consider yearly subscriptions as a non-regular expense because this only comes up once a year and is not something that impacts your typical monthly budget. 

Like all personal finance topics, what you consider irregular spending is up to you.

You can make this as broad or as specific as you want. Tracking your spending will help you see what comes up as a non-regular expense and help you adjust this spending area. 

 

 

How to prepare for irregular expenses? 

A few simple tips can help you prepare for non-regular expenses before they occur so you don't have to dip into your savings, emergency fund, or debt.

You can prepare for irregular expenses by listing what you anticipate will come up and looking at previous years' information to budget or save for these costs. 

The best way to plan for irregular expenses and bills is to list them.

You should have a general idea of what bills you must pay like car insurance, car taxes, subscriptions, car services, and more. You also should have a general idea of the cost of these. Once you've listed your known irregular expenses, you can make a list of anticipated expenses or emergencies.

This can help you prepare to replace your AC unit or put new tires on your car. Again, you should have a general idea of these emergency expenses and be able to estimate how much they will cost.

Once you have your total cost, you can decide how you want to prepare for these expenses.

There are two options.

 

1. You can make this part of your monthly budget and create a savings nest egg for irregular expenses. 

If you choose to include this in your budget, the best way to do that is to add up the total you estimate you'll have to spend on irregular expenses and divide that by twelve.

This will give you how much you need to save each month for these expenses. You can add this number to your budget under the "irregular expenses savings" line and give yourself the peace of mind that you are saving up for these occurrences.

You can put this money into your current savings account or create a new one just for these expenses. This method of saving every month is beneficial, especially if your budget is already tight and you don't currently have any savings that can be used for these expenses. 

 

2. Another method is to save up this total amount as fast as possible.

You may decide having a budget line for this is not what you want to do.

However, if you can, you may be able to adjust your budget for a few months to save up for these irregular expenses in a few short months. This may be a more challenging option, but if you can find extra money in your budget, this might be the option for you. 

 

 

Final Thoughts on Irregular Expenses

Planning for all financial situations is essential to allow yourself the most financial success.

Preparing and planning for irregular expenses and bills will allow you to slowly save up for when these expenses come up. In addition, being prepared will let you know when these occurrences come up and see that you have the money for them.

The hardest part about planning for these expenses is saving up for them, which will allow you not to worry or go into debt.

Photo by Bich Tran

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