Unexpected Expenses To Budget For Each Year

March 18, 2019  |  
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surprise expenses budget

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I used to joke that, while life takes Visa, as the commercial says, life also just takes everything you’ve got. It’s almost as if the powers that be know the moment you get a big tax refund, some birthday cash, or a raise. And when they hear it, they think this is a great time for you to receive an unexpected bill. You thought you were spending that bonus on a vacation! That’s hilarious. It turns out that you got a parking ticket. Or you need to see an ear nose and throat doctor multiple times to clear up an infection. That just seems to be the way life and money work. When asking for a raise, calculating my fees for a client, or deciding how much to invest, I used to only think about how much money I need for regular, expected expenses. That means groceries, rent, gas, health insurance, and things like that. But I soon learned that life will not only throw you expected expenses. You need to learn to expect the unexpected, and be prepared a.k.a. budget for that. Here are unexpected expenses you should prepare for yearly.


Dental issues

You do the best you can to brush your teeth twice a day and floss, but if you happen to be missing a spot with that floss, or get so busy you skip a cleaning, the next time you see your dentist, you my face bad news; you have to get three fillings, and those will cost you roughly $800. Even if you just get one filling and a crown all year, you should still be prepared to spend around 300 to 500 a year on dental work.


A new tire

Tire tread wears down over time, you run over a nail someone left in the street, or you hit a curb, then suddenly you need a new tire. The particular one necessary for your car could easily be $250. Now if you need all new tires, you’re looking at a $1000 expense.



Not necessarily your own baby (though that is certainly a massive expense) but the babies of your friends and family. Expect to pay at least $25-$30 per new baby announcement, between the gift and the card. And that is a very moderate calculation.


Allergy meds and antibiotics

Does allergy season get you? Is it so bad that you cannot sleep well, and cannot focus on your work during the day? Depending on how long allergy season is for you, you may be looking at paying for 3 to 6 months worth of allergy medications. With a box of the good stuff usually costing you $30, that can become a multi-hundred-dollar expense just to let you breathe easy during allergy season.


Wedding gifts

Don’t forget that your friends love to tie the knot! And that means you are shelling out anywhere from $100-$300 on a gift, and that is still a moderate amount to spend on a wedding present. You also can’t ask your friends to not all get married during the same year, which they very well might do.


Trips home

You want to visit your family don’t you? Or maybe that friend you love so much that she feels like family? If they are a plane flight away, even an affordable plane flight is a few hundred dollars round-trip. If you were just looking at a road trip, or a couple of road trips, that will still be a few hundred dollars in gas money.


Small increases in utilities

Your Internet company, your gas company, your landlord, your phone plan. What do these things have in common? They all go up a little bit each year. It’s just the way the market works. When asking for a raise or establishing a first salary at a new job, keep these things in mind.


Electronic chargers

It’s no secret that a charger for a laptop can easily be $90. And you have those little phone chargers you misplace, or forget in the hotel room, throughout the year. You could spend another hundred dollars replacing these a few times.


Parking and traffic tickets

You like to think you are the perfect citizen, you always obey the speed limit, fully stop at stop signs, and read parking signs. But we all make little mistakes sometimes, and those mistakes can cost us roughly $100-$500 depending on the severity of the citation.


Membership fees

Do you have Amazon prime? Does your credit card charge an annual maintenance fee? Don’t forget that these little memberships add up, and you could easily spend a few hundred dollars a year to keep them.


Vehicle registration

Every year this one takes you by surprise. And it comes conveniently around the time you are already spending a lot of money on holiday gifts. But there it is: $200 or $300 to register your car for the year.


Vehicle down payments

If you own your car, then you don’t need to worry about this one. However, if you lease your vehicle, keep in mind that when it’s time for a new one, you need to put down a down payment. Well, you don’t have to, if you don’t mind extremely high monthly payments. But if you’d like to keep payments low, be prepared to put down easily $1000 when it is time to renew a lease.



As if the Chargers aren’t already expensive enough, let’s not forget that sometimes you just need a new electric. A laptop or a tablet could cost you anywhere from $500-$2000. You naturally will not replace these every year, but you may want to prepare to replace them every five years.


A new phone

This deserves it’s own category because phones don’t necessarily die all that fast, we just lose them often. Or we drop them in water. Or someone steals them. Either way, if you are like me, you have to order a replacement for your phone once a year, because you break or lose it.


Miscellaneous insurance

And speaking of your phone, you’ll want insurance on that. It is a pricey and valuable piece of machinery. If you lose it, you want to replace it quickly, without paying an arm and a leg. Insurance comes in handy on this, but could cost you anywhere from $15 a month to $150 for the year.

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