5 Common Budget Pitfalls

household budget tips
Is this the year to get your finances in order?

Have you put your pen to paper, and developed a written household budget?

Household Budget Tips

It's easy to remember to budget for your mortgage/rent, utility bills and car payments, but did you remember to budget for car repairs and vet bills? What about plumbing emergencies or a fallen tree? Plan for these expenses and you'll avoid blowing your budget.

5 Common Budget Pitfalls

  • Vet Bills – Last month your dog swallowed a lego, and the vet bill set you back $800.
  • Home Repairs – This month the emergency call to the plumber blew your budget by a whopping $450.
  • Car Repairs – Remember when your car broke down earlier this year, and the repair bill was nearly $1000?
  • Medical Emergencies – Oh, and don’t forget the trip to the emergency room and the $250 co-pay for your son’s broken leg.
  • Christmas Expenses – It's the end of the year, and you've done a great job of sticking to your budget. Oops…you forgot to budget for Christmas!

Next month you’ll get your budget back on track if you’re lucky.

Don’t count on luck…start budgeting for those surprise expenses.

The Budget Diet girl likes to call those surprise expenses “oh no” expenses or “life happens” expenses. Month after month, year after year you need to budget for things like tires, auto repairs, home repairs, vet bills and medical bills. How many times have you said, next month I’ll get back on track with my budget because I won’t have a car repair, and then next month comes and your air conditioner breaks? Consider “oh no” expenses or “life happens” expenses something you should count on every month, and then you won’t have any surprises. I’ve been budgeting this way for nearly 25 years, and not a month has gone by with some sort of “oh no” expense! This month it was a refrigerator repair, last month the pool pump motor had to be replaced…yes, life happens!

How much should you budget for “Oh No” expenses? Let’s do a little math…

  • What’s your total monthly income?
  • Subtract your total monthly expenses/bills (mortgage or rent, insurance, utility bills, etc.)
  • The amount that’s remaining is your monthly “allowance” for food, fun, gas, dry cleaner and all those everyday expenses.
  • Take 30% of your monthly allowance and set it aside for “oh no” expenses…trust me, you’ll need it!

Now when life happens, you’ll be financially prepared!

P.S. – If you need help establishing a budget, simply fill in the blanks of this budget worksheet.


Image courtesy of patpitchaya, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Christy Garrett @ Uplifting Families
10 years ago

We always try to store money in our savings account for these unexpected emergencies.

Dominique Goh@Dominique's Desk
10 years ago

It’s always good to be prepared for this budget overspending due to unforseen circumstances..great tips.

10 years ago

Luckily we don’t have a dog! But we do have a washing machine and a dishwasher, which I hope won’t falter. I do have some savings though, if they do.

LuAnn Braley
10 years ago

Excellent advice, Kristi. It’s always nice when something is hitting the fan to have the means to ‘clean it up’. New subscriber from the group at vB.

Barb W.
10 years ago

Great tips! Christmas and car insurance always seem to be my pitfalls. For the past few years I’ve set aside cash for Christmas and stuck to using only that for purchases, works out very well!

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