I’m Pooling Your Wisdom And Experience Again!

Thanks to everyone for chiming in on the Cost of Beauty entry! I think the general notions is “wants” v/s “needs” and every person’s hair and skin has different needs and my poor husband needs to be prepared for some of that. The conversation also included talk of budgeting and I thought I’d add more to that part of the discussion because BUDGET TALK IS SO EXCITING. Also? Because it was so interesting to hear how everyone handles cost of beauty, I thought maybe I could see how you handle budgeting Cost Of The Non-Emergency Emergency.

First of all? YNAB is our savior. We tried so many different budgeting tools but You Need A Budget (YNAB) is the one that really fit our needs. Donnie took over our budget 2-3 years ago (I’m not detailed enough to be good at budgeting) and we’re still getting a handle on what we spend in what categories. Now – regarding whether or not we need a “beauty” line item, we kinda haven’t decided yet. Nikki may decide to get her hair cut as a birthday gift – and “gifts” are a line item. And that brings me too a budget problem I thought I’d get your feedback on.

How does everyone “plan” for non-emergency emergencies? We budget several different forms of savings – “emergency” and “retirement” and “college” and “vehicle” (when we stopped having a car payment we put that into a “vehicle” savings item) and then just a general “savings”. SO, it’s not like we’re living paycheck to paycheck, we’re very fortunate to be able to budget like we do. (I am very fortunate that Donnie budgets. My budgets were never that detailed which is why he took over. My general budgets caused us problems.)

THAT SAID…this year everyone we know is either pregnant or getting married. We have bought more wedding and baby gifts this year than we did in the 5 years prior. Plus, one of the weddings is a family wedding so there are other expenses – like clothing – that are not typically budgeted. How do you guys budget for stuff like that? We do have a “miscellaneous” category but that only gets $50 a month and usually that’s where the random twice-a-year cost goes – like haircuts. Or bullet journals. Or iPhone covers. It’s not really enough of a buffer to cover things like 14 pregnant friends, a millions weddings, and 3 suits and 2 dresses.

Just to give you an idea of how detailed our budget is: You guys mentioned “sports” fees might end up being where Wes cost more than Nikki but right now we have a “kid’s sports” line item and the one thing he gets that she doesn’t is Basketball. So, this year we gave her 1 art camp and 1 musical theatre workshop out of that budget to balance that out. But that shows you the detail we budget to – sports fees are there. We have “race registrations fees” there which includes ALL of our race fees. I’ve bypassed on a few races this year so I can use some of that $ to get a pass to our local state park for trail running. We had “coaching” as a line item but we’re ditching that to balance some other stuff now that Donnie’s Ironman coaching is done. So, we’re detailed in our budget, is my point.

But how detailed do YOU get in order to prepare for the things you can’t prepare for? Non-emergency things. We have “emergency” savings for the true unplanned emergency, but what about the unplanned non-emergency? How do you plan financially for that?

Maybe there’s just a random extra savings category: The non-emergency emergency savings. Like, $50 a month to cover the weird surge of pregnant friends or events (because funerals would do this too) that force your entire family to need dress clothes. We only budget $100 a month for clothing and since I’m an hourly independent contractor employee, some months we take from that to balance out a short paycheck from sick kids. So we can’t really count on a “build up” of clothing money because $1200 divided by 4.5 (E really doesn’t use much of the clothing budget anymore) doesn’t go very far to just keep us in Clothes That Fit Year Round. So any event that requires new clothing is going to not be included in the “clothing” budget.

How do you guys plan financially for Non-Emergency Emergencies? Is your “miscellaneous” bucket bigger and does it just accumulate until you need it? How much do you put it in monthly to give you a big enough buffer for a surge in weddings and births?

Another thing that used to zap our gifts and/or miscellaneous line item: Kid’s birthday parties. Like – OTHER kids. I’ve stopped letting my kids go to classmate parties because if I let them go to every party, and bring a gift every time, we would be going to at LEAST 15 parties a year. That’s at LEAST $300 in presents. And that’s a big chunk of the “gifts” budget that normally goes to family/kids. So we only let the kids go to parties of their actual FRIENDS (not just classmates) or we have periodically gone to the party where We’re Pretty Sure No One Else Will Go because I hate the idea of that.

SO! Give me your budget wisdom!!!! It know it’s a process and we’re still “new” to doing it “right” so if you’ve been doing it for “right” longer – help us out!