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By Melanie Dabb, Extension Assistant Professor

October 13, 2020

The simple answer to this question is when you are putting your budget together you write down all of your expenses that you don’t pay each month and the amount. Add all the amounts together and divide that number by 12. This will give you the amount you will need to save each month to have the required amount at the end of the year. But what if the payment is due before the end of the year? You may not be able to wait until December to pay all of your expenses that are not monthly. Let’s look at a budgeting technique you can use to plan for expenses that don’t come due every month-especially major holidays (e.g. Christmas, family vacation, or birthdays).

To start, make a chart with 12 columns, one for each of the twelve months and label each column. You can also use the worksheet provided here. For each expense you identify how much it will be (even if it’s just an estimate) and when you anticipate needing the funds by. Add this to your chart under the month you will need the funds. You then count how many months you have to save the money and divide the total cost by the number of months. Add this amount to each month leading up to when the expense will be due. Do this for each expense and keep a list for each month. Then you add up the totals for each month and that will give you the amount to set aside every month to have enough for your irregular expenses at the time you will need them.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you are tracking your non-monthly expenses:

  • Look back over your bank and credit card statements from the past year and see what expenses were not part of your normal monthly spending.
  • Take out your calendar and see what events are planned that you might need extra funds for.
  • Think about how many miles you typically put on your car each month to estimate when you might need to purchase new tires or how often you will need oil changes.
  • Be proactive and inventory your home to find any appliances or furniture that may be getting close to needing to be replaced. 
By using these tools and planning ahead, you can keep a non-monthly expense from becoming an emergency.