What’s the best way to track unplanned spents? I’m talking about things that probably won’t happen again. Should I create an envelope only for that so I can track this particular spend?
I have an envelope designated for miscellaneous things each month, and also have an envelope for annual expenses - my way isn’t super specific, but it’s enough for me for random things. I use the free version, though, so my envelopes are limited.
I also don’t budget every penny - I keep around $50 in unallocated each month in case I go a bit over budget in my regular categories. For truly crazy things that come up, I just take it straight from unallocated.
Personally, I only want designated envelopes for monthly recurring expenses.
Thanks for posting! It’s definitely a personal preference thing. I always advocate for making an Envelope for every single thing, which means my Envelopes list is long. As wjb1492 said, making an catch up Misc. Envelope is a great option too.
My take is that you’ll probably find out what works for you by trial-and-error, but there are lots of options so everyone can find what works for them.
When I started trying to budget, we were in a terrible place financially. I tried to make an envelope for every expense type and sub-expense, like Utilities:Electric, Utilities:Gas etc. Those were easy, but then I’d have a Grocery envelope and try to break down my supermarket run to Groceries, Housewares, Cleaning Supplies, Personal Care, etc. It became completely unmanageable and I quickly gave up entirely.
Later I came back to budgeting and tried to pare down my envelopes but I still had too many. While it was great to see EXACTLY where every penny went, the fact was, I still didn’t know because I didn’t use it consistently.
Now I have just a few “everyday” envelopes for Groceries, Gas, Dining Out, Household, Unexpected/Intermittent and Fixed Expenses (everything I pay on a schedule, regardless of category). I also have Annual envelopes for savings and so forth. That’s not a lot of detail for reporting but it meets my needs, and we’re finally out of that dark financial hole so it’s kind of like being in “maintenance” after a diet.
All this to say, try it the way that feels the most right to you. You’ll realize pretty quickly whether or not it works, but if it doesn’t you can adapt your budget and try again. What makes perfect sense to one person might be too much, or too little, detail for the next. Good luck!!!
For me it depends on the situation. If you keep a balance in Unallocated, you can just use that as the envelope for a true one-off kind of thing. I have a separate “Slush” envelope which holds the balance that would otherwise be Unallocated (just so Unallocated is always zero). Small one-off or random things that don’t logically fall under any other envelope I will assign to Slush. Typically this is things like giving $5 to a random person on a street corner or sending a kid to school with cash for a book fair. Things I did not plan for and aren’t worth tracking as a category.
Most other unplanned things actually belong to to a proper envelope. You might have a “car mainenance” envelope for oil changes and carwashes and things, and suddenly you have a large unexpected repair like a radiator or something. In cases like that I will transfer from Unallocated/Slush to the maintenance envelope and then pay from that.