10 Sneaky Expenses That You Never Saw Coming

by Derek

Do you want to be wealthy in the future? Do you have a plan set in place to achieve your wealth goals? If you have a plan, then I’m assuming that you’ve made a budget for your monthly expenses, which is great, but guess what? Not all expenses occur on a monthly basis. Make sure that you don’t forget about these sneaky costs that tend to catch some people by surprise.


  1. Eye Expenses – about every year or so, those of us with eyeglasses or contacts need to go to the eye doctor for another check-up. Not only does this appointment cost us money, but our new order of contacts or our updated glasses prescription is a pretty huge cost as well!
  2. Vehicle Registration – for most of us, vehicle registration is mandatory and it happens once a year. Since it’s not a reoccurring monthly expense, it’s sometimes easy to forget about.
  3. Car Insurance – if you pay your insurance once every six months, when that payment comes due, it can be absolutely devastating if you forgot it was coming.
  4. Dentist Expenses – they say you should visit the dentist every six months, so these expenses are easy to forget as well. Put some dough aside for the co-pay, but also be ready for the potential cavity expense!
  5. Property Tax – for those of you that pay your property taxes twice a year (rather than each month into an escrow fund), beware of the months where those taxes are due!
  6. Kids School Supplies – of course we all know that kids will need paper and pencils at the beginning of the school year, but what about those unexpected expenses during the school year? It could be a field trip, a different calculator, or maybe some new sneakers since they made the basketball team. They will come up, so be prepared.
  7. Haircuts – many of us don’t really think to budget for a haircut, but it can equate to quite a large expense for a family. Set some money aside for this regular grooming.
  8. Gifts – baby showers, birthdays, weddings – it seems like there are always occasions that “require” a gift. Stock some money away for these unexpected expenses.
  9. Vehicle Maintenance – cars require a lot of maintenance and you’d better be prepared for that next oil change, brake replacement, or perhaps the worst imaginable – the transmission repair.
  10. Clothing Expense – it might be pretty easy for you to wear the same shirt for 7 years, but what about your kids? They WILL grow out of their clothes and you’ll need to have a fund set aside so that their pants don’t spit on the playground!

These “unexpected expenses” could kill your budget if you’re not ready for them. Plan for these and your future will be much more smooth. Can you think of any other expenses that could make the list?


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krantcents April 11, 2012 at 11:41 am

The really unexpected expenses are the ones you can’t plan for. The appliance that breaks or plumbing repair., car accident or some health issue. All good reasons for an emergency fund.

Derek April 12, 2012 at 4:20 am

Very true. And, yep, the emergency fund covers all of those unexpected events!

Jackie April 11, 2012 at 5:55 pm

We pay our homeowner’s insurance twice a year, so I’d add that too the list. Plus things like Christmas, birthdays, etc.

Derek April 12, 2012 at 4:21 am

Insurance is pretty big, that’s a good one.

Leslie April 12, 2012 at 5:16 am

Great list! The need for an emergency fund can’t be stressed enough. A female squirrel (about to give birth) decided to move into my attic last fall. Guess who had to pay a big pest control bill that wasn’t expected plus a home repair bill.

Derek April 13, 2012 at 3:27 am

Yikes! I’ve never heard of that! I bet that emergency fund came in really handy though. 😉

Jason Cabler (@DrCabler) April 12, 2012 at 10:06 am

Great article! Those types of expenses are always gonna be there. I always put them as a line item in my monthly budget and I’m ready for them when they happen so I don’t have to go into panic mode.

Those kinds of expenses shouldn’t take us by surprise but they often do. They used to “surprise” me before I started doing a written budget every month.

I hate it when my kids pants “spit” on the playground. being a dentist, that just makes me look bad. Funny typo!

Keep up the good work!

Derek April 13, 2012 at 9:25 am

Thanks for the encouragement Jason. It’s always nice to have a cheering section! 🙂

Paul @ The Frugal Toad April 12, 2012 at 6:19 pm

The swimming pool has been one unexpected expense after another. It’s a good thing we have a very good warranty!

Derek April 13, 2012 at 3:28 am

I didn’t think of that one either (since we don’t have a swimming pool), but I bet you’re right. There are plenty of things that could go wrong with a swimming pool.

The Retired Landlord April 12, 2012 at 8:00 pm

I was recently went to the dentist. Luckily, I got away with only paying $89 out of pocket, but it’s still $89 I would rather pay for something else. I think it’s always a good idea to have a little cushion in your budget.

Derek April 13, 2012 at 9:24 am

Yep, even just $89 can hurt – depending on your financial situation.

Jen @ Master the Art of Saving April 12, 2012 at 8:59 pm

I have small daily transfers set up to save for our car insurance and Christmas. I also started a ‘car expenses’ savings account to cover whatever comes up. We’re also pretty stocked up on school supplies from my ‘Extreme Couponing’ days. 🙂 I still need to work on a couple other areas though, thanks for the reminder.

Derek April 13, 2012 at 3:29 am

Sounds like you’ve got this stuff pretty well figured out. Congrats!

Brittney Castro April 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm

It’s so important to factor in emergency funds into your spending plan! Learn more about vision based financial planning, and working towards your personal finance goals at http://www.financiallywisewomen.com

TB at BlueCollarWorkman April 30, 2012 at 8:42 am

You aren’t kidding man, those little htings do suddenly show up and wham! your budget is thrown entirely. Emergency funds can help with that, but even so, it’s always a drag to realize you forgot something (like this year, we forgot that we’d probably owe taxes! Oops… there goes the emergency fund).

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