Real Life On A Budget

You Need a Miscellaneous Category in Your Budget!

Life happens. And, if you’re like me, you tend to forget things from time to time. That’s why the miscellaneous budget category is so important! I’ll explain more in today’s vlog.

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  • Tiffany

    Thank you for the great advice Rachel – what do you do with left over misc money at the end of the month? Does it roll, if so for how long? Thanks!

    • David A. Cuellar

      I think it’s entirely up to you. I wouldn’t roll it over, because in theory you should be spending “every” dollar each month to obtain the “Zero-based Budget”. So if you do have extra money left over in Miscellaneous category (or any category for that matter) I would just apply it to whatever Baby Step you are own (i.e. apply to your debt snowball, help build your emergency fund, send it to retirement, or GIVE it, etc).nnnPersonally, my wife and I have our Misc. money as part of our Envelope system. When the month is over we put the left over envelope money in a cookie jar. After a few months you’d be surprised as to how much accumulates. After about 4-5 months we had approximately $400 in the jar so we took it out and applied it to Debt as we are still on Baby Step 2.

      • Staci

        You don’t have to spend “every” dollar each money to have a zero-based budget, you simply have to have a job for that dollar. It’s job could be to stay in the Misc envelope and rollover to the next month, or it’s job could be to apply to your current baby step. It depends on the person.

        • David A. Cuellar

          Yes, I agree that it depends on the person.nnnI guess I should not have said “spend” every dollar. The purpose of the Zero-based budget is that each dollar should have a “job” as you stated.nnnI peronsally like to “zero-out” everything at the end of the month (i.e. not have any money roll over), which means I apply extra money to current baby step.nnnBut again, it depends entirely on the person…everyone does things a little differently. As long as every dollar has a “job” whether you apply extra money to a baby step or roll it over you are on the right path. No wrong answer. Do what works best for you family.

          • Julie

            Some bills are annual though so how can you zero out each account at the end of each month?

  • Austin Brown

    How much do you suggest you add to the misc part of the budget?

    • David A. Cuellar

      I think it depends on your budget, but I would look at the past 1-3 months and take an approximate count to how much you spend on miscellaneous things. My wife and I are pretty good about gauging upcoming expenses for the month but we still budget anywhere from $120-$140/month in our Miscellaneous category. We “guess” we will spend about $30/week on misc things.

  • Allison

    What if you don’t have any extra money for a miscellaneous category? That’s why we still end up using a credit card

    • IdiocyAbounds

      You seriously need to devise a solid plan to STOP THAT or you will just go deeper into the debt abyss and NEVER have anything. (take a short term 2nd job to pay off some debt or something) nnThe one thing to NEVER do is pooh pooh off every suggestion or possibility as not possible…as that is just making excuses. There is always the old stand by my grandfather used to sayn “If someone were holding someone you love over the side of a deep cliff and said cut some expenses NOW or their is gonna “get it”, it is amazing how many people could come up with workable budget cuts.nnPriorities.

  • Secret Place

    I sincerely ask your opinion for my miscellaneous category. I own rental property and I budget everything down to the dollar. Then a tenant will allow her guest to flush 10 paper towels or 3 toy trucks. The next tenant will call to say the refrigerator is not cold. Then a tenant will call to say that a window fell out all by itself. You see where I am going with this. How can I possibly plan or recover from three or four catastrophes each month and if I try to charge them, they don’t have any money because they are section 8 tenants. If I evict them, the house will be vacant with no rent for at least a month or two but the mortgage payments are still due. I would appreciate it if you would give me your advice. Thank you.

    • Jerri

      I have A rental property and I keep a separate baby emergency fund for that property.nnBut… It sounds like you are leveraged on all your rentals. Have you considered doing it Dave sway and selling some of them and just keeping one or two paid for properties? There’s a lot less risk… I’ve done it both ways and paid for his betternnBest wishes

      • Secret Place

        I think is less risky to have more than one or two paid for houses. I don’t sweat it so much if one is vacant but we cannot eat if I only had one or two and they were paid off and vacant. I don’t want to sell now because the market has come back considerably this past year. Everyone advising me is saying to hold on for at least 2 years. My father bought a duplex for 15,000 and sold it a few years later for 35,000. It later sold for 360,000. He bought a house for 5,900. Many years later I sold it for 260,000 and turned it into three and they are growing in equity (now) and I think if I just hold on… I like your idea of a separate baby emergency fund very much but it would be hard to save for an emergency fund when these people let their kids flush entire packages of wipes or the hot water heater just gives up or something unforeseen happens every month. I just don’t think there is a concrete answer to my problem. No one has a crystal ball to predict acts of nature, old plumbing and idiotic guests of tenants.