In a recent online budgeting group, a user asked the group how to budget random expenses that come up during the month. We've summarized the responses so you can make the best decision based on your budgeting system.

Question for those that do $0 budgets. How do you budget random things that pop up throughout the month? They are things that we can cover, but it does mess up how we've budgeted items. There's always something, and I have no desire to micromanage every dollar.Is it common to have a portion of your income dedicated to "random stuff?"

-- Member of online budgeting group

Catch-all category

Many folks opt to have a "catch-all" category that catches the randomness of their expenses like Costco, membership, stamps, shampoo, light bulbs, etc. The name of the category could be: household, general, misc. Some replies indicate that if there's excess in their catch-all category at the end of the month, they will roll it over to the next month while others opt to take the excess and put it towards debt.

Miscellaneous Buffer

Some folks opt to have a miscellaneous buffer for things that don't fit under a category. However, in one case the person opts to add buffers into all of their other categories to help address unexpected expenses related to those categories.

Budget Balance

There's a balance between devoting a lot of time to creating categories for every little expense vs creating a catch-all category. As you are on your budgeting journey, if you find that you're avoiding your budget check-in because you don't want to have to keep track of a bunch of small, random expenses, then maybe you have too many categories and should broaden them. On the other hand if you're not getting the necessary data you need from your budgeting system, them maybe you should consider adding a few more categories.

How to handle random expenses with Tansy

Many Tansy users opt to have a weekly miscellaneous expense event to handle random expenses that come up during the month. That way you can see in your Tansy forecast a realistic view of your cash-flow. If you don't use all of your miscellaneous expense event amount, when you log your balance, Tansy automatically accounts for that and its like that money rolled over to your overall cash-flow balance. 

With Tansy you don't have to worry about categorizing or tracking every little expense. Once you log your balance, every past transaction is accounted for in the balance and you can focus on planning for the future. Click here to learn more about Getting Started with Tansy.

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