The older I get, and the more responsibilities I have, the more I find that a reserve line in my budget comes in handy. It seems that when I was younger, there would be an occasional item here and there that might crop up unexpectedly – a new tire for the car, a parking ticket, renting a carpet cleaner for the wine spill on the carpet, or whatever.
However, with age often comes responsibility, and responsibility can bear with it extra costs. And when those costs start pushing me to regularly exceed my budget, it can be somewhat demoralizing. Therefore, I’ve learned to build a reserve fund into our monthly budget, and over time have discovered that there are a variety of situations in which this comes in handy.
When you have kids
I knew that having kids would be expensive, but I couldn’t fully prepare myself for all the costs that were to come with little ones. And overall, the bigger expenses I do pretty well at planning and budgeting for; it’s the little things that tend to creep up on me and that I find a budget reserve so useful for.
From sporting events and lunch fees, to play dates, birthday parties and gifts, there are a variety of kid costs that come regularly in all shapes and sizes. It might only be a few dollars, or it could be $100 or more, and having our monthly general reserve fund of $200 in place helps us cover these costs when they arise.
When you have a house
Now that we have a condo and a monthly assessment fee, we don’t have quite so many costs popping up unexpectedly as when we used to live in a single-family home. However, there are still a variety of little repair items that we just weren’t expecting but that we have to pay for nonetheless.
A broken mailbox key, having the intercom reprogrammed, dryer vent cleaning charges, new blinds in the living room, and similar costs all come in under $50, but are still unexpected expenses that it’s nice to have a reserve amount in our budget available to cover.
For holidays, birthdays and work
While I work from home, when I worked in the hotel business there were a variety of workplace related costs. When the boss’s kid was selling stuff for school fundraisers, I couldn’t really say no, so I was kind of forced to buy. It wasn’t a lot, but it was one of those little unexpected costs nonetheless. Then there are things like family weddings, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and other holidays that sometimes I just don’t remember to budget for but that need to be handled.
Just for all those little things
Then of course, there are just all those little things that come along with the living of life and that are unexpected but must be paid for. Whether it’s a new car battery, new filters for the furnace, an oil change for the car, a new pair of eye glasses, stamps, an unexpected tooth filling, a new watch battery, or whatever, having a extra hundred bucks or so set aside can keep even those little things from busting an otherwise well thought out budget.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.