Big Things For Which We Often Forget to Budget

I was quietly gloating over our bank balance the other day and thinking that soon we could get the ensuite shower re-tiled (which after 40+ years it certainly needs) when I realized we had a couple of large expenses coming up for which I hadn’t mentally budgeted. It made me wonder how many other big things we have forgotten to include in our budget.

Make Sure You Save in Advance for These Big Ticket Expenses Looming in the Future


After chatting to a few friends and relatives, here’s a list of some of the whoppers that people often overlook:

  • braces for our children’s teeth (yep, that’s the one I suddenly remembered!)
  • a wedding ceremony (I Will Teach You to be Rich Ramit Sethi says young people should be saving for this as soon as they start working. That’s an interesting viewpoint.)
  • a funeral, cremation, burial and/or memorial for ourselves and our partner
  • dental care for when we no longer have a dental plan (price for a root canal is: $250+)
  • eyeglasses (including for some of those who had laser surgery in their 20s. Don’t believe those “frames and lenses for $99” ads are what you’ll want.)
  • hearing aids (especially if you use earbuds or headphones now)
  • orthotics
  • condo reserve fund special charges (Can you imagine a $10,000 charge with no warning? It happened to a relative of mine.)

Big Things For Which We Should and Usually Do Remember to Budget

Of course there is a whole messy list of expensive items that need to be repaired and replaced over the years. The trick is to save the money for them before they need to be replaced. Otherwise you may have to borrow to buy them and pay ridiculous interest on the loan.

  • birthdays (Including 2-10 birthday party presents per child per year for your children’s friends!)
  • special holidays
  • weddings (Ten nieces and nephews. Oh dear!)
  • replacement vehicles, new or used
  • children’s education (including public school costs!)
  • computer and other electronics replacement
  • roof replacement
  • furnace (and possibly air conditioner) replacement
  • appliance replacement (fridge; stove; dishwasher; washing machine; dryer; water heater)
  • windows, doors, siding or brick replacement
  • renovating bathrooms and the kitchen
  • fence replacement
  • tree removal (Can you say Emerald Ash Borer; Dutch Elm Disease; Spruce Budworm; Fire Blight?)
  • swimming pool repairs, replacement or removal


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Have you been blindsided by a major expense? Please share your experiences and I’ll add them to the list!

2 thoughts on “Big Things For Which We Often Forget to Budget

  1. While I do budget for dental bills and home repairs I can’t seem to budget anything for a replacement car. I am working so hard to get out of debt (target date summer 2014) but then I will have to go right back in to debt to replace my rapidly aging car.

    Do I slow my current debt repayment to start a car fund? Seems pointless to pay off one kind of debt (HELOC) to jump right in to a car loan.

    • I wouldn’t slow down debt repayment but I would look at every possible way to reduce the replacement car’s cost. I believe you already said you’re looking for a good used car. We’ve had very good luck with our Toyota’s (Tercel and Corollas, and more recently a Camry) but like people each car is different and there’s no way to be sure before you buy what you’re getting. I’m sure you’ve already told friends and relatives to let you know if they or their friends or relatives are turning in a car. For e.g. when one of my nieces was old enough to start needing a car, an elderly male relative was unable to keep driving his so he sold it to her without any middleman markup.

      The only other solution I can see is to increase your income. Having followed your website, I know you’ve been exploring possibilities in that direction, too. Any word on whether you could get a fixed shift?

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