Skip to Main Content

Start Of Main Content

How to budget for non-monthly expenses

Everyone runs into irregular or non-monthly expenses throughout the year. Say goodbye to these budget busters.

Woman creating a budget and managing expenses.

Inspired by Next Door®

What are non-monthly expenses?

Non-monthly expenses are one of three types of expenses included in your budget:

  1. Non-monthly expenses are sometimes called budget busters because they’re expenses that can come out of nowhere or from impulse spending. Some common non-monthly expenses are vacations, car repairs, holiday gifts or that big screen TV you couldn’t resist.

  2. Fixed expenses are the payments and amounts you know about, like rent/mortgage, car or student loan payments.

  3. Variable expenses are also expenses you know about, but the amounts vary. These are expenses like groceries, gas, utility bills, restaurants, parking or ride shares.

Not a budgeter, you say? If you earn money and spend money, you budget! Whether you keep a spreadsheet down to the penny or toss your bills and receipts into a drawer, it’s easy to forget about non-monthly expenses.

Who experiences non-monthly expenses?

Everyone! These sneak-up-on-you expenses can feel like emergencies, but you can budget for them. You can also save up for things that are long-term, planned purchases.

  • Pro Tip: Review your last few bank and credit card statements to see if you’ve had a budget buster. Did you see that expense coming? If you did, it’s something you can prepare for the next time.

How can I budget for non-monthly expenses?

You don’t need a crystal ball to know there are expenses that hit throughout the year, but don’t happen every month. From travel to routine car maintenance, to those save-the-dates for next summer’s weddings, all you need is a calendar.

  • Pro Tip: Look through the next 12 months on your calendar. Do you have special events or trips you could be saving for now?

Why should I budget for non-monthly expenses?

Taking control of non-monthly expenses can help make sure they don’t blow up your budget when they happen. Having a clear game plan for the money you earn is the foundation of smart money management.

  • Pro Tip: Try keeping your non-monthly expenses account(s) separate from your main banking. Separating these from the rest of your budget is one way to prevent being caught off guard. Keeping them separate helps prevent possible temptation while you save.

You got this

Now you know that “came out of nowhere” expenses have another name: non-monthly expenses. With a little knowledge and some pro tips, you’ll be ready to pay for that extra gift, plane ticket or new license plate sticker!

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.


Also Important

How to Build and Use an Emergency Fund

How to Build and Use an Emergency Fund

Be prepared for unexpected expenses so you can protect your savings.

Retirement Planning: Already Retired?

Retirement Planning: Already Retired?

Your retirement saving shouldn't cut off once you're retired. Learn what else to do.

Related Articles

Reaching Your Financial Goals

Reaching Your Financial Goals

Those goals don't have to be lofty or complicated. Keep them simple and attainable is the message here.

Small Goals Make for Big Wins

Small Goals Make for Big Wins

If goals are hard to reach, they become unattainable. Try scaling them down to be bite-sized and easier to achieve.

Ways You Can Start Saving for a Goal

Ways You Can Start Saving for a Goal

Budgets are the result of aspirations and well-defined savings goals. Know the differences so you can learn how to set a savings goal that works for you.