Looking for True Expenses ideas


Since having my financial ego crushed by Covid, I finally created a real Emergency Fund for the first time. I like keeping it as an E-fund instead of just Income Replacement so that I can pivot its purpose to whatever unexpected emergency arises. However, I keep fighting the temptation to add more and more to this category. This year I might be able to save for True Expenses, but I've often had trouble thinking of what they might be. I'd like to crowdsource ideas from people in case I'm missing anything.

I'm a 30-something freelancer living in a HCOL city in the U.S. with a young cat. I rent with my partner and use a combination of public transit and bicycle to get around.

Right now I have:

- Monthly and annual subscriptions

- Tech/laptop replacement

- Bike repair/accessories

- Medical appointments

- Glasses

- Moving costs (nothing planned but likely to move again in less than 5 years)


Anything else you'd recommend?

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    • HappyDance Thanks! Odd, when I did a forum quick-search of "True Expenses", this didn't seem to come up.

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      • HappyDance
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      • HappyDance
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      The Artist Formerly Known As 

      Yeah. I hear you. Finding anything using the current search is a total crap shoot, even when you know the thread exists and sometimes when you posted to it.

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  • Oooh, here are a few:

    • Pet vet expenses! Both annual check-ups and emergency visits. 
    • Gifts and charitable contributions, as well as miscellaneous spending like clothing, housewares, etc, unless you prefer to use a wish farm method for things like that (this is what I'm doing, but I'm not a big spender on "things."
    • If you have renter's insurance you might also want a category for the deductible
    • tax preparation
    • tax withholdings for freelance income
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    • mandiferous Thanks! I just started using tax prep and withholdings categories; they've been a lifesaver.

      Pet annual check-ups and visits is a good point. I'm new to having my own pet.

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    • The Artist Formerly Known As Ah - congrats on being a new furparent! It's totally worth it, but if I could go back in time, preparing for pet emergency expenses is definitely one of the budget-related things that I would risk a space-time continuum rift to warn myself about.

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  • I separate out Christmas from gifts ..also vacation or at least an emergency travel fund if you have anyone at a distance you might need to get to quickly...My daughter went into labor 2 months early and not having to worry about paying for a plane ticket was one thing off my mind.

    • Laurie R that’s amazing you were able to fly earlier without breaking the bank!

      I’ve heard some people separate out Christmas. I’ve thought about it but don’t know how that would work. Do you include decorating costs, event/food stuff, and (in my case there would have to be) Christmas travel costs...? Or is it just Christmas gifts.

      • monkeyhanger
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      The Artist Formerly Known As I have 2 Christmas categories - Christmas presents for gifts and Other Christmas and New Year  for all the additional costs associated with the holiday period including cards, postage, extra groceries and alcohol, travel, parties, panto tickets (how very British), meals out, etc.

      I used to have just one category but found it easier to split them so that I had a better handle on whether I was impacting the gifts budget, which is supported by a separate list of a budget per person, by making decisions about buying extra decorations.

      The latter category supplements our basic groceries, travel and entertainment budgets and I'm not overly worried about how things get reported (i.e. original category). I save £50/month in this category and after 8 years on here and pretty confident that this is more than adequate not to have to feel stingy at that time of year. If there's anything left in any of those categories on New Year's Day it goes into a vacation category. For me this is the right level of awareness (how much do I have left for presents), saving up in advance and effort. 

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    • monkeyhanger Thanks for describing your method! I would consider doing something like this.

  • I have categories for

    - appliance replacement (eg fridge)

    - reimbursement (cover while money is out and about)

    - tyres (mine are  wildly expensive)

    - dental

    - activities (like swimming, events, gym)

    - pandemic prep

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