Sunday, October 25, 2009

One-Time Expenses

A couple of days ago, my friend and I were talking about many things. One of these things included a comment about one-time expenses and how there seems to be one every month. I decided to analyze my one-time expenses over the past year and see what I can learn about my budget (as informal as it is). So:
  • December: Living room TV: ~$800, second 24" monitor: ~$300.
  • January: Video games: ~$100. Not too bad...
  • February: Ladder to fix the roof: ~200, paying some guy to fix the roof: ~$60.
  • March: No big expenses. Go me!
  • April: Nothing again!
  • May: Fiona died, and I took Apple in to get tests and shots: $130.
  • June: Adopted Mac & Cheese: ~$100, initial vet visit for Mac & Cheese: $110
  • July: Apple's eye infection: ~$50, Mac & Cheese declawed: ~$260, new tennis racquets: ~$230, video games: ~$100.
  • August: I did good again!
  • September: Video games: ~$75, miscellaneous family expenses: ~$200.
  • October: File server parts & digital camera: ~$400.
  • November: Planned car repairs: ~$400

This puts me at just about $300 per month for one-time expenses. I also want to get a new bed at some point, a storm door for the front, a new car eventually, and probably a few other things I have forgotten about while compiling the above list. The storm door will improve the heating/cooling efficiency of the house. The bed, at least, will likely be purchased at Nebraska Furniture Mart (can you believe I used to be anti-NFM at one point?) and therefore be spread out over the following 24-30 months...

I think the video games will also be a less frequent expense for awhile, since a lot of the video game purchases were large packs of games, and should keep me busy for quite a long time, really. There are still at least 10-20 games I haven't even installed/tried. I really hope my pet expenses (one-time, that is - food and litter are frequent purchases) are very low going forward. Regular check-ups only, please! My file server is running much smoother now (see future post), so that will hopefully truly be a one-time expense for the year or more. I remember justifying my living room TV as roommate retention. It's at least getting use. Some car repairs are definitely necessary - I worry about every strange noise I hear when I drive right now, which is not pleasant at all.

...I think what I learned is that even after compiling a list of one-time expenses while expecting a ridiculously high total, I still went into justification-mode after seeing it. I do keep my regular expenses fairly low, and I'm not at all worried about my cash flow. As I discussed previously, I save $200 each month, and that's after maxing out my 401(k) and Roth IRA contributions every year. I save a lot of money each year, and have multiple layers of financial cushions should I ever need to cut back on expenses. However, even if it's not strictly necessary, I think an occasional analysis of spending patterns is helpful.

Update: Speaking of Nebraska Furniture Mart, I forgot about my living room couch. It was purchased on my NFM card, though, and I technically haven't started paying that off yet - I'm still working on my dining room furniture. Or maybe it is my downstairs TV. I love 0% interest! Also, I think it important to mention my new furnace, since it was almost a full year's worth of one-time expenses by itself. Things happen.

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