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For Better Finances in 2018: Second Step - Expect the Unexpected

Steps for Better Finances

You resolved that 2018 would be the year you’d get rid of the stress that money (or the lack of it) causes you.

You’re ready to change how you behave with money, in order to get a change in your stress level.

Your second step has the potential to make the biggest difference to your finances by December than almost anything else you can do.  It's this:

Make a list of all your 2018 non-monthly expenses: type of expense, expected month, expected amount.

Most people are well aware of how much their weekly or monthly rent is, and when it’s due.  We have a handle on how much we usually spend on food, power, and regular transport costs.

 What derails our “save more, spend less” plans are ”unexpected” expenses.

So let’s expect as much as we can.  Consider:

  • Are any special celebrations coming up this year?  Family or friends’ birthdays or weddings or special anniversaries? Cultural or religious festivals or ceremonies?  Put down the month and the anticipated costs – travel, accommodation, new clothes, gifts, food.
  • Maintenance on things you own, especially cars and houses.
  • Repairs on things you own, especially cars and houses.  This one you will have to guesstimate both the amount and the timing – just come up with a number that feels like it would be enough.
  • Sports equipment that needs repairing or replacing.
  • Tax bills
  • Insurance premiums
  • Bills from lawyers, accountants, medical specialists
  • Bills you pay for your children – schooling costs, extra-curricular activities, sports or cultural trips, school camp, medical expenses
  • Bills you pay for your pets – especially vet bills
  • Yearly club subscriptions or gym memberships
  • Any travel plans you are already committed to, or would like to commit to


Once you start thinking of things, you’ll think of other things.  That 20-swim concession card you buy every few months.  The garden maintenance that needs doing at least once a year.

MoneyMinderOnline has a worksheet for these costs (periodic expenses), but you could use a spreadsheet or just a notebook if that’s what works for you. Keep adding to it:

Type of Expense

Expected Month

Expected Cost

Car Repair



School Camp - Fee



School Camp – Clothing




Having this all down can be daunting – the total required is almost always higher than we want it to be.

If looking at the cost of everything you have coming up stresses you out, take a deep breath.  It hasn’t happened yet.  Knowledge is power – there’s still time to do something about it.


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