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Difficulty Taming the EXTRANEOUS Expensens

October 9th, 2014 at 08:38 am


I think part of my frustrations come from not managing the EXTRANEOUS category very well. And in all honesty, I consider everything other than LIVING (gas/groceries/household/pet) and UTILITIES (that is obvious) to be EXTRANSOUS (ink for the printer/contact lenses/pet grooming/oil changes/clothing/etc.) However, I am not sure how to unwrap my mind around the ill-defined concept.

Tomorrow is pay day and we are in need (again) of ink, grooming, oil change, and glasses. And guess what? The next pay day in two weeks will require covering grooming (different dog) and oil change (different car).

I am open to any/all suggestions on tackling this challenge. The funds available for these expenses are usually $200 a month. $100/two weeks. And that also includes clothes and sporting items.

The season change is requiring some additional clothing for the boys who grew. I found a lot of NIKE clothing (four pants/four shorts/two long sleeve hooded sweatshirts/one long-sleeve T) for $35 on FB local garage sale page. Buying those today at 12. Have to advance myself $10 from tomorrow's EXTRANSOUS fund.

Not lamenting, open to the challenge, any appreciate any other way to view these regular expenses. Just having a very difficult time shedding EXTRANEOUS. Maybe a revamp of the expanses and how I categorize?
Maybe better tracking? I do buy online when I can (for lenses) and I watch for coupons for oil changes. Just looking for suggestions. Thanks in advance!

8 Responses to “Difficulty Taming the EXTRANEOUS Expensens”

  1. doingitallwrong Says:

    I wouldn't place those items in the "extraneous" category. They are necessary expenses, not frivolous spending. (Yes, you could decrease some of the expenses by doing them yourself, like grooming the dogs or changing the oil, but the dogs still need to be groomed and the oil still needs to be changed.) Add another category to your mindset, so that you have LIVING, UTILITIES, and MAINTENANCE before you get to EXTRANEOUS.

  2. Wife of the Deacon Says:


    Thank you, DIAW. That is funny to me because it seems SO OBVIOUS reading it like that. Definitely need to rework the category column titles. Smile

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    Laura, I operate that way a bit myself. I've come to realize over time how much we spend for some of the extraneous like pet food. I don't technically set it aside, though. I also need to do better in this area.

    In the case of oil changes and dog grooming...you likely know how much you spend each time. And you likely know how often these occur. If an oil change is $30 and you get one every 3 months, you need to save $10 each month, or $20 since you have two cars. I would suggest setting up a running total of money saved each pay period for these expenses and pull from that category for them.

    These expenses often feel random but they are not. I always buy used (refurbished) ink from places like 123 Injet or Double Ink. I think Ebates and TopCashBack offer rebates on them, too. We seem to use less ink than we once did...more online computing at school I think!

  4. Wife of the Deacon Says:


    @ CCF, In some ways I feel this should be reminiscent of Mary Hunt's irregular expense fund. But I will admit to being most successful when the system is simple. I think is some ways maybe just cash in an envelope for these things. And if I could get them staggered it wouldn't feel like such a drain, or big blip out of my meager $100.

  5. Bluebird Says:

    Hi Laura, I used Mary Hunt's freedom account system for many years. If you have a lot of categories, the cash envelope system might work best until it's streamlined. I used a spreadsheet. It was always such a relief seeing the funds accumulate every month and knowing it was there when needed. I now only use it for larger categories (real estate taxes, home repairs, vacations, clothing, gifts, etc.). Good luck!

  6. MonkeyMama Says:

    Everything that is about the same monthly, is budgeted for monthly. (Including groceries and so on). Everything else is budgeted out annually. I set aside a monthly sum for everything else. Some months it just goes into savings and some months it's all coming out of savings, but it all zeroes out for the year. I call that my short-term fund. For budgeting purposes, I think more categories is just way too time consuming and complicated. I have this month to spend and I make it work. But, you know, I worked backwards from what we usually spend on all the extraneous, and what is a reasonable sum. Of course, the more deals we find, the more it will stretch.







  7. CB in the City Says:

    I break down my categories pretty narrowly, using a spreadsheet. However, that's just spending -- I don't "budget" in the sense that I pre-set a limit. The categories are all so variable I have found that strict budgeting doesn't work for me....

  8. Miz Pat Says:

    I know my nephews groom their own hair, and we groom the dogs from time to time. However, I think learning to change the oil is listed under mechanical insanity. then again, maybe it would be very nice. I should see if they have any lesson's on line. I do get my hair cut monthly and I do find cheap deals. However, when times get really rough, I start growing my hair out.

    I don't wear makeup, and almost all my clothing is either from thrift/garage sales or a girlfriend who lost weight and gave me tons of pretty stuff.

    I consider oil changes an essential expense and i plan for 3000 miles for each oil change - car is 14 years old, so its a good habit.

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