A year with no surprise expenses

By Stew

As I looked over our budget from last year, several expenditures caught my eye:

Car repair:  $ 481
Scooter:      $ 900
Dentist:       $ 389
Car repair:  $ 850
Dentist:       $1,314
Scooter:      $ 250
Car repair:  $ 224
Car repair:  $ 292
Dentist:       $ 191
Car repair:  $ 125
Second mortgage settlement: $5,000

That is $2,049 spent on car repair (does not include fuel, oil changes or car washes). We spent $1,894 at the dentist and I purchased a scooter this last year that ended up costing me over $1,100.

Some observations:

  • The dentist had a good year. The costs listed here are on top of our dental insurance! Contrary to the rumors, our family does practice good dental hygiene . . .
  • The car repair number includes tire and brake expenses about approximately $500. Those were expected, the rest is out of the ordinary.
  • Our van needs to last us another three years until it is paid off. This list makes me wonder if it will make it.
  • There are many, many days when I wish that I had chosen the profession of “auto mechanic”. I could have saved myself $2K last year and auto repair shops never seem to be out of business.
  • Believer it or not, our children have not yet entered the “braces” era of their lives. Maybe I should have been a dentist.
  • Owning a car is almost as bad as owning a home in terms of hidden or “not up-front” costs.
  • I consider all of these expenses to be out of the ordinary, and with the exception of $500 worth of car expenses, they were costs for which we did not budget.

It is conceivable that we could have made it through 2010 without any of those expenses. Where would that money have gone if we had not had these extra-budget expenses? A second question: can or should we assume that 2011 will not hold such expenses?

The point is that while we do not enjoy shelling out extra money and while we would like to avoid any and all emergency spending, we are still afloat. God met our needs as He has always promised. We can trust that He will help us to handle any financial crisis that come our way this year.

I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity . . . And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:12,19)

Photo by justinplambert


3 Responses (including trackbacks) to “A year with no surprise expenses”

  1. prasti Says:

    yikes! we have dental insurance and one is in approaching the “braces season.”

    we had some unexpected expenses last year too, and it hit us hard especially since we are working to get our finances in line. i don’t know how we made it through 2010, but like you said God met our needs each and every time.

  2. dramon Says:

    If you can use an HRA account, it is a good way for planned medical and dental expenses and to cover some of the unplanned ones. Only one year have I not used it completely and it was close. It seems like every year there is an unplanned trip to the Doctor or Dentist. We are fortunate to have insurance, but the co pays can add up.

  3. Chen Says:

    Yes, dentist – our cost after insurance was $2500 last year and my son was only 7 – go figure.
    I am not surprised with the car repair cost though – a friend of mine working in the auto repair industry told me that you’ll expect $1000 to $1500 car repair each year for a newer model (7 years) and higher for older model. this doesn’t include regular maint and tires.

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