Categorizing Unexpected Expenses

We had a pipe burst in our house last week. So it was an unexpected “home improvement” cost that wasn’t a discretionary. I’d like to track track these types of unplanned, unexpected expenses differently than how I’d track home improvement projects are not emergencies (e.g., updating a light fixture).

I’d like to apply this more broadly to things like healthcare and our car-related expenses. I want to distinguish between expected expenses vs. unexpected expenses that would fall generally into the same category. Any advice on how you’ve approached this?

I know there will be other ideas, but maybe try this.

Use the same category name but put unexpected at the end of the category name and then assign them all to a group called unexpected if you want to track them all as a group. This is an easy way to start off and then you can change if you find something more to your liking.


Good idea @Blake. Not super complicated but sounds like it would accomplish what I’m trying to do.

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I also track unexpected expenses for the same reasons you do - but I use tags. That way I can call out an expense from any category without having to duplicate categories and affect other reports. Then i use the tag report to monitor my unexpected expenses. This report also shows the category that it was related to so I can reference back. has worked well for me…


@mjsef, I haven’t used tags. Do you just create a “Tags” column in the Foundations Template?

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I believe if you add the tags report it will add the Tag column to the transactions sheet automatically. not 100% sure though.


Yes, the Tags Report available via the Labs add-on will automatically add the Tag column to Transacitons.


(Note : I use envelop budgeting w/rollovers)
I have an ‘emergency savings’ just for this type of thing, and you nailed my basic categories that I ‘expect’ to fall in there: health care, car, house stuff. I save some each month (250-500) and roll over the amount to next month; goal is to stop when it gets big enough to cover say a dropped transmission - anything large enough that any larger i’d just scrap the car, for example. If (when?) i hit that goal number, i’ll stop; if i require an expense out of there, i’ll pick it contributing to it again.

I’ve got an HSA to cover bigger health issues, but this lowers my risk/anxiety on things I couldn’t control and then doesn’t require moving budgets around.

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Personally, I’d go with @mjsef’s approach. Tags are great because they allow you to be more granular with how you categorize without proliferating your list of categories (and making it unmanageable).

I use tags in my personal sheets.