How do you budget for annual (or other non-monthly) expenses

One thing I’m struggling with is making sure that my budget accounts for annual (or other non-monthly) expenses. For example, let’s say I have a magazine subscription that costs $50 and I pay it every August. The easy answer is “just put $50” in August, but that becomes more complicated when:

  • I have lots of these things
  • some expenses are in categories that also have a monthly discretionary amount

I’ve thought of creating a new sheet where I could list all of these expenses and then somehow have a 2-item budget for every month where 1 item is coming from the annual sheet and the other is my discretionary. But I’m curious what other folks do with this kind of thing?

Some example of annual expenses:

  • insurance (paid annually)
  • subscriptions
  • pet meds (paid quarterly)
  • passport renewals (paid every 5 years)
  • car registration (annual)

Thanks for your insights.

1 Like

Hi @roleary,
I’m sure you are not the only person struggling with this.

I don’t think there is a right way or a wrong way to do it. It’s whatever works for your situation. Does the extra work a workflow might require provide the extra benefits you need to better review your financial situation.

For me, this is one reason why I prefer to enter monthly values in a Yearly budget rather than just a Monthly budget. In many cases these annual expenses are pretty large (insurance, property tax, etc) so its worth the effort to create categories and put them in the month they are due. This way, these large annual expenses help me understand why one month’s expenses might be much higher than another even though I think I spent less.

For expenses categories which include both a monthly amount and a yearly amount, putting in a higher budget amount for the month when there is the one-time annual payment works fine.
The category can include both the monthly and one-time amounts in the budget that way.

If the one-time amounts are very small and mixed in a category that has a variable amount anyway, I usually don’t worry about it.

Would that work for you?

1 Like

I just created a new sheet called “funds.” For each “savings fund” (for annual or otherwise non-monthly expenses, I have two columns. One is static, and I manually change it at the end of each month to reflect the current total in the fund. The second is dynamic, and is linked to the “available balance” on my monthly budget. So I create a category and budget each month, and then whatever isn’t spent, gets pulled into the funds sheet. The formula is simply =(click on static column amount) + (click on available balance on budget worksheet). So it might look like this: =C15+‘Monthly Budget’!H70

Then when I need to see how much I have for a particular need or planned expense, I can look on that sheet. I also notate what bank account each fund is in, and link the account balance to the top of the dynamic column, so that I can see how much of the funds in the account isn’t tied up in planned future expenses. I budget to a zero balance on my monthly budget, so this helps me see that my cashflow has a purpose.

The only thing is that I think the balances on the account sheet change order when they get updated, so I have to go in and re-link them to the correct box every now and again when I’m checking the sheet for totals. And if I add categories, the boxes linked to the dynamic categories column move too, so I have to go and re-do the formula when that happens. I’m sure there’s a way to do it that will fix that issue, but I am a super, super novice and I don’t know what it is.

Does that make sense really at all? I can probably show a screenshot of what I mean if you want to see it.

Hi @mommymyth,
Take a look at the answer posted here and see if that would solve your account balance lookup issue:

@jonorlin, thank you! That worked beautifully! I love how functional spreadsheets are.

1 Like

Glad it worked.
I don’t think you are a super, super novice any more.
I agree about how functional spreadsheets are!