Our Weekend of Unplanned Spending and Adjusting Our Budget

Though I was tempted by the 5kg jar, I couldn't justify the $40 price tag.

Though I was tempted by the 5kg jar, I couldn’t justify the $40 price tag.

This weekend was a little tough on the ‘ol budget and it was totally my own fault. Had I been more diligent about adjusting our budget, knowing this weekend was approaching, we would have been fine but if I’m being honest, I just didn’t get around to it and before I knew it, the weekend was here.

Budget Bust #1: Wedding Shower

Friends of ours are getting married in August and they had a combined wedding shower this weekend. I knew it was coming up, but just let the time get away from me and forgot to adjust our budget to accommodate a gift for them (Note: Our budget works well for us but it’s still very much a work in progress. I’m constantly thinking of little things to adjust, like accommodating one-off things like wedding shower gifts). Anyway when walking though the mall a few weeks ago we saw something on sale we thought they’d like and luckily when hubby went back they still had some and it was still on sale. Score. Budget bust gift cost: $ 46.00

I, however, didn’t realize until the night before that I was responsible to bring a salad to accompany the BBQ menu, needless to say these items were not purchased with our weekly grocery shop so I needed to go back to the store for supplies. I looked though what I had most of and realized other than broccoli I had everything to make broccoli salad. Luckily broccoli was on sale this past week so when kiddo and I couldn’t sleep past 6:30am Saturday, we headed out for an adventure. With broccoli in hand we pulled off a lovely broccoli salad only busting out budget by an additional $5.00.

Budget Bust #2: Costco

About twice a year we do a Costco run with the in-laws. I’ve already discussed my Costco shopping strategies in the past and though some disagree that tagging along with friends and family to use their membership is wrong, I can’t justify paying when we only go twice a year. And so, in our semi-annual trip, we load up on certain things. I knew this shopping trip was coming up, we discussed going this weekend a few weeks ago, but again, forgot to add it to the budget so now have to re-arrange some funds to make it happen.

I was very happy with our shopping trip though. We didn’t buy anything that we didn’t need or wasn’t on the list. The only unplanned purchase was a set of new pillows that we genuinely needed but didn’t plan on buying from there. They were on for a great price ($16.99 down from $29.99 for two) so we couldn’t pass it up. We scored a lot of great deals this trip. For $167.00 we got a ton of stuff, mostly food. One of the best deals was Goldfish crackers since our little one likes to snack on them. When they’re on sale at the grocery store (the only time I buy them) we pay $2.50/180gm. Today we got 1.62kg (1620 gm) for $9.99. In case you don’t want to do the math, that’s the same thing for less than half ($9.99 vs in-store for $22.50). She has enough crackers to last the rest of the year I think! We also scored a ton of fresh berries that we will eat then freeze for cheap, $2.00 for 2 lbs of strawberries.

Though this weekend was a bit more expensive than we planned, it showed us flaws within our budget and areas to fix. We’re not perfect and continue to improve our finances, as long as we recognize the difference between a want and need when we spend money, and adjust the budget accordingly for the future, I’m ok with it.

How do you deal with unplanned purchases? 


  1. MMMMMMM…….nutella. We went way over budget last month and this month we’re on track to go slightly over. It seems like that happens more to us in the summer for some reason.
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..How to Buy a Used Car Like a BossMy Profile

  2. Hopefully the Costco expenses would eventually be offset by purchases you can avoid making at the grocery store or whatever. Otherwise, the strategy is likely to cut back in other areas (eating out or the like) until you’ve ‘re-couped’ the money.
    Money Beagle recently posted..Does Google See Value In Bloggers?My Profile

  3. There are always unplanned expenses, especially when you have pets and a kid. I know what you mean. We deal with them by having a savings account that is used for unplanned things, which is alongside our emergency fund. We fund both and use the one for our unplanned purchases. It makes the budgeting easier.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..My Percentage Based Debt Payoff and Savings RuleMy Profile

  4. I bought some new summer tops and a dress I didn’t really “need,” although my wardrobe was in a very sad state so I guess it’s good for my mental health? 🙂 I just take responsibility and move on, and perhaps go light in another area of my budget if I can.
    Budget & the Beach recently posted..The Simplicity of SummerMy Profile

  5. Had a similar incident with a baby shower! Hard to not spend too much in these important cases.

  6. It is unusual to have a month that doesn’t have unplanned expenses. I don’t keep a budget but I do track my spending. If unplanned expenses pop up too frequently then you probably need to make a category for them.
    Andy Hough recently posted..My Monthly Budget While HikingMy Profile

  7. Our budget is still a work in progress, as well. The wedding showers were a budget buster for me, too. I remembered to budget for wedding gifts and the cost of my bridesmaid attire. However, I completely forgot to budget for wedding shower gifts or for the cost of hosting the wedding shower. Our budget has a bit of wiggle room in it, so we won’t be putting quite as much in savings this month as we had planned. But it was all for a good purpose!
    JW_Umbrella Treasury recently posted..Seven Ways I Plan To Save Money This SummerMy Profile

  8. I have a bachelorette party and wedding coming up. I’m planning on trying to put together a household cleaning basket for the wedding (laundry detergent, organic cleaners, sponges etc. tied up with netting in a laundry basket). I’ve done this in the past and the bride loved it. I need to get couponing though to get the items I’ll need, otherwise it turns out to be an expensive gift if I don’t plan it out well. I’ve found that practical and useful items are sometimes more fun than a deviled egg platter you’ll use once a year. Plus with the money the bride saves not having to buy all those cleaning supplies she can treat herself and new hubby to something they really want.
    KK @ Student Debt Survivor recently posted..New York State of Mind or Maine-iac?My Profile

    • Catherine says:

      That’s a great gift idea. We got them a nice hiking picnic set on sale from $60 for $40. They’re huge into hiking and stuff, I know they’ll use it.

  9. I feel like most of the purchases I make are unplanned! That’s probably not the case, but they definitely crop up more than I’d like them to. I leave money in my budget left over for when the month doesn’t go exactly as planned.
    Tushar @ Everything Finance recently posted..Who Should Stay Home with Baby? 5 Things to ConsiderMy Profile

  10. Most of our purchases have a category or a projected expense which we save for at some point in time during the year. Our dog had around $1300 worth of vet bills last week which was completely unplanned but we save don’t quote me I don’t have my budget in front of me around $113 a month all year long for the dog. That money covers everything from food, vet bills and licence. It may not cover it all this year but at least a good chunk of it will be saved. We also do the same for birthday’s and upcoming weddings. We adjust the minute we find out so we know how much time we have to save in the budget until we need to make the purchase. If all else fails it goes under misc. We can’t predict everything but we can be ready. If we like to shop at Costco twice a year for example and spend on average $200 a go that’s $400 a year /12= $33.33 a month we would save all year long in our projected expenses. When the time comes to go the money should be ready to spend but we continue to pay 12 months of the year so other projected expenses overlap each other. If we knew the exact month we would go we could save it to that point but we keep it simple. Anyhow that’s how we do it. It works for us.
    Canadianbudgetbinder recently posted..An introduction to investing – Part oneMy Profile

    • Catherine says:

      We used to budget like that but stopped, tried something else but are slowly resorting back to it….

  11. Costco rocks – I just wish that we lived a little more in the suburbs so had a bigger place to store all the food – we only do 1-2 trips a year there too and can’t justify the fee, so its fun to go along with someone. Just need 2 more fridges and a pantry and we would be all set.
    Matt from Saverocity recently posted..The Vatican Necropolis – a must do for your visit to Rome!My Profile

    • Catherine says:

      yes thats the only thing, we don’t have a ton of storage either. We did inherit a deep freezer from my uncles aunt which has been invaluable.

  12. It’s easy to overlook things like showers and gifts and when putting together a budget. We’ve all done it. 🙂 The important thing is now you know and can carve out some money for gifts in the future. We try to keep a robust emergency fund because I know that I will forget something.
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted..How to Teach Your Kids to Think about DebtMy Profile

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