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The Catch All Budgeting Category, What Is In Miscellaneous?

by Debt Destroyer on June 22, 2009

In the comment section of April’s expense report I was asked by Single Guy Money,”What made up the ‘Household Misc’ category?”

My answer was:

The household misc category is made up of misc items. :)

It’s stuff like: toilet paper, bug spray, diapers, toothpaste, batteries, postage stamps, small appliances, paper towels, wasp & hornet killer…and anything else that I’m too lazy to separate out.

But to tell you the truth I had no idea what that months misc items were.  So I thought I’d provide the breakdown for May of the misc category so I could really see where our money was going.

According to May’s Expense report, we spent $305.52 on “household misc” stuff.  Let’s break that down shall we:

  • $75.29 – Foam for couch repair job
  • $36.11 – Lawn Supplies
  • grocery-junk-pile$27.91 – Bug Spray
  • $27.76 – Cosmetics
  • $23.99 – Party Supplies
  • $16.15 – Vitamins
  • $15.82 – Greeting Cards
  • $12.70 – Toilet Paper
  • $11.12 – Toys & Games
  • $10.59 – Furnace Filter
  • $10.15 – Diapers
  • $8.47 – Toy Bin
  • $8.43 – Useful stuff (WD40 & Goo-B-Gone)
  • $8.36 – Benadryl
  • $5.83 – Clifford Movie
  • $5.37 – Candy & Treats
  • $1.47 – Bottle of Pop

Add them all up and you see how we spent over $300 in misc expenses in May.

Uggh.

Actually I shouldn’t get too down on ourselves.  Some of this stuff was worth it:

  1. $75.29 – Foam for couch repair job – I already bragged about how my wife used this to make our couch much more comfortable.  So I’m not going to poo-poo this one.
  2. $27.91 – Bug Spray – This total represents most shipping.  I read a review for some new “eco-friendly” bug spray at The Greenest Dollar.  I’m not a big fan of spraying Deet all over my family, so I’d thought I try it out.
  3. $23.99 – Party Supplies – We don’t throw many parties, so when we do we go big!  And with a budget nearing $25 you can imagine the shin dig we had.

Really the only stuff I see that is wasteful are the toy related items and treats (Candy & Pop).  The greeting cards are a little high as well, but we made a bunch of homemade cards this month so I don’t feel too bad about it. Every once in a while I like to throw Hallmark a bone for making such good movies.

So there you have it.  That is what I call miscellaneous stuff.  What do you consider miscellaneous?

Until next time,

-DD

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

kosmo @ The Casual Observer June 22, 2009 at 9:56 am

We have an entertainment category (for the Clifford movie and party supplies, toys & games), OTC meds (for vitamins and Benadryl), and a few other categories to catch some of the smaller items. In general, our misc category is TP, paper towels, laundry detergent, etc. Basically, stuff that isn’t fun :)

I have a big family (and thus a lot of greeting cards) so I stock up a few times a year at the discount greeting card place (cards are 59 cents, I think). I buy 20-30 at a time.

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bethh June 22, 2009 at 5:16 pm

I figure if my misc category is regularly over $50, I need to better categorize my spending. If I spent as you did above, the expenses would be in my household, entertainment, and health/upkeep categories.

Examples of my misc spending in the last few months has been: stamps, set of note cards (individual cards would go into the gifts category, but a set of note cards don’t really have a slot), and my flickr membership.

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Lulu June 22, 2009 at 7:38 pm

I put vitamins, candy and medicine in food but otherwise my household misc. looks a lot like yours.

I used to track in great detail when I first started budgeting but as I went along and developed more discipline to stay within my budget I was able to not sweat the bug spray and stuff like that.

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Kristy @ Master Your Card June 23, 2009 at 12:26 am

Hmmm, you know I don’t really have a misc category in the budget. That stuff is all worked into it’s own categories, or a part of another category. I have a category for toiletries which covers the cosmetics, tp, feminine products, etc. I have a household category which would cover things like WD-40 and goo be gone. The party, greeting cards, and dvd would have gone to the entertainment category, and so on.

I think the danger of a misc category is that some people do use it as a catch-all for things that can go elsewhere, but the problem is that this category gets neglected a lot. People tend not to be as careful with their spending in this category because it’s the catch-all and encompasses a wide range of things. Most people probably couldn’t even break it down like you did. So, when I decided to start creating a budget, I vowed not to have a misc category.

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Rajeev Kumar Singh June 24, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Miscellaneous expenses are the most imporatant part of our household budget. It includes all sundry expenses which are unforseena dn small in value when considered as standalone expense but add up in the end.Provision for miscellaneous exp also helps us stay within budget. Reviewing this once in while is good idea as is done here.

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Jonathon June 25, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Cosmetics, vitamins, greetings cards, toys and candy I’d put in the misc section (oh and that clifford movie). Everything else seems more necessary and I put them in different categories for that. Sorta like what Kristy said above me.

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jon June 25, 2009 at 11:07 pm

It’s always that misc category that gets me. You just never know how many more things you will have to pay for and put in your budget. I would rather break down the misc into smaller more specific categories to make it easier to budget.

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Hiro June 26, 2009 at 12:21 am

Miscellaneous to me is $53 for my airport parking, or the $377 I paid to California for my car tax. I still can’t get over the amount of tax California charges for cars and everything else lol

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Dean Rodriguez June 26, 2009 at 6:08 am

Makes me want to list all my expenses too for me to say how much I spend on my miscellaneous.

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Debt Destroyer June 26, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Thanks for the comments!

@Kosmo – good idea about stocking up on cards. Like I mentioned in the post, when we have time, we make our own, but time has a way of slipping away.

@ bethh, Lulu, Kristie, Jonathon, & jon – I know I can put these in other categories, but I didn’t want to work that hard. :)
P.S. Kristie, greeting card in entertainment? you need to get out more!

@Rajeev – Couldn’t agree more about reviewing misc spending.

@ Hiro, See, to me those expenses would go in some sort of “vehicle” category.

@Dean – Go for it!

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Jonathan@Friends&Money June 30, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Misc is always going to mean different things to different people. Perosnally i don’t use misc, because the reality is that i am filing something in misc when it should be elsewhere such as food/groceries or household purchases.

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Slinky July 20, 2009 at 2:13 pm

To me, misc is only for things that aren’t typical or recurring expenses. I’ve used it for parking tickets, a roll of quarters to do laundry (apartment), or the cost to recycle a couple of monitors. I can’t think of anything else, although I’m sure there are more. Except for the kid stuff, I can find existing categories in my budget for everything on your list. I’m sure I’d have categories for the kid stuff as well if I had any.

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