One of those things Dave Ramsey is always saying is "Give every dollar a name" when budgeting. I'm working on my December budget with this in mind. But a mistake I've made in the past is naming every dollar so minutely that I'm not prepared for unexpected expenses that don't fall into my carefully-crafted catagories.
For example, in November, the following expenses cropped up: (1) My high-school senior needed $13 to go on a class outing to see Beowulf (they couldn't just read the book?); (2) My five year old granddaughter who still wears pull-ups at night left hers at home when she came for Thanksgiving--who knew that the smallest package costs $12?; (3) No one could find the corkscrew for the Thanksgiving wine and none of my neighbors had one--six unbudgeted dollars(and dang if I didn't find my old one when I was putting the turkey roaster away two days later!); (4)There were two baby showers and one retirement party in my office in November--exit $60; and (5) A friend invited me to a cocktail party--I knew she was running for state attorney general but I didn't realize the party was a fundraiser--another $25 gone, though I will recover it when I file my state income taxes.
SO--$116 dollars that had no name but still had to come from somewhere.
That's what I really hate about budgeting. How, exactly, could I have predicted any of those expenses? And none of them qualifies as an emergency expense.
So, I'm now adding a budget entry for miscellaneous. But it's just a guess as to how much to put in it. For December, I'm making it $75 and keeping my fingers crossed.