Known, Upcoming Expenses – Sub Account Tracking

 The below was written by Joe Ziska.  Joe and his bride have helped with the Financial Freedom Experience multiple times and are ON THE CRUSADE for financial freedom!  Joe offers another way to keep a name on each dollar saved for known, upcoming expenses.  I like it!

Q)  What two things do the following have in common?

Christmas; A flat tire; Your son going to college; Vacation in Hawaii; Your daughter getting married

A)  1. They all cost money.   2.  We forget that they cost money until the bill comes!

Let’s face it.  Even the most organized of us tend to forget things now and then.  Whether misplaced car keys or forgotten reservations for Valentines Day, our imperfect memories always seem to make life more difficult.   In my experience, forgetting large upcoming expenses is one of the most demoralizing things that can happen to you.  Unlike true emergencies, such as a sudden illness or job loss, known upcoming expenses (KUEs) such as these listed above, can and should be expected!  As Joe always asks, “Should it be a surprise if your car breaks down?”  Of course not.  That’s what cars do!

Many of you reading Joe’s blog are trying desperately to get out of debt and gain financial freedom.  For my wife and me, one of the most disheartening things in that process was a big expense wiping out our emergency fund.  Just when we felt we were finally getting traction, a $500 car repair or having to pay for Christmas presents would knock us off course.  We constantly felt like we were starting over.  I knew that we should be saving for these expenses but didn’t have a good way to separate this from our emergency fund.  We’d generally leave a decent balance in our checking account and just hope that it would absorb most of these expenses when they came up. 

I wanted to save for these KUEs.  However, the mathematical part of me rebelled at the idea of gaining no interest on our savings (especially as some of these expenses can be quite costly).  Wouldnʼt it be better to just pay down some debt or invest the money? 

Enter Capital One 360.  I’d been using HSBC and ING Direct to earn good interest on money we were saving for a down payment for our house.  However, it wasn’t until almost a year after opening our accounts that I realized how they could help with my KUE problem

One day, I was checking my account balance online and I noticed a large button labeled “Open an Account”.  I figured this was used for investing or to open a new CD but clicked on it anyway.  After browsing for about 30 seconds, I realized that Capital One 360 will let you create numerous new savings accounts linked to your original account.  Not only that, you can give each a unique name to help you identify them.  We created categories for all of our Known Upcoming Expenses to keep them separate from actual emergencies.  Below is an example screenshot from an account (click on it to see it better):

We have also set up automatic transactions to each individual account.  So now, at the beginning of every month we move $12 to our pet fund (unfortunately, our dog doesn’t pay her own vet bills), $40 to our Christmas fund, and so on.  When we need the money for these expenses, it takes only 3-4 days to move it back to our primary checking account.  Meanwhile we’ve been earning interest on our money instead of paying interest to a credit card company when these events sneak up on us.  Last time I checked, Christmas is still in December so you’ve got 10 months to save up for all those gifts.  Why not create a Capital One 360 savings account for it and make it automatic? 

Thanks for the article, Joe!

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3 Responses to “Known, Upcoming Expenses – Sub Account Tracking”

  1. Tina Harkey February 28, 2008 at 7:24 am #

    Man, that is wonderful advice. thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Barry Whitlow-Garner, Iowa February 28, 2008 at 9:31 am #

    GREAT INFO. I’m a pastor and father of 6-great kids – and know close to nothing about managing finances -correctly… I will be setting up my set of ING savings accounts tomorrow. THANK YOU for passing on applicable info that doesn’t fly over me head!

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