If you're anything like me, you make up a budget and you write everything you spend money on weekly or monthly on it, and forget all about things like doctors visits, oil changes, newspaper subscriptions, and birthday presents. Yesterday I went to the eye doctor (because I'm terribly blind) to get new contacts. Even though I have vision coverage now, it still cost me 105 dollars for the "contact lens fitting" that wasn't covered (I knew about this, it's not something that is routinely covered). Obviously 105 dollars is a lot for me, and seeing how tight things have been, I had to put it on a credit card.
When I read that "America's Cheapest Family" book link (which I still highly recommend) the Economides family (really their name, if that works I might change my name to Jaime Millionarides) recommends that you figure out all those YEARLY expenses, and divide them by 26, and put that money aside each paycheck. They do this on paper, so even though you might have 5000 dollars in your checking account, 1000 might be for oil, another 500 for car taxes, another 1000 for birthday and Christmas gifts, 105 for contact lens fittings, etc., all of which is written down on a sheet of paper for each expense. Post a comment if I'm not explaining this well.
This seems like a big project, but since I have been tracking my spending in Microsoft Money since the beginning of the Year of Frugal Living, at the end of the year I should be able to set up a system like the Economides have. (Jaime Modelides? Rockstarides? I'm sure the Freakonomics guys have something to say about this) Something to think about for YOFL 2!