It’s HOW much?

Even if you're mega-organised with your budgeting, every so often an unavoidable expense will come your way.

5 Surprising Expenses

Being a grown up doesn't come cheap.

Even if you’re mega-organised with your budgeting and spending, every so often an unavoidable expense will come your way and unsteady the ship. But by stashing some cash in a Jar for emergencies or treats you can be ready for whatever life throws at you in 2020. Here are some of the surprisingly pricey things you might be spending your money on this year.


If you did a trade apprenticeships at school rather than going to university you might just be laughing all the way to the bank. Plumbers are among several trades earning big money.

Calling out a plumber can mean paying up to £200 an hour depending on your location, the day and the time you want the plumber to attend. It’s amazing how often they’re needed – temperamental washing machines, the neighbour’s leaky shower and dodgy tap valves all seem to come at you pretty fast once you’re in your own place.

If I was a bit better at fixing things, I might consider re-training as a plumber. But as my practical skills are somewhat limited, I’m going to save some cash in a jar for the inevitable tradesperson visits.

The good news is if you’re renting then plumbing issues are your landlord’s responsibility.

Furry friends

The unconditional love and cuddles make dogs the ideal companions – but you’ll need to budget for them. You can adopt a vaccinated and microchipped mutt from the Dog’s Trust for £120 or so, but the ongoing costs often come with a sting in the tail.

According to the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals even a small dog will cost up to £12,000 over its lifetime and a bigger dog up to £17,000 (mainly because big dogs eat more). These figures just cover the basics such as food, pet insurance, health checks, vaccinations, beds and toys. Training, dog walkers, boarding kennels, dog psychologists (yes, that’s a thing) and vets bills (if you don’t have insurance) are all on top.

Worth it to see a friendly furry face every morning? Definitely.


It can be a one-way ticket to skint if you rock up at a UK station and attempt to spontaneously buy a ticket to a city a couple of hours away. At various points in my life, £320 has got me a return journey from London to: a) Morocco, and b) Manchester. Morocco’s about 2,200 miles away and Manchester a mere 200.

Of course, planning ahead helps: you can save a packet on train tickets by booking up to three months in advance, travelling off-peak, and committing to particular trains. If you have a railcard, don’t forget to take it with you when you travel.

Printer ink

You can see why people sneakily print stuff at work when you look at the cost of printer ink. According to Which?, big-brand ink can cost more per millilitre than vintage Dom Perignon Champagne and Chanel No 5 perfume.

Some printers seem cheap but are sneakily programmed to only use branded ink – at a cost.

If you print a lot of pages, one way round this is to splash out on a laser printer. They’re more expensive but cost a lot less to run and you can print away to your heart’s content.

Being a wedding guest

Everyone knows getting hitched can cost a fortune if you want the whole big white wedding thing. But that’s the choice of the happy couple – and their guests are required to fork out, even when it’s beyond what they’re comfortable spending.

There could be travel to some out-of-the-way wedding destination, a couple of nights in a hotel, a new outfit, a gift, drinks money, hen or stag nights… the list goes on. Various surveys put the cost of being a wedding guest at about £400 (which seems on the conservative side). In your peak wedding-attending-years around the age of 30, you can expect to fork out this amount several times a year and put your own holiday or property buying plans on hold.

But if you get can dodge racking up debt, it’s (nearly) always worth the cash to see your friends and family happily hitched.

None of us knows what’s ahead but one thing’s clear: it pays to plan ahead for life’s surprising expenses.