Re: How do you figure clothes, furniture, or other irregular items into your budget?
The way I do irregular things and things I want to save up for is set aside a certain amount in the budget to stick into savings for it. We have savings accounts with ally, but apparently ING is very similar. They allow you to have a great many savings accounts that you can label. So for something like medical expenses, which for us is infrequent but sometimes large purchases like eye glasses, we figured out how much we spent on it last year, add a small %, and divide said number by 12, and then put that amount away every month. We do the same for computer stuff (we're big computer gamers, and they need constant updates), christmas spending, car maintenance, etc.
So like the christmas spending. We decided last january that we wanted to set aside 100 to spend on each of the kids, DH and myself, and we had to buy for 9 other extended family members, so we settled on a budget of $40 for each. That makes 760, so we actually rounded up to 900 in case other things came up that we wanted to do and pay for in that season like getting santa pictures done, divided by 12, and started putting 75 bucks away every month.
It does mean having to guesstimate, and some things have turned out to need more money - I'm unaccustomed to having to pay for car maintenace having had a mechanic at the family buisness for so long, so the $50/month we put away this year was SO not enough since I wanted it to cover everything from new wipers and oil changes on up to repairs. But the only way to learn is to try it out and see how it works.