oops, didn't answer the second question:
How do you organize or keep track of budges for emergency and variable expenses (car maint, medical, etc.)?
For emergencies, I have a sinking fund category in my budget called "unexpected". I budget 80 (used to be 100) a month and that rolls over month-to-month. At the end of the year I re-balance the account moving some into savings (if few unexpected events happen). I've had a number of "unexpected" expenses of over $500 but have yet to need to touch any savings. The whole idea is to "expect the unexpected".
For car maintenance, medical, and other variable expenses I do a similar technique. I used my historical spending in these categories and average it out on a monthly basis. Then I roll over any unused portion to the next month and re-balance at the end of the year. You just have to keep these monthly amounts up to date as your circumstances change.
This takes a good history of spending to get right. Before we had the history to do this, my wife and I would sit down at the beginning of each month and go through each category and list out all the expenses for the month we could foresee. We were wrong a lot of the time. Soon we were rarely wrong, then it got common place enough we implemented the strategy above. This took about 2 years.