How To Deal With Unexpected Financial Expenses
There is nothing more terrifying than struggling financially, especially when you don’t know how to fix the problem. Regardless of how financially savvy we are, throughout life unexpected and often unaffordable expenses will arise. Whether it’s a medical bill that you didn’t expect to have to pay or a broken down car, unexpected costs are more common than you would think.
When costs that you haven’t accounted for pop up in the middle of the month, they can cause severe stress which can leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. A dental bill here or a high water bill there and you could be left struggling to make ends meet. Surprise expenses are something that everyone living on a tight budget dreads because they can have a major impact on your monthly funds.
However, the fact of the matter is this: just because an unexpected cost comes in, that doesn’t have to mean that your budget for the entire month is going to be negatively affected. The truth is that when an unexpected cost comes in if you are smart about how you deal with it, you can ensure that it doesn’t negatively impact your finances.
Bearing this in mind, below is a guide to eight unexpected financial pitfalls and how to cope with them.
Trip to the emergency room
Whether you’ve developed a nasty infection, have broken a bone, or been in some other kind of accident, a trip to the emergency room can be incredibly expensive. Of course, you could attempt to find a low-cost emergency room to attend, that is if you are able to be choosy about where you receive treatment. Otherwise, you could be receiving a rather hefty medical bill. Whatever happens, the most important thing is not to panic.
Yes, a medical bill is not an expense that you have budgeted for, but it’s necessary, and there is nothing that you can do about it right now. If you have insurance, remember that this will cover all of some of the cost of your medical treatment, once you have paid the excess, that is. If you don’t have any insurance cover, don’t panic. You should be able to set up a payment plan for your medical bills so that you don’t have to cover the cost of them all at once.
It may still be stressful being in debt, but at least you will be able to pay off what you owe in small, monthly installments. Another option if the injury was not your fault and was caused by someone else’s negligence could be to talk to a personal injury lawyer to see if you may have a case for compensation. Although this wouldn’t be paid out right away, it would help to ease the financial burden caused by the accident, so could be an avenue worth exploring.
Has your cat been knocked down by a car? Has your dog got into a fight with another dog? Or, has your child’s rabbit caught a cold? Whatever it is, if one of your pets is sick, this is sure to come with a hefty and unexpected bill from the vet. It’s never nice having an unexpected vet bill, or a sick pet for that matter, but in some instances, it is a cost that can’t be helped.
The most important thing is to think about how you can make covering these kinds of medical costs more affordable. Taking out pet insurance, if you haven’t already, could be one way to do this, as pet insurance only means paying the excess, as most treatments are covered under the cost of the insurance. If you don’t have insurance in place, don’t be afraid to ask the vets if they are able to offer a payment plan.
Has your laptop broken? Is your smartphone AWOL? If you have a broken or missing electronic, this can mean yet another unexpected cost. However, before you think about replacing the broken or missing piece of kit, it is important to determine whether it is absolutely necessary to do so right away.
Think about it: do you need the broken electronic for your work? Is it a must-have item or can you live without it? If you can live without it, then it’s probably best to wait and see if it really is necessary to replace it right away. After all, there is no point spending money on something that you don’t actually need right now, is there?
Is your car your lifeline to the outside world? Is it how you get to and from work? Do you rely on your car for everything from picking up the weekly food shop to dropping the kids at school? The fact is if your car breaks down, it can impact your ability to get to and from work, to drop your kids at school, and to go where you need to go, which is why most of us choose to get our vehicles fixed as soon as a problem occurs. After all, our vehicles allow us to get from A to B and many of us would be lost without them.
The issue is that cars can be incredibly expensive to fix and most garages aren’t willing to offer payment plans, which means paying out a lump sum in one go. This might negatively impact your finances, but the fact is you can’t not pay it as you rely on your car. Try to reshuffle things so that it is more affordable – maybe consider taking out a loan to help spread the cost. Just make sure that whatever loan you take out, you can afford to pay back.
Damage to your home
Has a storm damaged your roof? Or has a flood destroyed the lower levels of your home? Whatever damage your home has suffered, be it minor or major, repairing that damage may not be a cost that you are prepared for. Even if you have insurance in place, there is no guarantee that it will cover the cost of all the damage, and if it does you may need to pay the excess first, which means that even with insurance you may end up out of pocket.
This is a tricky one because you can’t leave your home in the mess that it is in, but you also don’t have the money to cover the costs. What should you do? Talk to the contractors who would potentially work on your home and ask if they can offer a payment plan. If that fails, the next step would be to consider taking out a loan that offers a long-term, affordable payment plan.
Oven breaks down
You are about to cook dinner when you notice that your oven isn’t getting hot. It’s turned on, but no heat is coming out of it, then with a jolt, you realize it’s broken. This is a major problem as without an oven it’s almost impossible to get by. Sure, you could cook on the hob (if that is working) or use the microwave, but it is a far from ideal solution.
The best thing that you can do is call out a specialist to take a look at your oven and give you a quote – never ask someone to fix it when you don’t know what the damage will be. By getting a quote, you can determine if it is affordable or not, and can then decide what it would be best to do. A payment plan could be an option worth enquiring about.
There is nothing more upsetting than your child handing you a letter for a school trip that comes with a high price tag and begging to attend it. It’s even worse if the deadline for the first payment just isn’t doable for you, as you don’t want your kids to miss out. The best thing that you can do in this instance is to speak to the school and ask whether they can offer you an extension, or whether they have any budget to reduce the cost for families who are on a low income – many schools are able to offer this, so it is definitely worth asking.
Having to travel overseas
Sometimes, you unexpectedly have to travel overseas, whether that’s because a relative has fallen ill abroad or something else has happened where you have had no choice but to travel, it can be a nightmare attempting to pay for everything. In this instance, the best thing to do is to consider taking out an affordable loan, which you can repay over a set period of time with affordable monthly installments. There’s no point breaking the bank and getting behind on your bills by using money that’s already been allocated within your budget, which is why a loan can be a good option.
There you have it, your guide to eight unexpected financial expenses and how to cope with them when they occur.