It always seems to happen at the wrong time. The car’s transmission blows just as your daughter gets her braces. Or your washing machine decides to call it quits.
These unexpected expenses will pop up throughout life. You want to prepare as well as possible for those times when life throws you a financial curve ball.
Do your best to plan ahead for upcoming expenses. If you’re driving an older car, or your dishwasher has seen its better days, start saving up to replace the item. You may also want to start keeping an eye out for good deals on the replacement.
An even better strategy is to have an emergency savings fund. Set up a savings account and add to it monthly. Use it only for completely unexpected expenses.
Make sure you know what’s in the account. And once you have to take money out of it replace it as soon as possible.
This brings us to an important point. How to make a quick recovery after taking a hit to your wallet.
Go over your budget (you have one of those, right?) and see if you can cut back on some things for the time being.
Stop ordering pizza every Friday night and make your own at home. Skip a night out on the town and watch a couple of movies on Netflix instead of going to the theater.
Use the money you’re not spending over the next few months to refill your emergency fund. For an extra boost, you might work a few hours of overtime. Or do a few freelance projects. You might pick up a short-term part time job to get back on track fast.
But what do you do when the expense comes up before you had a chance to set up the emergency fund? Take a deep breath and assess the situation.
Can you make do without the item for a little while? At least long enough to scrape together the funds to repair or replace it?
If it’s the dishwasher, that’s easy. You can wash dishes by hand for a little while.
If it’s the fridge or the car you rely on to get you to work each day, that’s a different story.
If it’s your car decide if it would be better to repair than replace. Even if it isn’t the perfect solution, it may get you to work while you save up for the car you want.
Shuffle your money around and if there is no other option charge it to the credit card and get to work. Your one and only goal right now is to pay off that expense.
Sock away every available penny. Once you pay off your credit cards do what you can to get that emergency fund set up.
And be ready for any surprises down the road.