We’ve all been there. Things are ticking along nicely, you’re paying all your bills on time, got a roof over your head and food on the table, when BAM, all of a sudden you’re hit by an unexpected bill. As much as you might want to brush things under the carpet, have you thought about what you’d do if all of a sudden you needed to find an extra few hundred pounds?
In today’s world, many of us survive day-to-day – it seems that within mere milliseconds of our wages hitting our bank accounts, it’s going straight back out again to cover rent, bills, food, clothing etc. According to a recent survey, a quarter of adults in the UK today have no savings, and one in ten of us admits to spending more money than we earn. Those are pretty scary statistics, and it’s easy to see how an unexpected bill can cause turmoil if you just don’t have the money there to cover it. Life has a terrible habit of kicking you in the teeth when you least expect it.
So, what kind of unexpected expenses might be likely to hit? In truth, it could be pretty much anything, but there are a few huge bills that tend to rock the boat.
Car repairs. If you’re anything like me then you’ll dread the car breaking down. It’s ALWAYS an expensive job getting it fixed and it’s something we really rely on for work, and getting the children to all their activities. We’d be totally stuck without the car! Earlier this year, our trusty car that we’d had for 8 years started to hit problems. Unfortunately, it was one of those situations where nobody actually seemed to know what the problem was. We replaced various parts, none of them cheap and the problem still wasn’t fixed. In the end we had to face facts and replace it – at a big expense! Fortunately, we used savings to cover all of this, but it still hurt.
Boiler breakdown. During the colder months, we rely on our boilers to heat our homes. Often, we’ll take it for granted that the boiler will kick into action when it’s meant to and warm up our radiators and our hot water. When a boiler suddenly stops working, it can send us into a spiral of panic – boiler repairs don’t generally come cheap!
Vet bills. We’re a nation of pet lovers, so when are beloved animals are poorly, we naturally want to do whatever it takes to make them better. Vet bills can be big money, with the average cost of surgery in the UK costing around £1,500.
White goods. We rely on these bulky items to keep our lives running smoothly. Think about it, you wake up in the morning and head to the fridge to grab some cold milk, then you shove a load of washing into the washing machine. What would you do if one of them suddenly broke down? Even repairing these items can cost a small fortune, and if they need replacing then you’re going to need to find a few hundred pounds fairly quickly.
What to do when the worst happens
If you haven’t got a stash of money put to one side for emergencies, then an unexpected bill can naturally send you into a panic. Your immediate response is likely to be that you just can’t afford it and you’ve no idea where to turn for help.
You never know when an unexpected bill will land at your feet, by their very nature, they’re unexpected! If you’re really not prepared financially and you can’t raise that extra cash yourself, you can turn to companies such as Cash Lady to help you out in the short-term.
Once you’ve dealt with it, it is a good idea to start thinking about how you can be better prepared in the future. It’s a really good idea to build up an emergency fund. Simply by making a few small changes to your finances, and starting with just 1p, you can build up a healthy fund in a fairly short amount of time. Set aside a separate account where you can stash away a little bit of cash regularly and make sure you budget for your savings every month.
*This is a collaborative post.