It can be hard enough to stretch your budget to cover every expected cost. Finding a way to deal with unexpected costs can be even more challenging. While financial emergencies aren’t always preventable, these tips can help you avoid unplanned expenses.
Take Care of Your Car
Car maintenance should be an expected cost! Regular maintenance can help you avoid repairs, and it can also extend the lifespan of your vehicle. If you address problems quickly, you can even improve your car’s performance, improving your gas mileage.
Since you rely on your brakes, try to use a brake inspection service every six months. You should also have your brakes looked at if you notice signs of a problem. If your brakes are making unusual noises, or if they feel softer or more squishy than usual, have them checked out to see what’s wrong.
If there’s a car window or windshield crack, you should address the problem as quickly as possible. A small crack might not seem like a big deal, but it can quickly spread. It could even cause your windshield to shatter while driving, putting your safety at risk. Work with an auto glass repair company and have damaged glass fixed right away.
Avoid Damaging Your Stuff
While many items can be repaired, you should avoid damaging your things whenever possible. Ensure you’re aware of common causes of furniture damage so that you can take steps to prevent problems. Water, pet, and moving damage are all common sources of problems.
In many cases, an expected cost, like hiring a moving company, could help you avoid an unexpected cost, like replacing a valuable piece of furniture. Professional movers have years of experience and tools and equipment to help them safely move items. Some moving companies will even compensate you if your belongings are damaged during a move.
Pets frequently scratch or stain furniture, but you can curb these behaviors with the proper training. You may also want to place more valuable pieces of furniture in rooms your pet can’t access. Consider using slipcovers to protect upholstered furniture from damage.
Be cautious when you’re storing items. If your basement is prone to flooding, it’s best not to use it for storage. You can prevent damage to clothes and linens by using lavender oil to scare away moths. Taking a few precautions can keep your things in good condition for a long time.
Medical bills can be a huge expense, so you shouldn’t neglect your health. Ensure that you’re eating a healthy diet with plenty of whole foods. Find ways to stay active so your body can get the necessary exercise.
When you care for the rest of your body, don’t forget about teeth! Regular brushing and flossing can remove plaque from your mouth, preventing tooth decay. You should also schedule regular checkups with a family dentist so that they can clean your teeth and address dental issues like cavities.
It’s also important to focus on mental health. Stress and a lack of sleep can take a toll on your well-being. Find effective ways to manage the stress in your life. Set aside time for relaxing activities that you enjoy!
An expected cost, like a routine physical at the doctor’s office, is far less costly than a medical emergency. Make self-care a priority and check in with healthcare professionals throughout the year. If you can stay healthy, you’ll save money and get more enjoyment out of life!
Enjoy Cheap Activities
You don’t have to spend lots of money to have a good time! There are many activities you can enjoy for free. You can check out books at your local library, and you may also be able to access other forms of free entertainment, like audiobooks or movie rentals!
It’s also a good idea to find inexpensive activities that your entire family can enjoy together. For example, you could take a trip to a local petting zoo! These excursions are a manageable expected cost, and they’re also a wonderful way to make memories and bring your family closer together.
If you’d prefer to stay home, consider playing board games as a family. Many board games are inexpensive, and once you find a game you love, you can play repeatedly. Art projects, walk in the park, and trips to the farmer’s market are also fun activities that are easy to afford.
Prepare for the Future
To avoid unexpected expenses, you can’t focus on the present. You must look forward and ensure you’re ready for the challenges ahead. Investments grow over time, so it’s always best to start saving early.
Schedule a meeting with a retirement planning service, even if you’re not planning to retire anytime soon. Ideally, you should start saving for retirement while you’re still young! With the help of a service, you can find investment and savings options that work with your current budget.
It’s also helpful to think about what you might want in the future. Knowing when you want to retire gives you a clearer picture of how much you need to save. An expected cost, like a deposit into a retirement account, can be adjusted as needed, allowing you to save more if your earnings increase.
If you’re a parent, you may also want to put aside money for your child’s education. A financial advisor can tell you more about college funds and similar options. If you take the time to prepare, you’ll be able to have the kind of future you want.
Sell Unwanted Items
There’s no reason to hold onto items you don’t use or need. Some of your clutter could be valuable. Clear out your closet and sort items into piles. Make one pile for the items you want to keep, one for the items you want to donate, and another for items you want to sell.
While you could bring these items to a local pawn shop, other options are also worth considering. If you’re willing to do some work, you could photograph items and sell them online! You could also host a garage sale and eliminate many items at once. Consider working with a consignment shop if you’re selling handbags or fashion items.
If you’re planning to cover an expected cost, like the purchase of new electronics, you may be able to fund your purchase by selling new things. That way, you’ll be able to buy what you want without pulling money away from your monthly budget. Even if you aren’t able to fully cover the cost of the purchase, the extra funds should be a big help.
Not only will selling unwanted items put money in your bank account, but it will also help you eliminate the clutter that’s taking up space in your home. When you’re done, you may find that your home feels larger than it did in the past. Why hold onto items when you could turn them into cash?
Use a Tree Service
Trees can improve your home’s air quality and boost curb appeal. While trees are typically an asset, they can also be a hazard, especially if a tree isn’t properly cared for. Pruning or removing trees yourself can be dangerous, so it’s best to work with a tree service instead.
A tree service can trim the branches on your trees, ensuring they don’t fall and damage your home during a storm. They can also monitor trees for signs of disease. Disease can quickly spread from tree to tree, and if you have a diseased tree, you’ll want to remove it from your property as soon as possible.
Partnering with a tree service can keep pests away from your home! Many pests are drawn to trees and stumps. Since a tree service can remove stumps and dead branches, they can make your yard less inviting to pests. The service you work with should clear branches and debris after they’re done.
If you fail to maintain your trees, it could cause numerous problems. Hiring a tree service is an expected cost that could help you save. Working with an arborist is also an effective way to keep the trees on your property in good health.
Make Minor Home Improvements
If you’re a homeowner, you should periodically remind yourself that your home is an investment. You can protect the value of that investment by making periodic improvements. Updating your home could increase its value, and it could also help you avoid repairs.
Don’t have the money for a full bathroom renovation? Porcelain tub resurfacing is a manageable expense. It’s much more affordable than replacing a bathtub and can make an old tub look new! You can even choose the color you want for your tub.
Improving your home’s insulation could lower your energy bills, leading to significant savings. Consider replacing older windows, and look into finishing your attic and basement. You could also use caulk to seal off areas that allow air to escape outside.
If your driveway shows signs of wear, have a paving company apply an asphalt seal coating. A seal coating can fill in small cracks and protect your driveway from the elements. Regularly sealing your driveway can keep it in excellent condition for a long time.
Properly Insure Your Posessions
Short-term, skimping on insurance might seem a good way to save. However, if something goes wrong and you’re not insured, you won’t have a way to recover your losses. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure that your belongings are properly insured.
Many states require you to work with a car insurance company, but carrying insurance isn’t enough. You also need to make sure that you have an adequate level of coverage. In addition to liability coverage, you should have collision and comprehensive coverage. You may want to explore other forms of optional coverage as well.
It’s also a good idea to take a closer look at your homeowner’s insurance policy. Policies typically cover items stored in your home, but many policies have coverage restrictions. If you take a closer look at your policy now, you’ll know that you’re protected if something happens in the future.
If you own other valuable items, like a boat or a motorcycle, ensure those belongings are covered under insurance. Since insurance is an expected cost, you’ll be able to include these costs in your budget. Knowing that you’re covered by insurance should give you peace of mind.
Build an Emergency Fund
Sometimes, you can’t prevent an unexpected expense. However, you can build an emergency fund that you can rely on if something goes wrong. If possible, build a fund containing three to six months of living expenses. Having an emergency fund could help you avoid a full-scale financial crisis.
While an emergency fund is a valuable cushion, you don’t need to build your entire fund immediately. Instead, put a small amount of money into your fund each month. Aim for contributions you can consistently stick to, such as $20 per week. In time, you’ll reach your savings goal.
It’s easy to forget about saving money, even when it’s an expected cost. That’s why you should automate savings when possible. If a certain amount of money is automatically deducted from your funds each month, you may forget that your emergency fund is there!
You might be tempted to dip into your emergency fund if you’re planning a vacation or a wedding, but it’s best not to use that money if you don’t need it. If you lose your job or have another major expense you weren’t ready for, you can fall back on your emergency fund. Keep contributing to your emergency account until you hit your savings goal!
At times, your expenses may feel overwhelming. Sticking with a budget isn’t always easy, but if you plan and avoid unexpected expenses, you’ll find it far easier to cover an expected cost. Use these tips to stretch your budget further and prepare for financial emergencies! You’ll be glad you planned if disaster strikes.