You can’t avoid all emergencies, but if you’re prepared, it doesn’t throw your financial budget into a tailspin from which it is hard to recover. Here are five ways to plan for unexpected emergencies:
Examine Your Budget
Even with a tight budget, you can see that you’re spending too much here and there. Start with the things that are absolute necessities such as rent, utilities, car and house payments, etc.
Look for ways you can enjoy fun activities without breaking the bank. One thing that I have found helpful is using restaurant coupons. Join their e-clubs and get a free appetizer or entrée. Go during happy hour or early dinner times. Our city has a taco restaurant that serves three tacos for $1.29 on taco night.
Go to the movie matinee and share the popcorn. Museums don’t cost much, and you’ll have a fun outing and learn a few things in the process.
Start a Savings Account
Pay yourself first. Each payday set aside a certain amount for emergencies. Do this every payday and before long you’ll have the resources to deal with any emergencies that arise.
Buy Used Instead of New
Of course if you’re like me, you prefer top of the line products, but you can get some good deals and save the difference. When our washer and dryer gave up the ghost, we purchased a used set for under $400. They work great and we would have probably paid at least twice as much if they were new. That extra money can be applied to our savings or emergency fund.
Anticipate Upcoming Expenses
Every year you have to get new car tags. To keep your car running in top condition, you need to have it serviced regularly and that can run into some big bucks if they find something wrong.
Don’t forget Uncle Sam. Unless you can do your own tax return, you need to pay someone else to do it and tax preparers don’t come cheap.
How to Recover
There are times when, despite your best efforts, one emergency after another pops up and you’re looking at a mighty lean bank account. This is where you might have to think outside the box, and find some creative ways to save money.
Can you postpone the family outing for pizza, and make your own? You might like it so much, that you want to make it at home all the time.
If your cupboard is bare, visit your local food bank. You can get enough groceries to tide you over until payday.
One suggestion is to gather up everything you don’t need, and put the items on sale on eBay. You might be surprised at what people will buy. It’s a win-win situation for you because you not only make money, but your house is a lot less cluttered.
The most important thing is not to freak out, but to slowly get back on track. When you are able, start putting money away in an emergency account. It will take a while, but at least you are headed in the right direction.