If there’s one thing in life you can count on, it’s that you should expect the unexpected.
This is especially true when it comes to life and finances. Most Americans are ill equipped for unexpected expenses and, even those with a well prepared budget can struggle to recover.
While you can’t necessarily predict the unexpected, you can plan for it by setting aside a little money each month in an emergency fund. This will give you the peace of mind that there will be money to help with unexpected expenses and the luxury of not sinking into debt the next time catastrophe strikes. Your emergency fund should only be tapped to pay for major, unplanned expenses and not for vacations, shopping or other fun.
Think you don’t need an emergency fund? Think again. Here are just a few things – big and small – that can go wrong at any time.
Job Loss – This is the big one. If you find yourself unemployed it is important to have enough in savings to see you through.
Appliance Breakdown – You come home to find that the fridge died sometime while you were gone and all your food is thawing. When it comes to household appliances, time is usually of the essence because it is so difficult and sometimes expensive to live without them. Yet, they are expensive to repair and replace.
Health Bills- Even if you have insurance, the smallest ailment can cost you a lot of money through office visits, prescription co-pays, blood work and lost wages.
Unexpected Travel – Sometimes we just have to leave home unexpectedly. A death in the family or an ailing relative are two events that will leave you with no choice but to travel. Gas, airfare, hotels and food add up quickly, especially when there was little time to prepare.
Traffic Tickets –Parking and traffic tickets can get pricey, throwing the household budget off course faster than you can say – “do you know how fast you were going, sir?”
Home Repairs – Whether it’s a leaky roof, an aging furnace or an army of Carpenter Ants, home repairs always cost a lot more than you think they should and typically come at the most inconvenient time. If you live in an older home, you may consider creating a budget category just for these types of repairs.
Car Repairs – Someone left a dent in your new car, the transmission went out and the breaks are squealing. Sound familiar? Car repairs are never cheap and, like home repairs, always come at the worst possible time.
Seasonal Expenses – Record cold temperatures this winter left many Ohio residents scrambling to cover seasonal expenses. Higher utility costs, frozen pipes, new snow tires for the car or fuel for the generator will add up quickly and can completely break the bank.
Unexpected expenses happen to everyone. With a little effort, unexpected doesn’t have to mean unplanned. What else can you add to this list? Plan ahead, squirrel away some funds and you will be ready!