How would you cover the cost if you were suddenly presented with an unforeseen expense? According to the Federal Reserve, 32% of Americans stated they’d find it difficult to cover an unexpected expense of over $400 as of 2021. Whether it’s for emergency drain cleaning, car repairs, a vet bill, medical care, or anything else you weren’t expecting, not having a way to foot the bill can make an already challenging situation even more stressful. Here’s how to prepare for unexpected expenses in the family budget.
1. Include Your Emergency Fund in Your Budget
A monthly budget is a great way of tracking and planning out core expenses like rent, groceries, and gas. You can also use it to get a rough idea of how much you can comfortably set aside for an emergency fund. Instead of waiting to get a bonus or a tax refund so you can add cash to your emergency savings, include it in your budget, as emergencies can arise at any time. Whether it’s $100 a month or $10 a week, employing a systematic approach to saving up for your emergency fund will yield better results. You can use budgets such as zero-based budgeting or the 50/30/20 budget. Creating an emergency fund is a great way to prepare for unexpected expenses in the family budget and can keep you away from your local pawn shop.
2. Limit Your Credit Card Use
There’s no doubt a credit card can be helpful during emergencies. However, it shouldn’t be your first choice, especially if you don’t have a clear way of paying off the balance without accruing interest. Keep your overall credit use low if you intend to keep using credit cards as a backup plan for unexpected expenses in the family budget. This not only frees up the available credit limit on your cards so you can use them in case of an emergency, but it’s also a smart move if you want to maintain a healthy credit score.
3. Review Your Insurance Information
Fire, property, and health, among other insurance coverage, can help you prepare for emergencies. Review your health insurance to ensure you have the funds to pay the deductible and copays. This is a great place to start when planning for unexpected emergencies. If you find that your current policies are unfavorable, consider purchasing insurance with better premiums and payouts. Emergencies tend to creep up at the most unexpected of times. Reviewing your insurance is one of the best ways to plan for unexpected expenses in the family.
4. Review Unnecessary Expenditures
Consider transferring any non-essential expenses to your emergency fund to help you prepare for unexpected expenses in the family. Review your current expenditures. Look for things you can do without, at least for the time being, while you grow your emergency fund. By making short-term sacrifices, you can have adequate funds to handle an emergency.
5. Make Timely Roof Repairs
One of your home’s most crucial components is the roof. Whether you need roof repairs as a result of extreme weather conditions or because it’s springing leaks for no apparent reason, having a professional assess the damage is always the best course of action. This way, you won’t have to replace your roof anytime soon, which will eliminate unexpected expenses in the family budget. You may be tempted to put off roof maintenance, but the truth is that timely leaky roof repair can save money and guarantee that your roof is in good condition. The savings start with fewer repairs, but they also include improvements to the general structure of your home. A recently repaired roof has a far lower risk of leaking, which offers added protection for your family regardless of the weather.
A leaky roof also encourages the formation of mold and mildew. This can have a negative impact on your health and the structural integrity of your entire roof. In this case, prompt roof repair will help you save on medical bills and repair costs.
6. Hire Professional Drain Cleaning Services
If you own a home, you’ll inevitably experience clogs in your drain. By hiring a professional drain cleaning service for repairs, you can be guaranteed a high-quality job that’ll go a long way toward eliminating unexpected expenses in the family budget. This is because regular drain maintenance and timely cleaning from professional services reduce the likelihood of more serious issues developing in the future. They’re also trained to detect issues before they develop into more serious problems. This helps prevent issues such as water contamination, corroded drains, and burst pipes.
If you notice a sudden spike in your water bill, a professional can help you address the problem. Professional drain cleaning also means you’ll be spending less on conventional drain cleaners that won’t resolve your unique problem. Performing drain cleaning on your own may seem like a wise financial decision, but professional drain cleaning costs are far cheaper than repairs.
In the case of a drain replacement, you may need to tear out the surrounding floors and walls. You certainly want to avoid that. Properly maintained pipes can last for years with minimal to no issues. Employing a professional drain cleaning service is an investment in the long-term dependability of your drainage system, which will go a long way in eliminating unexpected expenses in the family budget. Using a professional drain cleaning service also spares you the expense of purchasing the necessary tools. The service you hire will have everything needed to get the job done.
7. Routine Air Conditioning Maintenance
Even if you invested in the most recent air conditioning system, no model boasts a 100% reliability level. However, you can reduce the frequency of AC issues by having your system examined regularly and tuned by professional maintenance technicians. This will reduce the need for unforeseen air conditioner repairs on your system, which will go a long way in reducing unexpected expenses in the family budget. The cost of replacing an ac unit is one of the most significant expenses in a home. To delay this investment for as long as possible, schedule professional routine ac maintenance. This will keep your system in optimal working condition and give you the most dependable and efficient performance from your AC for as long as possible.
8. Hire a Professional Tree Service
The design and aesthetic appeal of your home’s exterior area can greatly benefit from the presence of trees. Trees also play a key role in improving air quality, conserving water, and preventing soil erosion. However, caring for and preserving the trees in your yard can be difficult and time-consuming. One major advantage of hiring a tree service is that you won’t have to spend on tools and safety gear. The tools and equipment needed to remove trees with the least amount of damage to your property are part of the package. Additionally, tree removal is quite labor-intensive. You’ll end up making a lot of effort and time if you try to do it yourself.
Employing the services of professionals is the best way of ensuring the tasks are completed on time. A tree service also guards against property damage which can lead to unexpected expenses in the family budget. For example, tree removal involves the professionals assessing the trees, clearing the area, choosing safe routes for falling branches, preparing trees for removal, executing the undercut and back cut, and cleaning up afterward. By hiring a professional service, you can prevent damage caused by the tree’s collapsing branches and girdling roots to the walls, foundation, driveways, and sidewalks.
9. Have Regular Septic Maintenance Done
The septic system is one of the most overlooked components of a home. If it’s your first time living in a home without access to municipal sewage, note that a septic system needs routine maintenance, just like any other system in your house. Preventative maintenance is a smart investment for most home systems. However, one can argue that the septic system is the most crucial. If it fails, you’ll need to do expensive repairs, decontamination, and extensive cleaning. To avoid this, spend a lower sum on the less costly scheduled maintenance and septic cleanings to avoid the abrupt, unplanned expense of fixing and cleaning up the disaster.
Similar to an engine tune-up for your automobile, routine maintenance will keep your septic system running more effectively. By clearing up partial obstructions and foreign objects, a cleaning and service system keeps everything operating at its peak. When everything is in functioning order, you can be confident that you won’t be needing emergency help in the middle of the night due to a sewage backup. This will help you avoid unexpected expenses in the family budget.
10. Have Your Garage Door Opener Repaired
Your garage door may seem harmless, but it’s much more dangerous than it looks. Garage doors are quite heavy. Operating an opener requires a lot of force and power. If something were to go wrong, it could result in serious consequences that would put your family at risk of physical harm and lead to unexpected expenses in the family budget. You won’t have to worry about whether the task was done correctly when you work with a professional garage door opener repairs service. This is particularly important for garage door springs. Despite their modest size, these springs have enough power to lift up to 800 pounds. These springs can shatter if they’re not fitted properly, shooting pieces of the spring across your garage at extraordinarily high speeds.
This can result in serious physical harm. Aside from safety issues, engaging with a professional means you’re guaranteed any issues will be resolved. Errors made by an inexperienced technician can result in equipment misalignment, inadequate support, and other problems, which can lead to more problems down the road. However, professional garage door opener repairs will get the job done right the first time and save you money.
11. Install Fire Alarms
Fire alarms may have a high initial cost, but when you take into account the advantages that they offer, you’ll discover that an efficient one can help you save money and protect you from unexpected expenses in the family budget. In case a fire breaks out, fire alarms can improve the reaction time and protect your assets from getting damaged. A well-maintained fire alarm security system can also cut your insurance premiums and shield you from fines during inspections for failing to have a proper system in place.
Additionally, installing fire alarms may lower your home insurance costs. Customers with these systems often receive discounts on homeowner policies. This is because they make it possible to save a home instead of losing it completely. It also shows the insurer that you’re responsible and prepared for the worst. The good news is that fire alarm systems are reasonably priced. Even if your insurance covers the replacement of lost items, most are irreplaceable. This includes items such as photo albums, gifts from relatives, and artifacts passed down from one generation to the next. Living somewhere else for at least a year can also be an inconvenience that will attract unexpected expenses.
12. Install a Water Treatment System
Water treatment systems remove up to 2,100 different types of pollutants, bacteria, lead, and excess chlorine from tap water. These contaminants can be harmful to the human body. For example, consuming chlorine in large amounts can cause bladder, colon, and rectal cancers. Consuming water that contains lead can result in flu-like symptoms, harmful effects during pregnancy, and intellectual impairments. Additionally, microorganisms such as cryptosporidium and giardia can cause serious gastrointestinal illnesses. These pollutants can weaken the immune systems of infants and young children, leading to unexpected expenses in the family budget. By installing a water treatment system, you can avoid these unforeseen expenses.
13. Switch to Home Heating Oil
The efficiency of home heating oil can save you a significant amount of money. Oil’s price does fluctuate, but you can purchase it while it’s cheap and lock in that price when you buy a certain quantity. Because each tank can heat your home for a long time, you’ll need fewer tank refills. This can go a long way in reducing unexpected expenses in the family budget
Financial emergencies can arise at any time. Use these tips to better prepare for unexpected expenses in the family budget and potentially avoid them.