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Handling Unbudgeted Expenses
Handling Unbudgeted Expenses
on April 14, 2010
For the average American, there is but a few things that can send us reeling than to have a major unbudgeted expense come up. In a normal situation, we plan and save for things like vacations, our kids’ education, their first car, braces, etc. But when, even after we think we have planned just about every unforeseeable expense, we get hit with one from left field!
The things I would like to talk about are not things that happen to everyone, they are things that can happen to anyone. I have known people, who all their lives, scrimped and saved, claiming they “had everything covered”, only to be blindsided by an expense that was never anticipated, that literally drags them into the pit of despair. Not so much because of the expense itself, they beat themselves up for not seeing it coming. Letting ourselves become consumed by them means sometimes that the devastation of not having “planned” for this event “freezes” us and we can lose track of what the goal truly should be.
It has been my experience that to handle these unexpected expenses when they come up, I have had several and I can tell you how they affected me and what I did to resolve them.
At the time, my first husband and I were living in Nebraska, having the “good life”, working hard and getting our young son ready to start school. One day my husband appeared at my workplace. He was crying and claiming he “couldn’t do it anymore”. After a lot of deciphering, I was able to determine the “it” was his job! He was having a nervous breakdown! Fortunately, at the time, we had medical coverage so that I could get him in the hospital. That did not last long though, he was let go from his job, and along with it went his medical coverage! We were left with me being the breadwinner for my family and I was not making half of what my husband had made. I could go on and on about the circumstances which led to this, but we are here to find out about how to handle a situation like this, or any other of the many unbudgeted expenses we run into.
First, and absolutely foremost, is to get a true and accurate understanding of your current monthly expenses, and what you can and can’t do without. Obviously, we cannot do without things like
and water, but we can do without, cable or a
, those types of things that are “convenience” expenses for our comfort , but not absolutely necessary for our day to day living. I have talked about this before, but in cutting back just those few expenses every month, may enable you to get the unexpected bill paid or to make payments on it. The latter would be a lot harder, given that it might take awhile to actually get it paid off, thus not letting us get back to our normal lives right away. Personally, I found the freedom to have that extra money every month (once the debt was paid, of course), useful for myself. I was actually able, for the first time in a long time, to go to a store and get myself clothes that I desperately needed for work.
Other things can be done, and although sometimes not as attractive to us, they can be real lifesavers! With the unexpected expense, we can do the unexpected to get it paid. Selling unused jewelry or clothing can help, even that second car we never use, as can getting all of your unused items together and having a “yard sale”. I did this and I was actually able to pay most of the debt from the proceeds of that sale. Now, every year, I have a yard sale in the spring! I am able to bank the money for something I might want, like a special vacation. And things like yard sales can help others too. My neighbors have followed my lead and now “my” yard sale has turned into a “neighborhood” sale, which always brings even more customers to see and buy our things! Not only are you meeting new people while having these sales, you are getting rid of that old clutter in your home, having lots of fun and making money to boot!
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