Sunday, August 9, 2020

Dealing with unexpected bills


No matter how diligent you might be when it comes to your finances, the risk of an unexpected bill is ever-present in the background. Perhaps you moved home many years ago and there was an error when settling a cable account but you’ve not received the correspondence. Or maybe you’ve been hit by an unexpected need to replace an essential item, such as a phone or a laptop, following accidental damage that cannot be repaired.
Whatever the root cause of your new-found unexpected bill, it’s vital that you respond to it and make sure it doesn’t morph into a more pressing concern. But how can you do that if you haven’t planned for the expense? This article will share some top tips on how to help tackle a financial curveball as it comes your way.

Reduce your outgoings

The simplest way to open up more cash is to reduce the amount that you’re currently spending. In some cases, this might be simple yet painful. If you now spend a significant amount of cash on eating out or picking up lunch while on the go, for example, you could consider cutting out this luxury and replacing it by taking a meal from home. You could then put the cash you will save towards paying off an unexpected bill.
Depending on your circumstances, however, this could require a more creative approach. If you are already in a situation where your outgoings are extensive, but your income is tight, it may feel like there is no room to deal with an unexpected bill. If you can, it may be worth considering some frugality tips – such as batch cooking meals, splitting dishwasher tablets into two or three to make them last longer, or turning off the heating during colder spells and wearing more clothes instead. Measures like that can seem extreme at first, but often they are what is needed to help tide you over when an unexpected expense occurs.

More time on offer?

Depending on the nature of the bill, it may well be that you can get extra time to pay it off. It’s certainly worth calling up the institution in question if you can and asking them to consider giving you a payment holiday or at least developing a payment plan that can help both parties. After all: it’s in their interests to ensure that customers pay up eventually, and if they have room in their cash flow to allow for this, then they might well permit it. There are no guarantees, but it’s worth trying just in case.

Ask for a raise

In some cases, it makes more sense to look for the money you need to save by working with what you’ve got. And that’s especially true if you’re currently in work and have a paycheck landing in your bank account every week, fortnight or month. Depending on where you work, there might be no obligation for your employer to provide you with a pay rise. But there’s rarely anything to lose by occasionally and politely asking for a raise – and if they say yes, it could well solve your worries about the unexpected new outgoing.

Making money online

Some people also look into making money online, too. It can be a helpful way of raising income if your usual job does not offer much in the way of salary progression, and it can be done flexibly around childcare and other commitments. If you have skills in finance, say, you could look into online trading – although be sure to learn from experienced traders by taking some courses. Alternatively, those with marketing skills could look into flexible work like content creation or copywriting. Whatever you can do, there is likely to be some flexible work that suits you available online – and as a temporary stopgap to deal with that pesky new outgoing, it could make all the difference between financially surviving or going under.
Overall, there are many different options available for somebody who needs to contend with a bill they did not expect. As well as asking your creditor to extend your repayment terms, it’s also possible to focus either on cutting your current spending or increasing your current income. Not all methods work for all people, though – so it’s important to carefully assess your options and ensure that you choose a mode of money management that works for you and for the nature of the unexpected bill you have to pay. 

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