Dealing with an unexpected bill is something each of us will have to manage from time to time. Here at The Progression Playbook we often delve so far into the details of investing and personal finance, that it can be a bit too much for those who aren’t personal finance fanatics.
With that in mind, I’ve reached out to Kat, a lifestyle blogger, to write a guest post today covering some great, easy to action advice for how to save money for when an unexpected bill arises.
You can connect with Kat here:
We’ve all been caught out by a bill we weren’t expecting to pay once or twice in our lives. Whether it’s the usual broken down car or boiler, or perhaps vet bill, medical costs or a legal payout. There’s absolutely nothing worse than being caught completely off guard by an unexpected bill, and wondering how on earth you’re supposed to find the money to pay it!
So for that reason, I’m going to share my preferred methods of saving for an unexpected bill, using a real-life example of a cost I myself wasn’t expecting!
To provide some context as to why it’s so important to have rainy day savings, I’m going to share an experience that happened to me a few months back!
So I was driving my car to work one morning, as I got about five minutes away my engine light came on and my car started to lag. As soon as I was able to, I called an engineer – they found that the coil pack and spark plug had gone meaning that both had to be replaced. This came to a grand total of £200. None of which I was expecting to pay that day.
Then a week later I had my MOT. They then spotted that the coolant pump was leaking meaning that it would have to be replaced. This was going to cost me another £286.
Plus a few weeks prior I’d had to pay my road tax for the year which is £120. Meaning that in the space of just a few weeks I’d had to payout around £600 on my car! Yikes!
Now I was lucky enough to have the funds saved to be able to pay for these expenses. But I appreciate not everyone would have the rainy day savings to cover these kinds of unexpected costs! So, let’s dive into some ways you can start to become more prepared, should this type of thing happen.
Rainy day savings
Consolidate what you’re spending each month
Firstly, to start putting money away into your rainy day savings, it’s probably a good idea to sit down, look at your finances and consolidate what you’re spending on a monthly basis. This will allow you to form a complete picture as to exactly where every single penny is going.
Make a note of mandatory bills and outgoings, as well as what you’re spending on things like food, socialising, and other treats for yourself. That way you can figure out where savings can be made.
One fairly easy and popular way to save extra money in case of unexpected bills is to shop smarter. For instance, when you’re doing your food shopping, pay more attention to what is available.
Is there a cheaper alternative to choose from? Are you missing out on any great deals or reductions? Have you figured out what you actually need for the week, or are you purchasing more than you need to?
Eat out less / cut-down on takeaways
Likewise, if you’re prone to getting a lot of takeaways or eating out a lot (like me), seriously consider cutting down. What might seem like a harmless takeaway here and there, very quickly adds up to a lot of money. Try to set yourself manageable boundaries such as only allowing yourself to eat out 2-3 times a month rather than 5, 6, 7 times. You could also try to opt for cheaper options when choosing somewhere to eat out or get a takeaway delivered from.
Skip a few luxuries that month if need be
We all have those little luxuries that we love to treat ourselves to each month. Whether it’s getting your hair dyed, a manicure, buying an Xbox game or something flashy for your car, these things are lovely to have but they’re not necessities. Sometimes you have to be strict with yourself and make yourself go without for a month or two. Trust me it’s worth it if it means you can add to those rainy day savings.
Start a side hustle
On the other hand, if you have a tough time saving, or cutting down then the answer is to try and earn more money instead. After all, we’re working hard, why should we have to deprive ourselves of what we enjoy, right? Now as a pay rise might be off the cards at work, another option you could consider is to start a side hustle.
There are endless amounts of side hustles you could try. Whether it’s dog walking, blogging, making money online, selling artwork, making jewellery or clothing. You name it, there’s something for everyone!
Check out this post on 21 side hustles to start making money from you sofa for more!
Make sure you have health insurance / illness cover
In addition, you should make sure you have things like health insurance, critical illness cover and pet insurance. If your unexpected cost is an unwelcome medical or pet bill, there’s a high chance that having the right insurance just might’ve covered that expense for you!
Give homemade gifts
Another thing you could do if you’re trying to increase your rainy day savings is get creative and give homemade gifts. Rather than splashing the cash on something super expensive for birthday or Christmas presents, why not try and make something more personal. Sentimental gifts can be just as good, if not better than gifts you’d usually buy from a shop. This is because a lot of thought goes into them, so they really mean something!
Here are some ideas: a photo-frame, or photo-album, a jar full of written memories or positive quotes/reminders, decorative items for the house, home-made clothes or jewellery, baked goods, or home-made cooked food!
Work on paying off debt
To really improve your rainy day savings, you should also try to pay off any existing debt, such as credits cards etc. As the amount you’ll be losing in interest rates won’t help at all when you’re trying to save a little here and there to cover an unexpected bill!
Cut back a little on everything
Overall, take it easy and try to cut back a little bit on everything where you can. Every little bit you save will help!
Kat is a lifestyle and wellness blogger based in Surrey, UK! Kat studied English Literature at The University of Exeter, and has worked in technology marketing since graduating in 2019. When she isn’t working, Kat blogs about a little bit of everything lifestyle related, from mindset and fitness to blogging advice and productivity tips! Her goal is to help her readers to live a more positive lifestyle.
You can connect with Kat here: