Life has a way of making, er, life, difficult. Just when you think you have everything under control and you’ve gotten the hang of “adulting” (especially when it comes to your finances), something crops up and demands more of your money than you have. This is exactly what leads many Americans to take out costly credit cards and loans, even though surviving off credit is never recommended. Instead, planning for emergencies by budgeting with an emergency fund works best. Start with these seven unexpected and costly life expenses for better results.
Emergency Room Visits
Life happens, and sometimes, so do sudden injuries and illnesses. Nearly every American has experienced at least one ER trip in their lifetime (some more than one). Consider that each of those visits can cost an average of $1,233 and it’s easy to see why many avoid the ER at all costs.
Second only to emergency room visits, and often more expensive than a human medical emergency, is the pet veterinary emergency. When Fluffy gets hit by a car, experiences bloat, breaks a leg, or otherwise requires immediate care, costs can ramp up quickly. Prices for vet access around the country vary dramatically, but can easily escalate to thousands with just a few procedures.
There’s nothing like waking up to the sound of rushing water — unless you’re at home, and it’s your plumbing that’s causing the sound. Each year, Americans face exorbitant repair bills when water heaters and pipes break down. Extreme water damage, especially if running water is left unchecked, can even damage a house so badly it may be impossible to restore.
Old electrical panels and wiring can be a disaster waiting to happen. It takes just one short-circuit to blow fuses, interrupt power to the entire house, blow electronics, or worse yet, cause a fire. The fallout from poorly maintained electrical isn’t just dangerous for your wallet, it can place your life at risk, too.
We all know at least one person who seems to break or lose their smartphone every few months. That can become an expensive endeavor, fast. With the average device costing around $600, if you’re still under contract, you’re responsible for paying the bill and finding yourself a new device. Insurance can help, but only if the deductible is low enough to make sense for replacement.
Sick Family Members
There’s no predicting when a loved one will become ill, and it can impact your finances in more than one way. You may need to take time off, or invest in transportation to see your loved one. Depending on your relationship, you may even find yourself suddenly the sole breadwinner temporarily. Disability insurance can help to cover the gap, but so can budgeting your finances down to be able to survive on a single income if the need arises.
Sometimes you’re the mosquito, sometimes you’re the windshield. When it’s you who gets sick, managing your expenses can become virtually impossible. Even just a few days away from work can be enough to interrupt your budget. Try to keep one to three months of expenses in savings at all times to cover these emergencies.