How to Prepare for the Unexpected Expense
We can’t avoid unexpected expenses. Life happens.Question is, how prepared are you to deal with life’s unexpected curveballs?
There’s no way to predict when life will happen. One minute you’re looking at a little extra money in the budget and feeling good about the small surplus. The next minute your new puppy swallows part of a chew toy, and you’re off to the vet. There goes your small surplus and budget.
Life’s unexpected events can be overwhelming and figuring out how to handle the new debt plus the monthly recurring debt can be stressful.
What happens if your car breaks down, you have to move, or your water heater has to be replaced? Illness and employment are equally as unpredictable. If you are laid off, how long could you pay your bills without living off credit cards or borrowing money? You’re not alone. Did you know that 40 percent of Americans can’t cover a $400 expense out of pocket?
So, what happens if you find yourself in this position? Believe it or not, you have a few options – smart, safe and legal options – to help cover those unexpected expenses.
Payment plansMaybe haggling over a bill doesn’t come naturally to you, but this is a great way to save a little money each month. Most doctor’s offices and hospitals will work with you on payment plans as long as you are paying something on it each month. It’ll help show that you’re good for some of the balance now and can pay some later.
Avoid predatory lendersDon’t let your circumstances make you feel like payday loans or predatory lenders are the only way out. Payday lenders prey on people who are vulnerable and in tight situations. In 2016, Google banned payday lenders from advertising on its site because of their predatory practices. They offer attractive offers, right? Lump-sum payment, a few weeks to pay it back – no sweat, right? Wrong. Most payday loan companies charge anywhere from $10 to $30 for every $100 borrowed which equates to an interest rate of almost 400%!
Beware of the credit cardCredit cards are definitely better than payday loans but are mindful of your interest rate on your card. If you’ve got a high-interest rate, you could be paying more in the long run if you don’t pay off the balance in full relatively soon. Also, if you’ve got a “no interest until” card, remember that while you’re not paying interest right now, if there is a balance on the card when the time period is up, your credit card company will retroactively add its interest rate to the amount left.
Get a personal loanEven if your emergency doesn’t have a specific category, a personal loan can still be an option for you and the interest rate will oftentimes be much lower. Credit unions are a wealth of information and knowledge. They’re a really great resource for getting on the right track financially. They have who can help make sense of the best personal loan or the right credit card for you.
Our lending experts at United Community Credit Union can talk you through the loan options we have and help you obtain the one best suited for your needs. We’re here to help. Getting off track financially happens, but it doesn’t have to be hard.
Stop by our branch or call us at (217) 224-1093.