For 31 years of my life, I have had a lot Of unexpected expenses. Bills that somehow found their way into my mailbox, a surprise surgery here or there, cars that stopped running. But the most unique unexpected expense we’ve had to endure so far was when our beloved dog, Joey, had to have his leg amputated. Yes, this is correct. Joey decided that it was just him king To jump that chain link fence. Over the course of a week, he developed severe gangrene in his leg, which forced us to remove it. I can’t tell you how difficult it is to watch your pup go through pain and literally have a limb die. I mean, he was on his last legs, people (pun intended).
To be completely honest, we were not prepared for this kind of unexpected expense. Sure, we had some money in savings, but that was it Hardly enough To cover vet bills. We have had to make choices to prevent ourselves from paying for surgery with a credit card.
If you’ve ever had an unexpected expense, you know the kind of anxiety it can cause. Especially if you don’t have the money for it. So what do you do when you encounter unexpected expenses? You make choices. Difficult. So, next time you’re faced with an unexpected expense, ask yourself these questions to find out if it’s worth paying for. Spoiler: Joey is in great shape and was totally worth the unexpected cost.
What are your priorities?
Obviously keeping Joey alive was a priority for us. His accident was a complete surprise, but it was beyond repair. But we had other unexpected expenses that forced us to think again about our priorities. For example, my husband’s infection died literally two months before we were due for debt relief. Family and friends asked us to buy a new car. “It’s okay! You’ve already paid off a lot of debt. You already know you can pay it off. Just get the new car.” I was upset when they suggested that. Yes, we have become very accustomed to paying off debt. I could write a book about this process. But I’m tired of debt! I finished it and it was NB Willing to go into more debt when I can see the light shining at the end of the tunnel.
This experience has forced us to reconsider our priorities. What more did we want? New car or freedom from debt? I bet you can guess what we did! We emptied our savings so we could rebuild this darn transmission. correct. We breathed life back into that old car and it still runs to this day. When life throws you a shock, return to your priorities and goals.
Can he live without her?
Sometimes, unexpected expenses arise He thinks It is important, but it is not. If you are able to read this blog, you live in a first world country. I’ll just throw that out there. Sometimes things happen to us that we think are a big deal, but let’s be honest…they’re not. They are first world problems which means they may not be problems at all.
A few years ago, my oldest son dropped my iPad. The screen broke and I felt really crazy. Like, scary crazy. How was I supposed to watch the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy while I was getting ready in the morning with a cracked iPad? I ordered a new one. I mean I deserve it! In my mind, I was screaming “Just take the money from his college fund and get me a new iPad!” That’s good mommy thinking going on there. Fortunately, my husband was the voice of reason and challenged my child’s reaction. He asked me if I really was necessary iPad. Sure, I did! Well, it wasn’t in the budget. So guess what happened. I had to wait (gasp!). In fact, I waited months to be able to replace it. Because it wasn’t as important as I thought at first. My reaction and desire to buy the new iPad was entirely supported by emotions. And emotions are usually not a good reason to replace something that broke unexpectedly. If you can live without it, do so.
Can you save up for expenses?
Remember that story I told you about my husband’s car? And how did this happen just a few months before we were supposed to be debt-free? Well, a few weeks after that incident, we learned that our youngest son (then 18 months old) needed surgery. We learned that surgery could wait 3 months, but not more than that. So we took this time to save as much money as possible to pay for the surgery. We only had $2,000 in our savings account, and we knew the surgery would cost us at least $5,000. We didn’t just cut it road We recovered our budget, but we also increased our income. I decided to teach summer school that summer so we could spend more money on our medical bills. By the time I had surgery, we had over $5,000 saved up so we could pay for the entire procedure.
I know this isn’t an option for everyone, but if you’re facing unexpected expenses, try saving money for them. Even if it means you’ll be left with nothing for a few months. It’s helpful not to go into more debt when faced with unexpected expenses.
Can you cut something else?
Sometimes you run into an expense that can’t wait. It needs to be taken care of and you don’t have time to save. This was certainly the case with our dog’s leg amputation. In fact, we already had a trip planned for a few weeks after his emergency surgery. We set aside $500 for our trip. We ultimately decided to cancel our little family vacation after seeing how high our vet bills were.
At that moment we needed to take care of our beautiful dog. To help pay vet bills, we have also temporarily reduced other categories of our budget. The extra money that would have been spent on food or fun throughout the month is gone. We have a new priority and we need to take care of it quickly. Take a long look at your spending and ask yourself what you can get rid of, even if it’s only for a short time. It’s okay to make a short-term sacrifice for a bigger goal.
Prepare for the unexpected.
The most unpredictable part of life is that it won’t go as planned. You can never guess which hand life will give you. Wouldn’t life be boring if you knew every next step you were going to take? I fully believe that we grow the most when we deal with life’s surprises. To help prepare for the unexpected, prepare an appropriately sized emergency fund. Yes, even if you’re working to pay off debt, you should have money set aside in savings to pay for when your dog jumps the chain-link fence. And if you have questions about what your emergency fund should look like, I have an article where I answer all of them!