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Household Finance & How to Cope When Money Is Tight

April is coming to a close and to be honest I’ll be glad to see the back of it. I’m not usually one to wish my days away and April did have some good bits – Easter, my family visiting​ us and Number One’s first holy communion – but it was just so busy. And expensive.

 

It wasn’t even the cost of Easter or extra mouths​ to feed or celebrating the communion. It was random bills that all came at once. It never rains but it pours, as they say. Apt for April and it’s showers I suppose. Not so great for the old cash flow though.
We’re good with money, The Bavarian and I. We’ve worked hard to get where we are and we can afford to put something aside each month for holidays or unexpected expenses. Even with the best will in the world though, there are times when money is tight.
Like a few years ago when we bought a new car but the insurance payment​ for our old one, totaled in an accident, took longer to come through than planned. Even being very careful with what we spent, we were at our credit card limits  and into overdraft with the bank by the time the cash came in.
Or back in 2014 when we decided to renovate our crumbling old bathroom.  We had saved up and knew we had the money to cover the quote. Then the little extras – a new window to replace the draughty one, a new door, replacing a corroded pipe – began to add up and before we knew it a couple of thousand in costs had accumulated. With cutbacks and delaying some of the work we covered it, just.
Or even now in April when several expenses came at once. Our heating oil was almost gone and we ordered more. Not a problem, since we plan for that in our finances. We had the money for oil. What we hadn’t reckoned with was the dishwasher breaking down and having to be replaced. More money. Nor had we reckoned with the price of the flights to Ireland for my sister’s wedding being so much higher than we usually pay to visit home. More money again. All of a sudden we were several thousand over budget.
Luckily we were able to cover the costs with the money we had put by. Our little savings account is looking rather shabby now as a result. I’ve been wondering what we would have done if things weren’t so rosy, if the costs were higher or if another bill popped up. After all, our central heating is fairly old and the car has been acting up lately. It made me realise that there are expenses lurking everywhere and with a bit of bad luck they can gang up on the best of us. The money for it all has to come from somewhere.
So what can you do when cash becomes an issue, short term?
The simple answer is to assess your options. Here are a few tips on that.

Check the due date on your bills and see if you can put off paying for a couple of weeks without incurring late payment fees.

 

Check if you can pay off bills in installments. Remember to add up what the total of the repayments is and make sure you won’t be paying extortionate interest.
Review your spending to see if you could save a little (more) each month. I did this recently and as a result I’ve upped our monthly saving by a little bit so that we’ve a bit of a buffer for any other unexpected costs.
Speak to your bank about a short term loan or temporary overdraft, if time allows. Paperwork can be an issue here.
Check out alternatives like Chill Money where you don’t get charged extra for paying your loan back early and you can generally get funds and loan approval within days.
[Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post but all word and opinions are, as ever, my own. ]

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