Life is full of unexpected surprises. Not all of them are nice, especially those involving money. Consider the unexpected bill – not the worst financial burden, but definitely one that can cripple you if you can’t afford to pay it off. It could be anything, from benefit overpayments, utilities or unexpected veterinary bills.
I’ve had my fair share of bills like this and debts to pay off. To this day I’m still paying off debts that one of my ex’s left me with and it makes me realise that I wish I’d looked into my finances a lot sooner and prepared myself for life’s little surprises.
I’ve learnt that covering bills and being able to live comfortably, even in moments of crisis, is just as much about saving money as it is about making money.
Here are some top tips on how to make sure you can pay an unexpected bill.
This post contains referral links – if you join a site through my link, I get a few points added to my account. Depending on the site, you may also get a bonus.
Track Your Finances
We have a spreadsheet that details our incomings and outgoings, allows us to see how much money we have “left over” at the end of the month and also serves as an eye opener for anything that we’re spending money on that we don’t need. Creating a spreadsheet will help you to assess your financial situation and start to make plans towards savings or repayments.
Call And Negotiate A Delay In Payment Or A Repayment Schedule
99% of the time, if you phone the company that you owe money to and explain your situation, a payment plan can be created for you, or, if you just need to wait until payday, a delay in payments can be put through on their system. When an unexpected bill comes through, this is the first thing you should consider doing!
My preferred method of saving money is through an app called Chip. It’s created by Barclays and automatically takes a small amount of money from your bank account and adds it to a savings account. You can cancel that amount being withdrawn at any point and the app spends two or three weeks monitoring your spending habits to gage how much it should withdraw. If you’d like to download and use Chip, please consider my promo code OPFZVY upon sign up. There’s also an app called Plum, or you can manually ‘skim’ your bank account yourself – Skint Dad has a great guide on “skimming”.
Save Money By Budgeting Your Food Shop and Meal Planning
On the subject of saving money, take a look at your weekly or monthly outgoings when it comes to food. I found when I moved home earlier this year that we were spending way too much money on food. I wrote a blog post about how we had started to learn how to budget our food shopping and get savvy when meal planning. There are some great tips there, especially for food planning, so do check it out as it really can help you save a lot of money.
Make Money With Mobile Phone Apps
Once you’ve done your food shop, keep those receipts! There are free apps available for your phone which give you points when you scan in your shopping receipts. After you have collected enough points on the app, you can exchange these for gift cards or PayPal payments. That means you get money for nothing. I use both ReceiptHog and Shoppix. If you download Shoppix, please feel free to use my referral code 585CBWP5 upon sign up.
Save Money With Cashback
Join TopCashback, Quidco and Swagbucks and make sure you shop through these cashback sites when you make an online purchase. I check all three for the best deal before making a purchase. These can be used on sites for clothes, takeaways and also utilities and phone contracts. I never used to bother with these before, but I’ve found cashback sites to be invaluable, especially Swagbucks, as on this site you can make points from completing surveys, watching videos and playing games, as well as shopping.
Make Money With Survey Sites
Speaking of completing surveys for money, have a look at sites such as Prolific and Mintvine. Prolific allows you to take part in academic studies which are always really interesting and you never get screened out. Mintvine is another site where you earn points by watching videos and filling out surveys. They’re great little earners and you can cash out the money to PayPal on in vouchers – great to add your savings account or go towards bill repayment. Prolific is my absolute favourite and I’ve made over £20 in two days using this. It is also worth considering joining up to YouGov – you never get screened out of surveys and you get email notifications when a new survey is available. YouGov has an app, which if you use, grants you bonus points at the end of the month. It’s a £50 cash out, so a bit of a slow earner, but it’ll be worth it to get that £5o at the end of it.
Make Money By Selling Stuff You No Longer Need
This month alone, I have made over £100 from selling things I no longer want or need. I tend to sell most of my bits on Facebook Market Place and on Shpock (a free app) – both of these are free to use and there are no fees. I also use eBay, but be warned that eBay does automatically withdraw fees from your account at the end of the month. If you’ve got games and DVDs, consoles, phones or cameras, shops like CEX might interest you as you can pop in to the store and the monetary value can either be given to you in cash or as a CEX voucher. Don’t forget there are also sites such as Gumtree!
Selling Your Car
Lots of households these days have more than one car. It’s no secret that owning a car comes with a whole bunch of added expenses, from car tax, insurance, MOTs and, of course, fuel. A question that might be worth asking is: do we really need more than one car? If you’re shelling out lots of money each month on car bills and petrol, it may be worth considering selling your car. You can sell your car on Gumtree for example and make a large chunk of cash that you can then put straight towards those bills or add to your savings. As a private seller, you can advertise your car for free on Gumtree and also have the peace of mind knowing that Gumtree is one of the largest private motor markets in the UK who work alongside HPI to provide history vehicle checks for every car listed on their site.
So, if you think you can give up one of the cars, pursue a more active lifestyle and walk to work/school/Tesco, then this is definitely a great way of making money.
Sometimes, if needs be, people are lucky enough to be able to borrow from friends or family. If you find yourself in the situation where borrowing is your only option, it’s definitely worth being upfront and honest with someone you’re close to and seeing if it’s possible to work out something. Make sure, for the sake of your relationship, you put together some sort of repayment schedule.
If you don’t have family or friends who are able to help you out, you may wish to consider small loans. When taking out a small loan, please make sure you have read and fully understand what is expected of you in terms of repayment and that you understand that interest rate you’re paying back. You can use the above methods to help you with repayments.
*This is a collaborative post*