Three ways to deal with an unexpected bill

Money worries are one of the biggest stresses on relationships. So what do you do if you’re hit with an unexpected bill you need to pay? Here are some ideas. 

It’s all well and good carefully planning your finances down to the last penny or cent, but life has a habit of throwing us curveballs when we least expect it. Your car breaks down. Your pet gets ill. Your child comes home with a letter about an overseas school trip.

So what do you do when faced with a bill you weren’t expecting? How can you find the money and take the strain off yourself and your partner? Here are three options.

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1) Take out a loan

One quick and (sometimes easy) answer to cover an unexpected expense is to take out a loan. To find out how much you can borrow,and how much you’ll need to repay to cover the loan amount, you can use a loan calculator like this one at 118118money.com.

It’s wise to use a loan calculator before you decide on your course of action, as it will help you see whether or not the loan you need is an affordable option for your current circumstances.

Many people find small loans an affordable way to deal with surprise bills. And the funds can usually be made available quickly too – which can be handy if you need money fast!

2) Sell or pawn some items

If you don’t fancy, or can’t take out a loan, do you have anything you can sell? Obviously this isn’t a quick fix – it may take a week or two to actually get the money. So where can you sell? You can sell online through online auction sites like eBay, list on local sites like Gumtree, sell at a local car boot sale or find a Facebook group for selling locally.

Selling may take longer but can offer more peace of mind than a loan as you get the money you need without incurring debt. It’s also a great opportunity to declutter and get rid of items you don’t need any more, such as baby clothes or your teenage record collection. Old designer clothes and bags of old jewellery and old electronics can also make you money.

Pawn shops are also an option for a short-term loan if you have something of value but you can’t bear to part with it. However, the amount you’ll get for your item won’t usually come anywhere close to its real value, so it’s an option that’s best kept for genuine emergencies.

3) Ask for an overdraft

If you have a good relationship with your current bank, then a good option can be to ask them for an overdraft. With most banks, you can do this over the phone or online and get a decision instantly.

An overdraft means you can spend money up to a given limit below your account balance. It’s a flexible form of credit in that you don’t have a fixed repayment schedule as you do with loans or credit cards, but you can use more money than you have in your account without being penalised.

Most accounts are eligible for an overdraft, but how much you can borrow will depend on how much money goes into your account on a regular basis, as well as your general standing with your bank and your credit history.

For many people, though, an arranged overdraft can be the easiest and most flexible way to deal with a big, unexpected expense. When you ask for an overdraft to be applied to your current account, this can usually be done instantly, making it a good option if you need the money you are looking for fast.

Photo by Alice Pasqual on Unsplash