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Budget Busters: How to Handle Unexpected Costs

If you’ve been reading Your Family Finances for any time at all you will know that we consistently stress the need for an “Emergency Fund”. We’ve often said, “When you have the money it isn’t an emergency but simply an inconvenience.” You should be setting aside money to cover these unexpected eventualities. But if you haven’t, you are in good company.

It is no secret that many Americans are having a hard time saving money, so it is okay to be worried about your savings, especially because unexpected costs can happen any time. The following are a few budget busters that could wipe you clean and a few tips to help deal with these costs.

Unexpected Medical Issues

Regrettably, health care is so expensive that it often feels like life is only meant for those rich enough to afford it. This means someone with a small amount of savings could blow through that with one medical problem. You might find this surprising, but studies found that many medical bills come with errors. The hospital could charge you more than what you owe. NerdWallet lists 8 common medical billing errors including duplicate charges, incorrect information like a wrong insurance ID number, or an inflated quantity of services provided. Also be aware that because patients are usually billed in 15-minute increments for operating room and anesthesia time, mistakes here can add up quickly, so be sure to check your medical records to see how long you were in the operating room or under anesthesia. You don’t have to just pay your hospital bill, 

Have a medical bill advocate look over your bill, or pay attention to every charge because you might end up saving money this way.

Death Near the Heart

No one wants to think about the death of someone they love, but the reality is it can happen at any time. This can be quite costly, especially for those who do not have money set aside for the inevitable. Typical funerals can be very expensive. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has an excellent page to inform you of your rights and some things to expect. It pays to be informed in advance because in a time of grief you may not be thinking clearly.

Some of the expenses are optional, for instance if you have a “viewing” or “open casket” there is an embalming fee however, this isn’t required if you have a closed casket. According to the FTC, “A casket often is the single most expensive item you’ll buy if you plan a “traditional” full-service funeral. Caskets vary widely in style and price and are sold primarily for their visual appeal. Typically, they’re constructed of metal, wood, fiberboard, fiberglass or plastic. Although an average casket costs slightly more than $2,000, some mahogany, bronze or copper caskets sell for as much as $10,000.”

Often Funeral Homes only show you expensive models and you have to ask if you want a cheaper model. Recent laws have required Funeral homes to use caskets you have purchased elsewhere so you can go online and order one and have it shipped directly to the funeral home which will save you considerably. For instance, this one only costs $690 and comes with free next day delivery to your funeral home. Generally, cremation is much cheaper than embalming and some places have “Cremation Societies” that cost significantly less than a funeral home would charge. If someone dies out of state and must be transported, it is also much cheaper to transport an urn with ashes than a casket with a body. In addition, for cremation you do not need to buy an expensive casket and believe it or not you can “rent” a casket for the viewing and then have the body transferred to an ” alternative container” for cremation. Cremation Caskets have to be fully combustible with no metal parts. Everplans says, “Green caskets are usually made out of natural materials such as bamboo, wicker, cotton or wool, or teak, among other materials. And there are recycled cardboard containers that are made to look like traditional caskets, which serve as a less expensive alternative to buying or renting a casket.”

You and others in your inner-circle are going to have to deal with the expense, but you do not have to do it alone. You can start a crowd-funding campaign online or in your neighborhood for additional help.

Car Accidents

car insuranceCar accidents happen all the time, and these could be quite expensive for you and everyone involved. There is a lot to worry about, such as the cost of repairs and medical bills, which could end up leaving you bankrupt or drowning in debt. This is one reason why if you are injured, it is recommended that you file a personal injury claim with the help of an auto accident legal expert to recover or avoid losing all of those funds. Dolman law says, “In order to pay for medical bills, accident victims often accept extremely low settlement offers from insurance companies trying to rush the case closed. It’s important to remember that the insurance companies are looking to settle your accident claim for as little money as they possibly can, all for the sake of profit.”

Expensive Car Repairs

A vehicular accident is not the only expense you have to worry about because there are other car expenses that you have to deal with. Sure, regular maintenance is not too expensive, but a faulty transmission could end up costing hundreds (or thousands) of dollars depending where you go. One solution is to consider buying car repair insurance or vehicle service contracts that cover your repairs whenever they happen.

These are just a few ideas that may help you deal with unexpected expenses if they do occur. Hopefully, you are able to save enough to take care of these types of situations.

 

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About Tim McMahon

Work by editor and author, Tim McMahon, has been featured in Bloomberg, CBS News, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Forbes, Washington Post, Drudge Report, The Atlantic, Business Insider, American Thinker, Lew Rockwell, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Oakland Press, Free Republic, Education World, Realty Trac, Reason, Coin News, and Council for Economic Education. Connect with Tim on Google+

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