October marks the time of the year where scary things come out and superstitions rise. Black cats, goblins, witches, and ghosts make their appearances. Black cats are known as a sign of bad luck coming your way if they cross your path. Here are some financial “black cats” that you can prepare for so that even if you do see one, it won’t cause disaster to your bank account.
Black Cat #1: A Flat Tire
Having a flat tire is a huge inconvenience. It can cause you to be late to work or other commitments, cost money out of your pocket, and waste time. Sometimes a tire can be repaired easily with a patch which will cost you about $25 and other times the whole tire has to be replaced. Tire replacement costs between $50-200 depending on the size, brand, and quality of your tire.
Black Cat #2: Emergency Room Visit
It’s just my luck that each of my newborns spiked a fever for the first time after normal pediatrician hours. With my first son, we were sent immediately to the E.R. by the on-call doctor because of his fever. So, if you sometimes have bad luck like me, it’s a good idea to be prepared. The average E.R. visit costs $1,233 according to a study done by the National Institutes of Health. This is 40% more than the average American’s monthly rent for their home.
Black Cat #3: House Maintenance
If you own your home, then your ability to maintain it depends on your finances. Some things that could go bad in your home are expensive to replace or fix. Here’s a chart with the average costs and average life span of common household appliances.
If you are one of the millions living paycheck to paycheck, you probably do not have the cash on hand if one of these appliances stops working.
Not having an emergency savings fund can be an obstacle to becoming debt free. These everyday “black cats” can cause you to not be able to pay off your debt as quickly as you hope or can even cause you to go further in the hole. The best way to be prepared for this is to establish an Emergency Savings fund.
For someone who is barely making ends meet, this could be a daunting task. Start small with a goal of $250, $500 or $1,000 (whatever is practical for you). Even if it’s just $20 a week, you could have these goals met in six months to a year. Skipping the morning cup of coffee or going out to eat could be areas where you could save. Be committed to your goal but also give yourself grace. There will be days when you just have to run through the drive -thru for your own sanity. It’s ok.
If you need help coming up with a budget, get started today! We know it can be hard juggling your bills, “black cats” and debt. Here at Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions our certified counselors are ready and willing to talk through your income and expenses to get you on a plan to financial security.