The unexpected happens to everyone, homesteaders included and the unexpected can be expensive. Obviously no one can predict how life will surprise or how much those surprises will cost. We can, however; have a plan by budgeting unexpected expenses.
Start budgeting unexpected expenses with these 5 simple steps:
1. Budget for Savings – When creating your homestead budget, make sure to keep some of your income set aside each month for savings and put that into an interest bearing account. Even if its a small amount each month the interest adds up and you’ll have a little set aside for those unexpected expenses.
2. Have a Plan for Your Savings – Make sure that you have a plan for your savings and that you don’t touch it needlessly. If you save to buy a car, to take a trip, to use for unexpected expenses, to plan for retirement, etc. make sure that you don’t use that money for things like those awesome red shoes or something that doesn’t further your goals.
3. Tighten the Belt – Once you’ve had to tap your savings for that unexpected expense, you’ll likely want to build it back up quickly. To build it back up, make a concerted effort for a few months to cut back on extras in your budget: cut back on those fancy coffees, no movies, brown bag it to lunch, etc. Take those budget items and put it into savings and before you know it you’ll have recouped the funds spent on that unexpected bill.
4. Clean, Purge & Sell – I’m willing to bet you have a few items sitting around your house that you’d like to get rid of, well now is the time. Purge those closets and sell items on ebay, etsy, Craigslist and your local newspaper. Use those funds to either pay off your bill or replenish your savings.
5. Remember Why You Have Savings – Sometimes we can get so focused on saving that it becomes hard for us to spend. Remember that the reason that you saved in the first place was just for these occasions and allow yourself to feel good about the work you did to have the money on hand.
All of these tips are as easily used for good surprises like an opportunity to expand the homestead as they are unpleasant surprises like medical emergencies. As you work on increasing your homestead financial literacy, how will you budget for the unexpected?