Money. Moola. Dollar dollar bills.
We all need it right? Some of us have more of it than others and some of us are struggling to get enough of it to make ends meet. It is, without a doubt, the thing that makes the world go around – sorry if you were stuck in the illusion that was love, unfortunately love won’t pay your bills or put food on the table.
The thing about money is that when we seem short on it, or when we are saving for something, we suddenly seem to have all these unexpected, unpredictable splurges. I can’t be the only one who suffers this affliction can I?
This past week has been pretty rainy here, the odd drizzly British Summer, peppered with epic downpours like we’re in the middle of the rain forest. It’s been a bit of a ball ache to be frank, especially with the boys at home, pouring milk on sofa cushions because they simply couldn’t put down their iPads while eating breakfast, the dog slobbering all over everything and just general day to day laundry. So, my favourite and most beloved household appliance – I would even go so far as to consider this a household companion – the tumble drier, has been on form.
Until it broke and started billowing smoke out of the house like Popeye’s ears in the old cartoons.
That, naturally, is just the kind of expense we need 4 weeks before our holiday to DisneyWorld. Great. Unfortunately, I don’t have a spare £200 knocking about agh this present time (wouldn’t that be a lovely thing to have?) and I am reluctant to take it out of our holiday spending money, which according to the Internet will see us through our first day.
So, what to do with tumble-drier-gate? I’m pretty confident I *could* manage for a few weeks, but in reality I have become too middle class, too lazy and too comfortable in my cosy reality to push the boat out and go au-natural laundry style. I don’t have a dishwasher, don’t push me.
I came up with 5 ways to manage an unexpected expense, which I pitched to Adam last night.
1.) Suss out if you can manage and for how long?
Is this something that HAS to be done now? If not, when is the point at which you won’t be able to put it off? Ask the tough questions: Can I wait until pay day? Will the my family suffer if this isn’t sorted – such as mid-winter central heating failures? Is there an alternative that will cost less but work as well (don’t buy something for £50 to find a month later you have to splurge again)? There are so many factors but figuring out whether or not this is a “must-do-can’t-survive-without-it” thing or “this-is-going-to-be-a-total-ballache” thing is your first step.
2.) If it can wait, can you borrow it?
Any friends or family that can help you out? No one likes to go cap in hand to a family member or their friends but sometime, just sometimes, you don’t have much of a choice and pride has to be swallowed like a toddler swallows Lego. Don’t ask an acquaintance either, ask someone you can trust and who won’t be offended.
3.) Secondary attraction
Can you find this second hand? If it’s an appliance, can you get something that is within your budget? Last year our oven packed up, the only part working was the grill, and believe me, there is a limit to how many times you can eat cheese on toast and sorrow. So we made the decision to get a new one. At the time we had a few spondoodles set aside for our holiday, so we went for a direct replacement of our old one which cost us a small fortune. If we hadn’t had a bit of spare cash floating around, we could have easily gone for something half the price and just learnt to use a new style. What I’m trying to say is, you might want the Ferrari of kitchen appliances but if it ain’t happening, don’t discount Skoda. Alternatively, shop around at nearly new junk sales and car boots (linked to a directory here for you) – you might get lucky.
4.) Credit cards
Sigh. Most of us have one. Or two. Or eight.
The trick with a credit card is not to get in the habit of LIVING on it. Can’t pay your bills at the end of every month? Then you need to reassess, not whack it on a credit card because that is a slippery slope to shitsville. The truth of the matter is, if you can’t do without, you’re not able to ask for help or afford something slightly lesser but just as efficient, then you might want to consider an unexpected expense goes on le credit. I’m talking about the car that blows a gasket and has to be repaired otherwise you can’t get the kids to school.
5.) Pay Day Loans
Oh I know, you don’t have to say it. We lump these in with the credit card scenario but the truth is if you can’t find another way then something has to give right? Vivus have some great deals on payday loans. Is the APR high as a kite? Sure, but ultimately if you have no car to get to work and risk losing your job, £300 plus £49.50 in interest really is a better alternative don’t you think? I’m not suggesting that the dress in top shop that is *slightly* out of budget should have you applying but, as a parent I have responsibilities and inevitably the show must go on, so try not to see a payday loan as the most horrific thing you can do. Think of it as the friendly mate you have to borrow a bit of cash off; are they going to make you buy the extra drinks after pay day? Sure, but hey, you got the kids to school, didn’t end up jobless or homeless so a couple of extra Chardonnays isn’t going to kill you.
Those are my tips, now in terms of tumble-drier-gate, I’ll be taking option numero uno and coping until after our holiday at which point I will need a replacement.
What are your tips for dealing with an unexpected outlay?