Lifestyle Bits n Bobs

5 Ways to Pay An Unexpected Bill

Everything is running and smoothly and you actually feel good about your finances #grownuplife. Then, an unexpected bill arrives in the mail. Queue the inevitable panic which sets in because, unfortunately, you don’t have the cash to pay it off #notsogrownup.

The lucky ones may have enough in the bank to cover the cost while maintaining their lifestyle, but not everyone is as fortunate. Some people live from pay packet to pay packet and don’t have any spare resources. So, the smallest unforeseen circumstance can cause a huge ripple effect which impacts your whole life. God, this adult stuff isn’t a walk in the park!

Everyone goes through a cash shortage at some point in their lives, and it’s how you which proceed which will dictate your short-term future. Sometimes, it can have long-lasting effects. Because no one wants to rack up debt and start a vicious cycle, it’s important to get the basics right. Here are the correct ways to tackle unexpected expenses.

 

Borrow Money

Now, this sounds like the last thing you want to do, but there are caveats. For one thing, there are loans which aren’t as destructive as you may think. Yes, some banks won’t charge disproportionate rates of interest. Or, the local credit union will lend you the money. Even a credit card isn’t a terrible option because you can use them strategically. Get a 0% interest piece of plastic on purchases and balance transfers and switch when the promotion ends.

Certain readers will think this is all well and good, but what if my credit score is low? In that case, you need to find loan online which doesn’t care about your rating. These lenders will sanction the funds based on your current income and what you can and can’t pay. Just be careful of cowboys and unscrupulous companies that prey on the weak. Check the representative APR before signing on the dotted line.

Adding debt on top of debt isn’t always bad as long as you are smart. Plus, a consolidation loan can break multiple arrears into one manageable chunk, so there’s an exit strategy.

 

Haggle

The western world isn’t renowned for haggling. Go to the souks of Asia and Africa and shoppers don’t buy a single thing without negotiating first. We accept the retail price as gospel and whip out the relevant card. Well, this is the wrong attitude to have when money is tight because everything is for sale. What that means is that you can lower the cost of a bill by bargaining. It’s not pretty and your ego will take a hit, but better that than racking up additional debt.

The key is to stand your ground. Of course, the creditor isn’t going to accept your initial offer because they want a return on their investment. However, once they see your financial trouble, then they’ll begin to soften. After all, they would rather have some money than none whatsoever. Bartering doesn’t just mean reducing the price; you may come up with a payment plan. For example, ask them if you can pay a chunk of the bill upfront and then the rest in instalments (without interest).

Remember that you’ll never get anything if you don’t ask for it first.

 

Call HMRC

The majority of unexpected bills have the royal seal on the letterhead. Yep, the taxman wants his cut and won’t stop until he gets a pound of flesh. And, HMRC isn’t as friendly or flexible as other creditors. If you think banks are terrible, wait until a fraud charge is hanging over your head. At the very least, it will be a huge fine that will make your financial situation worse.

Regardless, there is no way to pay unless you have the money, and the authorities understand which is why options exist. Mainly, they take the form of payment plans. The government will accept payment in installments as long as you contribute enough cash per month. And, you have to stick to the terms and conditions as there are no second chances. Check out a Government Gateway account to find out more about the possibilities.

If you are going to miss a deadline, don’t let it pass. Instead, be proactive and ring them in advance so they know your circumstances. Otherwise, it looks as if you did it on purpose and they won’t be accommodating.

 

Ask The Government.

After all, they’re here to help. Okay, they may have more taxing issues on their plate, but the people in government are supposed to help the little guys. And, at the moment, you may fall into this category. Thankfully, local councils have grants and bursaries which are handed out to homeowners who are skint. If you can secure one, then the cost of a hole in the roof won’t be a scary prospect.

Authorities don’t hand them out to anyone, so you have to fit the criteria. For example, you will need to show that you don’t have a certain amount of savings. A couple of hundred quid can exclude people even when you need the money for food and bills. The good news is they can’t discriminate against you on the grounds of race, age and gender to name but three. Plus, they have to give written correspondence and explain their decision.

Anyone that needs help can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau for assistance.

 

Find An “Expert”

Sure, they may lack the experience and expertise now, yet that’s why they are cheap! Anyway, it’s not like these people are regular Joes off the street with no knowledge or skill. They are training to be professionals, and they are happy to offer their services in return for practice.

Think about a car bill. The mechanic won’t accept anything less than the quote and you desperately need the motor. What you can do is head to a technical or vocational school and to ask a trainee mechanic to have a look under the bonnet instead.

Isn’t the price worth the risk that they may not do a good job?

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