Don’t let winter expenses freeze your budget

In case you’re not into long lessons, here’s the bottom line: it’s always best to be prepared. To help you do that, here are 4 expenses you should be ready for this winter, because they could derail your budget if you’re caught unawares.

Winter heating bills

Your winter electricity bill is the perfect example of how your spending patterns change with the seasons. This bill is always higher in winter because you need to warm up your home. Although higher heating bills are not unexpected, they’re unavoidable. But they are manageable. Because you can find some money-saving solutions, from replacing your old heaters with new ones that use less energy, to insulating your house to keep the warm air inside.

But you may also have to cut back on some spending. Summer tends to be the season when we go out and spend more on entertainment, so that might be a good place to start. If you entertain at home in the winter, you’ll stay warm and cosy and have more money to spend on heating. Cutting back on purchases you like but don’t really need, so that you can afford seasonal necessities, is the essence of disciplined budgeting.

Seasonal expenses

You can budget for obvious winter costs (MoneyTracker is a great tool to use), but it’s the extras that aren’t so obvious that can really ruin your budget. Extra blankets, more efficient heaters, new curtains or a generator are all purchases that may have slipped your mind.

A way to plan ahead is to have emergency savings for situations just like this. This takes time, but putting away a little money every month will grow into a handy pile that you can dip into in times of need. An overdraft or a credit card is another way to be prepared, but you may also qualify for a personal loan to help at this time.

Emergency maintenance and repairs

One of the biggest dangers to your comfort and budget during winter is the threat of emergency repairs or maintenance. Icy weather is notorious for breaking household plumbing, while severe storms in some parts of the country can rip off roofs and flatten structures. And even though most homeowners are insured against emergencies like these, there are often still expenses to cover – including the excess on insurance claims.

Your emergency savings would come in handy here to help cover these unplanned costs. Or you could take out a loan to fix what’s needed around the house. Your best way to prevent things like geysers and pipes from breaking due to the winter cold is to do regular maintenance. Start by checking on the condition of your water pipes, gutters, electrical installation, drains, geyser and your roof. If something looks like it might break or be a problem down the road, it’s best to repair it now, before it becomes a real crisis.

Medical costs for winter ailments

One of the trademarks of winter is the onslaught of colds, flus and bugs that can have us sidelined for days, if not weeks, at a time. Every year we take the best precautions we can by getting a flu shot or increasing our intake of vitamins and minerals. Even then, a visit or two to the doctor is often on the cards. This can add up very quickly if your medical plan doesn’t cover all these seasonal expenses. So, it’s always best to put aside a little extra for these medical and health expenses that are sure to crop up in winter.

There are also plenty of winter complaints that are caused purely by the cold. It helps to be prepared. Even if you’re not prepared, don’t despair. We have a range of credit solutions to help you solve the problem, and ensure you and your family stay warm and safe this winter.