The winter months are fast upon us, and with them the trappings of changeable weather. Temperatures fall, weather conditions worsen and household costs start to rise. Household emergencies can, truth be told, happen any time of year – but winter presents more risk, and can be a much less convenient time of year to experience an emergency cost to boot. With costs high and times hard, it’s more important than ever to put a safety net in place; what are some key considerations for saving with emergencies in mind this winter?
The first and most prominent form of emergency that would necessitate an emergency fund is the household emergency. Homeowners new and old can be a single incident away from financial infirmity, at least without a dedicated emergency fund in place to swallow such costs. Sudden events like the collapse of a roof or the failure of a boiler would warrant emergency expenditure, while acts of God like storms and floods are nigh-unpredictable, more likely in the winter, and costly to boot.
Keeping up to six months’ of your household’s income aside in a savings vehicle can effectively insure against these unpredictable events, giving you the capital to pay for necessary repairs without harming your day-to-day budgeting. Losing the money to flood repairs will, unavoidably, sting – but that is its exact purpose, and it would be doing its job perfectly.
The winter weather also heightens risk on the road, making vehicle-related costs more likely to present themselves than in the summer. Inclement weather conditions bring, water, snow and ice to the road surface, increasing the risk of both single-vehicle accidents and road traffic collisions.
As well as keeping a portion of your emergency fund to one side for potential accident costs, you should consider investing in an emergency kit for your car’s boot. This can be a lifesaver and a money saver, particularly if the kit includes tools that enable you to change a tyre without needing to call out a mechanic.
Here, a relatively new form of emergency enters the equation. With the stratospheric increase in the cost of energy towards the end of 2021, a new era of shaky utilities costs has been ushered in – and the utilities markets have demonstrated to households that the financial ground on which they stand is thin. Even though energy costs have come down somewhat, they remain much higher than they were before the spike, and could yet spike again; this would constitute an energy emergency.
As it stands, there are households that cannot afford to have the heating on as often as they used to, and households that can barely afford to heat their homes at all. Putting a designated amount of money aside to cover emergency heating costs can be nothing short of a god-send for colder winter days.