How To Cope With Unexpected Expenses In Your Twenties

Here's exactly how to stop letting unexpected expenses stop you from reaching your savings goals in your twenties.

You probably know the kind of blog post.

The one that makes you think “yeah I should totally do that” and then you never, ever do it. Or maybe you try it for a week or two but then it’s all too much so you just stop and go back to what you were doing before.

There are already more than enough blog posts and articles like that in the world – way more than enough – and I don’t really feel like the world needs another.

So I’m going to leave that post sitting in my little draft pile for now and instead I’m going to share what I like to call the ‘warm up’ or the ‘baby step’ to coping with unexpected expenses.

It’s something you can actually do without feeling totally overwhelmed and you might even be able to do it for more than two weeks without throwing in the towel.

How to get started

1. Pick one expense

Don’t go back and look at what you’ve spent money on in the past – no one wants to do that. Instead just think about an expense that stresses you out.

It could be a weekly, monthly or yearly expense. It could be your phone bill, car insurance or Christmas. You could even pick something ‘unexpected’ (like your car breaking down or getting a speeding ticket).

It really just depends where you’re currently at with your finances. If you feel like your financial situation is pretty shit at the moment choose something like your phone bill. If you’re feeling more on top of things pick something like Christmas or your car breaking down.

2. Get started

To handle your expense all you need to do is put aside a little money towards it each week (ideally into a separate account but if not, you can put it into your normal savings account and just keep a note of how much you’ve put towards it).

This can be where it gets a little overwhelming. You’ve probably calculated how much you’d need to put aside each week to get to the total you need.


Don’t over-complicate this.

I know our brains like to think that if we can’t save the full amount we may as well save nothing but we all know the reality is the complete opposite. Every bit counts. It’s not all-or-nothing. So screw what you ‘should’ put aside each week and just put aside what you can. Set a minimum (mine is $5).

It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to handle a $100 expense or a $1000 expense, just get into the habit. Start training your brain. Start teaching it that saving is still worth doing if you can’t do it ‘perfectly’.

So as soon as your pay hits your bank account,  transfer $5 to your savings account and forget about it. Completely forget about it. It’s money that has been put aside for something, not spare money, and it doesn’t exist until that expense comes up.

A little tip: if you find it easier to save cash – do it. Do whatever is going to work for you.

What about you?

Do you struggle to save money? And is it because of ‘unexpected’ expenses always popping up just when you feel like you’re finally reading to start saving?

Don’t forget that comments are always welcome and appreciated – I’d LOVE to hear what you have to say!

Sam xx

Author: Sam Brown

  • I feel like I’m pretty good with my finances and I don’t really run into any problems, but I also know that I’m lucky to not have debt from my undergraduate years that I have to pay off. However, come next year, I’m going to have some pretty massive loans for my doctorate degree so that might be a whole different ballgame!

    • That’s SO awesome Alex!

      I’m the same – I’m lucky I don’t have student debt to pay off at the moment and in Australia we don’t have to pay our student loan until we earn over a certain threshold and we only have to pay back a certain percentage per year. But education is such a great investment – I think it’s always worth it, even if you don’t end up ‘using’ it

      Sam xx

    • Hey!

      Aww thank you so much – I appreciate the nomination SO much!!

      And yeah there are so many expenses you can smooth but smoothing rent is a great way to start! The biggest thing for me has been smoothing my Christmas expenses – it’s so weird saving for Christmas this early in the year but I know I am going to be thanking myself so much at the end of the year plus it will make January and February so much less of a struggle because I won’t be playing catch-up!

      Thanks again for your comment 🙂

      Sam xx

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