No Emergency Savings? This Is a Safer Way to Pay for an Unexpected Purchase to Avoid Going Into Debt

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  • You may feel stressed if you have an unexpected bill to pay and no savings.
  • There are other ways to pay for emergency expenses without an emergency fund.
  • You may be able to get a 0% APR credit card so you can pay off a purchase and avoid accumulating interest debt.

A costly bill can cause stress, but it doesn't have to put you in debt.

No matter how much planning you do, there will always be unexpected situations that arise in your life. Unfortunately, you may have to deal with unforeseen expenses, too.

If you lack an emergency savings fund, figuring out how to pay a surprise bill can be stressful. There is one solution that you may want to consider the next time this happens, and it could help you avoid falling into expensive credit card debt.

Unexpected expenses can happen to anyone

Whether it's an unexpected medical bill, car repair bill, vet bill, or plumbing bill, owing a large sum of money when you least expect it can be frustrating -- especially if money is already tight for you.

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With higher prices everywhere, many Americans are struggling to maintain a proper emergency fund. It can feel impossible to save when nearly everything has gone up in price.

But if you have an unexpected bill you need to pay, try to figure out if there's a solution available that will not put you into debt. There may be a way to pay for the expense without jeopardizing your financial health.

Use a 0% APR credit card to avoid paying interest

One way to avoid accumulating debt is using a credit card offering a 0% APR promotional period. Many of the best 0% APR credit cards offer no interest for 15 months or more.

That gives you time to pay off the unexpected bill without incurring interest. You can break the total debt down into smaller monthly payments. Just make sure you pay the entire balance off before interest kicks in. Credit card interest can be costly.

Imagine you get a $2,000 vet bill and have no savings. If you apply for a 0% APR credit card that offers 15 months of no interest, you can pay less than $140 a month and pay the entire debt off before the promotional period ends.

This is a much better solution than charging any credit card you already have and paying interest as you slowly work to pay the balance off.

What to consider before getting a new credit card

If you're planning to apply for a new credit card, you'll want to do your research first. That way, you can get a credit card that meets your financial needs. Consider doing the following:

  • Review fees. Does the credit card have a pricey annual fee? Are you going to be charged foreign transaction fees when you use the card internationally? Fees can add up, so it's essential to know what you'll be charged before you get a new card.
  • Know where your credit stands. You should also know your credit situation and your credit score. If you know this, you can apply for a card with a good chance of approval instead of risking getting denied (and incurring a hard credit check) for a card that isn't the right fit for you.
  • Review the card's rewards potential. Does the card offer rewards? If so, it's a good idea to review how rewards are earned and what kind of redemptions are possible so you have a plan for using your rewards.
  • Review promotional details. If you're taking advantage of a limited-time promotion, like 0% APR, ensure you know how long the promotion period lasts before you get the card. This way, you know what to expect and there are no surprises later.

Take a look at our list of best credit cards to learn more about card options.

Don't let unexpected expenses get you down

If you've recently gotten a big unexpected bill, don't let it get you down. There is likely a way to pay the bill without taking on new debt. You may need to get creative, but figure out the best solution for your financial situation. We're all doing the best we can.

Check out our personal finance resources if you're looking for additional tips for how to better manage your finances.

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