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Simple ways to save that can keep you out of serious debt

People don't always get to the situation where they have to file for bankruptcy because of one large, unexpected bill. Sometimes it's a lot of bills that add up to the point where they're simply not able to pay them.

One key to preventing serious debt is planning for the unexpected. Another is budgeting for large annual payments.

Following are some expenses that most people face and tips on how to budget for them so that they don't land you in dire financial straits:

-- Children's activities: If your kids are involved in sports, band and other activities, you should budget ahead of time for uniforms, trip fees and other expenses associated with these activities.

-- Pet care: You never know when a serious injury or illness will strike one of your furry family members. These can run into hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Pet insurance can help cover the cost of these unexpected events. Pet insurance premiums may be yet one more monthly expense you don't want to deal with. However, it can make the difference between being able to save a beloved family member and having to let it go. Pet insurance can also help cover the cost of routine care and vaccinations.

-- Auto repair: We all know that an unexpected vehicle issue can run into thousands of dollars. Regular maintenance can help prevent these unexpected expenses. When you purchase a new vehicle, it's wise to invest in a warranty program that covers routine check-ups and problems that arise.

-- Food: Many people don't realize how much unnecessary money they spend on food. They stop for a coffee on the way to work. They hit a drive-thru or go out with friends on their lunch hour. Maybe they pick up something at a fast-food place to bring home to their family after work. This all adds up. Bringing your own coffee and lunch to work and fixing dinner when you get home (perhaps having meals prepared over the weekend) can save significant money over time.

An important part of budgeting is determining what your known expenses will add up to over the year, whether they are due monthly or annually. It's also essential to have money put aside for unexpected expenses. However, if you are still unable to deal with your expenses without going into serious debt, it's wise to seek legal and financial help.

Source: MSN Money, "10 overlooked expenses that can ruin your budget," Allison Martin, May 27, 2017

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