What are unexpected expenses and how to manage them?

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It is not strange that at any time of the month of the year you find yourself face to face with expenses that take you by surprise.

We know it’s unpleasant. Even if you have the best intentions to be responsible and keep your finances in order, these costs always mess up your budget.

The main problem is that they appear at any time of the year and force you to postpone certain debts or other responsibilities that, finally, end up hurting your pocket more.

You need to understand what they are and how to best deal with them. In this guide we explain these types of expenses, how they are classified depending on the stage of life you are in, how to manage them and how to get ahead after paying for them.

1. Know your main expenses and how to manage them

Of all the expenses you have in the year, some are more recurring and important than others. Check below what are the main expenses you make annually and how you can manage them.

Did you know that according to the latest survey of the National Institute of Statistics (INE) of monthly expenses, on average families spend one million pesos?

What’s more, the same study indicates that 60% of Chileans spend much more than they earn per month. In addition, there are the unexpected costs that come along the way, which most are not prepared to deal with.

Of these disbursements, according to the INE, those that occupy most of the monthly budget are the following:

Food and non-alcoholic beverages (18.7%). The consumption of this item can reach $ 209,983 per month and $ 2,519,796 per year.
Transportation (15.2%). In fact, Chileans spend $ 170,238 on average per month, which a year translates to $ 2,042,856 pesos.
Housing and expenses in basic services (14.3%). The average disbursement can reach $ 160,692 per month and $ 1,928,304 annually.

There are also other expenses that are equally important to your pocket. Some are constantly repeated throughout the year, such as those of December and March, while others are more sporadic. We detail them below:

It is a frequent and expensive expense that arises every year, especially if you take vacations away from home.

Furthermore, a study by the National Tourism Service (Sernatur) indicates that in 2017 the six million Chileans who went on vacation spent an average of $ 259 thousand per person, reports La Nación.

That is why when making your annual budget, we recommend calculating the money required to take this break.

If you are looking to save on this item, analyze the most suitable alternatives for your pocket. For example, if you want to travel by plane, there are more and more low-cost flights. Likewise, there are always promotions of tourist packages by agencies and airlines.

Another important tip is that you pay attention to the price of the dollar. It is a reference currency that affects the value of stay in hotels, tourist packages and air tickets, among other disbursements.

It also takes note of the following recommendations:


Go to places where you have acquaintances to stay at their house.
Use web applications to find cheaper accommodation.
Constantly check the offers on travel sites like TripAdvisor.com or Despegar.com

March expenses
According to a study by the newspaper El Mercurio, Chileans spend an average of 34.5% more than their usual budget in March in relation to any other month of the year.

Meanwhile, according to the Family Budget Survey with figures updated to 2018 from the INE, the extra expenses for all social strata only in the third month of the year average $ 421,388, a figure that is mainly composed of two large types of additional disbursements: education and vehicle expenses.

Does March always come to you? In this blog we explain how to plan for this time of year.

These are times of the year when spending is high. So much so, that Chileans spend approximately $ 190,000 just at Christmas time, according to a study by the consulting firm Deloitte.

It is on those special days, such as New Years and National Holidays, when you have to keep an eye on your pocket the most. Advance your purchases as much as you can, because prices on these dates tend to rise, and avoid using the full amount of your credit card.

Also take advantage of the bonus of September 18 or the end of the year, an amount that you can use to amortize part of the disbursements. It is a help that you should not ignore; The Deloitte study explains that the average money that Chileans receive for this item averages $ 83 thousand.

Heating expenses
Did you know that energy expenditure rises up to 55% in winter in Chilean homes? according to data compiled by the newspaper La Tercera.

An economical alternative is to plan electricity consumption during off-peak hours, as explained by the Electricistas de Chile portal, or opt for cheaper options such as paraffin stoves.

-Set goals in order of priority.

  • Define time limits to achieve these objectives.
  • Identify goals for each objective and create a budget for each one.
  • Measure and control your financial decisions so as not to lose discipline.

In addition, there are different tools and digital platforms available that help you efficiently improve your income:

  • A simple Excel spreadsheet to record your income and expenses.
  • Worksheet to count each of the income are and expenses of your budget.
  • Special section to efficiently divide the family income of the web portal.
  • Monthly budget calculator of the Commission for the Financial Market (CMF).
  • Family budget calculator from the National Consumer Service.

There are dates when yes or yes you will have to make large disbursements, so it is best that you prepare yourself and that you plan your annual budget as much as possible.

2. Plan finances according to your stage of life

As you could see in the previous point, during the year it is common for you to face a large amount of expenses, some recurring and others extraordinary, so it is key that you take into account the advice that we give you so that you are not caught off guard or with the right budget.

Now, ask yourself the following question, how do I plan your personal finances at different stages of my life? This projection is important, especially when you start a new cycle, such as becoming independent from your family, having children, or retiring.


We invite you to review several tips below to plan your finances in the most appropriate way according to your stage of life.

1. You just start to work

You’re probably wondering why should I learn finance when I’m still so young? The answer is because 66% of Chilean households are in debt due to financial education problems, according to the Household Financial Survey carried out by the Central Bank of Chile.

Therefore, the younger, the better for you to start saving and cultivating your financial education. In this first stage of your life as an adult, you can learn to plan your expenses to live within the limit of your income and thus avoid falling into over-indebtedness.

If you just started working and you live with your family, you probably still do not incur expenses such as rent, electricity, water, food, which allows you to save part of your income.

On the other hand, if you have already become independent, you have to learn to make better use of your money, especially when it comes to saving and optimizing expenses.

In this labor stage, as well as in the next ones, in the case of working with an indefinite or fixed-term contract, your employers by law must pay for your provisional contributions, that is, the payment of your pension administered by an AFP, as well as health, in charge of an aspire (private sector) , respectively. Both amounts are part of your financial planning for life

2. You have been working for more than 6 months

In this period, your first salaries reach stability, so it is the right time for you to start planning your fixed and variable expenses consciously. Thus, it is important that you project your monthly budget as soon as possible so that you form a habit of saving and spending.

If you still live with your parents, you can now start contributing to household expenses, if you want or require it. We recommend that you review this guide to build and plan a family budget.

In addition, this is the key stage for you to start saving for your emergency fund and prepare your pocket for unexpected expenses, which are eventualities that can occur at any time of the year.

How much to save in this fund? It depends on your lifestyle, needs and risk possibilities, indicates the Personal Finance portal.

It is also crucial that you consider supplementing your future retirement with the help of voluntary savings instruments such as APV, mutual funds or term deposits.

3. You live alone or you are just married with children

In this phase of your adult life, you are probably thinking of becoming independent, buying your first car, or evolving in your love relationship. There are associated expenses in all these cases.


For example, when buying a vehicle, your financial planning should consider maintenance, payment of fees and associated insurance.

If you start having children, it is the best time for you to take out life insurance with savings to cover your family in case you die, or suffer an accident that causes disability (additional coverage). This capital will help finance your children’s education and ensure their future in case you can no longer generate income, for example.

Also consider taking out health insurance and including your children and partner as a burden.

4. Active adulthood

In this period of your life you probably already have your family formed, or you are still single, but you are independent and you have your expenses well organized.

You already know how to take care of and manage your monthly budget without problems and thanks to your work experience your income and expenses remain constant.

You probably already bought your first home and you are paying the dividing; You may even be soon to refinance the loan to reduce debt.

On the other hand, if your children continue to depend on you financially, it is essential that you have insurance that protects you along with your assets against any unexpected circumstance with a medical problem, fire or earthquake, or in the event of a personal accident. 

5. Elderly and retirement

By now you are a person who took the necessary steps to plan your pocket in a healthy way over time. Therefore, your main objective now is to control the expenses to live with the disposable income of your pension.

To this end, you have two retirement options: the annuity pension modality, in charge of an insurance company, or the programmed withdrawal option managed by an AFP. Each alternative has its advantages and disadvantages, which you should know in advance before choosing the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

How can I order my money?

To plan your budget month by month, download this free template so that you can count each of the income and expenses out of your pocket.

Remember that having correct financial planning for the different stages of your life is essential so that in each period you have better control of your expenses and debts


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