Winter months connote happy times spent with family and friends, but the holiday season also can mean big home projects and even unexpected expenses that bite into your budget.
If you encounter any of these 12 cold-weather scenarios in which you find yourself in need of some extra cash on hand, the NEA Personal Loan® for educators could help you afford what you need. These loans, with amounts up to $30,000, offer NEA members fixed rates, flexible repayment options and a special discount for enrolling in autopay.
1. Your kitchen isn’t guest-ready
If your kitchen isn’t prepped to accommodate a crowd, you may find you need to upgrade your appliances to handle the extra baking and food storage—or even remodel the whole room.
People love to gather in the kitchen to socialize while the host preps and cooks, so consider adding an island or an elevated counter with stool seating where they can put down their appetizers and drinks. A heavy-duty oven (or two!) and a roomy refrigerator can help you feed the masses like a pro.
2. Your guest bathroom isn’t welcoming
The guest bathroom will get a lot of traffic as you entertain over the holidays, so you may decide you need to update the fixtures, flooring, lighting and more.
Make sure the sink, toilet, shower and faucets are in good working order and easy to operate. Consider retiling the floors and walls if the grout is grimy or if the tiles are dingy and cracked. Polish off the ambience with stylish light fixtures, a fresh coat of paint, and festive soap dispensers and towels.
3. Your dining space can’t accommodate everyone
If you’re expecting a big crowd for a special dinner or regular meals during an extended stay or an overnight stay, you may need to buy a bigger dining set so everyone has a place for their plate.
Look for a sturdy table with more than one wide extension leaf so you can use it all year long. Be sure you have a place to store all of the extra chairs, or consider buying nice folding or stacking chairs to use when guests visit. Your chandelier might need an upgrade too to enhance the festive mealtime mood.
4. Your guest bedroom needs an upgrade
Time to retire the futon. Create a welcoming retreat for overnight guests by investing in nice furniture for the spare bedroom.
A comfortable mattress will keep your company well-rested throughout their visit. A long, low dresser with deep drawers provides plenty of room for bulky sweaters, plus countertop space for odds and ends. Look for bedside tables big enough to easily accommodate cellphones, glasses, books, a good reading lamp and more. Nightstands with built-in USB chargers that make it easy to stay powered up are a nice touch.
5. You’re traveling home for the holidays
If you’re flying home to visit relatives, you may need help financing your trip so you don’t miss out on the memories and merriment. Whether you travel by plane, train, car or bus, you may be able to seek out savings to stay on budget. Depending on ticket pricing and availability of flights, rental cars and more, you might have to make some adjustments to your travel plans, which could end up costing you a bit more than you had expected.
6. You’re traveling for fun for the holidays
Make this the year you take a winter vacation to the slopes or a tropical beach for your holiday break. Many hotels, resorts, cruise lines and more are ready to welcome travelers, so you might be able to find some great deals. If you have your heart set on a specific destination and you don’t want to put off your dream trip any longer, you may be willing to pay a little more to make it happen.
7. Your car broke down
Winter weather means rough road conditions, which can take a toll on your vehicle. New tires, a new transmission and other unexpected repairs could easily cut into your holiday budget. If your vehicle is out of warranty or if you don’t have enough savings to cover the unexpected costs, a personal loan could help you get back on the road.
A set of four new tires with good road grip might run you $400 to $600 for a small car, $800 to $1,200 for a mid-sized car or an SUV, and $1,200 to $1,500 for a larger SUV or truck. Depending on your vehicle’s make, model and age, repairing a transmission might be $300 to $1,200, while getting a whole new transmission installed could cost between $1,500 and $4,000.
8. Your heating bill is unusually high
A particular frigid cold snap can leave you with a shocking electric bill or gas bill that you may need help covering. Rising energy costs also might contribute to an increase in your typical wintertime bills.
Try checking with your utility provider and/or your local government to see if there are any assistance programs that could help you manage the unexpectedly high heating bills. If your overages are stemming from inefficient appliances or building materials, you might want to invest in a new HVAC, heat pump, windows and more to trim future utility bills.
9. Your furnace stops working
If your HVAC is running on fumes trying to keep up with the cold weather, you may need to repair or replace your furnace to stay warm and to lower your monthly utility bill.
The energy efficiency of the unit you select will impact the overall price, including installation. A standard HVAC system could start around $3,000 and go up to about $13,000.
10. Your roof suffered snow damage
Roofs that are flat or have varying elevations are particularly susceptible to damage from snow and ice. If heavy snow or a deep freeze ruins your roof shingles, or if leakage causes damage to the inside of your home, you could find yourself facing a big unexpected expense to repair or replace your roof if it’s not covered by your insurance, or if you have a high deductible.
The cost to repair or replace your roof can depend on the size of your roof, the materials used and the geographic region where you live. For example, replacing an asphalt roof on a 2,000-square-foot home could cost roughly $5,000 to $15,000.
11. You need to be prepared for lots of snow
If your local snow forecast usually calls for many feet of snow, you may want to invest in a high-powered snowblower to make quick work of the pileup as well as a whole-house backup generator to keep everyone inside safe and warm when and if the power’s out. Depending on how much snow you typically need to remove, a snowblower could cost between about $300 and $1,500. Sparing yourself the back-breaking work of shoveling might be worth the investment.
A small back-up generator or whole-house backup generator can keep everyone inside safe and warm when and if the power’s out, and also keep all of the food in the refrigerator and freezer at a safe temperatures. Prices on these vary widely, but depending on your needs, you could find decent options for roughly $2,000 to $5,000.
12. Your icy pipes burst and made a mess
Your home insurance may not cover water damage from frozen pipes that burst, so a personal loan could help you repair or replace drywall, flooring, furniture and more.
If the damage is limited, then you might only have to pay a few hundred dollars to fix it. But if the damage is extensive, you could be facing a bill that’s several thousand dollars—or even more than $20,000.
See how your membership benefits can help
The NEA Personal Loan, specially designed for educators, could be just the help you need to make your winter project list a reality—or to deal with unexpected expenses.