A financial emergency may come in many forms.
For example, you could get laid off from your job, ending your primary source of income. No matter what your financial emergency is if you find you need money now you should take it seriously!
A financial crisis can be a terrifying event in your life. It can not only change the way you live, but it can also have a lasting impact on your finances if you don't handle it properly.
Today, we are going to review several steps that can help you get through a financial crisis.
Tips to Help You Survive a Financial Emergency
Call a Family Meeting
When you’re facing a financial emergency, don’t be afraid to inform your immediate family, especially those who live in your household. Evaluate and confront the situation as a team, sit down, and let your family know that things are going to be a little different for a while.
Their mind will be put at ease, knowing you are fully aware of the situation and are working on a solution.
Cut Your Expenses
Create a New Budget
When facing a financial crisis, it is a good idea to create a new budget. Having a new budget will allow you to evaluate your current financial situation and see where you stand.
When planning a new budget, make sure that you incorporate all of your necessities; the things you aren’t able to do without. Items such as food, water, electricity, basic hygiene, medication, rent, and car payments should be included. These items will come first before anything else.
To plan your new budget, make sure that you sit down with all the members of your family and let them take part.
Trade in Your Vacation Days
If you have vacation days saved up, you might want to consider cashing them in, if possible. Some companies offer to buy back vacation days, which can come in handy during a crisis.
Check with your employer to see whether they offer this incentive. If they do, take advantage of it. While it is hard to give up those much-needed vacation days, eliminating the stress of financial hardship can also be highly beneficial. Use your weekends wisely to recover from a busy work week.
Cook from Your Pantry
Many of us have canned goods and other items in our pantry that we often tend to forget about. Knowing precisely what you have on hand helps you to avoid buying things twice. While eating green beans for breakfast might not be ideal, it will save you money.
Be creative with your meals when cooking from the pantry. Go online and look for recipes that call for ingredients you have on hand. Many recipes can be made with odds and ends when you put your mind to it.
Eliminate Spending on Luxuries
Review your newly established budget or your last bank statement and examine whether there could be more ways to reduce your spending. Consider which purchases are actually a luxury rather than a necessity.
While it might be tempting to go to the movies to take your mind away from your financial situation, don't! Instead, save that money for things you may really need or may need in the future.
Items that can often be cut out of your budget include; trips to the mall, dining out, gym memberships, unnecessary driving, and cable TV. By cutting out luxury spending, you will have more money saved up in case your financial crisis lasts longer than planned.
Bike to Work
By riding your bike back and forth to work, not only will you save a lot of money on gas, but also on your gym membership! Using your bike will reduce the wear and tear on your car and can also reduce the amount you pay on car insurance, depending on the amount of mileage used throughout the year. But remember, if you do plan on biking to work, play it safe and always wear a helmet.
If your workplace is too far to bike, a great way to save some money while you’re tight on cash is to carpool. Carpool to work, or let your kids ride to school with a friend. Offer your coworker a little gas money in exchange for picking you up. Carpooling not only saves you money, but it can also help boost your morale on the way to and from work. Enjoy some positive conversion and open up the opportunity for new friendships.
Tap into Your Emergency Fund
If you have an emergency fund, now is the time to use it. After all, the situation you are in right now is the reason that you have planned. Make sure that you use your emergency fund wisely; use it for only necessities.
Remember, you can live without going bowling, but you can't live without food, water, and shelter. Make sure you pay those bills with the money you have in your emergency fund.
Downsize Your Home
For those dealing with a significant financial emergency, you may want to think of downsizing your home.
For example, if you live in a three-bedroom apartment, and only one more person is living with you, why not downsize to a two-bedroom apartment?
If downsizing has become a must and you’re under a contract with your landlord, speak with him or her and let them know about the situation you are facing. He or she may be kind enough to waive any penalties that come with breaking your contract.
You might also be able to find someone to sublet your apartment until your lease ends.
I Need Money Now! What Do I Do?
Sell Unwanted Items
Most of us have unwanted or unused items stored in our attics and garages. While these things are no longer valuable or useful to you, someone else could probably put them to good use.
Have a garage sale over the weekend and make some extra cash to help you get through hard times. The money that you make can go towards important things like food and rent. By getting rid of rarely used items, you will be decluttering your home at the same time.
Look for Additional Revenue Streams
When you’re facing a financial crisis, bringing in the most money possible is a must. A great way to bring in some much-needed cash is to find a secondary form of revenue. Browse sites that post job opportunities such as seasonal work. There are many side jobs you can do in your spare time, such as working at local festivals over the weekend or mowing lawns.
One example of an online side gig is a virtual assistant. Help your employer with simple tasks such as answering emails, setting up appointments, bookkeeping, and researching.
Another online job that can help you bring in more revenue is tutoring. Tutor subjects like Math, Science, or English. Tutors are hired, especially over the summer break.
Get a Loan
If you’re genuinely in a bind and need money quickly to pay for certain expenses, you could consider applying for a small online loan. Some lenders can provide up to $500 within 24 hours.
These funds can help you pay for medical bills, food, rent, and other necessities. You can use the money you need now and pay it back in small monthly or weekly payments, over several months.
Ask for Help
Contact Your Lenders
If you have credit card bills and other debts, don't just let them go. While you’re facing a financial emergency, it can be tempting to stop paying these bills. However, doing so will place you deeper in debt, and your credit will likely be ruined. Instead, call each of your lenders and explain your current situation. Many lenders are willing to work with you during difficult times.
You can often get your monthly payments reduced, and some lenders will even suspend your payments for a few months. This will give you enough time to get back on your feet. If you call your lenders and they are not willing to work with you right away, don't give up. Ask to speak with a supervisor who will probably have more authority to meet your requests.
Take Advantage of Additional Assistance
There are quite a few programs out there that are designed for people facing financial hardships. If you have suddenly lost your job, you may qualify for unemployment benefits and even medical assistance.
There are also local food banks that are designed to help families in times of need. Many of these programs are set up by non-profit groups and are readily available to all. Take a few minutes to call or research any local or governmental programs that could be helpful to your situation.
These are just a few tips that will come in handy when you are faced with a financial emergency. Remember, when you are going through such challenges in life, don’t give up and try to do everything in your power to overcome it.
Once you've made your way out of the crisis, your life will be back on track. Although things might be tough for a little while, stay positive and remember that this situation is only temporary.
Michael launched Your Money Geek to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.