Steps to Handling a Financial Emergency
When an unexpected event or circumstance disrupts your life, it is common to react in panic and with haste. Whether the matter causes a short or long-term inconvenience, you'll go to great lengths to resolve it quickly. In many cases, however, this results in a ton of ineffective financial decisions that lead to bigger problems down the road. The good news, however, is that there are steps you can take to keep a level head and make informed decisions in the midst of a financial crisis.
Determine How Much You Need
When a financial emergency arises, the first thing you should do is determine how much you will need to resolve the matter. If you need an emergency car or home repair, contact local experts to get estimates on repair costs. If you've recently lost your job, use your monthly budget to calculate how much money you'll need to pay your bills until you're back on your feet.
How Much Do You Have
You now have a general idea of how much you need to handle the financial emergency. Next up, is determining how much you have on hand to cover the expense. Start with any additional income you have after necessary expenses. If necessary, reduce or eliminate expenses that aren't necessary to free up additional cash. Then, review your savings account to see how much you have set aside. Total these cash sources to see what you have to cover the financial emergency.
Ask Those Closest to You
If you're still short on funds to cover your financial crisis, turn to those closest to you for assistance. A relative or friend may have the extra funds to lend you until you can repay it. If you do choose this route, however, just be sure to put your agreement in writing and repay the balance in full as soon as you can to avoid conflict (or causing financial hardship for your loved ones).
Sell Some Things
If you can't turn to loved ones or still don't have enough to get out of your financial emergency, you can sell things for extra cash. From the beat-up car sitting in your garage to the old clothes and shoes you can no longer fit in your attic, they can all be sold to interested parties for a decent amount. Add the proceeds to your total cash sources to see if you're any closer to covering the financial emergency.
Look for Assistance
Whether you're aware or not, there are lots of places you can turn to for financial assistance. For example, if you lost your job, you can apply for unemployment and receive assistance with housing costs, food, healthcare, and utilities. Major damage to your home may very well be fully or partially covered by your property insurance. Simply do some online research to find out if there are programs that can provide financial relief for your emergency.
Use Your Credit Cards
At this point, you've explored every avenue possible to handle your financial emergency without going into debt. If, however, this isn't enough, then it is okay to utilize solutions like credit cards. When using your credit cards, make sure that you have the financial means to repay the balance in full within a decent timeframe to avoid ruining your credit or falling into serious debt.
Apply for a Loan
If you don't have a credit card you can use or would prefer a large sum of cash, you can also apply for a loan. A very popular option is online installment loans. These are short-term loans often provided with no credit check and deposited into your account within 1-2 business days. If you're going to apply for an installment loan, however, be sure that you have read all the terms and can afford the fees and repayment plan associated with the loan.
You never know what can happen in life that essentially devastates your finances. While you may not be able to do anything to control your circumstances, you can do yourself a favor and make sound financial decisions in handling the emergency. In doing so, you avoid ruining your credit and falling deeper into debt unnecessarily. Any time something pops up in your life, consider the above-discussed steps to handle the financial emergency more effectively.