Nearly everyone will experience a serious money emergency at some point during their lifetime. Something financially catastrophic happens, like your car breaks down or you have to pay a huge medical bill. Afterward, you may be left with little or nothing in your bank account. If there’s still a week or more until your next payday, you’re going to have to be creative.
With that in mind, here are five of the best ways to survive a money emergency:
Ask for an Extension
Start off by looking at your bills that are about to be due. If you want to avoid late fees for credit card payments or other monthly bills, take action and call your creditors. Explain the situation to the customer service representative, and ask for an extension. In most cases, you’ll get one. Just don’t ask too often.
Visit Family and Friends
Next, you’ll need to come up with a free or low-cost way of eating your meals until you get paid again. If you have family members or friends nearby, this may be a great time to stop by for dinner and offer to do the dishes afterward. If you are able to get a few meals covered this way, remember your friends and family members when they need some help in the future. While it may not be in the form of food, you should return the favor any way you can.
Look for Help
After food and recurring bills, the next thing to take care of are essentials like gas and heat. In these situations, you may need to be ready to ask for help. Look for a carpool buddy until you get a few more dollars in your pocket, or scrape up some change to take the bus to work or school. In the winter, you can get heating help typically by asking your local utility provider. Most locales offer heating help to people who are low income or in dire straits financially.
Discuss Ways to Save
In the meantime, you should investigate ways to reduce your chances of being short of money for the future. Look at your monthly expenses, and see what you can cut out. Renegotiate monthly bills to get a lower payment temporarily. Talk to your insurance agency to see how to qualify for a discount if you have multiple insurance policies, like auto, renters, or life. There’s also the option of asking your boss for that raise, but avoid using your financial situation as the primary reason for asking for more money.
Make Money Fast
In some cases, you’ll need to get some fast cash to make ends meet. If you’re not sure how to make a few extra dollars quickly, look at some of your most valuable possessions. Offer some of your treasures for sale online to make some quick money without having to get a second job. You can offer up old clothes, tools, sports equipment, baby toys, or more to stretch your budget even more this month.
Having a serious financial emergency can be a stressful situation, but following these tips will help stretch the few dollars you have left in your bank account during a tough time.
Photo Credit: Suzy T