The spread of COVID-19 poses new financial challenges—if you were faced with a financial emergency tomorrow, would you be prepared? If you’re like over 25% of Americans, the answer is no. Whether it’s a home repair or health expense, nearly half of us experienced an emergency expense in the last year, causing us undue stress. It is possible to prepare for the inevitable, though, by educating yourself and getting a little resourceful. Here’s how to handle a financial emergency that pops up in your life.
Stop to Evaluate
Sometimes when we get into a financial situation we don’t think we can get out of, we just shut down. Or, we lose it. Either way, the reason is the same: We feel like we’ve lost control. So, the first thing we want to do is recharge so we can face it head-on. And that can actually increase our feelings of confidence and lower our stress. Besides, reacting to the situation doesn’t change it – it only changes our experience. Facing it means evaluating the situation starting with a few questions.
1. How big is it really?
No matter the dollar amount, financial emergencies can feel overwhelming. But if we break it down, what does it look like? Take the total cost and look at what it will cost on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis? It might look a lot less scary when you review it from a standpoint of, “One day at a time.”
2. How long will it take to recover?
When financial emergencies hit, that overwhelming feeling makes it seem like you’re going to be stuck with this forever. But the opposite is true; everything comes to an end, even this. Ask yourself, how much time will this actually take to pay off? Looking towards the light at the end of the tunnel will help you keep that silver lining in mind.
3. How did this happen?
What brought you to this point? Sometimes, the cause of the emergency might be something obvious, like a loss of income due to the COVID-19 business closures. But why are you in a situation where you can’t handle a financial emergency? It takes courage to answer this question, but it’s the first step towards lowering the chance you end up here again.
Reign in Expenses
When you’re in any emergency situation, your “survival mode” might kick in, causing your main focus to become maintaining the basics like shelter, food, and clothing. So, we look to extraneous bills that can be cut in order to free up funds to handle the financial emergencies. If you spend the time to determine exactly how much you need each day, week, and month to go towards paying your bill, you have a much clearer idea of what bills can be cut to balance it out.
Here are a few suggestions to lowering your expenses:
- Defer payments: Are there any bills that can be safely deferred for a short period of time? Think car payments, student loan payments, or even credit cards. Contact your lenders to see if they’re willing to help; sometimes they’ll offer to let you skip a payment and free up the cash to go towards your emergency.
- Drop Unnecessary Bills: Having a nice dinner out may be a necessary relief from the mundane every now and then. But with some households spending up to $10,000 a year eating out, it can quickly become a burdensome habit. Free up funds from unnecessary purchases to help you make your payments. It may take some adjusting, but remember, the sooner you can pay this off, the faster you can get back to normal.
- Get Creative with Purchases: While you’re at the grocery store buying more food than normal because you’re committing to eating in, you can still save even more money. Several websites can help you with savings on groceries and everyday services.
Find Emergency Cash Resources
In some situations, your financial emergency calls for immediate emergency cash. In those cases, you do have multiple options available, even if you have a low credit score. Some of those options include getting a title loan, installment loan or payday loan with LendNation. It’s quick, easy, and confidential – and in many states, you can apply online or in-store. Don’t worry: LendNation is dedicated to supporting customers by taking precautions to prioritize your health in-store.
LendNation has options for you to manage your loan from the comfort of your home if you can’t, or do not wish to, visit a store. Visit lendnation.com to access your account 24/7 to check your account balance, make a payment, refinance or extend your current loan, or apply for a new loan depending on which state you live in.
Either way, the application takes only a few minutes, and depending on where you live and what you qualify for, you can get loans from $50-$10,000. In some cases, a short-term loan can actually be cheaper than a cash advance from your credit card.
Other ways to make quick cash include:
- Sell your valuables. If you own something of value, you may be able to sell it quickly to a person or specialty store near you. Remember, though, the faster you need the funds, the less you’ll get for it.
- Talk to friends or family. When in a financial crisis, most of us report that our family becomes our safety net, helping us through the crisis. Make a list of friends or family who might be willing and able to help.
- Contact local charities. There are several nonprofits and charities throughout the country that might be able to help you through.
There are two important things to remember as you’re going through this situation. Remember that there is a way out and don’t be so hard on yourself! Life happens to everyone and beating yourself up about it won’t help anyone, especially you. Take small steps to get to the other side of financial emergencies – and LendNation stands ready to help.