We’ve all been in the position of having an emergency medical visit we weren’t expecting. If you’re cash-strapped, you have little choice but to use that emergency fund you had set aside. But then what happens when, in the same week, the battery in your car dies? Your emergency fund is exhausted, and now you have to take money from the rest of the budget to pay for your car repairs. How do you get back on track when your budget is blown by life’s unexpected knockouts? Check out these four tricks for doing just that.
If you are gainfully employed and expecting a paycheck, you can qualify for small cash loans in an emergency. These are not meant to be taken out every month. Rather, they are there in case you have more expenses than you can handle at one time. Some cash advance companies also offer free financial counseling with their services. They can help you get back on track and build your emergency fund back up.
Reevaluate other Expenses
Some expenses, like your utilities, gas for your vehicle, and rent are necessary for you to keep living and working. You need to be able to continue creating income while not sacrificing your sanity. One of the best ways to cut costs is to take a look at your grocery budget. Reevaluate what you already have in your pantry and refrigerator. What can you make with what you already have? Or, eat with friends at their house if the occasion arises. Another place to temporarily cut costs is in any luxuries you have included in your budget. Entertainment is a luxury. Going to salons, spas, and restaurants are also luxuries. Save those expenses for next month, when you’re back on track.
Another short term option for you may be to get a side hustle. These are jobs that don’t replace your primary income but rather supplement it. These gigs are often done after normal business hours, at night, and on weekends. Some common side hustles can be work from home jobs, like writing articles for websites or teaching English to foreign children. Also, a very reliable side hustle can be working as a server or bartender in a restaurant. Cash is more readily accessible in these jobs because they are often tip-based. Whatever you choose to do on the side, make sure you are not exhausting yourself mentally and physically just to make ends meet. Trim your budget first. Then, look to add to your workload.
Sell What You Can
Remember that old set of cycling shoes in your closet that you no longer use? How about that fur coat from Aunt Helga? Selling surplus or unused items can help quickly boost your income for the immediate future. Another more extreme sale could be to reevaluate your transportation. Can you bike to work? Is public transportation available in your area? If so, maybe having a vehicle is too large an expenditure for you right now.
Whatever you decide to do, you must stop hemorrhaging money first. Then, create a plan to build more income in the short term. From there, you can reevaluate your budget to see if there are ways you can save more money on a regular basis to bolster your emergency fund. Let your budget be flexible and allow it to change with the economy and your income. If something isn’t working, you have the power to fix it.