unexpected expenses

Tips and Ways To Pay For Unforseen Bills

What You Can Do In A Financial Emergency


While emergencies happen to anyone and everyone. If you have enough money to cover any and every possible contingency--and a fifty-three point plan for how to save, borrow, and pay back funds for all situations-then congratulations! You are a financial planning rock star, and you make the rest of us look bad.

For the rest us, life isn't so predictable. Sometimes it doesn't matter what you saved or how you planned. Some expenses are so large and timed so poorly that you find yourself in need of money to bridge the finance gap. Today is the day you pay your rent, but tomorrow is the day your son decides to play Superman on the roof, or your dog eats all of Aunt Sally's chocolate birthday cake, or your car gets struck by lightning. In other words, life happens.

And you're not alone. According to a poll by The National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 64% of Americans polled would not have enough savings to cover a $1,000 emergency expense. This means that they would have to seek out alternative-and often more risky and ultimately expensive-ways to cover their financial trouble.

Before you decide to sell a kidney on the black market, though, check out these ways to meet your immediate financial needs (that don't involve human organ trafficking)!


  • Examine all your financial resources.
  • This means going through bank accounts, retirement plans, credit cards, and couch cushions-every nickel counts. Find out exactly what you owe, and by how much you fall short. The best payment option may change depending the size of the gap.

  • Find a little leeway (if there is any).
  • If you owe money on a loan, credit card, or similar, call the lender. Ask politely if the due dates of your payment can be delayed, or any other assistance can be offered.

  • Investigate your options.
  • What is the best path for your financial situation? Which kind of support will help you now but hurt you the least in the future? Research all of the offers available to you and compare them before taking action. Financial emergencies are just that, emergencies that must be dealt with immediately. But making a hasty, ill-advised financial decision could hurt you just as much or more in the long run.

  • Start planning for next time.
  • So you have settled on a solution and the panic has passed. Now the real work begins. If you were caught unprepared this time, take the time to build an emergency savings plan that you can rely on in the event of sudden future expenses. For the many, many people living paycheck to paycheck or with limited means, the idea of putting money aside in a savings account seems like more fantasy than reality. But it is just those people who need an emergency expense plan the most. Don't give up hope! Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Start budgeting.
  • So you have settled on a solution and the panic has passed. Now the real work begins. If you were caught unprepared this time, take the time to build an emergency savings plan that you can rely on in the event of sudden future expenses.

    For the many, many people living paycheck to paycheck or with limited means, the idea of putting money aside in a savings account seems like more fantasy than reality. But it is just those people who need an emergency expense plan the most. Don't give up hope! Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Start monitoring.
  • Tracking and planning for your everyday and long-term expenses is a great step towards preventing or reducing future emergency expenses.

  • Enroll in a traditional bank or credit union savings account.

    Some banks put restrictions on the amount you can remove from the account in order to discourage dipping into savings for unplanned expenses.

  • Meet with a financial planner or debt consolidator to assess and examine your finances.
  • It may be possible to reduce your monthly payments or increase the interest rate on your savings; a professional assessment can help you make safe, informed financial decisions.

  • Consider alternative ways to save and to protect those savings.
  • Nontraditional saving networks are a relatively new resource for individuals to put money aside for savings. They provide a certain, set interest rate on the money you deposit and you join a network of investors who have all pooled their money to the same fund. The money earns interest, which is awarded to investors according to an approved order and method. Commonly referred to as lending circles or money pools, both for-profit and non-profit organizations, such as the MissionAssetFund.org and eMoneypool.com, offer platforms for these lending networks. This strategy can make it easier to avoid the Cookie Jar Savings Problem (that is, it is harder to stick to your diet when you keep cookies in the kitchen). Sadly, scammers are always looking to take advantage, so make sure to thoroughly research and vet the money pool company or organization you are considering.

    That is all good and well, you might say, if you were able to plan ahead of your financial emergency. Though it may not help you in your moment of need, i.e. NOW. If you are at the OMG NOW phase of financial emergency, here are some options:


  • 1. Support from family and friends:
  • While borrowing money from relatives can be a sticky situation, it may be worth the potential drama to ask for a personal loan or gift versus taking out a conventional loan at a high interest rate.

  • 2. Traditional loans:
  • Banks and credit unions are established institutions that can lend money and usually offer lower interest rates on loans than payday loans and cash advances. Short-term small loans and larger long-term ones may be offered; the particular offers and requirements for borrowing will likely vary by lender. This allows you to shop for different options and compare the loan and repayment details before applying for a loan. The downside of this option is that borrowers may be required to have a high enough credit score or have other financial requirements that only some people can meet.

  • 3. Credit Cards:
  • If you do not have to pay your expense in cash, applying for a new credit card (or using one you already have) is a viable option. You can also strategize the best way to take on new credit card debt, depending on the terms and interest rates of your credit cards. If you choose to apply for a credit card, compare offers. If you have one card with an introductory 0% APR and no balance transfer fees, putting the expense on that card could be the best way to limit the interest while you pay back the money.

  • 4. Payday Loans:
  • These are often easy to take out and hard to pay off. If you need money before your next paycheck arrives, you can borrow against that check. These are typically small loans, but repayment can quickly become a big problem. The lender will loan you that money at a high interest rate, which you will be expected to pay back by a set date. If you cannot fully pay back the money by that date, the debt will begin to accrue interest at a very high rate. Because of the risks involved, this should be a method of last resort, when all other options are closed to you.

  • 5. Cash Advances:
  • Similar to payday loans, these are advances either on your credit card or paycheck. You can borrow cash at a high interest rate, in the event that you cannot pay your emergency expense with credit. When it comes time to repay the advance or payday loan, however, you cannot use another form of credit to pay. These options rely on your certainty that you will have cash in the immediate future.

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