We have all experienced periods of financial strain and difficulty. For you, it might have been a couple of weeks when you were so low on cash you could barely afford groceries. Or it might have been a prolonged period of months, or years, where you were always looking for your next paycheck.
If you ever experience yourself in this financial position again, there are several strategies you can use to recover.
Immediate Strategies to Use
These are some of the most effective strategies you can use immediately, stopping the bleeding and giving you financial resources you can use to get to the next step.
- Look for specialty loans. Start by looking for any specialty loans that might apply to you and your circumstances. For example, if you’ve recently been the victim of a personal injury and you’re negotiating a settlement, you may qualify for a pre-settlement loan. Pre settlement loans are a kind of advance, giving you immediate access to the funding you’re going to receive with your settlement in exchange for a small fee. You may even qualify for multiple pre-settlement loans. It’s not going to completely change your financial life, but it could help you get through the next several weeks and months.
- Use a credit card. As a short-term measure, you could also consider stepping up your credit card use. Assuming you already have a credit card or two in your name, you can use these floating lines of credit to fund the purchase of things you need immediately. The only problem is that credit cards are typically associated with very high interest rates, so it’s a good idea to have a plan to pay these off as quickly as possible. If you don’t know when or how you can pay them off, consider using a different financial tool.
- Borrow from friends and family members. Nobody likes the idea of borrowing money from friends and family members, but they could be your best option. Have an open and honest conversation with them about when and how you can pay them back, and present them with a plan for how you intend to do it. Just be aware that this may introduce stress into the relationship.
- Pursue a traditional personal loan. If you don’t qualify for any specialty loans, consider taking out a personal loan with the bank. If your credit score is questionable, or if you don’t have much of a financial history, this may not be a viable option for you.
- Sell some possessions. Do you have significant possessions in your home? If so, selling them may be a viable way to make money in the short term.
- Establish an income stream. You may already have one or more income streams, but can you set up another? A lucrative side gig could be all it takes to help you through this tough time.
- Reduce or eliminate unnecessary expenses. Look at what you’re currently spending and see if you can reduce or eliminate unnecessary expenses. For example, how much are you spending every month on streaming service subscriptions?
- Tap into your retirement accounts. You should only use this as a measure of last resort, but if all other options fail you, you can consider tapping into your retirement accounts. If you don’t have any retirement savings, you should make them a priority when you overhaul your finances.
Improving Your Financial Future
After you take care of your immediate needs, it’s a good idea to make a concentrated effort to improve your financial future. This way, you’ll be far less likely to be in this position again.
- Restructure your core finances. Take a look at the biggest expenses and core finances of your budget – and consider making major changes. For example, housing is likely your biggest expense. Is it possible for you to move to a smaller home or a different area of the city, so you can pay significantly less rent?
- Set up a strict budget. If you don’t already have one, set up a strict budget. Account for how much income you have and outline a plan for how you can spend that money most efficiently. This may also mean cutting out expenses that are unnecessary or superfluous.
- Improve your earning potential. Next, work on improving your income potential. You can do this in several ways, such as by setting up new streams of income, picking up a side gig, working toward a promotion, or even educating yourself so you can change career fields.
- Set up an emergency fund. A simple emergency fund will serve as a buffer so you don’t have to go into emergency mode every time you encounter an unexpected expense. Aim to save up at least a few thousand dollars.
With these strategies, you can improve your financial situation immediately and set a course for a much brighter financial future. These strategies aren’t always easy or straightforward, but their adoption can help you forge a much better life for yourself.