September 22, 2013

How to Handle a Cash Crisis When You're Down and Out

It never feels good to log into your online banking and see that there's far less in your account than you need. What's even worse is when you've been struggling with your finances for awhile, only to suddenly have them go even further in the wrong direction. Since the weak economy of the last five years has left countless people crunched for cash, we're going to look at several proven ways to get the money you need in the event of an emergency, as well as how to start improving your financial standing once your crisis is under control:

Get Yourself on Stable Ground

Even if times have been tough for awhile, if you suddenly find yourself in dire need of cash, the first thing you need to focus on is getting yourself on more stable ground. The approach you take to getting money and no longer feeling like you're about to fall off a cliff will depend on how much you need. If it's under $100 and you're in a position where you can wait a few days to get that total, donating plasma at a nearby center is a good option.

If $100 or so isn't going to cut it, the next option for raising more cash is to sell old jewelry you have around your house. While you can get at least a little bit for just about any type of real jewelry, gold and diamond pieces are the two that will bring in significant cash.

Although selling old jewelry can help you raise a fair amount of money, if the situation you're dealing with is something like a medical emergency, you may be in need of a substantial amount of cash. In that type of scenario, your best option is an actual loan. While there are different types of loans you can obtain, most people prefer a car title loan. The reason is not only can this type of loan quickly provide up to $10,000, but obtaining it doesn't require you to stop driving your car.

Start Following a Budget

Once you get the cash you need to continue moving forward, feel free to take a second to catch your breath. However, what you don't want to do is kick back and completely relax. The reason is once things are more stable, it's the perfect opportunity to start making real financial progress so you don't find yourself in the same situation again.

So, what do you need to do to start making financial progress? The best place to start is with a budget. Although this may sound simple, many people are surprised by what they discover once they sit down and actually start crunching their monthly numbers. One of the most important things about creating a budget is being honest with yourself and using exactly how much money you know is coming in each month. While it's great if you eventually increase your inflow, don't include hypothetical income in your budgeting.

The other important thing to remember is while you want your budget to have structure, you need enough flexibility so you can actually follow it. If it's too rigid, you'll give up on following it before there's ever a chance for your financial health to begin improving.

Tackle Your Credit Card Debt

When it comes to getting yourself back on track financially, one decision you have to make is which source(s) of debt you're going to tackle first. While you can technically choose any one that you want, most experts agree that credit card debt is where you should start. Why is credit card debt the right starting point? For one, because credit cards typically have some of the highest interest rates, not getting to the principal means you're going to just keep spinning your wheels by only paying against the interest.

Another is once you get organized, it's not as difficult to tackle this problem as many people think. Seeing tangible progress is a great way to build positive momentum. The best way to start chipping away is to consolidate as much as possible. By getting your credit card debt centralized and the interest rate as low as you can, you'll be able to start moving in the right direction.

Being broke isn't a good feeling. But the important thing to remember is even if things get worse than you expected, there are not only ways to get the situation under control, but also options that can help you get back to where you want.

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