More Than One Way to Deal With It

unduhan-8Financial emergencies come in all shapes and sizes. They are, by definition, obligations that you haven’t planned for and that will be difficult to pay. Whether you should have anticipated an expense is irrelevant once you’re faced with it. If you must pay it soon, and if not paying it will bring serious consequences, then you have a financial emergency.

Many people have an emergency fund — money set aside for no other purpose than to bail them out of a crisis when they have no other cash available. Even if you don’t have such a fund, there may still be ways for you to make room in your budget to accommodate the urgent expense. And if you do have an emergency fund, you can use those same methods to put off having to dip into it, which will make your “rainy day” money last longer — or preserve it for the next unforeseen expense.

Reducing regular expenses

Your first line of defense in a financial emergency should simply be changing the way you spend money. In other words, tighten the belt. Delay, reduce, or do without certain things so more income can be used to meet the emergency. With smaller unexpected expenses, you may take this first step instinctively and not even think of it as an emergency. Perhaps you get a costly parking ticket and, because of it, decide to skip taking your family to the movies. You rent from Redbox instead and pay a few dollars instead of $50 or more.

Redirecting cash saved for irregular expenses

“Flexing” your spending to deal with an emergency between paydays only goes so far. You may need to reduce spending over several pay periods to cover the emergency — but you still you need the money now. Before taking it from a designated emergency fund, look to your next line of defense: savings earmarked for an annual or irregular expense, such as a vacation, home or vehicle maintenance, or a bill that gets paid once a year.

Setting aside cash for these irregular expenses is part of any solid budget. Of course, if you tap such funds in an emergency, you’ll need to pay yourself back before these bills come around. Do that by continuing to flex your spending over multiple pay periods until the reserves are restored.

What happens when you fully flex your spending and drain your cash reserves? Will you have to sell off belongings, liquidate investments or compound the problem by borrowing money? You can avoid pawnshops and payday lenders if you have an emergency fund on top of your earmarked cash reserves. Selling stuff is usually the last line of defense.