Updated: Jan 22
Unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen. We lose our jobs, a car breaks down, or someone is in a terrible accident and can’t work. If you have prepared you will have an emergency fund to cover such times, but not everyone has backup money. Most people are living paycheck to paycheck. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you download my free Budget e-book and template to get started.
I’ve done my best to compile a list of things to do if this has happened to you. Read on for tips on how to make your money work for you.
Halt Your Debt Payoff
If you’ve been trying to pay off your debt more quickly, you’ve probably been paying more than your minimum required. Now is not the time to pay down your debt. Save that extra cash for necessities now. As soon as your emergency happens, start only paying the minimum payment until your situation changes. Yes, it sucks to stop working on your goals, but it’s time to go into survival mode.
Cancel or Pause Subscriptions and Memberships
I know you love Netflix. I do too. But it may be time to hold off on those to make sure you can pay for your needs right now. Other things you may have that you could cancel: gym memberships, Amazon Prime, Dish, cable, etc. Just remember you can always pick those back up after you’re back on your feet financially.
Reduce Your Fixed Expenses
Fixed Expenses are costs you can’t completely cut out, like electricity or gas. Some things you can do to cut costs are turn off lights when you leave a room, turn the thermostat down (or up, depending on the season), open the windows and let in some fresh air – give the central heating and air a break, unplug appliances when not in use, etc.
Lower Your Food Costs
You need food. That’s not debatable. It’s time to get creative and organized with your meals. Number one, make sure you are only buying what you need for the week. An easy way to do that is to meal plan. Decide what you want to eat for that week and write down what you will need. Even better if the meals use some of the same ingredients so you won’t be wasting half an onion if that’s all that’s called for in a recipe. Check out the sales before going to the store or making your list. Ground beef on sale for $2.99 a pound? Get that and make it a meal. Tacos, chili, spaghetti, and burgers are all great dinners.
Cut Out Unnecessary Spending
Anything you don’t need has to go right now. You can buy that shirt later. This is not the time to be online shopping. Want to be entertained? Check out books from the library. Watch TV shows online. I know Hulu has a free version. Utilize that! Make it work. You got this.
Use Your Emergency Funds
If you have been diligent in saving, you likely have the money you can use during this time. Ideally, at any given time, you want to have 3-6 months work of expenses saved. Even better if it is a year’s worth of living expenses. It doesn’t have to be what you normally make in a month (we’re cutting way back here). What is the bare minimum you can live off of? Take that number and multiply it by how many months you want to be covered.
Use Your Sinking Funds
If you don’t have an emergency fund, maybe you have sinking funds. Sinking funds are accounts you keep for future expenses. You could be saving up for a trip or have a Christmas account to pay for gifts. It’s okay to dig into those accounts right now if it’s all you have. You can worry about replenishing later.
Cover Your Basic Needs
If you don’t have savings, use what you have wisely. Pay for food, shelter, and utilities first. Everything else will have to wait.
Plan Ahead for the Future
Now is the best time to be planning for how you want to be prepared if this, or another emergency, ever happens again. If you don’t have it yet, you can get my free Budget E-book with templates to fill in with your numbers. Click here to get it -> https://nikiferguson.lpages.co/budget-ebook-opt-in/.
If you would like to work with me directly, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.