It’s been said the only thing in life that never changes are the fact that things always change. Sometimes they change for the better — other times they change for the worse. Either way, being ready for change when it occurs is the surest possible method of extracting the most good from it.
When it comes to your personal finances, this means having something put away for a rainy day is always a good play. If you don’t, it’s definitely time to start. Meanwhile, here’s what to do if you don’t have an emergency fund when something comes up.
Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate
Many large expenses come with credit terms and negotiable pricing. If we’re talking about a medical emergency, get in touch with the billing office at the hospital and ask about discounts. Once you’ve secured whatever deal you can get, ask to be put on a payment plan, offering whatever cash you can scrape together as a down payment.
Other situations work similarly.
Just make sure it’s a real emergency situation — not just a sale on lawn mowers you don’t want to miss out on.
Shop for the Absolute Best Price
Let’s say your car stops running and it’s your only way to work. You’re going to have to get it repaired as soon as possible. Ask around for personal references so when you call the shop, you’re talking to them based upon the recommendation of someone with whom they have a relationship. The same is true for other situations such as a furnace dying on you in the middle of winter.
Ask about pricing, tell the person you’re having a money problem and ask them if they can give you a better price, or failing that, some sort of payment terms. You might also inquire about the least costly fix possible to get you back up and running, even if it won’t completely solve the problem.
Apply for a Low- or No-Interest Credit Card
You might qualify for a credit card with a favorable interest rate if your credit history is strong. Along the same lines, you might be eligible for a personal loan from your credit union or bank with a favorable credit history.
With that said, if you’re struggling with credit card debt, but have yet to encounter an emergency situation, now is the time to start working on reducing that debt. Possible solutions include a settlement program like Freedom Debt Relief or a debt management program through a credit counseling agency.
Cash in Your Closet, Attic, Basement or Storage Space
Liquidation might well be the path to your salvation. Odds are you have items collecting dust that other people would find valuable. Consignment stores will happily sell your clothes, furnishings and other household items and give you a percentage of the proceeds — though it might take a while. Selling things on Craigslist, eBay or Facebook Marketplace can put cash in your hands in a shorter amount of time. Even better, there’s almost no limit to what you can find someone willing to buy using those venues.
Start an Emergency Fund Today
These four approaches to what to do if you don’t have an emergency fund can make all the difference when it comes to helping resolve your problem. With that said however, the absolute best advice we can offer here is to start putting money away for your emergency fund today if you have yet to do so.
Most experts agree you want to have enough cash to cover at least 90 to 180 days of your monthly expenses saved in a liquid account — or one you can liquidate quickly with no penalties.