In the Danger Zone: 8 Steps to Take When You’re Out of Money



Are you one of the 60% of Americans with nothing in savings and an inability to cover a $1000 emergency expense?

If you answered yes to this question, you’re not alone. Only 40% of Americans could actually cover a $1000 unexpected expense with money from their savings account.

Whether it’s due to unemployment, emergency expenses, or just generally not having enough money each month to make ends meet, running out of money before the month is over and your bills are paid is panic-inducing.

If you find that you’ve run out of money this month, take a deep breath and get to work to get your finances into shape. Here are 8 steps to take to get back on track.

  1. Make Some Fast Cash

If you need to make fast cash, go through your house and see what items you can sell. If you have furniture, household items, books, or even clothing that you no longer use or need, list it for sale.

Facebook marketplace is a great place to sell things quickly. The key is to price it to sell, especially if you need money fast.

If you have old books or DVDs lying around, check Amazon or eBay to see how much they are going for. Old college textbooks can also be sold online.

You can even do surveys, online tasks, or internet research to make some quick money. This money is often deposited right into your PayPal account, allowing it to be in your bank account in as little as a day.

  1. Ask for a Payment Plan

Communicating with your creditors is key. Don’t just throw the bills in a pile of mail you don’t want to deal with and think that if you deny their existence, they’ll go away.

Call them, explain your situation, and ask for a payment plan. You could also ask for creditors to waive any late payment fees, pause your payments for a few months, or assist you in other ways.

You’d be surprised at how willing creditors are to work with you. The key is that you have to be the one to ask.

  1. Consider Public Assistance

If you are working as much as you can and you still can’t make ends meet, public assistance might be an option, if you meet income requirements. If you struggle to pay your rent, cover childcare costs, or put food on the table, public assistance can help.

You’ll have to apply and it’s not a particularly quick process, but is a good way to ensure that in future months, you can cover your expenses.

  1. Slash Your Budget

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, you need to cut out any unnecessary expenses.

Lunches or dinners out, lattes, entertainment expenses, cable, etc. Cut all of the excess out of your budget. Make a meal plan, shop from the grocery sales, and find free activities or stay home.

Get rid of cable, see if you can cut your cell phone bill (do you really need unlimited data?), and cancel unused memberships or subscriptions (when was the last time you actually used your gym membership?).

Cutting household expenses may seem extreme, but you’ll be surprised at how little you miss many of the things you cut out.

  1. Ask for Help

Sometimes you need to put your tail between your legs and ask for a favor. Call your family or friends who you think might give you a loan and ask for help. Make sure you are working out a repayment plan with them, with interest, and stick to it.

If you don’t make it a regular thing and are generally responsible with your money, people might be more willing to help you.

  1. Pick Up A Side Hustle

It seems like everyone has a side hustle these days.

Whether it’s driving for Uber or Lyft, delivering for InstaCart or Postmates, or doing freelance work, it seems like most of us are earning cash doing work on the side.

The key to a successful side hustle is to make sure it’s worth your time and doesn’t impact your day job. Be wary of side hustles that make claims that seem too good to be true (they usually are).

  1. Consider a Loan

You should use a loan as a last resort. Whether you choose a payday loan, cash advance on your credit card, or a personal loan, Bonsai Finance can help.

These loans should be used sparingly, as they often have high-interest rates and you must pay them back pretty quickly, but they are an available option when you need money immediately.

  1. Think Long-Term

If running out of money has become a regular occurrence, it’s time to revisit your budget.

Maybe it means picking up a second job long-term, moving to a place with lower rent or mortgage, selling your expensive car and buying something with cash, or cutting other frivolous expenses.

There are countless free resources out there that will guide you in creating and sticking to a budget.

Never Run Out of Money Again

Don’t let financial panic happen month after month.

Take steps today to ensure that you never run out of money again. Making long-term changes to your budget and thinking about your future goals will go a long way to build a strong financial foundation for you and your family.

If you want more tips and information about finances, saving money, and making money, explore the financial section of our blog.


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