While it’s best to save for large expenses, emergencies happen. Unplanned health care visits, car or home repairs, or other unexpected needs may upend your budget.
In these situations, it’s important to look at your options for covering these costs in manageable ways to avoid high-interest debt. Consider these options:
- Financing or payments. Committing to provider financing or a payment plan (if available) may help you obtain needed services or repairs without straining your budget or racking up credit card debt. You could also talk to your bank or credit union about taking out a personal loan or other financing options.
- Review your budget. Look for ways to divert money toward paying off this unexpected expense. Consider if you could pick up extra cash by doing odd jobs or selling crafts or creative work.
- Access employer benefits. Your employer may offer helpful resources. Talk to your HR department.
- Have a yard sale (in person or virtual). Set up a display in your driveway, post some signs around the neighborhood, and see how much clutter you can clear away. Getting rid of unwanted furniture, clothing, household items, decorations, sports gear, and used books, CDs, or DVDs could help you raise cash fast. If you prefer to sell online, use a legitimate reseller service.
- Pawn items of value. Items that fetch a good price at a pawn shop include jewelry, electronics, musical instruments, hunting and fishing gear, tools, and lawn equipment. It’s best to sell the item outright and take the cash rather than accepting a loan that will accrue interest.
- Friends and family. Though it may be difficult to ask, setting up a crowdfund to cover medical or funeral expenses may help you through a rough patch.
- Public assistance. If the situation is dire or you have little in the way of assets, you may qualify for public assistance, such as food pantries or utility bill relief. In addition, some community programs may offer help with medical bills or funeral expenses. Explore local resources and, if eligible, apply as soon as possible.