It may not seem like there’s much hope for financial faux paux when you’re knee-deep in struggles to dig out yourself and your family. However, no matter where you are in the world, and no matter how bad your credit, if you have any at all, there are companies and programs devoted to helping people out of debt.
Depending on the region in which you live, there may also be government programs and private organizations that can help you manage and pay off your debt. For example, Eastern Loans offers for people to get the money they need to get ahead of their bills. In America, many credit card companies and banks offer second chance programs and store credit cards, for the sole purpose of helping you through a tough financial period and getting you back on track with your credit.
Since many people don’t know all the options available to them, we’ve put together a list of a small handful of things you can do to help yourself through your difficult financial struggles.
The Three R’s: Reading, Researching, and Resisting (the Urge to Plunge Ahead)
We know you did more than your share of homework and reading in school. However, the first thing you must do in any crisis is step back, observe, and do some research. There is no such thing as doing too much. You can get any amount of information from one or two resources about any topic.
Your time is never better spent than when preventing yourself from making the move that could eliminate any chance you have of fixing your financial stress. Jeremy Vohwinkle at The Balance believes that patience and are critical to fixing the problems. After all, you can’t correct something you haven’t even examined yet. However, you can’t always rest assured that all the information you received is one-hundred-percent accurate. It may not even be thirty percent of half-accurate! You must cross-reference, fact check, and only rely on reputable resources.
News sites and stations are a safe bet, because it’s their job to give you all the facts as clear-cut and truthful as they come. Government sites and blogs are reliable, as well. Also, don’t underestimate the value of online chats and forums. Talking to people who understand your plight often makes a world of difference in your outlook on things.
Once you’re well-educated, apply the knowledge you gained. Investigate the low-income assistance options and programs in your community and throughout your state. Read the application, regulations, and requirements with care, and choose the one that’s best suited for your needs.
It’s also very well possible that you have unclaimed money from a closed bank account, federal or state tax refund, or maybe a security deposit that you forgot to get back from your last landlord. There are no centralized government websites for finding these kinds of records but there are private companies that have access to the proper databases and allow you to run an . State law requires that unclaimed money be given to its rightful owner and you simply have to search your full name along with a state to find the funds that you’re entitled to.
If you’re really tight on funds, you may be tempted to push for a government loan that’s twice the amount you need because they give you longer than other loan companies to pay back what you own. However, they often follow the same protocols for nonpayment as those companies, so you’re only borrowing on borrowed time. Plus, a government loan is much more difficult to erase from your credit history than a smaller loan from a local company.
Eyes on the Prize Fight
Keep your end goal in the front of your mind. Remember why you’re putting yourself through this slow process. Do you need help with your utilities because the companies disconnected them? Are you and your boyfriend at each other’s throats, rather than attacking the issue together? Whatever your reason, make sure it never slips through the cracks. Don’t let the relief of finding this type of assistance lead you to make foolish decisions with the lifeline you need.
Hope for the Best, but…
Sometimes, even these programs and companies turn down your request for assistance. For the most part, however, they do everything they can to approve you for something, to get you moving in the right direction. If you get approved, put on your blinders, and take care of your biggest financial disasters right away. Don’t stop to make a phone call to let friends or family know. Ignore the temptation to grab a quick lunch on the way to pay off or buy something. Believe it or not, that split second “luxury” is often the final stripped bolt in your financial earthquake. It seems harmless, but the excitement and relief is intense, and if you celebrate too soon, you’ll solve the problem too late. Trent Hamm with LifeHacker wrote a piece, explaining how any , for any reason, is a waste. Once you clear up the problem, there will be plenty of time to relax and celebrate. In the meantime, waste not, fear no longer.
Give Yourself a Raise!
Find another job! We know this is often much harder than it sounds, especially if you only got enough assistance to scrape by. However, it was, in part, your current job that helped you into your financial pit, and it will do so again. If you can’t afford to take any time off work, skip lunch once a week and leave an hour early to job hunt. Or, fill out as many applications online as you can when you’re at home relaxing. Every second and every inch of effort counts in times like these, and doing something is always better than doing nothing.
Even the most steel-gritted person can’t do any of these five things without a little support. If friends or family reach out to help, let them. Or, at least graciously thank them. Also, remember to be kind to yourself. Regardless of what put you in the hole, you found a way out, and you learned a valuable lesson. Everyone struggles from time to time; what matters is how you handle it.