A financial emergency is a situation in which you need money urgently. Usually, it arises because of an unexpected expense that you do not have enough cash to cover.

Although you know that you must resolve your crisis as quickly as possible, it’s often difficult to think clearly when you’re under tremendous stress. However, thinking through a situation can be extremely helpful in difficult times.

Take a deep breath and consider your options. You might feel hopeless and helpless. However, if you pause and think about your dilemma, you may be able to come up with a solution.

Here are some possible steps to consider taking.

1. Apply for an Emergency Loan

If you do not have good credit, you should ask yourself, “Where can I find an emergency loan with bad credit?” This will lead you to lenders who offer installment loans for people with low FICO scores.

Installment loans for a specific amount and duration are set up to be paid back monthly over the term of the loan. You can also typically repay the entire amount of an installment loan at any time without penalty. The repayment period can vary depending on how much you borrow but should be at least five installments.

2. Ask Family or Friends for Money

Assess your current spending habits before asking someone close to you for money so that you can feel confident that you can pay them back.

Here are some ways to save enough money to repay a personal loan:

  1. Track your spending. It’s difficult to track spending because there are so many categories to account for — groceries, rent, utilities, entertainment. So, as opposed to tracking every transaction individually, examine your bank statement or credit card statement to get an overall picture of how much you spend.
  2. Make a list of your expenses. Divide this list into essential and discretionary expenses. In general, essentials include housing, utilities, food, telephone, car and insurance costs. Discretionary expenses, on the other hand, are things that make modern living more comfortable, such as streaming services, takeout orders, and incidental expenses incurred when traveling or going out with friends.

Once you have figured out what your expenses are and which ones you can cut, you can explain to your family and friends exactly how you will be able to pay them back. This will make them more comfortable with lending you the money you need to resolve your financial crisis.

3. Explore Financial Relief Options

You will have many more options if you can ask for some more time to get the money necessary to cover your emergency expenses. Perhaps, for instance, if you can’t pay the rent but your landlord is willing to give you a month to come up with the money.

Here are some examples of ways to increase your income.

  1. Ask for help if you are unemployed. American Job Centers provide a range of free services if you are unemployed and need money to pay your bills, such as job training and connecting you to local employment opportunities.
  2. Earn extra income if you are underemployed. You might start a side business, look for a gig, or apply for a part-time position to supplement your insufficient paycheck from your regular job. This process can be slow because it involves searching for gigs, applying for freelance jobs, sending out resumes, and talking to recruiters.
  3. Upgrade your skills. If you find it difficult to find well-paying work, you may want to learn in-demand skills for industries that are hiring.

4. Future-Proof Your Finances

Take some time after your emergency to consider what you can do in the future, like setting aside some money from every paycheck for an emergency savings account. Stay away from making common financial mistakes like frivolous spending and getting entangled in never-ending credit card payments.