Indeed, money cannot buy happiness. However, you need enough to live a comfortable lifestyle and pay your bills. A financial crisis of any kind can give you tremendous mental stress and also impact your overall wellbeing.
While getting back on track may be your priority, you need a strategy to sail through this difficult time. For instance, asking for a loan from your closed-ones is not always possible. In that case, you need to explore other credit options.
The key is in managing it well so that you don’t spiral further into debt. Here are a few suggestions to manage your credit during financially tough times.
Find The Reason Behind Your Money Problems
Financial crises can happen to anyone and at any time. However, the current times are uncertain, and the possibility of a job loss or health crisis has increased. In these circumstances, you may not be able to do much about it.
However, if it happened due to your reckless spending, you need to look deeper into your habits. The best way to overcome this situation is by budgeting and tracking your spending. You can also use any free online tracking app to keep your expenses in check.
You can start by cutting out the non-essential shopping for some time. Remember that at this moment, your priority is to come out of your current situation. It is alright to make your own coffee or food for a few months if it can save you money.
If you are new to budgeting, begin by identifying your expense buckets like groceries, food, phone bills, rent, etc. The next step is to allocate the amount that you would be spending on these buckets every month. As you spend money, go back to your budget to know if you are spending within your means or not.
Think About A Plan B To Bring In More Money
Did you lose your job or are expecting your current paycheck to shrink? In these situations, you may want to think of another option to bring in cash.
If you possess a skill like writing, graphic designing or website development, you can try freelancing. While the road to a side-hustle may not be that easy, it is worth exploring. You never know you can land a big project or make a few good contacts in the process.
You can sign up on any freelancing website to bid for projects or approach your existing connections to start your side hustle.
Consider Credit Cards
Credit cards can give you easy money to pay for your expenses. However, you need to use them with caution. For your convenience, we have credit cards explained below.
The interest rates on credit cards are exorbitant, and if you are unable to pay your dues, the amount can inflate much more than you can afford. Thus, you should use them only if you are sure that you will be able to repay the dues.
You can try finding a 0% interest credit card. It is a tough job, but with good luck, you may just find one. Alternatively, you can get a credit card that offers 0% interest in the first year of use.
If you have multiple credit cards, it may help to make a checklist so that you don’t miss anything. It may contain the following items.
- Your credit cards along with their balances and interest rates
- The minimum payment for each card along with the last dates
Examine your monthly budget to understand if you can pay more than the minimum.
Transfer Your Balance
Are your financial troubles a result of multiple credit card loans? If yes, you must consider transferring your balance to one credit card loan with lesser interest rate.
This move will help you in repaying your dues faster as your repayment will be more towards the principal charges instead of interest. Moreover, it will be easier to track the details of only one loan. There will be fewer chances of missing the last date and attracting penalties.
Apart from credit card loans, you can also consolidate other loans into one.
Apply For A Loan
Is your financial trouble a long-term one? If yes, you can consider applying for a personal loan for relief.
However, the catch is that you need to have a good credit history for availing most loans. Lenders consider your past credit behaviour while evaluating your loan applications. If the credit score is unfavourable, they consider the loan to be a risky one.
When shopping in the market for loans, you may come across an interest free loan. However, be informed that there are no loans without interest. The lenders will charge you money in other forms like fees.
It is advisable to resolve every query that you may have before you sign on the loan application. It is better to be extra-cautious today instead of repenting your choice later.
Ask For An Extension On Your Current Loans
The current times are uncertain, and most lenders have adopted an empathetic outlook towards borrowers. If you are unable to manage your existing loans, you can approach the lenders for an extension. They may not agree, but there is no harm in asking, right?
Depending upon your situation, you can ask for a moratorium period of a few months, or a reduction in the interest rate.
At this particular time, when nothing seems to be going right, it is easy to feel low. To divert your attention, try to think about the positives in your life.
The easiest way is to make a gratitude journal and write down what you are grateful for. In the initial days, you may find it a bit challenging. However, as you will make progress, you will find new items to feel happy about.
Celebrate your financial wins even if they are small. In the end, it will be these small gains that will put you back on track.
Financial crisis can indeed land you in a tough spot. However, with your determination and the right tools; you can swim out of this challenging situation.
Make your financial wellbeing your goal. In the process, you will learn a few valuable lessons that will protect you in the long-term.