No one expects for their house to burn down or to receive a cancer diagnosis. So when emergencies like these do happen, the unanticipated expenses leads to financial stress. Then you’re forced to watch as the bills eat up any savings you may have had.
Luckily, there are resources for people and families who need emergency financial assistance. For individuals and families that aren’t eligible for aid from the government or nonprofits, crowdfunding can help you secure the emergency funds you need.
No one likes to think they will need emergency financial assistance. Yet, a 2011 survey found that 64% of Americans don’t have enough cash-on-hand to handle a $1,000 emergency. But if you aren’t saving for an emergency, you may quickly find yourself in debt.
You can’t anticipate when something bad or expensive may happen, but having financial assistance during an emergency can bring peace of mind. Try to keep at least six months of living expenses or income in your emergency fund. This should cover essentials such as rent, mortgage, food, and other big bills. Not having an emergency fund may be risky.
While many believe they can get temporary money assistance from friends, family or even cash advances, all have large financial implications. High interest rates or damage to personal relationships can last even longer than temporary bills. Emergency rental assistance programs or emergency financial assistance programs are hard to qualify for and often take months to deliver payment. Start saving small every day and prevent large financial emergencies.
We wanted to provide some tips on how to deal with a financial emergency:
1. Don’t Panic
If you start panicking, you might begin to make worse financial decisions. So the first thing to do is breathe! Try to look at your situation from an objective point of view. Think rationally about your next steps, and if you’re still not sure what to do find someone who knows how to deal with financial emergencies.
2. Know your Priorities
Make sure to prioritize your spending. Only spend on the necessities in life like food, shelter, utilities, etc. We suggest creating a budget guide to help you budget your spending. Getting through a financial emergency can be made harder if you don’t prioritize your spending.
3. Begin to Spend Less
With a good budget, you’ll realize what you need and don’t need in your life. No more spa days and no more eating out with friends. Cutting things that seem like small expenses actually have a huge impact later down the line.
Don’t waste money on things you don’t need, until you’re out of your financial emergency.
4. Ask for Help!
Most importantly, reach out to others when you’re in this situation. It’s okay to ask for help when you need it, especially in a situation where you can’t face your expenses alone. Though your community of friends and family may not be able to help you financially, they may be able to drive you to work or cook for you once in a while. They may also be able to help you fundraise to get out of your financial troubles.
Government Assistance Programs
The government provides each state with grants to operate their TANF programs, also known as welfare. The program looks different depending on the state you’re in, each varying in eligibility requirements and services. After you apply, you will receive a list of services that you qualify for including help with housing, food, childcare, and more.
This federal program helps families heat their homes during winter and cool their homes during summer. Their aim is to eliminate dangerous practices of heating or cooling. They can even help with low-cost repairs if they ultimately help lower your energy bill.
If you need emergency rent assistance, contact your state’s housing finance agency. States will vary on the type of support they offer, but their goal is to help people find affordable housing. Services can range from help with down payments for a new home to helping pay your mortgage.
Nonprofits Offering Emergency Financial Assistance
When your finances are being stretched thin and you need help with money, Modest Needs can provide short-term assistance. Their focus is helping people and families that don’t apply for traditional types of social assistance but are still living paycheck to paycheck. If you are eligible, you can apply for a grant with no strings attached.
If you have health insurance but can’t pay your premiums and other out-of-pocket medical costs, you can apply for assistance from this nonprofit online. Eligibility criteria looks at income level, type of disease, and your have health insurance.
This nonprofit is responding to the rising cost of gas nationwide. Each month they award gas grants ranging from $50 to $1,200. The goal is to help individuals and families meet basic transportation necessities like driving to work, school, the doctor, and the grocery store.
What if You Aren’t Eligible For Assistance Programs?
Unfortunately, government grants and nonprofit programs often have a long application process, specific eligibility criteria, and it can take months to receive support. And that makes it nearly impossible to get financial assistance immediately. But there is another resource that can help you receive emergency funds fast.
Crowdfunding Works for Your Needs
In times of financial crisis crowdfunding proves to be a powerful tool that helps people get the support they need. You can’t foresee when you’ll be faced with an emergency, or how expensive it will be to recover from it. But you can use crowdfunding to find support from people who sympathize with what you are going through.
Take the time to familiarize yourself with the different crowdfunding platforms. This list breaks the most popular sites down by prices and features. But when it comes to raising funds for emergency financial assistance, YouCaring is the best option. They are the only platform that does not charge a fee, so you get to keep more of the money you raise.