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At least at one point in everyone’s life, if not more, we all have a financial emergency. We’ve lost our job, or have become ill. A family member is in need, or a natural disaster happens. Whatever it is, we’ve all experienced it and it’s important to know what to do, and how to prepare.
Maybe you’re in the middle of a financial emergency and feel like you’re drowning. Or maybe you’ve had a financial emergency and are scared it could happen again. Either way, it’s great to know what to do.
1 | Understand God is in Control
No matter what happens to you, it is important to not to feel like you need to take your life out of God’s hands.
Timothy tells us:
What persecutions I endured — and yet the Lord rescued me from them all. 12 In fact, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. — 2 Timothy 3:11-12 (CSB)
God has never told us that being His children will guarantee a good life. Because of our choice in being His, satan will want us to suffer through this life but in doing so, we are able to show His goodness in everything.
It’s also important to remember that God loves us more than anything and He will always care for us, even if it’s not in the way we think. Matthew 6:25-34 is a great example of God’s love for us. It says
Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying? –Matthew 6:26-27
Once we understand this, we can go into any emergency with the peace of God.
2 | Attempt to Build a Savings Ahead of Time
Building a savings isn’t as hard as it may seem. Even if you can put $30 towards your savings a week, you can have over $700 in savings in 6 months.
If you can’t afford to add to savings, can you spend an extra $5 on your grocery trips to stock up food for when and if you do have a financial emergency? Here’s a great resource for an extra $5 a week to build a stockpile.
If you don’t have anything to add to savings, what can you do to find some extra cash to add to it?
3 | Sell Things Around the House
If you’re only able to live paycheck to paycheck, (trust me you’re not alone here), then it’s time to find some ways to make extra cash.
I would like to add that this may not be possible for you, but if you can, it’s a great way to get ahead.
Sell items around the house that you no longer need. Instead of dropping them off at Goodwill set up a system to sell them. You can use Facebook Marketplace and create a spot on your porch where people can pick things up and drop cash into a secure box.
If you are really desperate, you can also start selling items that you don’t really “need”. Fancy clothes, jewelry, the unused dining set.
When I was married and had car issues we didn’t have enough money to repair it, and with it being our only car it was really important to get it back. We ended up having to sell our washer, dryer combo. While it was a sacrifice, it got us our car back.
4 | Get Another Job
Pick up an extra job or a side gig. Do you have skills that aren’t going to use? Find a job that you can do on the side that will not overwhelm you but can help you build savings. Even if it’s only for six months and you put all of your earnings towards savings it would help.
I’ve been working two full time jobs for a year and a half in order to pay for the adoption of my son. While it’s been hard work, it’s been rewarding to spread the love of Jesus in both places and learn new skills. Because of this, I’ve only accrued a small loan instead of the full cost of the adoption, $30,000.
5 | Understand Your Community’s Resources
As much as they are frowned upon by society, your community resources could be the difference between keeping your home and being homeless. There are a number of resources in every community that can help you during a financial crisis:
- Food Stamps. These are no longer on stamp books that are easily recognizable but are now on a debit card that is discreet and easy to use. There are requirements for receiving food stamps, but if you qualify it should be easy to get. And against popular opinion, you don’t have to buy junk food. I was able to eat an almost entirely organic diet while on food stamps while I was homeless.
- Unemployment. If you’ve lost your job, especially due to the pandemic, then you qualify for unemployment. Usually, they require you to apply for a certain amount of jobs each week but it is helpful to pay for bills. In some states, you can qualify for unemployment under certain circumstances even if you quit.
- Food Pantries. Even if you’re using all of your resources or none at all, you are able to pick up food at a food pantry. While they don’t always have the best options for picky eaters, it’s a good option to avoid starvation.
- Thrift Stores. If you’re children happen to be growing while you’re going through a hard time, or you’re in need of a new coat, check out thrift stores like the Salvation Army where they can often get you vouchers for free clothes. (And don’t look down on thrift stores, there are some amazing finds there!)
- Department of Labor. Not only can the department of labor help you with updating your resume, but they often have programs for free training, will pay for schooling, or even clothing to help you find a better job. I can’t begin to describe how many resources most people are missing out on.
These are just a few examples of resources in every community. You may have a variation depending on the size of your community, but there’s always help out there.
6 | Ask for Help
This one is definitely the hardest, but it’s important in difficult times to swallow your pride and as for help. Whether it’s help from the church, a family member, or the community it’s important to know when to ask for help.
Instead of thinking that it is a hit to your pride, recognize that it is an opportunity for you to give others the chance to serve God and help you.
Sometimes it’s as easy as someone bringing a meal or even some groceries, and sometimes it looks like moving in with someone who’s willing to help until you can get back on your feet.
Being in a financial emergency is never easy and not good for the pride, but I can honestly say I’ve had to do all of these. Being marriage that was full of financial ruin was something that often left us in a bind and while I still fight the struggle of keeping a good savings I am nowhere near where I once was financially.
If you’re going through a financial emergency and you see those around you or on Pinterest “living the life”, don’t assume they haven’t gone through the exact same thing. You are not alone and you are not the first one to go through this. You will make it through and God will still be good no matter what.