Financial setbacks can happen to the best of us. Maybe you racked up debt that’s now leaving you with expensive monthly payments on your credit cards. Or maybe you had to deplete your savings account when an unexpected bill arose that couldn’t be put off.
These situations are often unavoidable, and they can be difficult to recover from. Here’s how to move forward following a financial setback and put yourself on a more positive path.
1. Figure out why it happened
In some cases, it’s easy to see why a financial setback occurred. If you got hurt or sick and racked up $15,000 in medical bills, that may have forced you to empty your bank account. That’s certainly not something you can be blamed for.
But sometimes, financial setbacks can occur through a series of more subtle events. Say you recently moved to a city a bunch of your friends live in, only they earn more money than you do. It could be that over the past number of months, you overspent in an effort to be social and keep up with their lifestyle, even though your income doesn’t support it. Now you could be sitting on an uncomfortably large credit card balance. You’ll need to work on adjusting your financial behavior in order to move forward.
To be clear, peer pressure is a tough thing to overcome, and you shouldn’t necessarily beat yourself up if that’s the reason for your setback. Rather, the key is to understand how you got to this place.
2. Put yourself on a budget
Whether you need to replenish your savings, dig out of debt, or boost your credit score following a massive hit, sticking to a budget is a good way to move forward from your financial setback. Take a look at your bank and credit card statements from the past six months to see what your various bills cost. Then, list them on a spreadsheet (or use a budgeting app) and compare them to your earnings.
Ideally, you should not be spending your entire paycheck month after month, especially if you’re trying to dig out of a financial hole. If that’s the case, you may need to rethink some expenses in an effort to cut back.
Learn more: The Complete Guide to Budgeting Methods
3. Boost your income with a side job
Chances are, an influx of money will help solve whatever financial setback you encountered. If you had to deplete your savings, an extra wave of cash could make your account whole again. If you’ve racked up debt, you’ll need funds to pay it off. And if your credit score took a hit, chances are, it’s because you were late with bills or started using too much of your available credit. And again, having more money could help ensure that you can pay your bills on time and chip away at your existing debt.
As for where that magic pile of money will come from, a good option is to get yourself a side hustle on top of your main job. These days, there are plenty of side gigs to choose from, so think about your personality and schedule to help you narrow down your options.
The sooner you move on from a financial setback, the better. These tips should help you stage your personal recovery, and they may also help alleviate a fair amount of stress to boot.