Perhaps you’ve lost your job, suffered an injury or become ill, and you’re finding yourself trying to cope with severe financial difficulties as a result. Debts are piling up, and you aren’t sure what to do next. While you may be feeling overwhelmed, there are steps you can take to begin to manage your financial situation. Read on to learn about some of them.

Make an Assessment

First, you’ll need to make a full assessment of your financial situation. Begin with the latest copy of your budget, and determine what has changed in your income and expenses. If you don’t have a budget, make one now. List all your sources of income and all your monthly expenses in two columns, and see how they balance out. You should also calculate your current level of debt and jot down information like due dates and interest rates. This information will at least let you see exactly how you’re doing financially.

Cut Your Expenses

If your budget refuses to balance and you find yourself in the red, then you’re going to need to cut some expenses. Look first at how much you spend on entertainment and technology each month. You might be able to unsubscribe to some streaming services, stop going out to eat, or switch to a cheaper cell phone plan. This may seem painful, but remember your priorities. You and your family need food and shelter before movies and games. You may also have to switch from brand-name products to generic options, shop at less expensive stores or even thrift stores for some items and skip the extra treats for a while.

Boost Your Income

On the other side of the equation, you should also be looking for creative ways to boost your income. These days, there are plenty of “side gigs” available that you could dig into for extra cash. Play up your talents. If you like to write, apply for some freelance writing jobs. If you have a knack for working with animals, set up a side job as a pet sitter. There are many possibilities, so do some research on side gig and work-from-home job sites, and try a couple of options.

Get Some Help

Finally, you may have to get some help in the midst of your financial difficulties. This could mean taking out a loan. You might do so informally by borrowing money from a relative or friend. To keep everything fair, draw up an agreement that clearly states the amount borrowed, the rate of interest, payment requirements and the expected due date. Sign the agreement, and have it notarized if you feel that’s necessary. Alternately, you can visit with a loan officer at your local bank or credit union to see about taking out a loan in that way.

If your financial situation is truly dire, you may need to speak with a financial counselor or lawyer. Ask about options like a domestic asset protection trust or even bankruptcy and for guidance to determine the best course for your circumstances.

Financial difficulties can cause serious stress, but there are ways to cope if you make a firm commitment to doing so.

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