No one can predict emergencies before they happen. But when it does happen, it is important to know what you can do to help the situation and prevent it from becoming worse.

Here are 5 steps to deal with a financial emergency for those living in Phoenix:

  • 1.    Assess the damage

Try your best to do this in a calm state. As alarming as an emergency can be, you will only intensify the situation and concern those near you when you panic. Breathe deep and take account of what actually happened, not only how you feel about the situation. See how much will go to resolving the emergency and what you have to save in order to get back on financial solid ground.

2.    Determine how you got there

If you’re looking for a solution to an unexpected problem, you will want to figure out how you got there in the first place. Was the situation in your control? Did you simply collect debt in the form of loans and credit cards and not keep track of how much you were really spending or how much debt was piling up? Or was this a completely unique, unexpected event that could not be prevented? Do you need to purchase insurance to protect yourself in case something similar happens again? Once you know the origin of your emergency, you will be able to create a solution that will resolve the issue for the long term as opposed to simply putting a band aid over it.

3.    What are your solutions?

Would it be best to use your emergency savings (in the hopes that you have one at your disposal)? Will you need to apply for a title loan or borrow money from friends or family? Can you make payments over time or will you need to provide payment right away? Do you have to reassess your budget and spending habits? Once you figure out the best plan of action, implement it right away.

4.    Call your lender

If unexpected bills pile up like an emergency medical bill or you suddenly realize you won’t be able to make your credit card payments or pay for your title loan in full, the first thing you should do is call your lender and ask them about payment options or request a lower interest rate. It may seem surprising, but your lender would rather receive money from you even if it isn’t the total amount, rather than wait on you or not see you make any payments whatsoever. You will find that most lenders are willing to work with you to find a solution. Reach out to them. You’ll be glad you did!

5.    Get money. Save money

Start cutting out unnecessary expenses from your budget and proactively implement ways to save. Any money you can save, even if it’s only a few dollars here and there, will help you get out of your financial emergency quickly. If you need a small amount of money fast to resolve your situation, there are always credit cards and title loans. These come with some risk and have the potential to worsen your situation, so carefully research the terms of this type of credit.

Hopefully a financial emergency will not happen to you anytime soon. But if it does, these are just a few ways you can quickly get out of a stressful financial situation and get your life back on the right track.