A job loss, big hospital bill, or broken down car can create financial chaos. Emergencies are going to happen, and the best time to start planning is before you they even happen.
We all need to find money for an emergency fund. The quickest way to do that is by getting a budget. There are lots of tools online to help you.
Website like Smartaboutmoney.org shows where your money is going and how you're spending it. Once you figure that out, it's time to start cutting.
Mike Sullivan with credit counseling agency Take Charge America says spending less than what you make is key.
"You have to find a way of life that costs less," Sullivan says.
It's easier said than done, but you can do it. Can you get your cell phone, cable and internet bills down? Take the money you're no longer spending on that stuff and put in a savings account every month.
How about saving on gas by carpooling or even riding your bike? And you have to avoid borrowing money at high interest rates, like using title loans.
"The more you owe the more goes for debt service," Sullivan says. "The more goes for debt service the less you have for everything else."
You end up paying much more than the loan amount. If you're in a pinch see if family and friends can chip in to help. Or look into much less expensive loans at a credit union. Also, call your credit card and mortgage holders to see if then can lower your interest rate. Take Charge America suggests trying to negotiate your oldest account first. Also compare the rates of other cards. Be polite but don't be afraid to ask to speak with a supervisor if you are initially denied.
Look into working a part-time job until you build up your savings. Here is a listing of companies that are hiring right now.
Need my help? Call the Assistance League of Phoenix volunteers at 1-855-323-1515. You can also send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or a video email where you attach a video explaining the problem.
And you can reach me on Twitter or "like" the Let Joe Know Facebook and tell me about it there.
Let Joe Know protects YOU the consumer. We expose scams and hold businesses accountable for their contracts and agreements. Most important, we share consumer red flags before they hit your wallet!
ABC15's Let Joe Know reports air every weekday during ABC15 News at 6pm and online at abc15.com/LetJoeKnow.
Want to help Let Joe Know? Become a volunteer! Call 1-855-323-1515 and leave your name, number to start helping us help others.
SO YOU WANT TO KNOW: COMMON QUESTIONS, EASY ANSWERS
How do I erase info from electronics?
Where does my charity money really go?
Is that a real check I got in the mail?
Do I need flood insurance; how can I get it?
What should I do before hiring a contractor?
What are the best ways to prevent ID theft?
Do I have 3-days to get out of my contract?
Debt collectors harass me! What are my rights?