Plan for financial emergencies before they happen

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 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 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.

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