It’s happened to all of us. Something happens to derail our careful financial planning and suddenly, we’re in urgent need of some cash. If you don’t have an emergency fund in a savings account, then even your car needing urgent repairs to make it roadworthy can be a major disaster. Despite this, there are a number of ways you can access cash in your hour of need.
You should first think about borrowing from someone close to you. Perhaps a member of your family or a close friend. If they’re willing to lend you the money, you must treat it as you would a loan from a bank. In other words, make a firm commitment to pay back the money and stick to it. The non-payment of such informal loans has been the cause of more family arguments or broken friendships than you can imagine.
Another way to access an emergency loan quickly is to ask your employer if you’re in work. Whether this is possible will depend chiefly on the kind of relationship you enjoy with them and their approachability. If they agree, make arrangements to have the loan repaid out of your pay cheque. If it’s quite a lot of money, ask if repayments can be made through several monthly instalments.
If you’re in higher education, there are often grants and hardships funds for under- or postgraduates who are finding it hard to make ends meet. The best person to contact would be the Student Union representative, Student Advisory Centre or your personal tutor. They would be aware of what funding is in place for students who need an emergency loan.
If none of the options above are possible, you should could use a credit card if you have one. Although the interest charges are high, you should be disciplined enough to try to pay off the outstanding balance on your credit card as quickly as possible. If necessary, take on a part-time job so you can pay it off faster.
If you have no credit card or you’re reached your credit limit, another possibility is to contact the bank where you have your current account. They might be willing to extend you an overdraft facility. It’s much better to arrange an overdraft with them first instead of going into the red with an unauthorised overdraft. The fees for unarranged overdrafts can be astronomical.
Instant loans with high acceptance rates are another way to get out of your difficult situation. A set repayment plan can help you to budget and can be easier to handle than the temptation of revolving credit facilities like credit cards.
Although banks do offer personal loans, the main drawback in an emergency situation is that the application procedure can be quite drawn-out. Also, some banks aren’t prepared to lend smaller sums of money. The worst thing you can do is to borrow more money than you really need.