How to Move Forward when You've Run Out of Money


1. Ground yourself

Taking care of you during these tough times is most important. Do whatever you have the capacity for to get grounded. Take one minute to plant yourself firmly in a chair or on the ground and take deep breaths. Practice this repeatedly throughout the day. If you can head to a secluded space, let out all the emotions you’re carrying. For some, this can be an incredibly difficult time, and everything you’re feeling is valid and worth expressing.

Note: If these feelings become too overwhelming at anytime and you want to talk to someone, the Crisis Text Line may be a good place to start. Text 741741 to speak to a certified counselor.

2. Identify the length of time until the next paycheck.

Quantify this time of potential crisis. Do you have a guaranteed date when you’ll receive money again? If you’re broke between paychecks, and can anticipate a new one heading your way, put that date down (and be sure it reflects the date you actually get those funds in your account). If there’s an unspecified time, make that clear, too.

3. Make a list of essential financial needs.

Focus specifically on the needs for safety and security, including shelter, food, and any other basic necessities, that you will need between now and that next paycheck. Write down what you need, when you need it by, and how much it will cost. Then, increase that number by 25% to account for extra expenditures. 

4. Note all automated payments.

Do you have bills set up, or any pending transactions that haven’t fully processed it? Double-check your bank account and add any of these to your list of essential financial needs, especially if your account is already overdrawn. Overdraft fees can increase the likelihood that you’ll end up here again.

5. Tell someone.

This burden is best carried with others. Contact someone you trust and explain your situation, whether it’s your financial buddy or someone else close in your life. It might be difficult to tell someone your financial situation, and come with a host of emotions. Practice this with care, and pause at anytime to regroup yourself.

6. Explore options.

Ask a family or friend to help you secure the funds you need. These conversations aren’t easy, but this guide might help. Or, consider getting a short-term loan from a reputable organization like LendUp. See if there’s anything in your home that you can sell to make a quick amount of cash. Lastly, use your channels to see if there’s a job you can take on for a quick payment.

These moments feel like the end of the world, but with diligence, they don’t have to be. 

Photo by Daniel Tafjord on Unsplash