Finding a way to keep their heads above water is something many people do often. For some in South Carolina, every paycheck is spent before it is deposited, and paying bills can be a juggling act. If someone’s income just barely covers expenses, one unplanned expense can send the budget into a tailspin. This is why consumer advisors recommend having an emergency fund. However, what can people do when the fund is gone — or, more commonly, if they never had an emergency fund to begin with?

If an emergency comes up and a budget is tapped out, some may be tempted to turn to a payday loan or a withdrawal from the retirement account. Advisors recommend looking for other ways to cover the cost. For example, some people may qualify for government programs, such as Temporary Cash Assistance. Additionally, some may be able to negotiate lower utility rates or credit payments instead of giving into the temptation to skip those payments altogether.

When struggling with money issues, people may face difficult dilemmas, such as weighing the length of time they can put off paying the mortgage before foreclosure procedures begin. Student loans payment are often the most commonly put off since borrowers may not face the consequences of default for many months. While choosing any of these steps to cover an emergency expense may provide relief for a moment, the next month when bills come due, the same struggle may begin again.

Instead of trying to stretch a paycheck farther than it can go, the best solution for many in South Carolina may be dealing with the issue of overwhelming debt by reorganizing their debts. Through Chapter 13 bankruptcy, an attorney can help borrowers create a plan for repaying a portion of many debts while having some loans discharged completely. Those who have questions about whether they qualify for such debt relief can seek the advice of a bankruptcy attorney.

Source: newsday.com, “When your emergency fund runs out”, Liz Weston, June 16, 2017