Being broke sucks. There are a million reasons why you might end up in a financial hole, and it always feels awful. The good news is you can often pull yourself out of these bad situations, especially if you make wise decisions with your money.
On the other hand, there are also some really poor money decisions that can set you back even further. Avoid these bad calls when you’re broke, and you’ll stop digging yourself even deeper into debt.
1. Thinking nothing has to change
The minute you realize you’re broke, your mindset has to change. How did you get here? What led to being broke? Think long and hard about these things, and understand that something has to give. Telling yourself you can continue your everyday spending habits as if nothing is wrong is only going to dig yourself deeper into a financial hole. And ignoring the problem altogether certainly won’t help, either; it’ll just make things much, much worse. As unpleasant as it might be to face reality and change the way you spend, it will be much more unpleasant to stay broke. (See also: 7 Biggest Ways Procrastination Hurts Your Finances)
2. Emptying the emergency fund
Realizing you’re broke can lead to feelings of panic — being broke is an emergency, right?! Hold on. The last thing you should be doing is raiding your emergency fund to pay everyday expenses, or to continue funding the frivolous spending that landed you here. The truth is, when you’re broke, you need a sound emergency fund more than ever. What happens if you lose your job, or your hot water heater dies? Without that money put away, you’ll have nothing to help you get by. So, leave your emergency fund right where it is and make other changes in your budget.
4. Taking out a loan
You don’t need the financial burden of new debt when you’re already broke. Assuming you get approved for a loan, there’s no guarantee that you’ll even be able to pay it back. That puts your credit score at risk of a critical…