The average person has less than $1000 in savings. Unfortunately, this can make it impossible for those people to deal with a sudden expense or emergency situation. When you have to rely on a credit card or loan for an emergency, you’ll often find that it takes multiple months to pay it off, and this can lead you down a rabbit hole of poor financial choices.

If you were in a car accident tomorrow, your car broke down, or you suddenly lost your job, what would you do? If the thought has your stomach churning and your palms sweating, it’s time to make a financial backup plan.

By being prepared for a sudden emergency situation, you can enjoy peace of mind, and the confidence that you can handle any financial problem that comes your way. Luckily, there are services like emergency loans which can help you pay off a sudden expense. But ideally, you won’t need to scramble for funds, and can simply dip into your emergency account to take care of any issues.

Here are some tips to help you get your finances in order:


Sort out your debt

If your credit cards are already maxed out, you’re probably wasting money on interest every month. This is money that could easily go in your savings account. Now’s the time to make a list of all your debt and come up with a plan of attack. It’s not uncommon to be paying hundreds of dollars on interest every month if you have a lot of credit cards. Consider looking into a debt consolidation loan, which can slash this interest so you’ll be able to actually pay down the balance. Some credit cards also offer interest-free periods if you switch an existing balance, just be sure you won’t be tempted to respend on the same cards.

Set a savings goal

Maybe you’d like to have a few months of living expenses saved in case you’re finally ready to tell your boss you’re done. Or perhaps you’d like to save for a new car, because you can’t trust your current car to get you through the winter. Maybe you’d even like to save for a downpayment on a house. Whatever your goals, writing them down will make it much easier for you to meet them.

Lower your outgoings

Most of us are living above our means. If this sounds like you, you can either slash your spending or find a way to make more money (and bank the difference). Take a look at where your money is going, and find some ways you can cut back each week.