3 Steps I'm Taking in 2023 to Recover From Major Financial Losses'

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  • I was forced to spend a lot of money in 2022 due to circumstances outside of my control.
  • I made it through because I had an emergency fund.
  • Rebuilding my emergency fund is my top financial priority going into next year.

I can't leave 2022 behind fast enough.

2022 wasn't kind to me. What was supposed to be a relaxing vacation in Greece for my sister's wedding turned into a four-day epic escape from Canada that cost my husband and I an extra $3,000 beyond what we'd already budgeted for the trip. I don't have time to tell the whole story in this piece, but trust me, it's wild. And a few months later, I found out I needed an unexpected surgery, which cost us thousands of dollars more.

Safe to say, I haven't been too happy looking at my bank account lately. But I've got a plan to get things back on track in 2023. Here are the three steps I'm taking to get back to normal.

1. Reviewing my budget

Reviewing your budget annually is a good practice even when you haven't lost a lot of money recently, but I'm taking an especially close look this year. I'm combing back through my bank and credit card statements for the past year to look for any recurring costs I'm still paying unnecessarily.

I'm also cracking down on discretionary purchases for the foreseeable future. If there's anything I really want to buy, I'm making a note of it as a potential holiday gift idea to give to family and friends. Or I plan to circle back to it when things are a little better.

2. Boosting my income

One of the perks about freelancing is that I have some control over how much money I earn. I've been stepping up the number of hours I work lately so I have a little more money coming in. This is helping with the hospital bills still trickling in here and there. I plan to keep this up as we move into 2023.

This is the easiest way for me to boost my income, but it's not the only strategy that could work. Side hustles are another great way for people to earn a little extra cash outside of their regular jobs. Or if you're not happy where you're at, you could always look for a higher-paying position elsewhere. A lot of companies are still hiring, and some offer sign-on bonuses to new employees.

3. Rebuilding my emergency fund

All the extra cash I'm accumulating from working more and cutting back my expenses is going toward my emergency fund, which I had to tap to cover some of my bills this year. I want to build that back up to its pre-2022 level so I'm prepared for any other unexpected costs that arise in 2023.

Since we're nearing the end of the year, it's also a great time to review your emergency fund even if you haven't had to tap it lately. A lot can change in a year. We can add new members to our household, get a new job, or buy a home. All of that can influence how much we need to keep in our emergency fund. So take a look at yours to make sure it's still enough to help you pay for at least three months of living expenses in an emergency.

Though this year's been hard, I feel pretty confident that I'll be able to pull through because I have a solid plan in place. It's going to take time, but I expect I'll be able to return back to normal in early 2023 as long as I stay diligent and don't encounter any more surprises.

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