3 Things That Helped Me Get Through Financial Hard Times

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  • Many people go through difficult financial times throughout their life.
  • By using the right financial tools and products, you may be able to face your money struggles more easily.

The right tools may help you navigate challenging financial situations more easily.

We all have unique financial situations, and no one's financial journey is the same as anyone else's. Many people go through hard times and have to continue to make important financial choices despite experiencing money struggles.

While I'm thankful to be in a better financial situation today, I have experienced some money struggles. Luckily, I had the knowledge and ability to use personal financial products to my advantage to overcome some of my challenges.

While using these tools didn't make my money problems disappear instantly, they allowed me to continue to live my life with a bit less stress. With the right financial tools, you may be able to navigate your financial struggles more easily.

Here are three things that helped me get through hard financial times.

1. 0% interest auto loan

There came a time in college when I could no longer rely on my city's inadequate public transit system. I needed a reliable car to get to and from classes and work on time.

Luckily, I got my first credit card while in high school. Since I had only been using this credit card to make small, manageable purchases and always paid my entire balance in full, my credit was in good shape.

When it came time to get a car, I didn't have enough savings to buy a well-running vehicle outright nor did I have a used family vehicle that I could drive.

But I was able to qualify for a three-year 0% interest auto loan. At the time, I was waitressing while attending college, so I had saved up extra money for a down payment.

I drove away in my new car with a $350 monthly loan commitment. Because I qualified for a no-interest loan, I didn't have to worry about additional costs in the form of interest -- which can get expensive.

Since it was a 36-month loan, it was feasible for me to pay off the auto loan relatively quickly, so I didn't have a loan hanging over my head well into my twenties when my salary was meager.

I drove that car for over eleven years until it was totaled in an accident. I'm thankful that car saw me through a few chapters of my life.

2. Emergency savings

I haven't always had a good chunk of change sitting in my emergency fund. But there have been times when I had extra money set aside when I needed it.

My husband and I became first-time homeowners in 2019, and our furnace needed to be replaced within three months of closing.

Despite having done a home inspection and knowing that the furnace was old (but still running), we weren't expecting to have to replace it so soon after closing on our new home. Thankfully, our emergency fund made the situation less painful.

Did it hurt to deplete those funds? Absolutely. But it could have been a lot worse.

If you can afford it, making regular contributions to a savings account can significantly help you when unexpected expenses come your way.

We recommend setting up automated contributions so you can save regularly without delay. Your future you will thank you!

3. 0% APR credit card

I've used a 0% APR credit card twice. One time, my laptop unexpectedly died, and I needed to get a new laptop quickly. By getting this type of credit card, I could buy a quality laptop and spread out the purchase cost over time without worrying about expensive interest charges.

Another time a 0% APR credit card made my financial situation less difficult was when my cat needed emergency surgery. I could better afford her care and was able to pay off the debt over time.

If I hadn't used 0% APR credit cards to cover these expenses, I could have fallen into a worse financial situation by accumulating expensive credit card debt. I had minimal extra money in savings at those points in my life, so I had no option but to rely on credit cards.

Choosing cards with promotional 0% interest rates was the way to go and luckily my credit score helped me qualify for that kind of card.

Financial tools can help you navigate tough times

If you're going through a challenging financial situation now or find yourself dealing with one in the future, try to focus on what you can control.

You may have more solutions available than you realize. Check to see if any financial products could help you navigate your situation.

If your finances are in good shape, now is the time to plan for the future.

You can make financial choices to help you increase your credit score, save more money, and prepare for the unexpected so that you can easily handle life's many adventures -- no matter what challenges are thrown your way.

Are you looking to improve your financial situation? These personal finance resources may help.

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