What would MacGyver do? Mackey McNeill, a certified public accountant in Bellevue, Ky., suggests picturing your financial woes happening to someone else when trying to think of a solution—then ask yourself, "What creative solutions can I come up with?"
Sharon Lassar, professor and director of accountancy at the University of Denver, suggests sifting through the bills and looking for places to trim. It may be time to cancel the Netflix subscription or scale back on your cell phone's data plan. "If you're able to get to work and run errands with public transportation, consider selling the car to avoid the cost of insurance and maintenance," Lassar says.
All of this advice is easy to offer but can be difficult to follow, especially if you're trying to maintain a certain lifestyle. But whatever you do to mitigate a financial crisis, the experts agree...
Don't panic. It sounds obvious, but it can be easy to forget to stay calm when debt collectors are bombarding you with phone calls, snail mail, and emails, and the numbers in the bank account look like something out of a first-grade remedial math book.
"I always recommend that people make financial decisions with their head—not their heart. In other words, not emotionally," says Gail Cunningham, vice president of membership and public relations for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
Still, taking that advice is so important. Says McNeill: "We tend to make our worst financial decisions under stress." And that is why it's so crucial to keep calm in a money crisis. The last thing anyone needs is for today's rainy day to turn into a monsoon.