When you're short of cash, the amount of stress and pressure you feel can be enormous.
It's not unusual for money problems to cause sleepless nights, issues in relationships, or even depression, anxiety and panic attacks. So, manage your stress levels with decisive action, a log book loan and these other ideas...
1. Don't bury your head
First, try to acknowledge that ignoring the problem isn't going to make it go away. It's tempting (and very understandable) to ignore letters and telephone calls from the people you owe money to, but this will ultimately result in the stress getting worse.
Be proactive and tell your mortgage provider, landlord or mobile phone company that you're struggling to pay them this month, and say that you'd like to reach a solution with them rather than ignore their bills. This will increase the likelihood that they'll behave generously towards you and help to come up with a solution that eliminates your stress completely.
2. Find out how much you need
Secondly, find out how big the problem is. Being a little bit short of cash is clearly far less of a problem than being a lot short of cash, so sit down and calculate how much money you need in order to be able to pay for everything this month. Then work out how much you actually have.
This will determine what your next step is and whether you need to borrow money or not, and will help to stop you catastrophizing or obsessing about the worst case scenario.
3. Consider getting temporary funds
If you're worried that you won't make it through the month without a short term solution, you might need to get your hands on cash quickly. That's where a log book loan comes in, allowing you to use your car (while still driving it as normal) to get money for the things you need to pay for.
This is a great alternative if you need to borrow money but don't want to impact your credit score, or could be the best option if you have a bad credit score and therefore can't borrow money from a bank or building society.
4. Prioritise paying your debts first
To help to reduce your stress further, prioritise paying off your debts (once you've covered the basics such as food and central heating). If you're currently paying back debts on credit cards or finance, make sure you pay those first as you could get into more serious trouble by not doing so.
After that, pay your mortgage or rent - protecting the roof over your head is important. Then call your providers for various other bills (such as your utilities, council tax or broadband package) and see if they'll temporarily accept missing a payment this month. They might allow you to repay it in instalments alongside your normal payments, starting again next month.
Managing cash flow problems in this way can feel nerve-wracking before and during your call, but you'll be amazed at the sense of relief you feel when you hang up the phone with a plan in place!
5. Make a plan for the future
Finally, help to reduce your stress levels by figuring out how you're going to avoid being short of cash in the future. You shouldn't feel guilty or ashamed for not having enough money: lots of us don't, and it's not as simple as just 'spending less' as some people assume!
But it could mean that you need to adjust your lifestyle. Can you afford your property, food bills or hobbies? Do you need to find a second job to provide a bigger income? Or could you start stashing a small amount away in savings for another 'just in case' emergency?
Steps like these will really help you manage stress and feel much better about your financial situation now and in the future.