When life throws you a curve ball, knowing how to catch and return can save you big bucks. Here are four frugal recovery strategies for typical minor emergencies.

Vehicle Accidents

When minor fender benders happen, it’s helpful to have a cell phone with photo capabilities. Taking quick pictures with a time and date stamp provides accurate documentation for your insurance company, and can also snag the license plate of any involved vehicle foolish enough to flee the scene. It’s a simple strategy that doesn’t cost you any extra cash. Certain insurance companies, like State Farm for example, have a free pocket agent app that assists you with the submission of critical data for your accident claim right from the scene.

Unexpected Expenses

Nobody loves a last-minute veterinary bill or other minor emergencies like extra dental expenses, lost basketball shoes and other retail nightmares, but that doesn’t change the fact that these things do in fact happen. Stocking up on pantry staples and other frugal food strategies such as preparing more international cuisines can protect you from minor blips on the budget radar by keeping you prepared for a week or two of reduced grocery outlay. Another great strategy is to develop at least a part-time freelance career. When you’d rather not dip into savings, having access to extra cash through short-term client projects can help weather the financial storm.


Even if you don’t live in a war zone, the need for evacuation can arise without warning. Floods, storms, power outages and more can force the need for a frugal evacuation. If this happens on a business trip, you’ll want to make sure you use your best receipt strategies to document unusual but reimbursable expenses. Unexpected evacs during vacations may require the addition of a GPS program to your list of travel apps for family road trips. Other strategies include regularly stocking emergency supplies in your car for first aid, warmth, food and hydration. Having all of your insurance information accessible from the road is also a good thing. Take it from someone who’s had to do this a few times. You won’t necessarily have time to grab everything, even if you’ve prepared to the fullest extent possible.

Airport Delays

There’s absolutely nothing fun about these. But having a few travel tricks up your sleeve can help them seem not quite as bad. For example, Priority Pass lounges offer free Wi-Fi, snacks and comfy chairs along with business center perks and open bar to people with annual memberships. For less than the cost of a couple’s bar tab or two, you can be protected for a year from long delays and unexpected flight cancellations. Pack electrical adapters and other cheap travel supplies to make the most of sparse outlets and get some work done.

Minor emergencies aren’t fun, but they are survivable. Having a few frugal tricks up your sleeve can help you on the financial track as you navigate unfamiliar budget terrain.

Myscha Theriault

Myscha Theriault

A lifelong money cruncher who can squeeze a nickel ‘til it cries, Myscha is a syndicated columnist, best-selling author, and founder of Trek Hound and We Be Sharin’.