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Source: Federal Reserve
Published: May 2018
n = 11,000 U.S. adults

Dealing With Unexpected Expenses

Circulated: October 29, 2019

When faced with a hypothetical unexpected expense of $400, respondents said they would:

Response Percent
1 Cover it using cash or its equivalent 61%
2 Put it on a credit card and pay it off over time 16%
3 Would not be able to pay for the expense right now 12%
4 Borrow from a friend or family member 10%
5 Sell something 6%
6 Use money from a bank loan or line of credit 3%
7 Use a payday loan, deposit advance, or overdraft 2%

Respondents could select multiple answers, so the percentages add up to more than 100%.

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