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Do you live paycheck to paycheck? If so, you are definitely not alone! In fact, the number of Americans who struggle financially and have no savings whatsoever could be as high as 75% of us.
Believe it or not, it’s not just the poorest workers who live like this, either. One in four of every American family making $150,000 per year still live paycheck to paycheck.
While it may be somewhat comforting to know that others have the same economic problems you do, it doesn’t really help when you need emergency cash. What will help? We have some tips that could get you back on your feet.
So read on
1. One Man’s Trash…
Need some money, like, yesterday? One of the quickest ways to boost your bank account is to sell something. Check your closets, kitchen cupboards, storage areas, and entertainment unit to see what might be worth selling.
It’s easier these days than ever to sell your belongings. Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are two good sites to start with. There, you can sell items locally, which means you might even be able to have cash in hand later today or tomorrow.
If you’re not in dire straits, but will need some cash coming in later this month, consider online consignment shops or auction sites. There are no guarantees, and you might not come anywhere close to recouping your initial investment.
However, these are pretty low-maintenance ways to make money. Once you’ve taken a few pics and set up an account, the rest is easy.
2. Ponder a Pawn Shop
Have you ever been to a pawn shop? They’re not the seedy, sketchy places that stereotypes would have you believe. Many pawn shops are run as small family businesses, and most of them are clean, well-lit, and totally on the up-and-up.
When you pawn an item, it is essentially a short-term loan. The item serves as your collateral. If you can return later and get your belongings back — but don’t pawn anything you couldn’t live without.
What items are good to pawn? Jewelry, electronics, musical instruments, and tools top most pawn shops’ lists of in-demand items.
3. Get a Gig or a Side Hustle
It takes some time to develop a truly lucrative side hustle, but that doesn’t mean a short-term gig isn’t possible. You will just have to get creative.
Think about your talents and your assets. What can you make that other people will want?
Is there anything you can do with your time and charge for? What skills do you have?
You might be able, for example, to whip up a giant pot of your famous five-alarm chili and sell it as lunch to coworkers. Or offer to bake a cake or batch of cookies for a friend who has more money than time.
Maybe you have an elderly neighbor who would pay you to run errands or do some odd jobs around their house. If you are crafty, consider offering up your handmade items to friends and social media followers for a modest fee.
It’s probably best if your gig or hustle can be done with supplies you have on hand. If you have to spend money to make money, you will defeat the purpose of earning some emergency cash.
4. Loans Are Always a Possibility
In many cases, earning the money or making it free and clear is the ideal option. But there may be times when a loan is a good way to go. If it’s just a cash flow problem, or if you know for certain that you’ll be in better financial shape in the near future, go ahead and look into a loan.
There are several different types of loans to consider. You could ask a family member or friend for a personal loan. Payday loans are another option.
You might be able to get a title loan, a home equity loan, or a hard money loan. What is hard money? Essentially, it’s a loan that you take out with property as collateral.
5. Are Credit Card Cash Advances Smart?
Yet another solution to the emergency cash situation is to take out a cash advance on a credit card. However, it’s wise to think long and hard about whether this is a good step to take because the consequences can be pretty serious.
Most credit cards that offer cash advances will tack a much higher interest rate onto this type of loan, as opposed to the everyday interest rate that comes with using the card. And in many cases, the interest on your cash advance will start accruing right away, which means that you’re running up the meter from the time you get your money.
If it’s at all possible, use the credit card itself rather than taking out an advance. Your interest will be lower, and you stand a better chance of paying off the amount without additional penalties — or dings to your credit score.
6. Maybe Move Some Money Around
Here’s another creative way to approach your problem. Sit down with your budget and see if you can free up money that might otherwise go to bills or expenses. Can you do with Netflix and Hulu and cable TV for a month or two?
Maybe that bimonthly movie date with your BFF can become a matinee, or even a girl’s night in watching flicks you borrow from the library.
Credit card companies are often willing to work with customers who are facing a temporary dip in their finances. The same goes for monthly services, like wifi or cell phone providers.
If you have always paid on time, give them a call and explain your situation. You might be surprised at how flexible they’re willing to be.
Closing Thoughts About Getting Emergency Cash
With a little creativity and some help from your friends, family, or creditors, you can make it through this lean period relatively unscathed. It never feels good to need emergency cash, but there are ways to raise some funds.
Do you know of any tips or tricks for getting fast cash that we left off our list? Share them in the comments section below!