This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
Everyone faces the need to raise quick cash at some point: the car breaks down, unexpected medical bills, legal troubles etc. It can get so dire that rent gets behind or utilities such as water and power are being threatened with disconnection. Pretty soon, TV or radio commercials singing the virtues of payday loans start to sound tempting.
If you find yourself starting to wonder whether a payday loan may help you in the short run, stop right now.
- Payday loans have outrageous interest rates.
- If you fail to make the payment or need to re-borrow, those interest rates are going to be even higher: there have been cases where borrowers end up paying $1100 for a loan that was originally $250, leaving them in a cycle of debt slavery.
- These loans are designed to keep the borrower in a downward spiral.
What to do if you need to raise cash quickly
- Evaluate why you need the money right away. Sometimes, a bill that is perceived as an emergency may not be as urgent as originally thought.
Utilities such as electricity, water and gas are urgent, but the cable and cell phone bill are not as crucial.
Most utilities also allow you to make payment arrangements if you need to move the payment to align with your paycheck. Be up front with them and explain your circumstances. When the time comes, you must stick to the arrangement to avoid disconnection.
For medical bills, doctors and hospitals are also happy to accept monthly payments.
2. Go through your belongings and find things you can sell. I have done this and wrote about it in How to Make Money from Clutter
· Hold a garage sale.. If you live in a building that does not allow garage sales, join forces with a friend who can hold one.
· List your items on Craigslist or Ebay.
Clothes: Find a local consignment store and bring your gently used, name brand clothes. They will give you an estimate and it is up to you to accept it. Years ago, when the kids were toddlers, I sold bags of clothes at the local kids’ consignment store, and occasionally bought clothes from there as well. Once they outgrew the clothes I resold them. Or, you can try an online consignment store such as ThredUP , Swap.com or Once Upon a Child
Sports Equipment: Try Play It Again Sports
3. Return unused items that still have the price tags.
I’ve seen friends’ closets that contain outfits they bought but never wear, and still have the price tag on after several months. Many department stores will accept returns, but be aware they will refund the money if paid in cash, but if paid by credit card they return it to the card. Some stores will only issue a gift card, but this brings me to the next tip.
4. Sell your unused gift cards for cash. You’ll have to sell them at a discount, but you’ll get cash for gift cards you haven’t used. I recently tried selling a gift card via Coinstar.
5. Increase the number of allowances on your W-4 form at work. This means your employer will withhold less taxes, therefore boosting your take-home pay. However, this may increase your taxes due at tax time, or decrease your refund so tread carefully. Check with your tax accountant to be sure.
6. Get a part-time job or create a side job: Start a pet sitting or dog-walking service, tutor kids after school, teach a skill or sport.
7. Collect and sell aluminum cans and other recyclables.
8. Pawn or sell valuables at a pawn shop.
9. Sell your handmade crafts on Etsy, swap meet or craft fairs.
10. Hold a No Spend Week I’ve tried it and it really works.
11. Rent out your car to someone else. Most cities have peer to peer car sharing services such as Turo.com I haven’t personally tried this, but have read some car owners can make an average of $250 depending on the schedule. Make sure you investigate thoroughly as to how it works, and what your protections are.
12. Try borrowing from a peer to peer lender. Peer to peer loans are unsecured personal loans from other people, facilitated by a lending intermediary that may charge a one-time fee. For a few examples, see Find the Best Personal Load: Borrowing without Banks. As will all types of loans, investigate the terms and read the fine print before getting into anything.
If you are in a cash crunch, try one or a combination of the above tips. Pretty soon, you’ll have the cash you need to get by. Keep your spirits up, and never lose faith that “this too, shall pass.”
Apartment Prepper is not a financial advisor. This article is for information only and not to be taken as personal advice.
© Apartment Prepper 2016