Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Getting cash in a hurry

Sometimes, you just need some cash.  How can you get it quickly?

Borrowing from a payday loan store or site it may seem like an easy option.  And there are a few benefits to borrowing via a payday loan:
  • You won't have to have a credit check, as you would from a loan from a bank or credit union.
  • You won't have to provide paperwork like a paycheck stub. 
  • Loans are available outside bankers' hours.
  • You can get the cash very quickly.
But these benefits, in my opinion, are far, far outweighed by the fact that you'll be paying through the nose for this kind of loan.  You could be paying 200% interest, 300% interest, or far more as an annual percentage rate.

Instead, here are some idea to get quick cash without borrowing.  Not all of them will be good or even possible for everyone - the idea is to get creative about bringing in money quickly.

Take it out of your emergency fund.
  • This assumes you have an emergency fund in the first place.  What, you don't?  Then when this financial emergency is over, your very first goal should be to save up some extra money for emergencies - $500 or $1000 is a good place to start for a basic emergency fund. 
  • If you have savings elsewhere, use it!  That's what it's there for.
Sell something - or a lot of somethings.  
  • Have a garage sale.  You don't need a lot of extra time to set up (you might make more if you do, but you don't have time for that).  Set a time, put an ad up on Craigslist, find things that are cluttering up your house, and get selling.
  • See if your community has a flea market where you can rent a table for a small price.  Bring your stuff and sell, sell, sell.
  • Sell items on eBay or Amazon.com.  For eBay, you can use the "Buy Now" feature rather than run a 7-day auction.  Price your items to sell quickly.
  • Sell extra books on Half.com or on Amazon.com.  Set your price lower than any of the other books listed.  Go back every day and check to see if your books are still the lowest-priced; if not, lower your price again. (If there are dozens of books at the lowest price - 75¢ on Half.com or 1¢ on Amazon - your books won't sell for a long time.)
  • Alternately, sell books to a used bookstore for cash, not store credit.
  • List a large item on Craigslist.  Be sure to be safe when selling via Craiglist.  
  • Bring clothing, baby items, or other items to a consignment shop that pays when they take things, not when the items are sold. 
  • Find any gold or silver jewelry and sell it at a cash for gold store or site.  Shop around because fees can vary widely. 
  • Have a bake sale - bake some items and sell to neighbors and friends.   
Stop spending.
  • Eat from the pantry and save the grocery money for the necessary cash.
  • If you have to buy food, only buy the most necessary, cheapest foods, like rice and beans.
  • Cut all unnecessary travel to save on gas money.
Find some work.
  • Ask your family, friends, and neighbors if you can do odd jobs, cleaning, babysitting, etc. for them.
  • Pick up temporary, pay-per-day employment.
  • See if you can get overtime work at your current job.
  • Advertise on Craigslist to find extra work.
  • See if you can get an advance on pay from your current job. 
Borrow the money if you absolutely, positively have no other options.
  • See if you can get a small loan from a credit union or neighborhood bank.  The interest rates will probably be the best here.  
  • You can try getting a small cash loan from a peer-to-peer lending site.  I'm not sure how quick you can get these loans, or what paperwork you'll have to provide, but it is worth looking into.
  • Take out a cash advance on a credit card.  I think this is a bad idea, but still better than the other options below.  
  • Pawn an item - though I think it would better to just sell the item, unless it's an irreplaceable heirloom.  The interest rates will be very high, but still better than the next item below.
  • Take out a payday loan.  I really, really don't recommend this, as I mentioned above  Still, it's better than the next item on this list.  (If you're in the United Kingdom, check out Payday Loans UK for their rates and services.)
  • Borrow the money from friends and family.  That may seem quick and cheap, but it will hurt your relationship in the long run. Now, if friends or family want to give you a cash gift, that's a different story. But I would borrow from just about anywhere else over borrowing from family or friends.
What ideas do you have to get cash in a hurry?  Leave a comment below!

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