Most everyone hits a point where they need cash, like yesterday. While it’s not quite that easy to raise cash that quickly, there are at least seven ways to raise cash within at least 30 days.
But before we get into that, we’ll start with one common method you should avoid.
Rule #1: Stay Away From Loans!(!!!)
Let’s start with every American’s favorite source of quick cash – loans. Stay away from them unless it’s a life threatening emergency.
Though getting a loan may be the quickest and easiest way to raise cash in a hurry, each loan type comes with it’s own set of problems, and some can be severe.
Credit cards. Spend some time ruminating on the word “revolving” – that’s the most basic feature of credit cards. As in revolving door – as in, you never get out of it! That’s why you should avoid credit cards.
Bank loans. Generally speaking, a bank loan is a long term solution to a short term problem – it gets you the cash you need now, but in doing so it creates a drain on future income. That guarantees future cash shortages.
Payday and title loans. If bank loans and credit cards have the potential to lock you into a cycle of future cash shortages, payday and title loans have infinite capacity to do that even more efficiently. The high interest rates, penalties and short payback periods guarantee a future of greater misery.
Loans from family and friends. Borrowing money from family and friends is a classic way to destroy important relationships. If for any reason you are unable to repay the loan in a timely manner, the liability will be a storm cloud hanging over your relationship. The best time in getting a loan from family and friends is when you first get the money you need – after that, it’s pure agony.
No matter how tempting loans may be, you should avoid them at all costs.
OK, we’ve beaten loans to death – what are some viable alternatives?
1. Sell anything you don’t need
Most of us have any number of items sitting around the house that we can sell to raise quick cash. Inventory all of your storage areas – the closets, garage, basement, and any storage units in your backyard. If you have not used in item in at least a year, you probably have no real use for it.
Have a garage sale this weekend, and sell as much of it as you can. If you think that any items are potentially high dollar sales, you may want to consider selling them online. Try eBay for small items (to keep shipping costs low), and Craigslist for larger items that will not ship easily. You can easily generate an extra several hundred dollars this way.
2. Sell your skills for cash
Do you have particular skills that are in demand, or a willingness to do certain jobs that most people don’t like to? You may be able use this to your financial advantage.
For specific skills that have a retail market, try taking an ad on Craigslist (it’s free) seeking quick jobs to earn cash. Otherwise, for general work offer to family, friends, neighbors and coworkers that you are available for jobs. This can include painting a couple of rooms, cutting lawns, raking leaves, trimming hedges, doing laundry, or any other jobs you are comfortable doing.
3. Baby sit or pet sit for a weekend
If your weekends are free, and you have space in your home, offer to either baby sit or pet sit for people you know. It can earn you some quick cash without even leaving your home.
4. Increase your withholding allowances at work
A lot of people like to over-withhold in their paychecks so that they will have a generous tax refund. But this is one of the quickest and easiest ways to raise cash. By adding a couple of exemptions on your withholding, you can quickly increase your paycheck. Think of it as taking an advance on your income tax refund.
5. Offer to work overtime, or on any major projects at work
If your employer is offering paid overtime, get to the front of the line and make yourself available. Likewise, if there are any major projects at work that need to be done, step up and offer to do the job if you can. It may provide you with a surge of overtime income in a short amount of time.
6. Skip a week of grocery shopping
Most of us have more money tied up in groceries then we need. Try skipping grocery shopping for a week and drawing down on your existing food supplies. You may be surprised at how creative you can be in working around any shortages.
If you normally spend $200 on an average grocery shopping trip, skipping will make that money available to you for any purpose that you need.
7. Cancel or transfer services to cheaper suppliers
Are there any services you are paying for you don’t need? Or are there some that you can quickly substitute with less expensive alternatives? Eliminating or lowering one or more recurring bills could get you some quick cash.
As an example, we are about to cancel our discount landline phone service and replace it in a bundle provided by our Internet service provider. The switch will save us about $50 per month. If you can find two or three of these, not only will you get some cash this month, but it will improve your cash flow every month thereafter.
If you need quick cash, try some of the strategies above. You should resort to more costly methods of raising cash, such as loans or tapping retirement plans, only after you have exhausted all other methods.
What you do when you need to raise cash in a hurry?