When you run into that cash crunch
5 Ways to Make Quick Cash
by Gary Foreman
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Cash crunch! Most of us will face it at one time or another. An unexpected bill or loss of income puts us into a position where we need a quick cash infusion. When you face one of those times, try one or more of these quick cash solutions.
The first solution is the obvious one. Sell something. Think beyond the simple yard sale. Fortunately tools like Craigslist and eBay make it possible to get good prices for better items.
The trick is to find things that are worth more than a few dollars. Pretend you're going to be on the Antiques Roadshow. Do a little internet research on items that you think might have value. When it's time to sell, remember that collectibles will do better in a virtual auction. There are more buyers to compete for your item. Heavier furniture or other items that would be difficult to ship should be sold locally.
Don't limit yourself to internet sales. Consider specialty stores for some items. Electronics and tools might do well at a pawn shop. Your local jeweler could be interested in the broach you inherited from Aunt Agatha.
Another source of quick cash is to look for money that's due to you or that you can borrow.
You were probably asked for a deposit when you began utility service on your home. If you've been consistently on time with your bills, they may give you your deposit back. Call the utility to find out.
Check for "unclaimed property." We live fast paced lives and move often. Because of that, we can unintentionally leave behind deposits, small accounts, and refunds.
The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators tells us that 2.5 million claims for over $2 billion were recently returned in just one year. The average check was nearly $900! Look for unclaimed funds here.
If your cash crisis is likely to be short-term, consider changing your deductions to reduce income tax withholding. You will have to pay back the "loan" when your taxes are due next April, but it will increase your take-home pay until then. Ask your HR department how it works.
Are you heading for debt trouble? This simple checklist can help you find out and provide options for doing something about it.
If the problem is longer term, you might want to consider borrowing from your 401k plan. The law and most plans allow you to take a loan and repay it over time. Interest rates are governed by law, but generally they aren't very high. The biggest drawback is that the whole loan becomes due if you leave or lose your job.
If the crisis is big or not temporary, your only solution may be adding an additional income source. There are a number of ways to accomplish that.
Your best option could be to take on a second, part-time job. Even if the pay is low, you'll have a steady, predictable income source.
A less certain option, but one with more upside, is to offer a skill you have to friends and family. Whether it's sewing or carpentry, letting people know you're available should generate some work for you. You won't know from week to week how much you'll make, and you will need to check with your local government to see what licenses are needed. But if you can find enough work, you'll make more if you work for yourself.
Another cash source doesn't require an additional job. It just takes a little sacrifice. Taking in a roommate is a serious step, and you will change your lifestyle. But, it can be a good regular source of income. Depending on where you live and your home, you could score hundreds each month.
Whatever your cash crunch, try these ways to bring a little extra into your account this month.
Reviewed September 2017
Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar Stretcher.com website and newsletters in 1996. He's been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money, Credit.com and CreditCards.com. Gary shares his philosophy of money here. You can follow Gary on Twitter. Gary is also available for audio, video or print interviews. For more info see his media page.
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