Although planning and saving can help prevent financial emergencies, unexpected expenses can create a financial pinch for even the most careful planners. An illness, the death of a loved one, a serious injury or property damage not covered by your insurance policy can quickly exhaust your savings and leave you wondering how you will make ends meet. However, several strategies can help you obtain emergency money to pay for unexpected expenses without skipping bills or living on cereal for weeks on end.
Sell unwanted items through an online auction. List collectibles, antiques, clothing, home decor and jewelry on an auction site to get some quick cash. Specify that the winning bidder must pay shipping and packaging fees, so you don't spend your earnings on delivering the items you sell.
List household items, electronics, tools and other valuables for sale on online classified ad sites, as well as in the classified section of local newspapers. Most newspapers also place classified listings on their websites. There is typically a fee for placing classified ads in newspapers -- this fee depends on the individual newspaper, as well as the size and placement of the ad.
Start a service business in your neighborhood. Pass out fliers offering such services as gutter cleaning, lawn care, landscaping, painting or cleaning. You can also advertise these services in local newspapers and on bulletin boards and classified ads websites.
Bid on writing, coding, graphic design, virtual assistant or photography gigs on freelancing websites. Taking freelance gigs can help you bring in extra money while working around your school schedule or regular work hours.
Obtain a short-term loan from a friend or family member. You may be able to obtain a loan without interest, keeping you from having to pay back more than you borrowed. Also, borrowing from a family member or friend typically does not involve a credit check, which can help you if you have had past credit problems.
Make repaying a loan to a friend or family member a top priority after you have resolved your financial problems. Failing to repay a loan can destroy important relationships.
Avoid using credit cards to cover a short-term financial emergency unless no other options are available. The temptation to make only the minimum payments on your credit card balances can drive you into debt, which can contribute to future financial problems.
Stay away from payday loans. Companies that provide these loans typically charge exorbitant interest rates, sometimes as much as 15 to 25 percent for a two-week period. If you cannot repay the loan when due, the payday loan company will charge you the same interest to extend the loan another two weeks.
- "Money 911"; Reed Markham; 2008
- Families Online Magazine: Payday Loans Equal Very Costly Cash