It’s easy to find yourself in a crunch, needing cash fast. In fact, most Americans are vulnerable to emergencies of just a few hundred dollars. Studies show that roughly 40 percent of Americans don’t have the cash in the bank to cover a sudden expense of $400. That makes it easy for people to suddenly find themselves with empty pockets and facing down expenses such as medical bills, parking tickets, late payment fees, and other annoyances.
So what can you do when you’re in a financial jam? Money doesn’t grow on trees, after all!
The good news is that, while you may not have a money tree in your backyard, you do have some options for generating quick cash. Here are a few ways to come up with some extra dough when you need it most.
Check for unclaimed money
Are you short on money? Are you sure? Because, believe it or not, a lot of unclaimed money is out there. From class action lawsuit awards that you didn’t even know you were eligible for to government refunds that you never collected, a literal wealth of cash could be waiting for you if you simply turn to a reliable company for a quick unclaimed money search.
It’s not a sure thing, of course, but any money you do find is essentially free cash — so why wouldn’t you want to run a search?
When people think of their wealth (or lack thereof), they tend to think about their liquid assets — that is, cash or cash equivalents that they could quickly use to pay a bill. But a lot of your net worth is actually tied up in your assets, or the things that you own.
Your assets tend not to be as liquid as cash, of course, and some can be hard to convert into money (like your house, which you have to live in and which you could not sell overnight even if you were to move out). But some assets are easy to unload for cash. Collections, music equipment, antiques, and more can be sold off on websites like eBay and Craigslist. You may find that parting with things like these can give you the cash injection that you desperately need.
Get a side hustle
Your goods aren’t the only things of value that you can sell. You are also perfectly capable of providing services to others or creating products that other people want to buy. Maybe you already have a sense of what sort of “side hustle” would work best for you — maybe you’re a great artist, or maybe you have flair for DIY tasks. Whatever you’re good at, consider monetizing your hobby; you may find that the things that you do in your spare time happen to be lucrative side hustles, too.
Remember to prepare for next time
If all else fails, you may find that you have to take out a short-term loan or put more expenses on credit cards that you might otherwise want to. This isn’t the end of the world, but it can be a problem. Short-term debt tends to come with high interest rates, and it can easily become toxic debt that traps you in the cycle of debt.It may be too late to prevent your current cash crunch, but it’s never too early to start thinking about your next one. Being frugal and working hard can help you build up an emergency fund, so that you can be among the Americans who do have enough cash on hard for an emergency. Don’t touch that rainy day fund until you really need it, and you’ll gain some peace of mind and a brighter financial future.