Everyone falls on hard times every now and then. Some people have the luxury of having a well-stocked emergency savings account. Other people, not so much. But even if you fall into this latter category, there are ways to get your hands on fast cash.
How to Get Cash Fast
No matter what anyone tells you, it’s nearly impossible to get free cash with no strings attached. Sure, you could win the lottery or happen upon a random windfall from a long lost relative, but these are both highly unlikely scenarios.
If you need quick cash, you must do one of three things: (1) borrow money, (2) sell something, or (3) get to work. Here are a few options:
1. Quick Loans
For most people, the quickest way to access cash is by obtaining some sort of financing. Unfortunately, if your credit is less than perfect, it can be hard to get money through traditional financing – such as a bank loan. (Not to mention the fact that traditional loans can take some time to process.) As a result, you may be better off getting a quick cash loan.
“Quick Cash or Payday loans are just what they sound like, short term loans for money needed between paydays,” I Need a Loan explains. “Fees are added to the payback amount and paying off the loan’s balance with your next paycheck is ideal to avoid further fees or financial issues.”
2. Cash Advances
Whereas a quick cash loan is typically funded through your paycheck, a cash advance is funded against your credit card’s line of credit.
“In a sense, a cash advance acts like any other purchase being made through your credit card, but instead of buying goods or services, you are buying cash,” Investopedia’s Erik Haagensen writes.
Whereas quick loans have a predetermined repayment period that’s typically just a couple of weeks out, cash advances can accumulate interest for an indefinite period of time. Be careful of this and make sure you repay the advance as quickly as possible to avoid racking up massive amounts of debt.
3. Borrowing Against Yourself
While not necessarily recommended, you may have the option of borrowing against yourself in order to receive some quick cash.
One option is to borrow against a whole life insurance policy that has a cash value. The great thing about this type of insurance policy is that you have the rest of your life to repay the amount you’ve borrowed (since it’s technically your money). If you don’t end up repaying the loan, it’s subtracted from the policy payout at death.
Another option is to take a loan from your retirement account – such as a 401(k) or IRA. With a 401(k), you’re legally allowed to borrow as much as half of your account balance, up to $50,000, and you have as much as five years to repay it. With an IRA, you can borrow once per year (as long as you repay the money within 60 days).
4. Sell Items
Don’t feel like taking out a loan or borrowing against yourself? You can always sell items you own to make money.
Thanks to eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and other websites, it’s fairly easy to make money online. Go around your house and look for things you don’t use or need – such as an extra TV, old phone, or power tool that’s still in the box.
5. Gig Jobs
The third option is to work for money. The problem is that it usually takes time to find a second job, which isn’t ideal when you need money fast. Thankfully, the gig economy makes it possible to quickly earn money without any startup costs or applications. If you own a vehicle, companies like Uber, Lyft, and TaskRabbit, are worth looking into.
Don’t be Foolish
In the pursuit of quick cash, it’s easy to make foolish decisions that actually put you in a worse position than when you began. You must be careful to avoid these situations.
For example, it’s easy to get talked into starting a quick business or side hustle. While there’s nothing wrong with trying your hand at entrepreneurship, be wary of doing anything where you’re required to put forth a bunch of your own money in advance. You could actually end up losing money, which will make you even more desperate.