Listen – sometimes life happens.
Almost all of us have been in a financial emergency at one point or another. The car breaks down. The checking account is overdrawn. You’re behind on rent. Etc.
Whatever the situation might be, we’ve put together a list of 10 ways to help you raise some cash in a hurry…
1. Sell Your Gold and Silver
Small coin shops, especially those that also sell collectible items, will usually buy anything with gold or silver in it. If you’re not sure if the old serving platter you inherited is silver or if that necklace in the dresser is gold, they’ll test it for you. Check the house for anything that might contain precious metals.
Local coin shops will usually offer you substantially more than the places that spend big money placing “We Buy Gold” ads everywhere. But the metals still have to be extracted from whatever object they are in, so you won’t get top dollar. Check out the current spot price for silver and gold anyhow, so you have some idea of what you should get. Expect to be paid 30% to 40% less than the spot price for the silver contained in jewelry and at least 10% less for gold.
2. Collect Debts
If anyone owes you anything, this is the time to collect. Easier said than done, right? Well, there are two ways to increase the odds of collecting. The first is to offer a discount. For example, you could tell a family member who owes you $200 that you’ll take $160 as payment-in-full if he can find a way to pay you in the next hour.
To collect when the person who owes you doesn’t have any way to get the cash, offer to take valuable objects instead. The idea here is to get paid with something you can sell immediately. To be safe, before you accept something as payment you can call a pawn shop first and describe the object to get an idea of what you can sell it for.
3. Work for an Hour
Websites like Task Rabbit connect people who need help locally with those offering it. An elderly woman three blocks away from you might need someone to drive her to an appointment, and she’ll pay for that task. A busy executive might need someone to walk his dog and he may have posted his need on Task Rabbit. You can check on your smart phone and see what’s available right now.
Of course, you’ll have to have already opened an account to find this kind of work quickly, so if you run into the need for quick cash very often you might want to sign up with one of these websites today to be prepared for the next time.
4. Borrow Money
This can be a fast way to raise cash, but there are two problems here. First, you have to repay the money at some point. With that in mind you might want to borrow only what you really need.
The second problem is that the people you know might not have any money to lend to you. In that case, ask if they have things they want to get rid of. Look for items that are easily sold, and buy them with an IOU. Then go sell them for cash. If the used furniture store pays you only $180 for a table and you promised to pay your brother $200 for it in a month you can consider the difference as interest. But try to be a better negotiator next time.
5. Sell Your Future Labor
This is something like borrowing, except that you’ll never have to repay with money. Get on the phone and call the people you know. Explain that you’ll sell your services cheap if they pay for future delivery. For example, a friend who travels might normally pay a pet sitter $50 per day to stay with her cats. You could offer to cover the next four days that she’ll be traveling for $30 per day, if she pays you the $120 now.
Other services you can pre-sell in this way include babysitting, house cleaning, and even painting or yard work. Whatever service you can offer, if any of the people you know need that kind of help, it can be sold in advance. You’ll owe your time and labor, but you’ll never have to repay the cash.
6. Return Cans and Bottles
If you live in one of the states that have bottle bills you probably already return your soft drink cans and bottles to get the deposit. But what if you have scoured the house and come up with only 20 of them? Even if your state has a 10-cent deposit you’ll be looking at just $2, which you might spend on gas driving to the store to return the bottles.
It’s time to go to your friends and family. Nobody likes dealing with those empty cans and bottles, so after you explain that you need to raise some cash, some of them will be happy to let you take all the empties they have. Call first so you know who has at least a couple dozen. That way you can plan your route efficiently.
You can collect cans to sell for scrap metal in states that don’t have deposit laws. Some people make a living collecting cans but it isn’t much of a living. And because you make about a penny per can selling them as scrap metal, versus the ten cent deposit you get in a state like Michigan, you can’t make much in an hour, even with the help of friends and family.
7. Sell Your Books
There are several good places to sell your books online, and you’ll probably get the best price in this way. Of course, that doesn’t work if you need your money in the next hour. For that you’ll have to find one of the remaining local used book stores that buy books. Call first to be sure they pay cash and not just store credit. If you have text books and any other books that are still assigned for college classes go to the college bookstore for the best price.
8. Have a Friend Use Your Credit Card
We return once more to your friends for help. If your credit card has a low cash-advance limit or you just don’t want to pay those fees, here’s another way to use it to raise some cash quickly. Ask to tag along on a friend’s shopping trip, preferably when he is planning to spend a lot of money. Pay for it all with your credit card in exchange for him giving you the cash. He’ll pay the same as he would have for his purchases, and maybe you can buy him lunch as a reward. Meanwhile you’ll have cash now, without the usual cash-advance fees and higher interest rates.
9. Sell Your Clothing
We all have some clothes we haven’t worn in a long time. Why not sell some of those things to raise some money fast? Get online to find the closest Plato’s Closet or other clothing store that buys used clothes. Generally you can get more money if you put your items in a consignment shop, but that would involve waiting weeks to get paid. If you want to raise money in the next hour or so, you need a place that pays cash now.
10. Sell Your Friends’ Things
We’re going to pester your friends for help right until the end of our list. But you might be helping them out also, because they have things they want to get rid of, and you have the solution. An example will explain how this is going to work…
Your friend has some things she wants to get rid of, including an Xbox 8 she never uses, a small coffee table, three pairs of designer jeans that don’t fit, textbooks from college, and some broken jewelry that might be made of gold. You tell her that you can help sell her stuff, but you need to take it to your buyers first. Load up and start the rounds of pawn shops, book stores, and used furniture stores. If the pawn broker offers $45 for the Xbox call your friend to see if she’ll take $30. If the furniture store will pay $75 for the table, tell her you’ll give her $45. You pocket the difference in each case. Continue in this way until you have sold her stuff. Pay her what’s due and the rest is yours.
Your Turn: Do you have any other ideas to help someone in need raise cash quickly? Have you ever had to do something like this yourself? I’d love if you’d share your story in the comments below….