How To Dig Yourself Out Of A Financial Hole
Many people have had the experience of finding that they need money right away to avoid being sent to collections or to pay for an unexpected expense. If you are like half of all Americans who live paycheck to paycheck, the situation might seem hopeless. When you are barely covering your monthly bills, how will you come up with an extra few hundred (or more) dollars? The good news is that there are some strategies you can try before throwing your hands up in defeat.
Negotiate With the Creditor
If you owe the money on an account such as a credit card or an old hospital bill, it's likely that the creditor will negotiate with you. After all, aside from sending you to collections, there's not much they can do to get their money, and they would rather get something from you, rather than nothing. Call the company and ask if you can get the bill lowered. Many times, the deal will hinge on you being able to make a payment very promptly, so be prepared to schedule a payment that day or within the next few weeks to take advantage of this option.
Sell Your Stuff
Chances are great that you have quite a few items in your home that you no longer need. Check out your cabinets, your closets, and your bookshelves to find belongings that someone else might pay for. You could hold a yard sale, but if you don't want to spend your next sunny Saturday setting up, selling, and putting away your items, consider using an online yard sale site. Try your local Facebook or Craigslist pages to advertise what you're selling. Another option is to use an app on your phone; some popular ones are Letgo and OfferUp. If you choose to go this route, be sure to stay safe by meeting buyers in a public place.
Get a Short-Term Loan
If the issue is that you have a bill due right now and the money to pay it won't be in for another week or two, a payday loan might be a good option. With this type of loan, you are able to borrow money until your next payday. This can allow you to pay a bill on time and avoid negative marks on your credit report. Be sure to read the conditions of the loan carefully so you understand when it has to be paid back; this will help you avoid extra fees. In addition to payday loans, there are also title loans, in which you borrow against the collateral of your car. Again, be sure to read the fine print so you don't put yourself at risk of having your car seized for non-payment.
Get a Side Gig
When your income is not enough to cover your expenses, you might need to get a second job. This could be something like delivering pizzas or picking up a few shifts at your local grocery store. Another option is to make money doing something you're good at. For example, if your garden is the envy of the neighborhood, offer up your landscaping and gardening services on the weekends. You could also moonlight as a dog-sitter or a housecleaner. Anything you know how to do well can likely earn you money because people who are crunched for time often hire out various tasks.
Having an unexpected bill or too much month at the end of the money can be an overwhelming and stressful predicament, but with a little ingenuity, hard work, and thinking outside the box, you can make it work. Take advantages of the loan programs available when necessary, and look for ways to make money with the skills and items you already have.