Uh-oh. You’ve been scraping by financially, and along comes something unexpected for which you need money fast!
You consider charging it, but smartly want to avoid adding more to your debt. (Or, maybe charging to your credit card is no longer an option if you are already over the limit or if your account has been closed.)
But, how to make the money fast?
Some people turn to the Internet. You could offer services online, such as writing or design, or put some stuff on an auction site. If you already have a website with products you sell, you could post a special sale or send a sales message to your list.
But, how quickly will you get the money? You could use PayPal, but, if you don’t have a PayPal debit card, it could take a couple days for the money to transfer from your PayPal account to your bank, and you may not have enough time!
Look for “real world” opportunities instead. Rather than trying to auction stuff online, look into the possibility of doing a garage sale (if time permits) or selling it at a pawn shop. If you have collectibles to sell, you might take them to a memorabilia dealer. Or, maybe, again if time allows, you could rent a spot at a flea market to sell items.
If you have nothing of significant value to sell, look into offering services. Can you mow lawns or shovel snow? How about raking leaves? Collecting aluminum cans? Painting?
Perhaps offer cleaning services. You could see if anyone will pay you to haul junk away—and then sort through the junk for anything you might be able to refurbish and sell or sell as-is.
Think of anything you could do or offer for money. Look for things for which there is a pressing need, as those would be the easiest to sell people on. You will do yourself a big favor if you can raise the money to pay for the emergency than to add it to your debt.
The Bottom Line
When faced with a need to come up with money fast, resist the urge to charge it and instead look for ways to earn the cash. If you can pull it off, you’ll be better off in the long run than adding more debt to your credit card.