5 Last-Minute Options When You Need Money In An Emergency
Updated on July 3, 2021 by Amber & The Team
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Almost all of us will at some point experience a financial emergency. Maybe a relative will fall ill, an expensive home repair will come up, and you’ll find yourself suddenly unable to make ends meet. This is nothing to be ashamed of! Again, it will happen to most of us in one way or another. But it is something to prepare for, which is why I’m presenting these tips for how to get cash quickly when you need it most.
1. Ask family and friends for help
No one likes to seek help from friends or family, but sometimes it’s necessary in a true financial emergency. Plus, if you’re generally responsible and are close to people with cash on hand, odds are they’ll be happy to help in a pinch! My advice would be to ask gently and be understanding if someone says no, and to do it in person if at all possible. Express your gratitude if it works out, and offer to come up with a timeline for how and when you’ll be able to pay the money back. Then, if you do find yourself with a little extra spending money down the road, you can make a nice gesture by taking the person who helped you out to dinner, rather than just paying him or her back.
2. Borrow from an existing investment
If you do have some extra money to your name but it’s tied up in an investment, you may be able to access it quickly with a small penalty. In fact, in some cases there may not be a penalty at all. For instance, if you qualify for an exception like a 401(k) Hardship Withdrawal, you may be able to draw cash from your retirement fund without further burdening yourself. Or, if you have a Health Savings Account but you haven’t been making use of it, you may be able to file for partial reimbursement for the account. Options like these shouldn’t be taken lightly, but it’s important to know they’re available if emergency strikes.
3. Consider taking out a title loan
If you’re looking into loans, you have plenty of options. However, many of the most popular ones – such as home equity loans or bank loans – can be quite involved, and carry a great deal of risk (not to mention they can be difficult to qualify for). As a simpler and quicker alternative, you might consider a title loan, which is one for which you can use property like your car as collateral, rather than relying primarily on your credit. Title loans can be structured differently in different states and by different lenders, but some of the better options reveal just how helpful this idea can be. For example, at the forefront of the list are LoanMart’s services in the Ohio area: title loans in Cincinnati can be obtained in one business day, and allow you to keep driving the very same car you use as collateral. Additionally, you can potentially have up to three years to pay the loan back. Again, this is an example of one of the more appealing title loan arrangements out there, but you can find similar ones in plenty of states (Nevada is another that gets some attention), and they make for excellent ways to secure quick cash with minimal risk or long-term burden.
4. Request a cash advance
If you use a credit card, you may have this option. Most credit cards will allow you to take out a cash advance, which essentially allows you to buy cash – rather than goods or services – with your credit. While this is convenient in emergencies, it does come with added expenses that you wouldn’t incur when using cash or a debit card. Typically, cash advances come with an initial flat fee and then accrue interest (at a faster rate than your normal credit card balance). So, while this option can get you quick cash, be mindful of paying it back as quickly as you can.
5. Look to social media
You’ve probably seen people share GoFundMe pages on Facebook and other social media platforms, either for personal use or for a charitable cause. Crowdfunding like this is similar to the first suggestion of asking people you know for help, but goes a step further by opening up the fundraiser to a larger network. As with the first suggestion, when raising money through social media, you still need to be gentle, understanding, and incredibly gracious – particularly given that the whole process will be fairly public. That said, this can work well, and GoFundMe has some specific tips that can help you to get started effectively.