Kayla Heisler
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Borrowing money can feel stressful — especially if you need to come up with cash quickly. The reasons may vary widely from encountering an unexpected emergency to being paid late by an employer. Whatever your reason, lacking necessary resources can cause major stress regardless of how well you typically manage your money. Fortunately, if you do find yourself in a money rut, there are several ways to get your hands on cash.

4 quick ways to borrow money

1.  Ask for an advance on your paycheck.

Depending on who you work for, you may be able to get your hands on extra cash quickly by reaching out to your employer. Obviously, you shouldn’t make this a habit, but if you have a solid relationship, asking may be worth  a shot. Some companies explicitly state what conditions permit them to issue loans, so looking over your contract or your company’s online policies may save some time. You may have options such as having a set amount of from future checks split over multiple checks or one large sum. Avoid asking at busy times, and be prepared to answer questions regarding why you need an advance.

2. Use a credit card for a cash advance.

If you need cash, check the terms and conditions of using a cash advance with your credit card company. Calling them may be the easiest path to take, but you can also review any documentation you have on hand to confirm. Check if there is a transaction fee and what the interest rate will be. 

3. Ask family or a friend.

Bury your pride and ask a trusted family member. If you’re in a bind, asking someone for money for a short period of time might be necessary. Be up front and honest with the person you’re approaching. It may feel awkward, but be polite going in, and understand that they have the right to say no. 

4. Pawn something.

If you only need money for a certain period of time (for instance until your next paycheck comes in), taking out a loan from a pawn shop may be the best way to go. Check reviews online to see which shop in your area has the best reputation, and if it’s your first time pawning something, consider enlisting the help of an experienced pawner. You’ll likely have to pay interest on the item, so if you borrow $100, you may have to pay back $120 or $150 to get you item back depending on the interest rate and how long it takes to retrieve the item. Make sure to pay back the loan on time (loans typically last 90 - 120 days)—after the loan expires the shop owns your item and is not legally obligated to return it to you.

FAQs

Because speaking about money can feel taboo, many important intricacies that involve money — especially around borrowing money — can feel shrouded in mystery. 

1. How can I borrow money from a friend or family member without compromising our relationship?

Be direct, and make it clear that you understand going in that they are in no way obligated to oblige your request regardless of your financial situation or theirs. Don’t bring up past favors or any form of guilt tripping. If they agree, institute one or some of these tactics to help the process go as smoothly as possible:

Create a contract.

Draw up an agreement that clearly states the amount borrowed and a timeline for your payment date. Any additional terms such as interest rate amount should also be included.

Offer collateral.

Demonstrate that you’re committed to paying them back by giving them a possession you value until you are able to pay back your loan.

Pay interest.

Paying a small interest rate is a great way to show your friend or family member that you’re committed to paying back their money. It also allows them to earn more money than if their money were sitting in a traditional savings account.

Say thank you.

Keep the transaction friendly by giving your friend or family member a thank you note to show your gratitude. 

2. How can you borrow money if you have bad credit?

There are certain places that will still lend you money, though you may have to borrow at a higher interest rate. One option is to contact your bank. Additionally, if your credit score is particularly low, the bank may require you to offer an expensive item you already own up as collateral. Another option may be to obtain a co-signer to allow you to be approved for the loan. 

Alternately, you may want to apply for a payday loan from a company since they typically do not perform complete credit checks. If you choose to go this route, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Research is your friend.

Find a company that is associated with a larger financial institution if possible. Read reviews, and ask people you know if they are familiar with companies.

Apply in person if you can.

Some companies allow borrowers to apply online, but doing so increased the likelihood of being scammed. 

Proceed with caution.

Payday loans usually carry very high interest rates and additional fees. Make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions before taking out the loan.

3. How can I get money without a loan?

Unsubscribe.

Instead of earning more money, save what you’re already earning. Comb through your current subscriptions and see what you haven’t used in a while or could live without. Whether you realize you have accounts to streaming services you rarely use or subscription boxes you don’t need, scrolling through your purchases can show you areas where you could easily cut back on spending.

Sell items.

There are many avenues you can take to sell items you no longer use. Online retailers such as Poshmark provide a platform where you can sell clothing you no longer wear. There are also many Facebook groups that allow people to post items for sale. Try searching for groups that cater to your specific city to find interested buyers in your area. You can opt to have a yard sale one weekend or take items to a consignment shop to earn extra cash.

There’s an app for that.

There are many ways to earn money in addition to working a regular job. If you’re handy, you can sign up with a service such as Handy or Taskrabbit. Running errands or helping people put together furniture can increase your income. You could deliver food with a service like UberEats or Postmates. If you live in a space that has an extra room, rent it out through Airbnb.

It takes time, but work to build up a solid nest egg to make sure that you have cash on hand when unexpected disaster strikes. Increasing your financial literacy can help you start saving ASAP!

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Kayla Heisler is an essayist and Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. She is an MFA candidate at Columbia University, and her work appears in New York's Best Emerging Poets 2017 anthology. 

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