Last night, my husband was called to a bank robbery (he’s a police officer – an important part of this story!). However, it wasn’t your typical case. The robber arrived at the bank after hours to find the doors locked (yes, even criminals have issues with their local bank branch’s limited hours). Undeterred, he pulled around to the side of the bank where he tried to force money out of the ATM; at one point, he left, only to come back with some tools as he attempted to extricate the machine from the wall. The whole scenario was caught on the surveillance camera built in to the ATM… and my husband caught the guy a few hours later.
As my husband booked the suspect, he asked him casually why he’d been so determined to get money out of the bank. The guy’s answer? “I needed money.”
Don’t we all?
Whether it’s to fix your car, pay a medical bill, or simply buy something you don’t think you can live without, everyone – at one time or another – has needed money. For most of us, robbing a bank isn’t the solution.
So if you need fast cash or can’t wait until your next payday to get the money you need (or just really, really want), here are 5 ways to get your hands on some:
1) Take out a home equity loan. Yes, this assumes that you (a) own a home and (b) have some equity in it. Typically, banks want to see the owner have at least 20% equity in a property before they’ll extend this type of loan or line of credit. Truth be told, this isn’t exactly a speedy solution – securing a home equity loan requires filling out paperwork, going through an underwriter, etc. But if you already have a loan in place, then this is an option to get some cash now.
2) Pull from your emergency fund… but only if your situation qualifies as an emergency! Do you need cash now to pay for a new roof? That’s exactly why you put money into an emergency fund in the first place. Do you need fast cash to pay for a family vacation? Sorry buddy, keep saving.
3) Cash in mature savings bonds. Most savings bonds issued in the past 35 years stop accruing interesting after 20 or 30 years. So if your grandmother was like mine and gave you bonds for your birth, baptism, and early birthdays, then you may already have some bonds that have matured. These savings bonds are no longer doing any work for you, so even if you don’t use them when you need fast cash, at the very least consider reinvesting mature bonds so they’re not just sitting there.
4) Bring in more Benjamins. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to get a second job, though that is an option. But there are other ways to earn money quickly and legitimately. Many companies and industries pay consumers for their opinions, through online or phone surveys. You could sell your blood, plasma, or even participate in clinical trials of new medicines (though you might want to consult with your own doctor first). If you’re crafty, open an online store on a site like Etsy. Even taking a page from your teen years and babysitting or mowing neighbors’ yards can bring in cash fast.
5) Minimalize. If you can’t get your hands on MORE money, then find a way to get the most out of the money you ALREADY have. Minimalism not only helps the environment, but it also helps your wallet. Selling items you don’t use or need; return prior purchases you’ve yet to open; offer to rideshare with a coworker, splitting the cost of getting to and from your job; rent out an extra bedroom. Even reevaluating your household budget can be a goldmine, whether it’s reviewing your insurance policies or canceling your cable – if you’re not willing to give up HBO for a few months, you’re not all that desperate for cash.
Have you ever found yourself in a tough spot where you needed money RIGHT NOW? How’d you handle the situation?