Unexpected expenses are precisely the reason you need an emergency fund. But what if you don't have one and need money now?
How to Pay for an Emergency Without an Emergency Fund
Life is full of unexpected financial emergencies – it’s not a matter of if but when. Medical expenses, car repairs, and job loss all happen when least expected. But do you have the cash to pay for any of the above?
Forty-four percent of Americans can’t cover a $400 out-of-pocket expense, according to the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, the average emergency room visit can run you $150-$3,000, says a study from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health - and that’s only one type of unexpected expense.
So if you find yourself in a bind without an emergency fund, check out these tips to make fast cash without breaking the law.
[If you want to learn how to set up an emergency fund, check out 5 Ways to Build Your Emergency Savings Fast.]
Click or swipe through to read them out...
1. Sell your hair
Before you lose your hair due to stress from the money you don’t have - sell it. There are websites where you can sell your hair for anywhere from $100 to $1,000, depending on the quality and length. You’ll be asked questions about whether you drink, smoke, or color your hair. But, in the end, it’s a quick way to avoid going into debt over an unexpected expense.
2. Sell your plasma
You can donate blood, but that’s usually worth no more than a free meal and movie ticket. If need cash, your plasma is in high enough demand for medical research. The pay rates vary, but you can expect to make $20 to $50 per donation.
The American Red Cross will only allow you to donate plasma once every 28 days. Since this is more about money and less about altruism, here’s a tip: Go to a private blood donation center. Private centers will let you donate twice in one week, as long as there is a day between donations.
3. Sell your clothes
Have clothes hanging in the closet that mean less to you than the emergency expense you’re facing? Sell them. Stores like Plato’s Closet or Crossroads Trading Co. will pay for your slightly-used clothing. You walk in with a pile of your clothes and in about an hour or so, you’ll walk out with a wad of cash.
4. Roll up your sleeves and work
Not every tip on here involves selling your belongings or part of your body. Apps like TaskRabbit connect you with local people who pay to have their chores taken care of.
You may have a neighbor looking for help around the house. Maybe they need their lawn mowed, or new furniture assembled, and don’t have the tools. That’s where you can earn money doing those tasks for them.
5. Sell old stuff at a pawn shop
Before you have that garage sale, check to see if any of your old stuff is valuable. Just be aware that pawn shops rarely offer you the full value of what you're selling – they'll offer less than what they think they can get for it.
6. Crowd-fund an expensive bill
There are plenty of crowd-funding sites out there to choose from, including GoFundMe and Indiegogo. Do your homework before picking one – some, like Kickstarter, only give you the money if you meet a specified goal. While crowd-funding a bill may not be the most popular way to generate money, it has worked in the past.
7. Sell "handmade" furniture on Etsy
Etsy is a "marketplace where people sell and buy unique goods." A lot of talented people make a living on it, but so do people who buy cheap furniture and slap a new coat of paint on it. Then there are the "false vintage" sellers who markup mass-produced items by hundreds of dollars.
8. Sell old gift cards
Websites like CardCash.com will exchange your unused gift cards for money. Don't expect the exact amount, because the site will only trade you cash for up to 92 percent of the gift cards value. But desperate times call for desperate measures.
9. Ask people for money
The old-fashioned alternative to crowdfunding. If you don't have 10 friends and 10 family members, try other places: like church, and your neighbors, and the street corner. (Well, maybe as a last resort.)
This article was originally published on Debt.com.
Published by Debt.com, LLC