Whether you’re trying to start a business, fund a vacation, or just get through an especially tough time in your life, there are occasions when you’ll need to raise money as quickly as possible. You can’t depend on a second job to make the extra income, since that will take too much time, and get-rich-quick schemes are both hard to come by and rarely effective.
So what are your options?
Sell Your Old Vehicles and Other Major Assets
First, if you have any major assets that you don’t really need, you can try selling them. For example, if you have old cars that aren’t drivable, or aren’t in use, you can probably get a few hundred to a few thousand dollars out of them. Old musical instruments, furniture, and electronics are other good options here. If you price them on the high end of the spectrum, you’ll get more money, but it will take more time to sell them. If you price them low, you’ll get less money, but you’ll get it quicker.
Host a Garage Sale or List Items Online
For any items worth less than a few hundred dollars, consider hosting a garage sale, or selling bundles of items online. If you spend some time putting up signs and advertising your sale in a dense neighborhood, you should be able to generate significant foot traffic. You’ll need to spend a few hours manning the layout, but by the end of it, you should be able to pick up a few hundred bucks—or more if you offer some high-ticket items.
Do Odd Jobs for Friends and Family Members
You may not have time to submit your resume, fill out applications, or go through a formal hiring process, but you can probably take care of some odd jobs for your friends and family members. Ask around to see if they need anything done—you could wash windows, do yard work, or apply a skill (like doing electrical work or fixing a car). People you know will probably pay you generously, and you can get the work done within a day or two.
Get an Advance From Your Employer
If you work full-time and draw a regular salary, consider asking your boss or your accounting department for an advance. It’s not an uncommon practice, and if your performance has been consistent, they shouldn’t have a problem getting it to you. Just be careful not to draw paychecks too far into the future, or you’ll wind up short for something else.
If you’re looking to raise money from other people, you might consider launching a crowdfunding campaign—just be sure to give people a good reason for contributing. Some sites, like Kickstarter, require you to have a physical product before you launch a page, but alternatives like IndieGoGo and GoFundMe have fewer restrictions, so you can create a page for virtually any purpose.
Get a Personal Loan
If your personal credit is in decent shape, consider applying for a personal loan. Depending on your credit history, you can probably qualify for a loan of at least a few thousand dollars—any more than that, or if your credit is in rough shape, and you might need to provide some collateral. Look at multiple lending institutions to see if you can nab a better rate.
Flip Garage Sale and Thrift Store Finds
Try shopping around at garage sales and thrift stores for items that are significantly underpriced. With a little research and a little luck, you should be able to turn a decent profit after a day of work. Keep an eye out for pieces of art, rare books and movies, and nice pieces of furniture that might sell for more in an open market.
If you’re really desperate for money and none of the above strategies have given you what you need, there are a couple of “last resort” options. These options shouldn’t be used unless you’re really desperate for money, and understand the consequences of your actions here. For example, you could apply for a cash advance at a predatory loan agency—as long as you realize that you’ll probably be paying ridiculously high interest. You could also resort to gambling if you’re feeling lucky. The house edge will always make you lose in the long-term, but that edge is very thin on certain games (like Blackjack).
These methods will get you the cash fast, but they aren’t necessarily easy. You might find it hard to part with some of your assets, or might struggle with some of the work and requests necessary to raise capital, but in the end, it will be worth it. Try to use the money wisely, and set yourself up so you don’t have to raise money this quickly again.