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Ways to Get Cash Fast in an Emergency

Ways to Get Cash Fast in an Emergency

By Nicole DeMarco • October 29, 2019

While unexpected hiccups are a sure thing, having the money to cover these unforeseen events is less of a certainty. Anything from a medical emergency to car troubles to a change in employment can be enough to trigger an urgent need for cash. When you’re in a bind, there are a few quick ways to make money to alleviate the financial burden and get back on your feet.

1. Know your options

In a pinch, it’s good to know the options available to you. If you need a lump sum in a short amount of time, a personal loan could be a viable option. After your application is approved and other necessary steps are completed, your loan, which can be secured or unsecured, will be dispersed in one installment with varying terms for repayment. And contrary to what you might think, taking out a personal loan may actually help build your credit, and may be used for all kinds of reasons. Alternatively, if you’re not sure when exactly you’ll need to access cash, consider a line of credit. You can draw upon your available balance and make payments based on how much you’ve taken out, plus any interest that has accrued. If neither of these is right for your financial emergency (or financial life in general), a low-interest credit card is another viable option.

2. Clear your shelves

Another way to get your hands on a little extra capital is to sell your belongings. You could organize a community garage sale for some quick cash. Online retailers Poshmark and ThredUp are good places to sell clothing and accessories, while using apps like LetGo and Decluttr will accept books, electronics, games, etc. You can also give selling items on Facebook Marketplace a try, which will help you target your sales to those living in close proximity to you, which may make it easier to sell items more quickly and without having to contend with service fees or shipping costs. It should be noted that while this approach is a good way to make some additional income, it may not be completely practical when you need money quickly.

3. Maintain a side hustle

Having an income source other than your primary occupation can be a great reserve for when something unexpected hits. If you have transferable skills related to your job, you may be able to seek out freelance work that can earn you the money you need. For a break from the office, driving for Uber or Lyft can be a good way to make money (and cash out instantly as long as a low minimum balance is met) if you live in a reasonably populated area. If you’d rather not drive, hosting for Airbnb may be a good way to both meet new and interesting people and bring in the income you need. For even faster access to money, gigs like babysitting, pet sitting or house sitting that can be compensated in cash are worth exploring, too.

4. Set yourself up for success

It’s true what they say: the best offense is a good defense. The more you can prepare yourself for the unexpected by having an emergency fund in place, the better off you’ll be when surprises do pop up. Everyone’s emergency fund will look slightly different based on your family size, existing savings, household expenses and other factors, but starting somewhere to set up an emergency fund by squirreling some money away for a rainy day is a good idea.

Learn with experience

Remember that emergencies happen to everyone, and it’s simply a matter of time before you find yourself in a situation that comes with a big price tag. Rather than panicking or feeling bad about the impact an emergency could have on your financial goals, learn from each experience so you’re better equipped to put a plan in place for next time.


The information in this article is provided for general education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. It is not intended to be and does not constitute financial, legal or any other advice specific to you the user or anyone else. The companies and individuals (other than OneMain Financial’s sponsored partners) referred to in this message are not sponsors of, do not endorse, and are not otherwise affiliated with OneMain Financial.