When an unexpected expense happens find green instead of seeing red.
Surprise! You just discovered you’re looking at a major household repair (when did that mold on the ceiling start?) that you hadn’t anticipated. Or the ‘check engine’ light on your car’s dashboard has just started blinking ominously. Or maybe your beloved Rover mistook the contents of a wastebasket for a biscuit and a visit to the veterinarian is in order.
According to a recent Federal Reserve survey, 44% of respondents felt they would have to borrow money or sell a belonging to cover a $400 emergency expense.
But with a few simple strategies you can build an emergency fund that can see you through a jam without having to spread your funds too thin.
Sell Unused Gift Cards
Exchange gift cards you don’t want or will never use for cash. Online gift card exchanges take a few days because you need to mail the card and then wait for a direct deposit or a check. You can get instant cash for cards valued at $20 or more at Cardpool kiosks; expect to receive up to 85% of the card’s value. If you exchange a card at Cardpool’s website you could get up to 92% of its value.
Rent Out A Room
Home sweet home can become a source of sweet cash when you rent out an extra room in your living space. Sites like Airbnb allow for room rental listings; although listing on the site is free, you can expect to pay a 3% service fee when a reservation is made. Check local ordinances for specifics on short-term rentals.
Become A Rideshare Or Delivery Driver
Put the brakes on the need for emergency cash by becoming a rideshare or delivery driver. You can choose your own hours but you’ll also need to use your own car and gas.
Rideshare companies such as Lyft and Uber match you with customers looking to pay for a ride, while delivery services like Postmates and OrderUp compensate you for delivering takeout and other products.
Try Dog Sitting
It’s one way of taking some of the bite out of an emergency situation: Earn extra cash by babysitting for someone’s four-legged (or winged) family member. Sites like Rover and Care.com match pet owners with cat sitters, dog walkers, and more.
Take Out A Personal Loan
When time is of the essence, you may be able to find a lender who’ll provide a personal loan in as little as a day if you have good credit. If your credit is less than optimal, you could be looking at rates as high as 36% APR, which will cause some pain but might be the best you can do in a pinch.