I've been there. It's hard to go about your daily life with a positive attitude when your checking account is overdrawn and you need to find a way to survive and feed your family until payday.
The long-term solution to this problem is budgeting and increasing your cash flow, I recommend that you investigate side job opportunities.
However, when the account is overdrawn and you need cash quickly, here are
some of my down and dirty tricks for raising cash quickly when you needed it yesterday. The following list is no particular order:
Tip #1 - Sell your stuff to a Used Book Store
Half Price Books has chains around the country. There are also regional bookstores that often offer the same service so you may want to call around. This is when you go around your house and gather all the books that you have in good condition, cd's (does anyone still have those?), DVD's and yes, they even take VHS tapes and box them up and take them to good old Half Price Books.
You won't make a ton of money here, but in the past I have averaged about $40 in cash for 4-5 boxes of merchandise. When you are broke, that $40 can be stretched!
Tip #2 - Children's Consignment Shops
If you have kids then you likely have toys, furniture and clothes that your kids have outgrown or plain old never used. While it's advantageous to sell these items on eBay or Craigslist, if you don't have the time and need the money today a good option is to take them to a consignment store.
Every store is different but most will only pay cash for name brand clothing, big toy items like bikes, trikes, dollhouses, etc. and furniture such as cribs and highchairs. Clean your items up and call the store ahead of time to check on their policies and time-frames for drop-offs.
You can often select a cash option for these items and it's a good idea to pick up a little toy while you are there so your child doesn't feel gipped...even though it's stuff they don't need anymore! Maternity items also sell well.
Tip #3 - Pawn Shops
I'm sure you've seen the tv shows. The stigma of visiting a pawn shop is a thing of the past. Today's pawn shops are booming in this economy and they want your stuff! Google pawn shops in your area and look at what kind of merchandise they buy. You can often make fast cash be selling them old jewelry (even costume jewelry) and other items that have some worth that you are willing to part with.
Tip #4 - Return Past Purchases
Most of us have things sitting in our closets that we haven't worn and may still have the tags on. Today's technology often allows for returns without receipt as they can often pull up your purchase with your credit card or customer loyalty card. Fred Meyer/Kroger is very good about this. Sometimes you can get cash, sometimes a gift card...but it all helps when you are broke.
Tip #5 - Collect Loose Change
This may seem obvious but going through your vehicles, piggy banks, couch cushions, pockets, old purses and wallets and the laundry room can add up to a nice chunk of change. The bank will give you free wrappers to roll your coins or use my favorite, CoinStar where you just dump your change in and for a very small fee they'll give you a voucher to redeem for cash at the register where the machine is located.
Tip #6 - Hold a Yard Sale
There are people in my neighborhood who hold a yard sale every weekend. I don't advocate this but if you need cash quickly and feel you have some items to sell, why not put up a few signs, grab a lawn chair and see what happens? Housewares, Christmas items, antiques/collectibles, vintage items and large items all sell really well at yard sales. Do some spring cleaning and make a few bucks. Definitely advertise your sale on Craigslist, Facebook and whatever other social media you are involved with and ask your friends to spread the word.
Tip #7 - Offer Odd Jobs
Consider your skills. Do you have a pressure washer? Do you have a lawnmower? Are you a good organizer? Whatever your skill (or power tool), make up a flyer advertising your services and go door to door in your neighborhood. Be sure to look clean cut, be polite, be friendly and hand the homeowner your flyer and just say that you are out doing some odd jobs to raise money for your family and would be they be interested. You'd be surprised at the number of folks who are thrilled to get their grass mowed or their flower bed weeded at rock-bottom prices.
Some ideas for this type of job would be: grass mowed, fall/spring yard clean-up, pressure washing, painting, fence building, housecleaning, garage cleaning/organizing, and washing cars.
You can also advertise your "services" on Craigslist for FREE.
Tip #8 - Spray Paint House Numbers
I've seen this done in my own neighborhood and it seems to be very successful. There are these two guys that walk around and offer to spray paint your house numbers on the curb in front of your house. The idea behind this is so that emergency services can easily identify house numbers and addresses and most homeowners see the value in having this done.
The guys that I've seen use a stencil and spray paint and charge $5. They also have a little American flag stencil that they'll add if you would like, a lot of veterans in our cul-de-sac have this now next to their house numbers, pretty cool. I know for a fact, that most times these guys get a $10 or $20 bill and are told to keep the change. Not a bad gig!
Tip #9 - Rent Out Something
If you own or rent a home then you likely have extra space. There's a reason why storage units are everywhere you look these days. With so many families facing foreclosure, many former homeowners are down-sizing their household (or in transition or temporary housing) and moving into rentals that often cannot accommodate their stuff. Money is tight.
Offer up your side-yard for vehicle, RV, boat, or camper parking. Offer up your garage for storage space. Write up a Craigslist ad, be personable and it helps to mention that you, yourself are trying to survive this tough economy by renting out your spaces at affordable prices (below storage unit prices).
It's a good idea to write up a basic contract (Word has templates for this sort of thing or you can buy legal templates for around $30 online so the people feel like their stuff is protected and you are protected as well if anything happens to it. Perhaps get a few references as well. Post your ad at the local grocery store and be sure to use social media to spread the word, as many more people will feel comfortable renting from a "friend of a friend."
Tip #10 - Donate Plasma
This one is a bit extreme, but I feel that it's worth mentioning. Plasma donation centers are looking for people between the ages of 18-59 in good health to donate plasma. It's not much different than donating blood and you can make between $25-$40 per visit and can donate twice a week.