Looking to seed an emergency fund or cover a surprise expense? Get a boost.
Sooner or later, everyone encounters a sudden need for cash that shakes their confidence. One minute you’re getting along just fine, and the next you’re wracking your brain for ideas to get the A/C fixed or buy those new car tires. The last thing you want to do is take on debt, so earning more money seems your best bet. But how?
There are a number of ways: for example, you can post offers in community centers to tutor kids or take advantage of internet-enabled opportunities. Here are some ideas to consider—plus pitfalls to avoid.
Scout out extra work
A study conducted by Gallup last year revealed that more than a third of Americans now take part in the so-called gig economy, taking advantage of part-time work opportunities to earn extra cash†. Often, web-based companies link people to customers looking for services.
Rideshare operations like Uber are one of the most well-known, but Wonolo, an online staffing firm, has rated 50 apps that connect customers seeking everything from food delivery and pet sitting to temporary office work and airplane rides.
Jim Wang, founder of the personal finance blog Wallet Hacks, says this sort of supplementary work—often with flexible work hours and weekly or biweekly payment if you work regularly—is a good option. But the online marketplace can be a bit like the wild west, so be skeptical of offers that seem too good to be true§.
“There are a ton of scams out there, many of which involve people sending you fake cashier’s checks and asking you to ‘mystery shop’ for gift cards,” says Wang. “Always do your homework, ask around, and trust your gut. If someone wants to send you thousands of dollars for no good reason, be wary.” Try an online search for comments and reviews on the customer or web address as well.
Traditional side jobs that can be done on evenings or weekends are another option, notes Huntington branch manager Adrian Vestemean, based in Northville, Michigan. “Many people need snow removed, pets walked, and grass cut, and there’s often some type of seasonal work available locally—a golf course in summer or retail store during the holiday season.” A few weeks or months ahead of time, stop by the store to fill out an application and speak to a manager.
Get the most out of your job now
If you feel that you’re making less than you deserve, this may be the time—and the motivation you need—to negotiate an increase. “Make sure your performance warrants the raise or promotion,” cautions Vestemean.
Even if a raise or promotion isn’t doable, your employer may be able to help by offering you additional hours or assignments that can help pad your paycheck. “Some companies allow you to exchange paid time off for cash,” says Vestemean. “Trading a week of vacation days for a week of pay can be a nice add-on to your income.”
Ditch your surplus stuff
This is your opportunity for a double win: bring in cash and clear out your basement and closets. Local consignment shops and sites like eBay and thredUP can help you unload everything from clothes you never wear to antiques gathering dust in the attic.
There are also category-specific sites for collectibles, such as rare books or music gear. Consider your need for cash a chance to look around and consider selling things you’ve been hanging onto that you could do without.
And if you’re just not ready to sell Grandma’s diamonds, there may still be ways to monetize them or another asset. “You may be able to qualify for a miscellaneous secured collateral loan, borrowing money to cover an immediate need without losing the asset you use to borrow against,” says Vestemean. “Customers inherit or own items they would never suspect they can use as collateral. People often own more than they actually realize. There’s usually a way we can help.”
As you look to bring in more cash, tie it to strong money habits. Speak with a Huntington banker—you can call or stop into your local branch— to discuss your options.