How to Find Money When There Isn't Enough

Getting financial headaches?

For most people, the economic situation is better than it was a few years ago, but "better" is a relative term. Employment metrics show plodding improvement, but the US economy still faces challenges. For one thing, the rate of improvement in the housing market is slowing down. Also, personal income growth is anemic, consumer spending has slowed, and consumer confidence started declining after the second quarter this year. Plenty of people need to find money to make ends meet, and if this is you, don't feel like you're alone. Here are 10 ways to find money when times are tight.

1. Get a Part Time Job

Easier said than done, right? The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is still over seven percent, but the economy is adding jobs. The quickest part time jobs to obtain are the ones with highest turnover: Restaurant jobs, retail, hospitality, and substitute teaching. Getting a job in this economy is still challenging, but it's the gold standard when you need to find money quickly.

2. Negotiate Interest Rates

If you have a good record of paying on your credit cards and other loans, you may have a decent shot at negotiating a lower interest rate. You shouldn't let your situation become dire before exploring this option. The sooner you talk to your lenders frankly, saying, "I'm having a harder time paying this. Could you possibly give me a lower interest rate?" the better your chances.

3. eBay, Craigslist, and Consignment Stores

It's not easy to part with possessions you're attached to, but if parting with a few game cartridges means you can afford groceries and the baby's prescription, it's an easy choice. If you've never sold on eBay or Craigslist before, read up on tips for ensuring safety and maximizing chances of finding honest buyers. If you have barely worn, nice clothing and accessories, you may be able to sell through local consignment stores, too.

4. Hold a Garage Sale

Having a successful garage sale requires planning and work, but it can be a terrific way to find money and de-clutter your house at the same time. Kids can participate and help out, too, so they can feel like they're helping the family and have their own sense of accomplishment. If you're not sure where to start, try these tips from people who have experience with successful garage sales.

5. Have a Mower? Do Yard Work.

If you have a mower, it probably sits idle most of the time. You or your teen can find money by offering to do yard work. Yes, it's hard physical work, but it can pay pretty well, since there are a lot of people who hate yard work.

6. Dog Walking

Do you walk your dog every evening after work? Perhaps your neighbors would appreciate having their dogs walked along with yours. Obviously, this works best when you and your neighbors have easy-going dogs. For some people, the gig works out well enough that they make a profession out of it.

7. Use Your Skills: Sewing, Fixing Computers, Housework

Many people have skills that are more valuable than they think. Do you sew? Plenty of people need slacks or skirts hemmed or clothing repaired. Did you build your own computer? Numerous older individuals find computers mystifying and would gladly pay someone to set up a router so they can get online. Housework and babysitting are other skills a lot of people will pay for.

8. Tutoring

Tutors can find money short term or long term, and that money is often quite good. Tutors for math, science, information technology, and languages are in highest demand. On-demand tutoring services assign short-term tutoring tasks, while many people with in-demand skills can go it alone and earn decent money tutoring high school and college students.

9. Pawn Something

Pawning valuable items should be done with forethought, but there are situations where you need to find money yesterday, and pawning something is the fastest way to do so. Pawn shops are state-regulated, and some specialize in certain categories, like musical instruments or jewelry.

10. Sell Scrap Metal

You may have scrap metal sitting around that could earn you a few dollars. Old iron bed frames can fetch a few dollars, as can bent golf clubs, dented aluminum bats, and free weight plates, which are mostly made of iron. That mechanical reel mower in your shed that you stopped using could fetch a few dollars as well. It's definitely worth considering.

If you need to find money to take care of expenses, you're not alone. But if you're willing to put in some effort, you can find money short term and long term, whether through your ingenuity and skills, or through divesting yourself of possessions that you no longer use.

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