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Finding money in an emergency, safely

Almost everyone finds themselves strapped for cash from time to time, but it can often be hard to prepare for the worst, even if you’re financially sensible. There’s no one way to get money quickly, and the best method will always depend on your individual circumstances. Factors like how much money you need, how quickly you need it, and the state of your credit history will all need to be taken into account. As such, you’ll need to consider all your options before deciding on any one path.

1. Borrow money

Perhaps the quickest and most reliable means of raising emergency funds is by simply borrowing money, especially if you need a significant amount. There are many different ways to do this, but you’ll need to be wary of some of them. Payday loans, credit cards, and overdrafts have notoriously high rates of interest, while secured loans lend money against assets like your home or car, which can put them at risk if you can’t pay them back.

Your best option could be a personal loan, which gets you a lump sum that can be paid back in instalments. They can be obtained quickly, making them ideal if you need large amounts of money in a hurry. Personal loans aren’t secured against any assets and you are also able to set how long it will take to repay them.

However, while interest rates on personal loans aren’t typically as high as other borrowing methods, you could fall into further debt if you aren’t careful. Lenders won’t usually let you borrow less than £1,000, or for fewer than 12 months, which means you could end up borrowing more than you need, or are able to afford. Furthermore, a low credit score could stop you from obtaining a personal loan altogether.

If your credit score is a problem you could opt for a guarantor loan, but you must be comfortable affording it. This is a loan where somebody you know agrees to make the loan repayments if you don’t. While your own credit rating will not be taken into account, your guarantor will themselves need a good credit score to be accepted. Since this is a serious financial responsibility, that person should be someone that you know and trust.

The Amigo Loans guide says there wouldn’t be an impact on the guarantor at all, providing you keep up with your monthly payments. Only if you miss a payment and no alternative arrangement can be agreed would a guarantor need to make a repayment towards the loan.

2. Take an odd job or two

Finding short-term work is easier than ever, so you could instead advertise yourself for an odd job to raise extra cash. Sites like TaskRabbit let members advertise ad hoc, part-time roles that anyone can take on, such as cleaning, flat-pack assembling, handyman jobs, and even personal assistant positions. All you need to do is sign up, complete training and information sessions, and you’re good to go. Another useful site is Fiverr, an online marketplace for freelancers. If you are trained in areas like programming or design, Fiverr is a great place to find freelance work, while also offering one-off data entry jobs to users with a more generalised skill set.

You could even take on more unique work instead. For instance, you can get paid to look after pets in your area, with some sites enabling individuals to earn up to £1,500 a month for simply walking dogs. Other options include completing online surveys for market research companies in return for cash, or becoming a mystery shopper who reviews different restaurants and shops.

3. Sell unwanted possessions

In the Marie Kondo era, there’s a lot to be said for getting rid of things that don’t spark joy. But why not take to Gumtree or eBay to make some money in the process. A safe and easy way to make a quick buck, selling your unwanted items allows you to declutter the house effectively and lucratively, with best-selling items including old furniture, used game consoles, and baby gear.

With e-commerce growing steadily over the last few years, the easiest way to sell possessions nowadays is through online consumer-to-consumer sites. Anyone can sign up to these sites and put their belongings up for sale right away, making them a simple way to shift your neglected items. There are also item-specific platforms you can use—for instance, musicMagpie sells electronic goods while WPDiamonds will buy unwanted jewellery

Even with the proliferation of e-commerce sites, you could still sell your stuff the old-fashioned way by signing up to a car boot sale to flog your belongings in person. With numerous car boot sales throughout the country, you should be able to find one near you.

The main drawbacks of going down this route are that it could take days or weeks before you see any return and that it totally depends on whether people are willing to buy your stuff. What’s more, the returns may be minimal if what you have lying about aren’t worth much, or are in poor nick. However, if you have time and some potentially valuable items, it could be a useful way forward.

Claire James

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