It has happened to us all. The car breaks down or you have to make an unexpected trip to the emergency room or you simply miscalculated your budget and suddenly, you find yourself short on rent.
Depending on how much money you need, there are some ways to handle the situation or make up the deficit without falling behind.
Sell Something You Don’t Need
Don’t list your car, your couches, or something that you use every day, but almost everyone has a bike or tools in the garage that they haven’t used in a while or a box of baby clothes that they can wash, fold and list by age group.
The fastest way to sell things is on an online yard sale or classifieds site. If you have enough time to pull together an actual yard sale, make sure you advertise well at least a week ahead of time and hold the sale in a high traffic area.
Consider it a good excuse to clean out your closets and assess what you really need to keep.
Quality Clothing to Consignment
While many people are used to simply donating old clothing to a charity shop, there are now many consignment stores that are willing to pay cash for stylish and gently used brand name items.
Check your area for options for both adult and children’s clothes and make sure you have washed and folded everything neatly before you make an appointment to go in.
Use Credit Cards
While you probably can’t put your rent on a credit card, you may be able to pay for other things, like utilities or groceries with a card and free up the money in your account to go toward rent.
Many cards even have cash advance options, but check the fee carefully for that and make sure that it is worth it because it often comes at a heftier price than a simple charge.
Consider Small Loans
If another financial situation has put you significantly behind in your budget, step into your bank or credit union and ask about a small, short-term loan.
You generally need good credit for this to go smoothly and quickly, but it can be a reasonable solution to your problem.
Stay far away from small title loan companies because the interest they charge is almost never worth the commitment.
This may seem extreme, but selling your plasma is a fast and easy way to earn some extra money.
I used this option more than once to help make ends meet as a college student and it saved me financially several times. Plasma centers will pay you to come in for a blood draw, where they remove the plasma and return the original blood to you.
If you have a reasonable tolerance for needles, go in for a few sessions to the local plasma center. It is no more painful than donating blood, it is safe and highly regulated, and you walk out with cash in hand. You will get the most for the first donation or two. Each session takes around an hour, so bring a book.
Your community may have an online Help Wanted section where you can check out some temporary tasks and jobs that can get you money fast.
Examples include house sitting, pet walking, driving somewhere, using your truck to haul things to the dump, babysitting, and yard work. Social media is another good way to track down odd jobs that can get you the money you need to pay the rent.
Talk to Your Landlord
If you are simply going to be behind in your finances for a week or two, it makes the most sense to talk to your landlord about an extension on rent. She may be willing to give you leeway (in return for a late fee) if your explanation is legitimate and you have paid your rent responsibly and consistently in the past.
Be prepared for a “no,” but it never hurts to ask. Your landlord may also have some emergency rental assistance resources you can try.
It is important to keep in mind that these measures are intended to help you bridge the gap between the rent you owe and what is sitting in your bank account occasionally.
None of these options are sustainable more than once or twice a year at most.
If you are consistently behind on your rent, it may be time to evaluate your budget and either reduce expenses where you can or plan to move somewhere more affordable.