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Help! I need help with money today – preferably fast! What are my options?

If you need money today, or desperately, and are looking for advice on how to make quick cash fast, you are certainly not alone. A 2010 CareerBuilder survey found that 22% of respondents periodically missed payments on bills, and 77% of workers stated that they were living paycheck to paycheck.

This same survey found that in 2010, workers were: cutting back on entertainment/leisure time (54%); using coupons or shopping at discount stores (48%); driving less (37%); and canceling tv, cable, satellite, and other subscriptions (12%).

With more and more layoffs, pay cuts, increases gas and food prices, and anything else that can go wrong day-to-day or week-to-week, it’s not uncommon to need some quick cash fast for an emergency expense, or to help make ends meet. In this article we’ve compiled some tips and advice  to help you get money today, or at least quickly.

“So how can I get money today?”

If you need cash now today and don’t know where to turn next, this article may provide you with some direction. Our first impulse when we need money is typically to seek out a quick loan, but advises you to always make sure you’ve exhausted all of your options before doing so.

Before You Consider A Loan

How bad do you need the money? Is this to pay for entertainment, or something more important like getting your car fixed, or medical or vet bills? If you don’t need the money, even in the slightest way, do not take out a loan.

I know I may sound like your nagging mom by saying this, but do you really need that $500 or $1,000 (or more?) dollars? CNN Money mentions in an article that “spending beyond your limits is dangerous” and warns readers to “beware of luxuries dressed up as necessities“. Before you consider taking out a loan, take a moment and think about whether this expense can wait until you get paid or if it really is something that cannot wait.

Your Traditional Loan/Cash Options

If you have good or even decent credit, you can try applying for a credit card. As long as you don’t miss a payment, overdraft, or otherwise violate the credit card’s terms/policies, most credit cards charge anywhere from 14-30% interest. This beats many loans, especially “low cost personal loans“, payday loans, and cash advance loans.

If you’re in search of a cash loan now, have exhausted all other options mentioned above, try checking with your local bank first. You’ll be able to sit down in person with your bank representative, and go over your accounts, credit history, and financial need. They’ll let you know how much, if anything, they can lend you, and discuss the terms of the loan.

However, since most banks today aren’t lending much, chances are low that you’ll get a big loan unless you have substantial savings and a great credit score (above 680). (Don’t know your credit score? We recommend using to check your credit score.)

If you have good credit, you could check out sites like,, or Most banks now offer loans online, but again, with credit crunched, you’ll need good credit. But if you have bad credit…

“I Need Money Fast With Bad Credit!”

If you have bad credit and need money fast, your only options may be to either try and borrow money from a friend, or seek a more expensive loan. Cash advances, payday loans, and some personal loans can be funded to borrowers with bad credit (for example, most payday loans sites don’t even check your credit history, although some do) but they come with a high price: generally a fixed fee per $100 borrowed. A $25 price per $100 borrowed would run a borrower an APR of 300%! Compare this to credit cards, where the highest APRs typically seen are around 29% or so, and to home equity lines, which are rarely seen below 5-7%.

These high fees are typically not a deterrent to those looking for a poor credit loan who need money today and fast for a short-term emergency — especially during this economy.

Payday Loans In 2011

If you’ve recently tried contacting a local bank to get a loan , you may have noticed that their requirements for income, savings, or credit have increased, and your application may have been declined. You aren’t alone! As a result, more and more people are choosing small lenders, pawn shops, and payday loans.

An October 2011 Reuters article detailed the credit crunch going on in the banking industry today, and the rise of short-term and small lending, as more and more people are unable to get loans from their banks; demand for loans at credit unions (where there are lower fees) rose 52%!. The article noted that nearly one fifth of the American adult population is under-banked or un-banked – driven by additional fees and heightened lending requirements.

Another October 2011 article summarized the profits and gains of prominent payday lenders in today’s economy; most loan and pawn shop operators have seen their stock prices double in the last year. It is clear that more people are choosing payday/installment loans in this recession.

Even if you have bad or poor credit, you still have options with lenders.

Generally speaking, the more in-need you are, and the less credit you have, then the higher the APR on a loan. Need to get loan today? Lenders will send the money, but there is a cost. Always be wary of this, and always be sure to read the fine print, and understand exactly what you are promising and agreeing to when you cross your T’s and dot your I’s. Always make sure you know exactly what your “final cost” of the loan is, after all payments and interest are tallied up.

The lenders that charge the most in terms of APR are ones that only require a valid checking account and regular income. Be careful, because these lenders can charge interest rates in the hundreds.

I Need Money For a Car – How Can I Get It?

If you need money for a car or car repairs, you have several options. You can try to borrow the money you need for a car from a bank or lending office. Another option is to sell the car you currently own — assuming you have one that you own free and clear — and use the cash you make from the sale to buy another vehicle. You might also consider trading your existing car in on another car. If you do this, you will probably still end up with a car payment because most car dealerships don’t give a fair price on trade-ins.

Need money fast with bad credit? The fact that you have bad credit in no way means that you can’t get loan approval. However, having bad credit means that you might end up with higher monthly payments as well as higher interest rates. This is unfortunate, but it’s a fact that many people have to accept when they need money with bad credit.

You can start saving up your money today to buy a car. Respected financial guru Dave Ramsey recommends saving money up for cheaper used vehicles rather than borrowing money for new ones because of the incredibly fast rate of depreciation associated with newer cars.

Other Ideas for Making More Money

Here are some ideas for generating/making more money, both in the short and long term.

Make a pledge to build more income streams and save a percentage of any money you get. We can tell you how to get loans, credit cards, etc  - and this article does that – but it’s important to think about curing the problem and not just the symptoms. Ask yourself why you need money, and why you seem to keep running out. Judging by today’s economy, it could simply be an income flow issue. Places like The Keyword Academy teach people to make money online; others like Elance, oDesk, and Fiverr offer members the opportunity to advertise services like writing, site design, graphics, sales videos, transcription, etc. This can be an idea for getting some recurring income going.

Saving: If you’re able to save money – even just a tiny bit each month – it will pay off in a big way. Sites like not only pay an APY on savings balances, but also reward users for meeting savings goals (these goals can be any amount). Once you complete a goal, smartypig will offer rewards either in the form of gift cards (to stores like Amazon, Gap, etc) or cash back. As you can see, if you’re able to save it will pay off in a huge way! Here’s a good link with more resources on saving.

Visit a Pawn Store. If you desperately need money and loans aren’t an option, you could get some fast cash by either pawning your valuables. The way pawn shows work is this: You offer them something of value (from a gold necklace to an antique) and they will give you a loan on it. They keep your item and charge you interest on the money they pay you. After 60, 90, or 120 days (depending on the terms), you bring back the money you borrowed, plus interest, and you’ll get your item back. Pawn shops will usually take all kinds of things, including jewelry, electronics, firearms, and even musical instruments. If you have anything like that in your possession, take it to a pawn dealer to get what you can. As long as you pay back the money and interest, you can get your items back. Chances are good you won’t get a $1500 loan this way unless you own something really valuable, but if you own anything that’s worth $1000 or less, you might get several hundred dollars.

Sell Your Stuff on Ebay or Craigslist. Ebay and Craigslist are both great places to sell used electronics, jewelry, and even your car. If you’re not sure what to ask for your stuff, do a quick search to find out how much other people are getting for their items, and price your things competitively. You can also set up auctions so that purchases have to be paid for immediately, which gives you a better shot at getting your money fast.

Find a Cosigner. It might be hard to convince someone you know to sign with you on a loan, but banks are much more likely to offer cash loans for people with terrible credit who have cosigners. It’s probably best to ask someone you have a pretty stable, solid relationship with versus someone you’re not as close to. If you can’t pay the loan back, a person who is very close to you is more likely to forgive you than someone who isn’t. That said, pay your loan back if at all possible! You don’t want your personal relationships to sustain any damage whatsoever if you can help it.

Credit Cards. Many credit card companies will give lines of credit to people with low scores. Be careful though, because it’s incredibly easy to use a credit card to rack up lots of debt on things you may not need. If you are in a bind, and need to use a credit card, for, say, a new water heater, then that’s one thing. But for a vacation or the holidays is something else entirely. Generally speaking, the worse your credit score is, and the less you make, the more a credit card will cost (but not always). Always be sure to read the fine print and rates of a credit card offer, and understand if you are agreeing to a card where there are fees and charges just for signing up. Some cards even have an “annual fee” and before you know it, you have a $500 card, a balance of $350 (more or less depending on the fee(s) without having actually bought anything. That is the kind of credit card to stay away from.


Wrapping Up

Like we mentioned above, always take time to think about if you really need a loan. If you absolutely need money now, try borrowing from a friend, visiting a pawn store, or selling your valuable items. Getting a credit card or a loan from your local bank will almost always be cheaper than any other option, but if you have nowhere else to turn, you can get payday or installment loans.

Be careful with payday loans. The Office of Attorney General Lori Swanson warns consumers against these quick loans because of the extremely high costs and fees associated with them - sometimes as much as 400%! Payday loans should only be considered when there is little else you can do. We’ve also written an article on the truth about payday loans, and we strongly advise you read it before considering this path.

Prevent Ripoffs and Be Careful!

People who need money in the worst way are considered very easy prey to malicious lenders. It pays to watch your back no matter what kind of loan you’re getting. Be aware of the laws in your area regarding interest and loan fees. Some states have caps on the interest lenders can legally charge borrowers. Read over all the fine print before you sign anything. It also helps to look up your lender with the Better Business Bureau to find out if they are legit.

Always do your due diligence before signing any agreements or contracts. Remember that it is unsafe to ever give a lender money upfront, most especially those overseas (but really, anywhere). Make sure to check out any lenders you use with the Better Business Bureau ( to see if they are legitimate or not. Always read the fine print, always understand what you’re signing, and always make sure to clarify the “total cost” of your loan. And finally, with any loan or credit card, make sure to pay all of your payments on time (and paying more than you’re supposed to will mean that you actually save yourself interest and additional payments later on.) Good luck!