Find an Extra $1,000 for Debt
Follow these cash-flow tips and use the newfound money to pay down your debt fast
Wouldn't it be great to raise cash quickly for a good cause? I'm not talking about taking that newfound money and going out and splurging on anything fancy, but using that cash to simply pay off some of your lingering credit card debt or other bills?
Thankfully, there are lots of ways you can go about generating some big bucks fairly quickly. You won't need to tap your 401(k) plan, or resort to a payday lender. Try any of these six strategies to come up with $1,000 (or more) over the next month. Then take that $1,000 windfall and use it to reduce your debt.
Sell Stuff You Don't Want, Need or Use
Are there dresses, sweaters, pants or suits in your closet that you haven't worn since — forever? Now is the perfect time to sell some of that clothing as a way to pad your bank account. You can have a yard sale, sell items on eBay or list clothing with a local consignment shop.
Whatever method you choose, just be dispassionate about letting go of a range of things that are likely simply laying around, but that could be turned into ready cash. Clothing, furniture, appliances, electronics and other household items are all good starting points.
Turn a Hobby Into Cash
If you have a talent or skill that you've been using simply as a hobby, consider whether that hobby could earn you some cold, hard dollars. Maybe you're good at teaching piano and could tutor others. Or perhaps you're crafty when it comes to making jewelry, leather goods or accessories.
See Also: Check out 5 great seasonal jobs here.
Whatever your abilities, think about ways in which you can offer products or services that would be of use to someone willing to pay for those things.
A part-time enterprise that makes you extra cash can be quickly launched, as long as you keep it as a no-cost or low-cost venture that can be operated exclusively from your home. Don't spend gobs of money buying products, hiring anybody or leasing office space. Keep any business pursuit small enough and manageable enough that you can do it on your own. That way you keep all the profits — and that money can be used to help eliminate debt.
Adjust Your Withholdings at Work
If you're working and you routinely receive a big income tax refund check from the government each year, stop waiting to get what's rightfully due you and collect some of that money now. According to the IRS, the average tax refund check in 2011 exceeded $3,000.
If you're among the millions of Americans who receive tax refunds, you're giving the government an interest-free loan. To correct that situation, and to stake an immediate claim to your funds, simply go to your human resources office at work and adjust your W-4 withholdings. This will cause your employer to take fewer dollars out of your paycheck.
Once you adjust your withholdings, your very next paycheck will have more cash in it. If you normally get a refund of around $3,000 a year, expect to receive about $250 a month extra in your payroll check.
Consult IRS publications 505 and 919 at www.irs.gov to learn how to properly adjust your withholdings so that you don't take out too much money and end up owing taxes.
Squeeze Money From Your Residence
Whether you rent or own, getting a roommate or housemate is another way to generate income. If you can live with having an extra person around, you'll likely find takers willing to lease out a spare bedroom or space in your attic or basement. Lots of people who've been foreclosed upon or who can't get a mortgage for their own property might be especially willing to rent.
Taking in a roommate will provide you with extra cash to pay toward your debts. However, before forging ahead if you are a renter, be sure you're not violating any clauses in your rental contract by letting someone else live with you.
Save Money by Kicking Bad Habits
If you have a habit that's hurting you, financially or health-wise, kicking that habit could improve your economic situation.
Take cigarettes, for instance. The average pack of cigarettes costs roughly $4, excluding state taxes. If you smoke two packs a day, that adds up to $10 daily (taxes included). Do your best to rid yourself of that bad habit. If you can, you'll save $300 dollars a month or $3,600 dollars a year, not to mention the savings you'll reap from fewer medical bills.
Return a Recent Purchase
Are you in a financial bind because you've overspent? If you did a little too much shopping recently, that could be adding to your cash flow problems.
Rather than going to a payday lender, head straight back to the retail store or establishment where you recently made a purchase, return the merchandise you bought and get a refund. Then take the money you receive and apply it toward your debts.
As you can see, there are lots of creative ways to raise $1,000 or more in a month or less. You're limited only by your imagination and your willingness to become quickly debt free.
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach®, is a personal finance expert, television and radio personality, and a regular contributor to AARP. You can follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.
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