Unconventional Ways to Recover from a Financial Emergency

Financial emergencies strike unexpectedly. Be prepared and ready to bounce back from fiscal crises with these tips from RelayRides blogger Eric Rosenberg.

It is 6:15am on Monday morning. You just rolled out of bed. You stumble across your room and make your way to the shower to start your day. You turn on the water, wait about thirty seconds, and hop in. As you are jolted to alertness by the frigid cold water, you just got an even worse wake up call; it is time to buy a new hot water heater.

Emergencies Happen

Cars break. Furnaces die. Hot water heaters stop heating water. Refrigerators kick the bucket. People get hurt and sick. In your everyday life, there is an endless number of situations that could surprise you and cost you money.

Fortunately, many of those emergencies can be fixed with only a couple hundred dollars. Others, however, can cost thousands. What would you do today if your furnace broke down and you had to come up with $4000 to buy a new one and have it installed?

The first place you should look is to an emergency fund. Emergency funds are an important part of your financial safety net in case something goes wrong. I always suggest people keep at least $5,000 in a savings account in case something goes wrong, but most Americans do not have enough savings to last for six months, let alone cover a major emergency expense.

If you don’t have enough savings to get yourself out of an emergency, start saving today. If it is already too late, here are some ideas to make money quickly and bounce back from an emergency.

Sell Your Stuff

I have made over $500 selling old furniture on Craigslist over the last year. Someone I know made thousands selling old collectibles on eBay. I read about someone else who sent in their used books and DVDs to Amazon’s seller program and had a nice trickle of money come in as the items sold.

Most people think their old stuff isn’t worth much, but you may be surprised to see what used goods go for online or in your city. Depending on what you have lying around the house, you could make hundreds or even thousands of dollars quickly by selling what you don’t use anymore.

If you are overwhelmed or don’t know where to get started, check out these guides by my pal Adam Baker at Man vs. Debt.

Turn Your Assets into Cash

The internet has ushered in a new wave of options to make money with the sharing economy. With RelayRides, you can rent out your car quickly and easily online. Airbnb connects you with people who want to rent your home for a few days, weeks, or months while traveling. Airbnb also has a page to rent out a room in your home while you are still around.

You can use your car to become a taxi driver with Lyft. You can also rent out that extra space in your garage or basement with help from StoreatMyHouse. There are lots of possibilities.

Do Random Tasks

Did you know you can make money with your smart phone? Apps like TaskRabbit and Gigwalk connect you with people who need small tasks or errands done, often taking less than 30 minutes. Then you get paid. Sometimes as much as $20 or more.

Do you have a talent? Fiverr connects you to people who will pay you five bucks (you keep about $4) to do random tasks ranging from graphic editing to voiceovers. Some people do things wacky, like dancing to a song in a hot dog costume or posing as your Facebook girlfriend. Thinking of something you can do that someone might pay $5 for and see how it goes.

You can also look online at sites like ODesk and elance for people hiring freelancers. Your skills might just match what they are looking for.