When an unexpected expense pops up, many people find themselves in a bind. In fact, a recent Federal Reserve survey found about half of respondents said they’d have to sell a belonging or borrow money to cover a $400 emergency expense.
The fix is, of course, an emergency fund. Even $500 in the bank can get you out of a pinch; having three to six months of expenses is even better. (See “How to Build an Emergency Fund.”) Having that kind of cash available means you can get by without pawning off valuables, selling your blood or leaning on the generosity of a friend or relative.
It takes time, discipline and extra money to build up that cushion. In the meantime, here are strategies to earn fast cash today, increase your income on an ongoing basis and cut your monthly spending. Combined, they’ll help keep you out of this kind of bind going forward.