I was reading the latest issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine today and came across an article that discusses "A Dozen Timely Ideas on How to Pay Unexpected Bills and Weather Tough Times". I must say, I was actually excited (in an extremely nerdy way) to read the article and was hoping to read about something I never thought of. After all, it is my slower time of year and extra cash is always a good thing.
To my extreme disappointment, the article was full of unwise and impractical solutions. Six of the twelve "ideas" involved borrowing money in some way. What a novel idea--If you need some extra cash to pay your bills, ask your friends and family. Or better yet, idea #10--Borrow From Strangers. They then went on to describe a kid who mass emailed 10,000 people (illegal) and asked them to each donate $2.50 for his college tuition.
Other ideas involved taking money out of your retirement funds (which you can do, but for a penalty) and selling your investments (horrible time for that). And the worst idea of them all--Cash Convenience Checks. You are setting yourself up for disaster by using one of those blank checks that come with your credit card statement. The interest rate is usually very high and there is typically a fee you need to pay just for the convenience (around 3%-4%). And in some cases, when you pay credit card company back, your payment will be applied to your normal credit card purchases first, then toward the convenience check.
Number 12 on the list was "Sell Your Stuff". Finally, something that makes sense. I'm pretty sure I would donate plasma before doing anything else on the list. This article got me thinking and I will be working on my own list of things you can do to make some extra cash for the holidays or just to help make ends meet.