It happens to many people: an unexpected cash crunch lands us in a tricky position and we’re left scrambling for financial strongholds. These financial conundrums often result from unexpected issues: a move you weren’t expecting, the loss of a job, or even switching jobs, can be enough to wipe out your rainy-day fund.
So, if the worst happens and you are seriously strapped for cash, what’s the best way to pull yourself out? Here are our best suggestions for what to do when you’re in a cash crunch and have less than stellar credit.
An unsecured line of credit
An unsecured line of credit is similar to a credit card, in the sense that you are granted access to a specific amount of money that you can use for any purpose, as needed. Because these loans are unsecured (you are not using an asset to secure the loan), they often require higher credit scores. However, credit unions may be a better option since they are owned by their members and can provide more leniencies with credit scores.
While it’s not recommended, you can use your credit card for small emergencies, such as an expensive and unexpected car repair. Credit cards will also often allow you to increase your limit or apply for a new one that has a longer introductory grace period. The benefit of the credit card is that, if you can pay off the full balance before the due date, you won’t have to pay any interest. However, if you fail to meet that deadline, credit cards are downright punitive in their interest charges and will quickly sink you much deeper into debt.
If you own a home, you may be able to apply for a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). This line of credit is backed by the equity of your house, which means that they allow you to borrow large sums of money for relatively low borrowing costs. While many people use HELOCs for home repairs, they can actually be used for anything. If you already have a HELOC in place, that should be your go-to option, since it’s the safest, however, a HELOC can quickly turn into a debt trap if you make it a habit to use them for expenses.
Short term loans
Short-term loans are flexible, easy to get, and can be used for anything you need. However, they can have punitive interest rates and should be used only when you can pay them back in full and in a timely manner. Unlike long-term loans, short-term loans do not have penalties or fees for early repayment and, in fact, early repayment is encouraged. Before you sign up for a short-term loan, it’s important to get all the loan information up front so that you understand exactly what the terms of the loan are what is expected from you. Like any type of loan, you can put yourself in a worse situation if you don’t have the means to pay it back.
No matter what you chose, you need to consider every potion possible which you think will best suit your taste. Always think twice and think ahead if you are able to pay everything in time. The choices given above will help you decide what to do.