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Need Help Paying Rent ASAP? 7 Ways to Make or Borrow Rent Money

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Seven years ago, I was lying on the floor of my studio apartment in Silicon Valley, California. Rent was due in two days—and I didn’t have enough money to pay it. I had just quit my well-paying desk job three months earlier to start a freelance business. But a mere 90 days later, I still didn’t have enough clients, and all the savings in my bank account had run dry. My stomach grumbled every night, and I ate peanut butter out of the jar to stave off the hunger. I was too ashamed to tell anyone. My parents had no clue how broke I was.

If you’re in a similar situation, I’m sending you a big virtual hug. You’re going to get through this. If you need help paying rent ASAP, here are seven ways you can borrow or make rent money.

#1 Pawn Shop Loan

A pawn shop is a place where people can “pawn” their items (sell their items) to the store, and then the store sells those items for a marked-up price. BUT did you know that if you do NOT want to part with your item forever, but you need money fast, you can ask for a pawn shop loan? That’s what I did when I needed money to pay rent years ago.

How to Get a Pawn Shop Loan

  1. Bring in valuable item(s).
  2. Have the items’ value assessed.
  3. Accept or reject the offer.
  4. Give the employee your information.
  5. Receive a pawn slip and cash.
  6. Buy the item back (at a higher price) before the time is up.

Pros of a Pawn Loan

  1. No credit check.
  2. No way for them to ruin your credit score.
  3. Fast cash.
  4. No need to show proof of income.
  5. No monthly payments.

Cons of Pawn Shop Loan

  1. Short period to pay it back
  2. If you can’t pay it back, you lose your item forever.
  3. High interest rates

#2 Selling Items on Craigslist

If you have a high-ticket item you don’t mind parting ways with, and you think you can get more money by selling it direct to buyer rather than through a pawn shop—consider listing your item on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

#3 Online Personal Loans

You can take out a personal loan through a bank online. You’ll have to fill out an application and get approved. NerdWallet rounded up a list of the best places to get a personal loan in November 2020.

Pros of Personal Loans

  1. You can usually get more money this way than by selling your stuff.
  2. It can all be done online.
  3. Longer period to pay it off.
  4. Lower interest rate than a pawn loan.

Cons of Personal Loans

  1. Requires a credit check.
  2. Requires a decent credit score.
  3. Requires proof of income.

#4 Credit card cash advance

If you have a credit card, you can consider getting a cash advance. A cash advance basically lets you use your credit card like a debit card and withdraw cash from an ATM, of course, with the HUGE difference that you’re not withdrawing cash from your bank account. You’re borrowing cash from your credit card company, and the APR on it is high. So you want to pay it off as soon as possible.

#5 Your local government’s rental assistance program

Simply Google “rent assistance in [your city or county],” and you’ll probably find a housing authority that might lend you money to pay rent after you fill out an application and meet requirements. Note that this will take time, so if you’re in a rush, this might not be the best option.

#6 Charities and churches

Did you know many charities and churches offer rent financial assistance? Email some local organizations. Here are some national nonprofits that have local branches that you could contact:

  • Catholic Charities
  • The Salvation Army
  • St. Vincent de Paul

#7 Friends and family

As embarrassing as it may feel, if you’re really struggling and need help paying rent ASAP, it might be best to turn to your loved ones. Unlike lenders, your family and friends care about you on a personal level and will probably give you the best terms. Please consider reaching out to someone you trust and working out a way to pay them back in a timely manner.

What you need to consider when looking at these options for borrowing rent money

  • Can I afford to pay this back PLUS interest?
  • Can I handle the consequences of not paying this back on time or at all?
  • What is my PLAN for paying this back?
  • What is my plan for never being in this situation again?

Wishing you the best as you try to pay your rent

Look, I’ve been there. The panic that sets in when you can’t pay your rent is real and painful. You’re not alone. I was able to take out a pawn shop loan with my grandmother’s diamond ring. I made rent that month. And eventually, I was able to buy the ring back four months later!

If you need help paying rent ASAP, I hope this list of options was helpful for you. You’ll get back on your feet again, and in seven years, you’ll look back on this time as a necessary step to get you to where you were meant to be. I believe in you!

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Advice for Millennials shares real-life advice from real-life millennials about all the things they wish they'd known—from finance to health to careers.

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