5 Places to Get Emergency Cash for Christmas

There are few other times of the year that bring about as much financial pressure as Christmas. In addition to shopping for presents, there are the endless rounds of parties, feasts, Secret Santa events, additions to your winter wardrobe, and more. For most people, it is hard to know where to draw the line on spending, and at times, they find themselves facing December 25th without the money needed for presents. When that happens, where can you find emergency cash for Christmas? Here are five tips to assist you in quickly generating the cash you need for the holiday season:

1. Attain an emergency short term loan: Sometimes known as payday loans, these short term windfalls can be quite helpful in the midst of a financial crisis. Usually ranging from $100 to $1500, the money is often deposited into your bank account, and a payment plan is set up according to your pay days. These emergency loans are beneficial to those who have a steady stream of income to repay them. However, it is important to financially plan beyond Christmas to ensure that you can repay any Christmas loans on time without impacting your overall financial health. The rates tend to be higher on short term loans, but results are often immediate, with some companies even promising to have funds available within 24 hours or less.

2. Borrow from family or friends: Many people take advantage of this option; however, it is not the most desirable for several reasons. First, it is a well known fact that money can damage relationships, and unlike the terms of an emergency loan, you may have to pay back the entire amount at one time. This option is best reserved for borrowing small sums of money. For optimal protection for you and your lender ( i.e. mom, dad, brother or sister), draw up an official contract stating the terms to which each side has agreed. This way, your lender cannot demand payment before it is due, and you will be less likely to default on your end of the payment arrangement. Do not take advantage of this avenue often, instead reserving it for true emergencies. Also, you should not make it a habit annually to depend on family and friends to help you buy presents.

A way to borrow money without goign to immediate family or direct friends is to use Internet social lending services.

3. Prepare in advance and pay on credit: Often we look to our credit cards as an emergency fund for holiday spending. If you prepare in advance and begin to pay down your balance, this will free up available spending and provide you with some additional resources. Credit can be a lifesaver if you do not have excess cash on hand for presents. However, the tricky part about purchasing items with credit, instead of attaining cash through a Christmas loan, is that you can feel free to spend more because you do not actually see the cash leaving your wallet. However, it can be quite distressing when January arrives, and you not only realize how much you spent, but also see the amount of interest tacked onto your bill. The best way to manage credit for the holiday season and utilize "emergency plastic" is by making a list and setting definitive limits. Do not buy more than what is on your list, and you should set a rule of thumb to pay off anything you purchased for the holiday season within three months.

4. Sign on for seasonal work: Many companies and organizations hire workers throughout the holiday season to earn extra cash. While this option should be taken advantage of at the beginning of the season, it is certainly a more affordable option when compared to a short term loan or using credit cards. However, it is important to note that most seasonal employees are let go as soon as the holiday ends, and thus, you cannot depend on the extra money after that point. However, the fun part is that employment options vary from retail to non-profits, and it seems like everyone needs extra help during the holiday season. eLance is also a great site for finding freelance opportunities.

5. Earn with online gigs/freelancing: If you have a creative talent of any sort, you can make quick Christmas cash online. Extra work during the holidays will help you to avoid going into debt, but you will have to begin searching early if you want to see the benefit to your pocketbook before Christmas. From graphic design to photography, online freelance options are virtually unlimited. There are a number of great sites available, with many freelancing boards completely free. Be sure to discuss terms of payment in advance to ensure that you are paid fairly and promptly for any online gigs you take. This is a great way to earn extra cash at any time of the year, but it is especially handy during the Christmas season.


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Good luck to all of you and Merry Christmas!