11 Things to Do When You Need Money, NOW

benjaminsFeeling broke and wondering how to make money, fast? I’m guessing you’re also feeling some mixture of panic, defeat and self-criticism. Which—while natural, human responses—aren’t going to help you find your back in to the black.

Have a pity party for yourself if you want, but make it finite. Say, one day to feel bad about your situation. And then, get busy on this list of 11 things.

Whether you need money stat, or you’d just like to have a little more money flowing in to your life, these tips will help you get that cash.

Start where you are. The solution isn’t “out there,” several steps down the path. It’s as close as your hands can reach. It’s the person you already know, the contact you’ve already made, the thing you already know how to do. You already possess whatever it is that’s going to help you make that money! This is number one on the list because if you don’t accept that you already have everything you need to get going, you’ll distract yourself by thinking about going back to school or spending three weeks buffing up your resume. 

What opportunities are currently on the table that you haven’t paid much attention to? Maybe someone sent you an email asking for your help on something but when you got it, you were busy and didn’t respond. Maybe you know a friend is looking for a sitter and you could pitch in while she looked for her long-term solution. I KNOW YOU HAVE AT LEAST ONE OPPORTUNITY already in your inbox or memory banks. Take another look.

Make a list of everything you could do to earn some dough that you would more or less enjoy doing. Putting things down in a list is a great way to get all your options out in the open. Pick two or three things to start pursuing now. When your momentum starts to wane on those things, move down the list.

Make a list of the qualities you’d like any money-earning opportunities to contain. I wrote more about this last week, here.

Reach out to people you’ve worked with in the past or are currently working with. This is really important, and people often don’t think of it—because they’re so hung up on thinking that the solution is elusive, so it must be something they haven’t already thought of or tried. If you have any clients, check in on them, ask how they’re doing and what they’re up to. Listen for ways you might be able to help, then ask them if they’d like help. They may not, and that’s OK. Ask if they know someone who might.

Look around your house and your life for things you don’t need that you could sell. Maybe it’s the piece of fitness equipment you never use. Or the engagement ring from your marriage that ended in divorce. Or the ring your great Aunt gave you but that you’ve never worn once and don’t even really like. Or clothes (or bags, or shoes). Or toys your kids have outgrown. Not only will getting rid of this stuff raise some cash (Craigslist is your best friend, or local Facebook groups where folks sell stuff they no longer need), it will clear some literal and metaphorical space for the new opportunities.

Take care of the money you do have. If you want more money, you want to be a good money steward. So clean up your money—organize the bills in your wallet, gather up all the spare change in your house and put them in a pretty cup, open and organize your bills, make a list of your outstanding debts, round up your gift cards and use them (or trade them or spend them on something you need).

Give thanks for every dollar you spend. For very bill you pay or thing you buy, give thanks for the fact that you have the money to do so—even though it means you will no longer be in possession of that money. Every time you spend money – and you will need to spend money, you can’t get through life without doing it – imagine it going out in the world and being fruitful and multiplying. Our checks have a big smiley face on them in the upper left-hand corner above our names and address (this was an option when I ordered the checks) for this very reason—I want to be happy when I’m spending money. If this is hard for you, think of all the good that spent money makes possible—the business owner who gets to hire employees, the employees who get to earn a living. Money is meant to be spread around. Be a grateful participant in every transaction. Especially when it’s money you’d rather not spend (an unexpected car repair, for example, or a speeding ticket).

Resist the urge to say you’re broke. Don’t give this feeling of being poor any more cognitive energy than it’s already gotten. Instead, say, “I’m having a temporary cash flow issue.” Because this IS temporary. And you very likely aren’t truly broke (as you’ll prove in the next step).

Make a list of your assets. To prove to yourself that you’re not broke, write down everything you possess that has value. House, car, belongings, qualities, skills, relationships…It’s so important that you see yourself as rich—even if your bank account balance doesn’t reflect it—because what we focus on grows.

Put one of every 10 dollars you earn away into an emergency fund. So that your chances of having another instance of needing money now will be dramatically reduced and you’ll be able to be your own bank.

What do you do when you are in need of an infusion of funds? Tell us about it in the comments below. The worst thing that can happen is to feel powerless around money – let’s collect a long and hearty list of things that are well within your control when it comes to financial flow!

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