We’ve never done this before, but I was surprised after Dave Ramsey was stumped (possibly a first?) from a question a listener asked him recently – what I thought to be an easy question to answer. As such, I thought it would be intriguing to give our answer and even see if you had any alternative answers to share.
One reason why I’ve never done this is because I rarely get to listen to his program. When you have kids and have a ton going on constantly, it’s hard to merely sit and listen to anything at any point of the day. In fact, I was only listening as I was driving to the grocery store at night…by myself. Any other time (meaning most of the time), I have kids in the car with the stereo instead playing less than enjoyable kids’ music or our well used Classical Conversations CD.
Now don’t get me wrong, when I get that rare chance to listen to him, I enjoy the program and the mounds of wonderful advice he shares. We may disagree on different approaches like his crash diet approach compared to our gradual approach we used to pay off over $100K of consumer debt, but in general he has amazing information and has helped thousands. We love that!
But it was that night where a young man’s situation stumped him that forced me to write this article. I’ve pondered and can truly empathize with this young man’s situation because we’ve been in financial dire straights in the past and had to work miracles with the money to avoid bankruptcy. And although the circumstances surrounding this young man’s dire financial situation was much different, but the actions (and thus my answer) are very much the same that we would answer him as we used for ourself when we paid off our debt years ago!
This young man had been earning $11.25 per hour and slowly but surely was working through Dave Ramsey’s baby steps. However, the night before the call, he and dozens of his coworkers were laid off after a contract loss at his former place of employment.
He did not have his savings built up yet; he was scared because he didn’t know what to do in his immediate situation to solve his financial needs of paying for food and his bills. He needed money NOW and was not sure where to go.
This is where Dave Ramsey provided his wise, tried and true money-making advice (which is great for many) – soon learning that maybe its not the easy, blanket answer for everyone:
“Go to the pizza place right now and start delivering pizzas!”
But instead of the normal responses, he replied with an answer Mr. Ramsey didn’t expect: “But I don’t own a car!”
Mr. Ramsey paused and finally stuttered out, “Oh, uh, well that is a problem. I don’t know what to tell you other than find some ways to bring in cash now to pay your bills and buy food.”
Here is where we want to interject. We ourselves have been in financially tight spots in the past and needed money NOW. And no, we didn’t deliver pizzas. But we did a handful of things that kept us out of bankruptcy. And in a short time, we were actually able to pay our bills and turn our situation around.
#1. Act Like You Are Doing A Penniless Week Challenge
Immediately I would recommend doing the Penniless Week Challenge, except in his case it is a reality. It’s truly amazing to find just what you have in your home/apartment at the time that you can live off of for a week or two at minimum. It does mean weird meals (e.g., breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast), but most families can survive off the the foods in their fridge and cupboard for at least a week or more. Just milk it and eat what you have while following all the other rules for Penniless Week. Its amazing every time we do this what we find that we can live without while not even realizing it.
#2. Don’t Discredit a Paper Route
This man said he rode his bike or ran to work. This immediately brought to mind the classic job – a paper route. When we finally decided to wake up and make a change in our financial lives, we immediately began delivering newspapers. Yes, it is the classic pre-teen job, but it also works well for adults needing to make money now. The pay is regular, fast and it is easy(ish) to do. One thing that is unique and amazing about this specific job is that you can generally complete it before any other jobs, schooling or whatever else you have on your plate. We were able to bring in an extra $400 or so per month, which was a big boost to our situation. And because they are typically jobs for non-drivers, this is perfect as an addition to whatever else he may be able to do until he can get back on his feet into a more permanent situation.
#3. Get Creative and Brainstorm for Other Job Ideas
Often we think of earning extra income (or even main sources of income) from hourly, low paying jobs. But why not think bigger? You have talents and skills that make you unique! Why not learn how to take those talents and turn them into something that you can love doing every day while paying the bills and growing the business of your dreams? We would encourage you to check out our list of over 130 ways to earn extra income.
But you don’t just have to think big. We’ve shared on that same list other ideas that you can use even today to start earning extra income (also included on that list). One such idea includes donating plasma for money – which if you look for coupons on the web sites before you go might net you additional bonuses just for going on your first time. Start looking, brainstorming and finding ways you can earn extra income (or primary income while unemployed) to earn what you can.
#4. Cash In on the Money Bags Around Your Home
Many people are sitting on many cash opportunities around their home without ever realizing or acknowledging it. Especially when dire straights hit, you need to acknowledge the lost money sitting around the home. It can be turned into cash FAST.
Find all of the old electronics, books, CDs, movies, etc. that you don’t need and sell them to Amazon and other sites that takes old electronics. Most households can produce several hundred dollars in quick cash. Once you do this and receive the money, keep it close at hand and spend very slowly and wisely to be sure you have food on the table. This is a one-time only type of cash flow option. And you don’t have to leave home, so no car needed.
Find unused gift cards all around your home. The average household has over $300 sitting around somewhere in the home. Find and collect these and use them for one of two things: first, find any that can be used to help you make your ends meet and secondly, and possibly a better option for many gift cards would be to sell them for 90% of the value back and then stretch that cash to buy affordable groceries and pay your necessary bills.
#5. Grab “Quick Cash” Tasks
Now ultimately, these opportunities are not the end-goal. In fact, they are short, quick steps to finding and settling into a more permanent career, but they will successfully help you make it through the transition.
Finally, whoever this young man is, don’t lose heart, don’t lose hope. You are in a position to be able to successfully pull yourself off the ground and hit the ground running. You just have to put the excuses behind, tell yourself that this can be done and have a new perspective with mind over matter.
Looking back, we are not completely sure how we made it through those days and weeks where we felt like we had no hope. We had so much debt and was so far behind in paying it off that even our regular jobs could not pay the bills. To most, bankruptcy was the only option. To us, with the grace of God, it was not. We were determined to make it through and pay our bills. Once we started, we didn’t want to just get caught up but to get out of debt (which seemed impossible at the time).
We have shared many ways to get cash NOW, or find ways of making money from home. Check out the resources below to generate hundreds more ideas.
- Grab a copy of our eBook on How To Build Your Emergency Fund in 30 Days HERE which will give you many ideas on how to have $1,000 of cash FAST.
- Then you can also visit our page on Over 130 ways to Earn Extra Income HERE and find tasks that fit your personality, ability, resources and earn more.