CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The holidays can be a strains on a family's budget. Many find this time of year financially stressful.
The Better Business Bureau's Tom Bartholomy has some suggestions of how to and how not to raise extra cash around the holidays.
- Title loans. A title loan is secured by placing a lien on your vehicle’s title. If you don’t make the payments, the lender will repossess your car, leaving you in a much worse financial situation. Title loans are illegal in N.C., but not in S.C. “This is the worst possible way to raise cash,” said BBB President Tom Bartholomy. “Losing your car could be financially devastating.”
- Advance fee loans. There are many unscrupulous lenders who guarantee they can get you a loan if you pay an advance fee as collateral or insurance on the loan because you have bad credit. “You will be instructed to wire the advance fee to another country or pay the fees with a pre-paid debit card,” said Bartholomy, “and then you will not get the loan.” Advance fee loans are illegal in N.C., but not in S.C.
- Payday loans. A payday loan is a short term loan with a very high interest rate that you pay back on your next payday by giving the lender a post-dated check. This starts a vicious cycle of spending your paycheck before you earn it, and it takes people on average eight months to break free of payday loans. Payday loans are illegal in N.C., but not in S.C. “Payday loans are also widely available online,” said Bartholomy, “but BBB has received hundreds of complaints from consumers about aggressive and illegal collection practices by online payday lenders.”
- Credit card cash advances. Cash advances from your credit cards are very expensive. You will not only pay interest that may approach 36 percent, but you will also pay cash advance fees.
- Pawning valuables. A pawn shop will loan you about 25 percent of what the item is worth and you have to pay that amount back with interest, usually within 30 days or the pawn shop will sell the item you pawned. “Never pawn something that you would hate to lose,” added Bartholomy.
- Sell stuff. Those collectibles you have: beanie babies, baseball cards, autographed memorabilia, or Christmas villages, may be worth some money. Check out eBay or Craigslist to see what you can sell!
- Have a garage or yard sale. It’s quick, easy and inexpensive.
- Sell your gold or silver jewelry. Most local jewelry stores buy gold, silver and coins. Be sure to find out how much you will get before you commit to selling.
- Free-lance. Are you a good writer? Web designer? Photographer? Market your skills as a free-lance worker and earn some extra money on the side.
- Work part-time or get a seasonal job. Why not get a part-time job at your favorite store? You can make extra money and get an employee discount. Start looking for seasonal jobs early.