For those who have been or have come close to being evicted over nonpayment, you know how scary it is. Just a few years ago, it seemed like our entire lives spun out of control in a matter of days. We were suddenly left with no income, no money to pay our rent, and a very impatient landlord. With four small children depending on us, it was scary and we were worried. I explained our situation to the landlord and asked him to give me a couple of weeks to figure it out, but he not so politely told me that if I could not get him money that day, we were gone.
Obviously, I had no money that day or I would not have been trying to explain to him that I could not pay that day. We had nowhere to go and no hope in sight. That sort of desperation will make you want to do things that you never want to do. We were getting ready to sell our wedding rings, every TV in the house, sign over the title of our vehicle in exchange for a loan to pay rent, throw all of our possessions out in the yard and have a $1 sale, anything we could do to save our children from that situation.
Desperate Times= Desperate Measures
Does my story sound familiar to you? Sadly, it happens more often than any of us would like to admit. When the city showed up at our door a few days later, they gave us a week to vacate the premises. Other areas give less time, some give more time. Either way, being evicted for not paying rent is never fun. So what do you do when you need help paying rent?
In my case, a miracle occurred. I called my grandmother to ask if we could come stay with her for a bit. She said we could but asked if I just need a loan to pay rent. For the first time in my life, she actually had money to loan me. Even if it seems impossible, call friends and family before you make any other moves. Explain the situation and be clear in stating, “I need a loan to pay rent.” They may not have it but it is worth trying.
Emergency Help With Rent
Though they are usually not advertised widely, most areas have foundations that will provide emergency help with rent and utilities. If you are unaware of these organizations, call your city hall or local churches and simply tell them that you need help paying rent. They will usually know who you need to contact and can provide that information to you. Sometimes churches will help in these emergency situations if they have the funds to do so. If they do not, they may know a church that does.
In my city, we have an organization that is run by a local Baptist church. They rely on donations and grants to help. At different times of the month, they will assist with different things but it is on a first come, first served basis. For instance, if you need help with your electric bill, you have to start calling in at 7 a.m. on the first of the month to beat the others who are trying to get through. It is a cutthroat process that I vowed to never have to go through again, but we were blessed with the money we needed. Call around and ask for information. It is very likely that someone can send you to an organization if you need help paying rent.
A List of Ideas for How to Pay for Rent
Being able to complete the following tasks will depend on the amount of time you have to come up with the rent money. If your time frame is a couple of weeks or more, you will likely be able to complete a combination of these tasks. If you need it by tomorrow or within the next few days, you will likely have to take some of the drastic measures that are on the bottom of the list. Try some of these ideas:
-Have a yard sale or garage sale. You may be surprised to find that you have enough stuff to sell to cover your entire rent.
-Mow some lawns or rake leaves.
-Ask family members if they will pay you to clean their home.
-Babysit some children.
-Have a car wash.
-Ask your church to help you with a bake sale.
-Sell your big ticket items. I know that you want to keep your TV, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And, anyway, what good will that TV do if you have nowhere to watch it?
-Ask your boss for a payday advance.
-Talk to your bank. If you have a good history with them, you might be able to go into your local branch, and tell the loan officer, “I need a loan to pay rent.” They may have a solution for you.
-If you have any space on a credit card, try getting that amount in a cash advance.
-Take out a loan for your rent. Typing, “I need a loan to pay rent,” into your browser search bar will likely provide you with many options, both local and online. Be diligent in any loans you apply for. You can also use Loanry to find the best loan and the best lender for you. Shopping for loans is the most important thing you can do. In no case, no matter how desperate you are, should you apply with the first lender you come across. So, to help you speed up the process (we know you’re in a hurry), we connect you with credible lenders by getting personalized offers to you FAST.
Understand the Loans Offered for Rent
In that overwhelming number of results, you will likely find multiple loan types including payday loans, title loans, short term loans, and personal installment loans. Let’s start by understanding these loans:
This is a type of loan in which you write a check for the amount you are borrowing, then you repay that amount plus interest on payday. While convenient, payday loans can quickly spiral out of control. It is easy to think that you can pay it back without a problem, but that is usually not the case.
Let’s say you go into a payday loan company, say, “I need a loan to pay my rent”, and you get approved for $500. You pay your rent and feel like you can breathe, but in two weeks, you have a payment to make. Most payday loan companies charge around 25% interest, so you would have to repay a total of $625 in that case. Considering you just had a problem paying your $500 rent, it is safe to assume you will not have $625 to spare on payday.
These companies can simply deposit the check you gave them to get the payment if they must, and that will leave you with other problems. So, what happens now? You take the $625 into the company, they keep the $125 in interest while you re-borrow the $500. And the cycle repeats every payday until you feel smothered. Try to stay away from these loans at all costs.
There is another quick and convenient loan in which you borrow money against the title of your vehicle. The title loan company holds your title until you can pay off the loan. If you do not repay, they have the right to take the vehicle you used as collateral. Quick? Yes. Helpful? Maybe for a minute. A good idea? Only if you love giving your money away.
Title loans companies are similar to payday loan companies. In fact, you might find one business offering both loan types. With a title loan, you are charged high interest as well. Borrowing $500 could cost you $150 or more in interest per month. I made the mistake of borrowing around $1300 against a vehicle once and paid out about $400 a month in interest alone. If you can avoid these two loan types, please do so.
Quick Term Loans
These are loans that you borrow for short periods of time, like a payday loan, and then repay. The difference is that they do not always require collateral. The interest rate of these is usually smaller than that of title loans or payday loans, but it can still be high. If you are certain you can pay back the amount you borrow plus interest in a couple of weeks, this may be a good choice for you. If you expect that you will not be able to, move on to the next option.
Personal Installment Loans
While these loans take a bit more to get approved, they are often the best option of loans. Lower interest rates and longer repayment terms make them much easier to repay. While interest does vary, you can usually find this type of loan with a 10%- 15% interest rate. The better your credit, the higher your chances for approval, but do not let that stop you from applying if your credit is not good. You just might be surprised.
Going into physical locations to apply for loans can be exhausting, especially if you need to go into more than one. There is a much simpler was to do it. Personal online loan shopping through Loanry can decrease the number of lenders you see down to those that are relevant.
Desperate Times Do Not Excuse Reckless Behavior
Just because you have found yourself at the corner of “What do I do?” and “I need a loan to pay rent” does not mean that you should be careless in your choices. There are many options of loans to choose from but some will only provide temporary relief. They might pay your rent this month, but you will likely find yourself once again screaming, “I need a loan to pay rent” next month then the next. As hard as it may be when you are worried, you have to keep a level head when it comes to loans. Otherwise, you will just make your situation worse than it is at the moment.
Ways to Avoid a Repeat
Though we cannot control everything, we can make changes that set us on a better path. If you are determined to never let the words “I need a loan to pay rent” cross your lips again, the following steps can help you get in a better financial place and avoiding a loan to pay rent.
Make a Better Rent Budget
If your current rent budget is not working, or if you do not have a budget, it is time to make an effective one. You know that your current budget is not working if you cannot pay your bills. Get out your check stubs and bills to calculate their totals. Do those two totals equal one another? If yes, you are likely spending money in other places that you do not account for. If they do not match, something needs to change. You may need to increase your income or decrease your expenses. The following tips can help you with that:
Increase Your Income
-Ask for a raise.
-Pick up extra shifts.
-Take a second job.
-Have a side hustle going.
Decrease Your Expenses
-Move. If your income cannot pay for the home you are in right now, consider moving to a cheaper residence. You can always improve your living conditions later.
-Cut your cable.
-Switch to a cheaper phone plan.
-Take shorter showers and turn off lights when they are not in use.
-Check for leaks that might be hiking up your water bill.
-Eat out less often.
-Make a meal plan and follow it. Going grocery shopping with a list is always smarter than going in and winging it.
-While you are there, avoid impulse purchases- just look the other way or down if you must.
-Limit your nights out. Movie night at home with some pals can be just as fun, and way cheaper, than heading out to the movies.
Save Money for Rent
A great way to prevent ever having to say, “I need a loan to pay rent” again is to save some money. In fact, it is wise to keep at least three to six months of expenses saved at all times. That amount can cover hard times so you no longer feel like you are drowning.
You may want to roll your eyes right now and say, “If I need a loan to pay rent, how could I possibly save any money?” I hear you. I have felt that way on a number of occasions, but it is possible. If you work at making your income exceed you outgoing, you have money to save. Cut out unnecessary expenses, just for a while, to save some money.
You can boost this savings through having yards sales, using cash back apps on your phone, entering contests for things you are good at, selling a skill, like baking cakes, or any number of tasks. If you receive a tax refund, boost your savings with that. Some people work for Uber or grocery delivery services for a few hours a week for extra cash.
The faster you build up your savings, the quicker you can get back to the lifestyle you want to live. If you are married or have children, get them involved. My children love seeing goal charts hanging on the wall. We use them for things like vacation, birthdays, and big purchases. When we involve them and they see the progress, they do not mind giving up some stuff for a while, and they will remind one another to turn off lights when they exit a room. There have been a few times that they have even found more creative ways to save. Work as a team and it will be much easier.
We all find ourselves in financial trouble sometimes. If you find yourself there, do not feel guilty or ashamed. If a mistake you made led you to your situation, learn from it and move on. And when you find yourself in need of help, be wise in your decision-making so that you do not make the situation worse. Do not let desperation and anxiety cause you to make foolish choices.
Brandy Woodfolk is an educator, home business owner, project manager, and lifelong learner. After a less than stellar financial upbringing, Brandy dedicated her schooling and independent studies to financial literacy. She quickly became the go-to among family, friends, and acquaintances for everything finance. Her inner circle loves to joke that she is an expert at “budgeting to the penny”. Brandy dedicates a large portion of her time to teaching parents how to succeed financially without sacrificing time with their little ones. She also teaches classes to homeschooled teenagers about finances and other life skills they need to succeed as adults.
Brandy writes about smart money management and wealth building in simple and relatable ways so all who wish to can understand the world of finance.