Peter not available to rob until next week: short term cash
June 18, 2022 2:21 PM   Subscribe

Recovering from Covid, I stupidly didn't invoice a client until the day of their weekly pay run. Rent is due Tuesday, check is in my hand Friday ... and I'm short. Other than borrowing from good friends (who would probably say yes, and have the funds), how can I fix this? details below the fold

I normally don't cut finances this close, but May found me replacing my best client, and that first (thankfully generous) retainer won't hit until July 1. June was actually a good month, workwise, then I got COVID and didn't invoice the one client who pays me immediately. Now I'm $400 short on rent, with a $450 check literally in my hand this coming Friday and plenty o' funds for the coming months arriving the following week. Do those predatory paycheck places give loans to freelancers? My lease renewal is coming, and I do NOT want to pay my rent late.

Don't have anything to sell quickly, don't use credit cards. And really HATE to borrow from my friends, because I've never had to do that, and they will worry about my finances forevermore and plus it's just embarrasing af. I've never been in this situation before, and don't know what solutions I'm not thinking of. (I'm good for food and phone and all that other stuff, it's just a rent cash crunch.) Thanks for any suggestions!
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet to Work & Money (22 answers total)
If you have something valuable-ish (laptop, DSLR, etc) that you can live without for a week, pawn shops will lend you cash at rates that are no worse than the predatory payday loan joints.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 2:35 PM on June 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

I might try getting a loan from a local credit union.
posted by pinochiette at 2:37 PM on June 18, 2022 [6 favorites]

My credit union will do short term personal loans.

You could also just get a cash advance from your credit card if you have one. Interest rate is generally pretty high, but massively lower than a pay day lender, and it doesn’t matter for three days anyway
posted by rockindata at 2:38 PM on June 18, 2022 [5 favorites]

Honestly I would just borrow it from a friend. I understand the not wanting to have to ask, but if you can and will repay them in one week, this would only establish you in my head as dependable. I cannot imagine worrying about the finances of a friend who borrowed a couple hundred bucks for the length of a week.
posted by the primroses were over at 2:42 PM on June 18, 2022 [23 favorites]

If you really need the money on Tuesday I don't think conventional banks/CUs are going to work, because Monday is a financial holiday and most of them aren't going to be open/processing applications that day, so you will need to apply and get the loan funded the same day, which is probably not impossible but it's unusual outside of payday lenders.

I agree with the primroses - asking a friend is probably your best bet. You have my permission to be a little fuzzy about why you need to borrow the money - like, maybe you just don't keep much in your checking account and the time necessary to transfer from you savings account is extended because of the holiday? "I don't have enough money in my checking account" is both true and makes you sound only a little flaky rather than in dire financial need.

The only other thing I can come up with (besides payday loans, which will be expensive, and for this kind of quick holiday-weekend turnaround you will have to go in person, I think) is if there's some kind of casual work you can do on a cash basis before Tuesday (under-the-table restaurant/landscaping/etc. kind of work), but if that was a convenient and available option you probably would have figured that out by now.
posted by mskyle at 2:49 PM on June 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

If I was your friend I'd rather you came to me instead of pawning something or going to a predatory cash lending place.
posted by cooker girl at 2:50 PM on June 18, 2022 [82 favorites]

What cooker girl said. However, I would like to suggest that (assuming you're in the U.S.) whether or not you pay your rent three (3) days late is not going to affect your lease renewal. In fact, there is probably a late fee in your lease, which denotes an expectation that the rent might occasionally be late without the world coming to an end. A landlord who would jack up your rent/refuse a renewal over a single late payment of less than a week was already going to jack up your rent, etc. So if you can borrow from a friend without dying of shame, under these specific circumstances, I would--cheaper than a late fee. Otherwise, your landlord will have to deal.
posted by praemunire at 3:24 PM on June 18, 2022 [13 favorites]

Check your lease. My rent is due on the 1st but isn’t considered late until the 5th of the month. Yours may have a similar clause.
posted by brook horse at 4:09 PM on June 18, 2022 [38 favorites]

I think if you explained all of this to your landlord, a four day delay shouldn't sour your renewal. Most places I've lived have explicitly had a 5-day grace period before charging a late fee, and if you reach out in advance, that should show your responsibility. Mention COVID and -- given all the government-mandated freezes on eviction due to COVID-related hardships -- they'll be glad that all you're asking for is a 4-day delay on a portion of the rent.

Alternatively, you could find the babysitting Facebook page for your city. At $15-25/hr, you could probably make $400 by the end of Tuesday. You could also try to pitch services in home organizing (if that's a strength), painting, or another skill on neighborhood FB groups. Some of the random things I've done to hustle cash ended up being interesting experiences. That said, given that you're still recovering, I vote for just requesting an extension and resting up.
posted by slidell at 4:13 PM on June 18, 2022 [6 favorites]

Yikes! So sorry to hear that your rent check got lost in the mail! You can just write a new one to replace it on Friday.
posted by bowbeacon at 4:41 PM on June 18, 2022 [7 favorites]

And a fine point: you say you don't use credit cards and I seldom do also, but I use a charge card all the time, Amex. Some of their cards are just for charging purchases, and until Costco stopped taking Amex I hardly ever needed to use my credit card. That means you need to pay the month's charges in full before the due date. But depending on the card and your credit score, you would possibly have some cash availability also. I realize you may have reasons not to go down that route.
posted by forthright at 4:50 PM on June 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

Please just ask a friend.
I would feel so bad to find out a friend just needed a couple of hundred for a week, but didn't ask me.
Or investigate the Credit union route, maybe that timing will work out?
posted by calgirl at 5:22 PM on June 18, 2022 [4 favorites]

How’s your relationship with your landlord?

There’s a fair chance that if you explain the situation to your landlord, they’ll be OK with a 3-day delay in the rent payment, especially if you’ve always paid rent on time in the past. Worth asking, before you go the route of borrowing from friends or a credit union.
posted by mekily at 5:41 PM on June 18, 2022 [10 favorites]

Seconding calgirl - give your actual bank a call and see what they can offer you.

In the longer-term, see if your bank will extend to you a line of credit. If not, shop around for banks (I like credit unions, in general) who would.

During my grad school days, this was a life-saver to avoid overdraft fees and steep interest. My local credit union extended me a reasonable loc at very reasonable interests rates.

It was calculated daily (and added to the negative) and it all went away the day that the negative balance was paid off.

Is this a smallholder landlord or a company? If smallholder, maybe call them and see if there's an arrangement that's agreeable. If it's a large company with varied holdings, they might even have an SOP for dealing with late payments when-notified-ahead-of-time.
posted by porpoise at 12:03 AM on June 19, 2022

forthright - that's an interesting distinction. What jurisdiction/ location are you, and for that matter, the location of the OP?

In Canada and when I was living in the US, credit cards are what you describe as charge cards - you only owe interest on negative balances after the pay-by date.

With credit cards, there's also a 'credit limit' which is the maximum negative balance that you can hold.

My credit card plan used to have a cash withdrawal option, but the limit was a very small fraction of the total credit limit (and counted against it). Maybe this is what you're thinking about? My cc plan dropped offering cash withdrawal entirely a few years back.

There are also debit cards, which directly withdraws and deposits into one of your bank accounts.

Oh, I do recall department store cards before they were just branded VISAs and Mastercards, like any other bank. Don't know how those used to work.


Oh, right, OP - if you haven't already, definitely phone (not email, phone, and keep asking for their supervisor until you get someone who can definitively tell you what will happen) your bank and ask what happens if your account is 'overdrawn' (for a few days).
posted by porpoise at 12:20 AM on June 19, 2022

(NB: Canadian credit cards are exactly the same as US credit cards. I hadn’t heard of the charge cards that forthright described, but here’s an explanation of the differences. In any case, if the OP doesn’t already have one, they likely won’t be able to obtain one in time.)
posted by eviemath at 4:49 AM on June 19, 2022

Explain to the landlord/management company what happened and maybe even email them proof of you sending the invoice (if your work doesn't have an NDA) and sew if they'll waive the late fee. I've waived it everything a good tenant asked. They paid every time so I trusted them for next time too.
posted by at 6:48 AM on June 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

People have highlighted lots of good options. All I would add is that even if you have a check in hand on Friday, it will take a few days to clear. Can you use the funds while you wait for it to clear? Perhaps plan to need some kind of funding for 7-10 days to be on the safe side. And even though you may not like to use credit cards put in place some kind of credit line. It may be easiest to get a credit card that lives in a block of ice in your freezer or some kind of overdraft facility or whatever else your bank has to offer.
posted by koahiatamadl at 7:09 AM on June 19, 2022

When you deposit a check around which timing is tight, you can ask them to make more of the money available immediately. I’ve usually gotten the entire thing made available by asking, “how much are you willing to make available today?”
posted by michaelh at 11:14 AM on June 19, 2022

Sorry, didn't get back to this thread what with Father's Day distractions. I'm in the USA. I didn't mean to sound like I was an expert, but at least based on my Amex card which I've had for many years, I am billed early in the month and must pay about a week before EOM. I call it a charge card because the minimum balance is the total balance, none of this $25 minimum that lets folks get in over their heads by relying on available credit line. It's pay as you go. Amex does offer credit cards and a Pay Over Time plan but I made a point of avoiding them.

And yes, I realize that the time involved in getting approved for a card (if OP can qualify) would be impractical for the current problem. I just meant that looking into the future this might be something to look into, especially if the billing cycle could be offset from the monthly rent due date, it would help level the OP's cash flow (???).
posted by forthright at 9:28 PM on June 19, 2022

(oh, I've heard those called 'prepaid' credit cards)
posted by porpoise at 7:39 AM on June 20, 2022

(Prepaid cards are a third, different thing. More explanation in the link I posted above, but basic difference seem to be:
1. when you need the cash on hand - before you spend the money (prepaid card), after but by the end of the same month (charge card), or indeterminate date in the future (credit card);
2. how much you can spend - prepaid = amount on the card balance, charge card = variable credit limit, credit card = fixed credit limit.)
posted by eviemath at 1:35 PM on June 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

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