Financial Solutions for When You Need Cash

We know how challenging it can be to juggle your studies, work, and personal lives, all while keeping a close eye on your finances. If you’ve ever found yourself short on cash and unsure about how to navigate those tight spots, you’re not alone.

You may be tempted to visit a payday or auto-title lender to get that needed cash quickly. While it may solve your immediate problem, most likely it will create even more financial stress in your near future. Payday loans are a financial trap that borrowers should avoid due to their exorbitant interest rates and hidden fees. These short-term, high-interest loans are marketed as quick fixes for immediate financial needs, but they often lead to long-term debt and financial distress. Borrowers can easily find themselves caught in a vicious cycle, as the loan’s high cost makes it difficult to pay off in full by the due date, leading to rollovers or additional loans. This can result in a mounting debt spiral that exacerbates the borrower’s financial situation, rather than providing relief. Furthermore, payday lenders often target vulnerable populations, such as low-income individuals and those with poor credit, who may have limited access to more affordable and responsible financial products. It is crucial to explore alternative options and avoid payday loans whenever possible.

Let’s explore some strategies to help you make ends meet without resorting to high-interest loans. Additionally, we encourage you to check out the helpful handout from our partners at RAISE Texas: Better Options When You Need Cash Now

1. Create a Budget

Before you do anything else, sit down, and create a budget. This will help you understand where your money is going and identify areas where you can cut back. By prioritizing your expenses, you can avoid overspending and make your dollars stretch further. Use our Budget Builder Tool to get started.

2.Complete the FAFSA

If you haven’t completed the FAFSA this academic year, now is the time! The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the gateway to various types of financial aid, grants (money you do not repay), and loans (money you repay). Student loans currently have about a 5% interest rate. Financial aid can be used to pay for your tuition, fees, and any expenses related to attending ACC. You can use the money to pay for your rent, groceries, or to make your car payment!

3. Complete the ACC scholarship application

The ACC scholarship application allows you to complete ONE application to be considered for dozens of scholarships! The next priority deadline is May 1. Our office is offering some upcoming workshops to help guide you through the application process!

4. Consider Part-Time Work or Freelance Gigs

A part-time job or freelance gig can provide a steady source of income without interfering with your school schedule. Look for flexible opportunities that work with your class times and academic commitments. Connect with ACC’s Career Services for help finding a job that works for you.

5. Sell Unused or Unwanted Items

You might be surprised by the amount of cash you can generate from selling items you no longer need. Use platforms like eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace to sell your items and make some extra cash.

6. Utilize Local Food Pantries and Assistance Programs

If you’re struggling to afford groceries, local food pantries, and assistance programs can provide support. ACC maintains a local Food Access calendar for you to easily locate food distributions near you. ACC also maintains a database of Community Resources to help you find support for rent, food, housing, health care and other family or personal needs and can be sorted by county, keyword, or type of support.

7. Plan Inexpensive Meals

Eating out can drain your wallet quickly. Plan affordable meals and cook at home. Our favorite [free] cookbook is Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown. Here’s the Spanish version.

8. Reach Out for Help

If you’re struggling financially, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. You may qualify to meet with an Advocate through ACC’s Student Advocacy Center. Advocates can provide guidance and resources to help you get back on track.

Remember, there are better options than payday loans and auto-title loans when you need cash now. Check out the handout from RAISE Texas (Spanish version) for additional resources to help you make well-informed financial choices that support your long-term success.

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