Sooner or later it happens to the best of us: Your car breaks down. You get hit with a medical crisis. Your kid declares that he simply can't live without an electric guitar for his birthday. At some point you are likely to be faced with a need to come up with extra funds, and fast. If that feels like a tall order, try these smart strategies to quickly put money in your hand-without landing you in hot water.
Strategy #1: Sell Your Stuff
Big items, like furniture or bikes, are easiest to peddle at an old-fashioned yard sale. For gadgets, clothes and books, you often can get the most online.
• Electronics: Try Usell.com. It aggregates offers from dozens of other websites, and it charges no fees to buyers or sellers. For a used iPhone 4, recent offers ranged from $100 to $140.
• Books/DVDs: Try Sellercentral.amazon.com. Yes, it takes a larger cut than other sites (99 cents per product plus 15 percent of the sale price), but its heavy traffic can help you find a buyer quickly.