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Good and bad ways to pay for holidays

Better Business Bureau
CHARLOTTE — Many people are struggling financially right now and the holidays can add more financial worries. If you need to raise some cash to help bridge the gap until your next payday or until the holidays are over, the http://www.bbb.org BBB has a list of the best and worst ways to raise quick cash.
Worst ways
• Title loans – This is the worst possible way to raise cash. 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.
• 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, 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.
• Maxing out your credit cards – 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 usually 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.
Best ways
• Sell stuff – Those collectibles you have — Beanie Babies, baseball cards, autographed memorabilia, Christmas villages — may be worth some money. Check out eBay to see what you can sell.
• Have a garage/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? Make extra money and get an employee discount.

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