The path to instant cash

If you're in need of some extra cash right now, you're not alone. Today, The New York Times reports that the family budget is getting pummeled by--yep--gas prices. Pump tallies of $4 a barrel are coming at a very bad time.

"The effect of high oil prices today could be the difference between having a recession and not having a recession," said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a Harvard economist.

Energy increases have normally been absorbed by consumers, but this time not so easily. The housing crisis and credit crunch have made household budgets even tighter, creating a real need for extra emergency cash.

AOL Money & Finance's new feature--Top Five Ways to Get Extra Cash Fast--could help your situation, offering up some familiar (and unfamiliar) ideas for scoring some extra bills.

B. Brandon Barker is the author of the novel Operation EMU.

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