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Maybe you’re short on the rent, or you forgot your boyfriend’s birthday and need a gift fast. Whatever your reason, we will show you 19 ways to get money fast.
The Best-Laid Plans
Even the best-laid plans and budgets can come up against the unexpected. And some people have no plan at all. An astonishing 41% of Americans would not be able to come up with $400 to cover an unexpected expense like a car repair or medical event.
If you would struggle to come up with money on short notice, these are 19 legitimate ways to get money fast.
1. Online Surveys
There are a ton of survey sites out there, and we’ve reviewed several of them. But because you need to get money fast, you want to use a site that offers cash payouts, has a low threshold for payout and pays out quickly.
Survey Junkie ticks all of those boxes. You can be paid via PayPal, the threshold is just $10, and the money is sent to your account as soon as you redeem your points.
Vindale Research is another survey site that pays cash, and they even give you a $2 sign-up bonus just for becoming an ew member.
There is a disclaimer on the site that it can take a few days for payment to process but I have cashed out with Vindale Research a few times, and the money has always come.
If you’re looking for a great list of survey sites that pay quickly, here’s a short list of our favorites:
- Survey Junkie (high-paying surveys)
- Vindale Research ($2 sign-up bonus)
- Swagbucks (paid for surveys and other tasks)
- PointClub ($5 sign-up bonus)
- Pinecone Research (flat $3 per survey)
If your need is less immediate, there are several other great survey sites where you can earn money in your spare time.
2. Gig It
More than a third of American workers, 34% are involved in the gig economy, and it’s not a mystery why. Gig economy jobs offer a flexible schedule, a wide array of choices, and fast cash.
There are dozens of ways to get cash fast in the gig economy. You can drive for Uber or Lyft, rent out your house on Airbnb, write something for a client on Guru, babysit on Sitter City, or pet sit on Care.com.
If you prefer not to use a service like those listed above, check out the Gigs section of Craig’s List. People post tasks and odd jobs they are willing to pay someone else to do.
Even if you can’t or don’t want to rent out a room or your whole home or apartment on Airbnb, you can still make some fast cash through people who do rent theirs. Sometimes an owner just doesn’t have time to deal with being an Airbnb host. Sometimes they don’t live in the same city or even state as the home they rent out.
In those cases, they need someone else to perform a variety of services for them. They might need someone to clean the space, to meet guests with the keys, or to handle any problems guests might encounter during their stay.
You can post your services on Airbnb’s site or reach out through owners through other venues.
4. Serve or Bartend
If you need to get money fast, pick up a few shifts waiting tables or tending bar. Not only are these jobs often flexible, some of your tips will be in cash, so you don’t have to wait for a paycheck to put some money in your wallet.
Working for a catering company is another good option.
5. Take an Advance
If you have credit available on a credit card, you can take a cash advance. This is not ideal because the interest rate charged for a cash advance is often higher than it is for purchasing on the card and that interest rate is already usually in the teens and there is no grace period.
When you purchase on a credit card, you have a grace period to pay the balance before it starts accruing interest. But when you take out a cash advance, the interest starts accruing immediately.
6. Sell Some Stuff
Your house might be full of cash in the form of stuff you don’t need or use anymore. Have a yard sale. Not only will you make some fast money, but you’ll clear out years of clutter too. Some things that sell well at a yard sale include bikes, children’s clothes, exercise equipment, and electronics.
If you have expensive clothing, purses, or shoes that you either no longer use or just need money more than you need these items, you can make more selling them at a consignment shop or one of the online marketplaces like Poshmark or eBay. You might not make money as quickly as if you had sold these things at a yard sale, but you can probably charge more for them.
7. Sell Free Stuff
Look at your local Nextdoor and Craig’s List pages for items that are being given away for free. People give away perfectly good stuff for lots of reasons, often because they’re moving and don’t want to pack and move it and can’t be bothered to sell it.
If you see something that you think has resale value, take it and try to sell it on the same forum you saw it on, at a yard sale, or online. Selling stuff you got for free means 100% profit!
Gazelle buys things like old smartphones and iPods. You can get an offer online, mail your device in and get paid but the process can take several days or even a few weeks. But there is a shortcut if you need to get money fast.
Gazelle has dozens of kiosks in places like Walmart. You can take your device to a kiosk, get an offer, and if you accept it, you’ll get money on the spot.
9. Pawn Something
When you pawn something, you’re taking out a collateral based loan. You take something that has value to the pawn shop, and they loan you money based on the value of that item. When you repay the loan, you get the item back. If you don’t repay the loan, the pawn shop owns your item and can sell it.
The most valuable things to pawn include precious metals, usually jewelry, made of gold, silver, or platinum, power tools, electronics, and musical instruments.
While it isn’t ideal if you can’t pay back the loan and you’re TV gets sold, you can buy another TV, maybe not now, but one day. If you pawn your engagement ring or a piece of family heirloom jewelry, that’s another story.
No matter how badly you needed money, you might bitterly regret pawning things you can never replace so really think it through and make absolutely sure you can pay the loan back before your item is sold.
10. Sell Plasma
You can make between $25-50 per donation when you sell your plasma. Some plasma centers even offer bonuses. One near me is offering $250 for a donor’s first five donations. Before you choose a donation center, find out what payment method they offer.
Many centers are moving away from cash and instead paying with pre-paid debit cards. If you can’t find a center paying cash, you can sell your gift card for cash on a gift card exchange site like Cardpool.
11. Sell Your Gift Cards
Speaking of gift cards! If you have gift cards that you’ll never use or would use but need cash right away, you can sell them on a gift card exchange site like Raise.
12. Return Something
While you’re rummaging around looking for those old gift cards your grandparents gave you that you’ll never use, look for all of those other presents well-meaning friends and relatives gave you that you’ll also never use.
If any still have the tags on them or even better, came with a gift receipt, take them back and see if you can get cash for them. Sometimes you can only get a store credit, but store credits can be sold on some of those online gift card exchange sites.
13. Get a Payroll Advance
Some employers offer payday advances to employees, in fact, some are even listing payday advances as one of the benefits they offer to prospective employees. Some employers don’t even charge interest on these loans, and if they do, it’s a relatively low rate.
14. Get a Payday Loan
Earnin is an app that can give you a payday loan with no fees or interest. You can pay what you think is a fair amount to use the service. You can use Earnin if you are paid via direct deposit, if you have a consistent pay schedule, and either work at a fixed location or your employers tracks your hours with an online timekeeping system.
If you don’t meet those qualifications, you can get an old-fashioned payday loan. Like taking a cash advance from your credit card, getting a traditional payday loan should be seen as the absolute last resort. Payday loans are even worse than taking a cash advance on a credit card because the interest rates are higher.
And by higher, I mean triple-digit interest. The average interest rate on a payday loan is an eye-watering 400%. Taking out these loans can start a cycle that is nearly impossible to break out of. You borrow money, but when it comes due, you’re still broke. So you take out another loan and so on.
If your need for cash is a truly one off and you for some crazy reason you can’t get it from any other idea on this list, a payday loan can be a solution, but it’s a dangerous game to play.
15. Ask for a Loan
Asking a friend or family member to loan you money can be difficult, but it can be one of the fastest and cheapest ways to get money fast. Offer to sign an agreement stating when you will start paying back the loan and how long it will take.
As a show of good faith, offer some sort of collateral as well. The person lending you money gets to hold on to something of value like your TV or the title to your car.
If you do borrow from someone, pay them back as quickly as you can or at least according to the terms you agreed to if you signed something. Money can ruin even the closest of relationships.
If you don’t feel comfortable asking for a loan, you can ask people if they have any projects they would pay you to do, cleaning out gutters, doing some yard work, cleaning the house, whatever odd jobs they might need doing.
There are several online tutoring services including Qkids where you can make as much as $20 an hour. You can also tutor in the “real world.” Advertise your services on sites like Nextdoor, a local parent’s Facebook group, and Craig’s List.
Tutoring is one of those side hustles that can grow into a pretty substantial source of income if you’re good at it and can get a lot of word of mouth clients.
VIPKID is also another great program that pays you to teach English online, earning you anywhere between $18 – $22 per hour.
Can you sing or play an instrument? If your city has an area that’s thick with tourists, you can make some fast cash by busking. Street musicians are all over in the subway stations in New York and the French Quarter in New Orleans. If you’re at all talented or even semi-talented but have the ability to interact with and engage a crowd, you can make some cash pretty quickly.
18. Your Spare Change
Go through all of your furniture cushions, desk and kitchen drawers, every pocket in every piece of clothing in the house, every purse, backpack, briefcase, work bag, gym bag you own and see how much change you find.
You can turn all those coins into paper money at a Coinstar machine. You might even get lucky and find some paper money in some of those places.
You might have more spare change around than you think. According to Coinstar, the average amount spare change deposited into their machines during each transaction is $56!
19. Raid Your Retirement Account
This is another idea of last resort. In most circumstances, if you withdraw money from a retirement account like an IRA or 401k before you’ve reached age 59 ½, you will be hit with a 10% penalty. There also may be tax implications of withdrawing from a retirement account in addition to the 10% penalty.
Taking money out of your retirement account early is like the younger you stealing from, the older you so be sure to replace the amount you withdrew as soon as possible.
In the Future
Almost anyone can find themselves short of money and if it’s something that just happens once, no big deal. You got the cash you needed, and life went back to normal. But if you find yourself needing cash over and over again, it’s a problem.
Assess just why this keeps happening. Are you living above your means, are you living in an area that has a cost of living you can’t keep up with, is your money going to an addiction whether it be a substance, gambling, or shopping?
Constantly being short of money is a symptom, you have to figure out what the real problem is. If you’re living above your means, you need to create a budget and learn to stick to it. If you’re living in an expensive area, you may need to move or to increase your income with a better job or a side hustle.
If you have an addiction that is draining your wallet, you may need professional help to address it. Take the steps necessary to end the cycle of always being in a mad scramble for cash.