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The transmission in your car dies, a family member is short on rent, or your insurance fails to cover an unexpected medical expense. Life happens, and sometimes you need to find some money — quickly.
What are some of the best ways to raise cash fast? That depends on how much you need and how far you’re willing to go to get it.
It also depends on how soon you need the money, so the following list is divided into three parts; ways to raise cash today, in the next week, and in the next month or two.
There will be some overlap, because sometimes a strategy meant to raise money today will take several days, and sometimes an effort that should take a month can work by the end of the day.
There are some unusual suggestions here, but nothing too speculative. These are strategies that have worked for others, and I’ve used dozens of them myself. Some of them will work for you, starting with these…
Ways To Get Cash In Your Hands Today
The list here includes not just ways to make money, but ways to borrow it, find it, and convert things into it. In other words, we’ll look at any way possible to raise cash, including the following strategies, meant to put money in your hands by the end of the day.
1. Round Up Your Misplaced Coins And Currency
The change that falls into your couch cushions may not add up to much, but if you add it to any coins you’ve thrown in a jar or dresser drawer it’s a start. Look for other cash stashes and check the pockets of clothes you’ve worn while traveling. For example, I recently found $100 I had left in a travel money-belt.
2. Turn In Your Refundable Cans And Bottles
If you live in one of the ten states with “bottle bills,” you can return beverage bottles and cans for the deposit. In Michigan you’ll get 10 cents each for those beer and soda cans, while in the other states 5 cents is more common.
Don’t stop at home. My family members used to let me take all the empties in their garages and basements, and I used to make $25 weekly taking home cans from the breakroom at work (yes, that was 250 cans per week).
3. Round Up And Sell Scrap Metals
According to iScrapApp.com, an old window-unit air conditioner is worth around $5 to metal scrap buyers, or up to $18 if you take it apart and sell the metals (steel, copper, aluminum) separately. Anything you have that’s made of metal has some value, and scrap dealers pay cash right now.
For example, I sold an old broken aluminum car wheel for $5, and another time made $20 rounding up broken yard furniture and odds and ends. And in states that don’t have a bottle bill, you can usually get a couple cents each for beverage cans.
Round up old metal junk from the garages of friends and families too. Use an online scrap metal price guide to see current prices, and Google “sell scrap metal” to find nearby buyers.
4. Check Your Car
I hide cash in my car and forget about it, so I sometimes find $20, or at least a stash of quarters when I look. Check your car for money stashes, and gather up any empty beverage cans while you’re going through it.
5. Call In Those Loans
If you have previously loaned money to friends or family members, this is the time to call them and ask for payment. I charge interest when I loan to friends, but if I needed the money back quickly I might drop the interest or even discount the payoff.
6. Close Old Accounts
Maybe you have an bank account with a little bit of money in it, or you leave the minimum $100 in an account to avoid monthly fees. Unless one is your regular checking account, close these accounts and pull out the last of the cash.
7. Sell Your Jewelry and Silverware
If you have any gold or silver jewelry, bullion bars, or silver items in your kitchen, they can be sold for cash. Also, dimes and quarters minted before 1965 are 90% silver.
Check spot prices online, and try for about 90% of that when selling gold or silver bullion and coins, and at least 70% of the melt value for jewelry and silverware. In my experience, local coin shops pay more than places that advertise “We buy gold.”
8. Work For Family And Friends
When I was young and I wanted to make some money, I often called my brother to work a day or two in his carpet cleaning business, or I called My mother or father to see if they needed yard work done. I was paid cash that day, of course.
Doing some cash work beats going into debt, although you can go into non-cash debt with our next suggestion…
9. Sell Your Future Labor
Write on an index card, “This card is good for $4 hours of general labor.” Add your phone number and sign it. Then sell as many of these as necessary to friends and family based on the hourly wage they’re willing to pay you for yard work, computer help, or any other labor you can provide.
Yes, I’ve done this too.
10. Sell Your Services Door-To-Door
A guy knocked on our door when we had a house in Florida, and offered to mow our large lawn for $20. He did a good job, and finished in 25 minutes (it normally took me 40 minutes). If he got 4 more customers he might have made $100 before noon.
As kids my brothers and I shoveled snow door-to-door for cash. There are many different services you might offer.
11. Sell Your Clothes
Plato’s Closet and other second-hand clothing stores will buy your gently-used clothing. You may not get much, but you’ll get cash today.
12. Sell Your Furniture
Used furniture stores may buy your stuff today, while some only do consignment, which means waiting days or weeks to get paid. Call to see if you can email them photos to get a quote.
You can also try selling your furniture to your friends. Call them one-by-one or post your sales on Facebook. Make it clear that you need the money today.
13. Sell Your DVDs, Video Games, And CDs
Almost any pawn shop will buy video games, movies and music CDs, but don’t expect much. The last time I brought a small stack of movies into a pawn shop they wanted only three of them and paid just $1 each.
14. Borrow From Family And Friends
A good friend or a family member might loan you hundreds of dollars. Approach a few friends and family members and you might be able to raise thousands of dollars by the end of the day.
Be fair and offer to pay interest on larger loans (your friend will lose the interest she would have made in the bank, after all). If no interest is paid the IRS may impute interest, so do a quick study of how to structure family loans.
15. Get A Payday Loan
If there is no other way to raise cash, you could consider a Payday loan. Keep in mind though, that, according to the FTC, they can have an effective annual interest rate as high as 391%, making this just about the worst way to borrow money.
16. Get A Pawn Shop Loan
Pawn shop interest rates are as high as 240%, making these loans almost as bad as those from payday lenders. Rather than pawning items, you might want to simply find things you no longer need and sell them to the pawn shop.
17. Use Your Checking Overdraft
If you have overdraft service on your checking account, borrowing money is as simple as writing a check. But expect to pay hefty overdraft fees and high interest rates. And be sure you know your overdraft limit before you start writing those checks.
18. Get a Credit Card Cash Advance Loan
Considering that the median interest rate on a credit card cash advance is about 24%, and a 5% fee up front is common, this is also a poor way to borrow money. But it can be done today. Call your card company to see how. Our next option is a much better way to borrow.
19. Cash Some Credit Card Convenience Checks
If you get those credit card convenience checks in the mail, set them aside until they expire, just in case you need fast cash. They usually provide a better interest rate and/or lower fees versus a normal cash advance..
For example, I’ve been getting 0% interest offers lately (0% for up to a year), and with a fee as low as 2% on some of them. But plan to pay off the balance before that teaser rate ends, or you could be facing an annual interest rate as high as 30%.
20. Get A Paycheck Advance
If you work for a small business and the boss likes you, it may be possible to get an advance on your paycheck — without paying the fees and interest charged by payday lenders.
If your employer turns you down, ask a coworker for a loan, to be repaid on payday, and promise to do the same for him if he ever needs the help.
21. Become A Street Performer
Sing, dance, do magic, and make sure you have a jar, hat, or guitar case sprinkled with a few bills to encourage people to give. Street performing (also known as “busking”) puts cash in your hands right now if you live in the right place.
If you have no performance skills, try costume busking, which can be as simple as walking around dressed up creatively and offering to let people take photos with you for a buck or two. See Pinterest for some street performing costume ideas.
22. Return Items You Bought
Do you have anything you recently bought that you haven’t yet used? Bring it back for a refund to raise cash today.
Walmart gives you 90 days to return most items, and 15 days for electronics. Most large chain stores have similar policies.
Ways To Get Cash In Your Hands Within A Week
Some of the following might get you the cash you need today, but generally they’re good for raising cash within a week. For example, you can…
23. Do Some Day Labor
I worked for Labor Finders briefly when I lived in Florida. Like many day labor outfits, they paid by check at the end of each day. That makes this a one-day way to get cash, except they don’t necessarily have work every day.
Basically you fill out the paperwork, show up early in the morning, and wait to see if they have work that day (often at minimum wage). To find the places that pay daily, Google “day labor companies” and the name of your town.
24. Sell Your Blood and Plasma
Here in Tucson (where I live) CSL Plasma says I can make $400 per month donating my plasma. Google “sell blood” and “sell plasma” to find a buyer near you. It may take a few days to qualify (your application has to be reviewed, and a blood test done), but once you’re set up, payment is usually immediate.
Your pay is typically loaded onto a debit card. If you need actual currency you might be able to buy money orders with the debit card, and then write them out to yourself and cash them at your bank (I’ve done this at Walmart many times).
25. Sell Your Car
You could sell your vehicle and simply get by without a car for a while. You’ll not only raise cash, but you’ll probably cut your expenses dramatically too. See my post on how to survive without a car for more on that.
Another option is to sell your car and buy much cheaper one, or replace it with a cheap used motorcycle or scooter.
And finally, if you’re going to keep it, see our list of ways to make money with your car.
26. Claim Any Credit Card Cash Back
If you have cash-back credit cards, check online to see if you have a credit balance you can claim. If you’re close to a redemption threshold, put the next few charges on that card.
If any of your cards do have a credit balance, call and have the issuer send you a check. I do this regularly when I would rather use another card that pays higher rewards than the one with a credit balance.
27. Sell Your Books
I’ve sold books for cash at local book stores several times, although it’s getting harder to find places that pay cash (most offer only store credit). Call and ask before you bring your books.
Online you can use tools like BookScouter.com to see who will pay the most for each title.
Then there is the Amazon trade-in service. Amazon pays the shipping and gives you credit in your account for books, electronics, and more (they just offered me $2.16 for my Arizona map book).
Use your Amazon balance to buy things that you would have bought locally, thus freeing up that cash. Or use our next strategy…
28. Convert Your Amazon Credit Balance Into Cash
If you receive Amazon gift cards from people, or buy them on sale as I do, or use the trade-in service to sell your stuff, you may have a big balance. If you really need to convert this to cash you can buy something with it and then sell the item for cash. Of course, you’ll probably lose a minimum of 25% of the value of your balance in the process.
To avoid the loss of value, just buy on Amazon whatever you would have bought locally, and so preserve the cash you would have spent.
29. Become A Tasker
TaskRabbit connects you with local people who need your help running errands, cleaning yards, walking dogs, or whatever. As a “tasker” you get paid through TaskRabbit, and it can be a week before you see the money in your bank account. Of course, same-day cash tips are a possibility.
30. Do Some Babysitting
You can find babysitting gigs through platforms like Care.com, and you might get registered and be working within a week. For faster cash, call your friends and see if they need someone to watch their kids tonight (suggest that they need a date night). And see my post on how to make up to $17 per hour babysitting.
31. Do Some Pet Sitting
Rover.com says you can make up to $1,000 per month playing with dogs (and feeding them, cleaning up after them, etc.).Other platforms you can use to find these gigs include Care.com and PetSiter.com. Or call friends and family to see if they need help.
32. Have A Rummage Sale
If you live in the right place you can make a sign or two and put your stuff in the driveway in the next hour. But usually you’ll have a better rummage sale with a little planning. My wife and I like to have our rummage sales when others in the neighborhood are doing the same, to capitalize on the traffic their signs generate.
33. Sell Craigslist Freebies
Under the “for sale” section on Craigslist click on “free.” Identify stuff that’s available near you and which is likely to have cash value. Move fast to get the good stuff, and then sell it in your rummage sale or to a pawn shop, or right back on Craigslist.
34. Sell Your Family And Friends’ Stuff
Friends and family may want to help you out, but not with cash. In that case, see if they have anything they want to get rid of. Take any freebies you can sell, or offer to sell their stuff for them (at your rummage sale, on Craigslist, or to a pawn shop), and keep a percentage.
35. Sell Your Unused Gift Cards
Raise.com and similar websites will buy any retail gift cards you have if they still have a balance on them. It can take some time to get paid, of course, so you may want to first try selling them to friends who can use them, by offering an enticing discount.
36. Sell Your Concert Tickets
StubHub and similar platforms let you sell your tickets to various events. A faster way to get paid is to see if any friends want them (announce the sale on Facebook). Also, you can sell them right outside the venue, if that’s legal.
37. Go Junk-Picking
I’ve sold a number of items that I took out of the garbage. The dumpster at our Florida condo was a particularly rich hunting ground. I grabbed a table there and sold it in a day on Craigslist for $50 (I just washed it). I also sold flooring tiles I found there (still in boxes), and a few other things.
Drive around on garbage day to see what people have put out by the curb or what’s visible in trash cans. Sell the good stuff at a rummage sale or pawn shop.
38.Search For Gigs On Craigslist
The “gigs” section on Craigslist will usually have a few offerings if you live in a city of any size, and they generally pay cash the same day. Setting up for events and helping people move are common gigs.
39. Sell Your Services On Craigslist
Whether you want to write, babysit, do some house cleaning, or make money in some other way, you can sell your services on Craigslist. It might take a while (and some reposting of your ad) to find work, but with luck you could make cash today.
Ways To Get Cash In Your Hands Within A Month Or Two
Maybe you know you’ll be moving in two months, or you have a vacation planned but unfunded. Whatever you need the money for, here are some ways to raise cash in the next month or two. Of course, you can also keep using the one-day and one-week strategies above to pile up even more cash.
40. Flip A Used Car
I used to put up the money for friends who wanted to buy a used car and sell it for a profit. We split the profit (typically making $400 to $500 each). Of course, if you don’t have the cash to flip a car, you would be the one finding the deal and cleaning up and selling the vehicle.
The longest the process ever took was a month, but with luck and hard work you might flip a used car for a profit within a week.
41. Get Checking Account Bonuses
I make a lot of money opening bank accounts to get the new customer awards, as explained in, “How To Make Thousands Of Dollars From Bank Bonuses.”
Of course you have to tie up some money. If necessary, and if you’re good at handling debt, use a credit card convenience check or other borrowed money. Paying $40 in interest is no problem if you get a $200 or $400 bonus.
The other issue is the time it takes. Citibank was slow and made mistakes every one of the three times I got their $400 bonus. On the other hand, my recent Chase bank account bonuses (business and personal account; $300 each) were paid within two weeks of opening the accounts.
Look over a list of the best bank bonuses for details on the offers, and read the comments to see who pays quickly.
42. Get Credit Card Bonuses
I’ve also made thousands of dollars from credit card signup bonuses. Some of these are paid quickly (assuming you meet the spending requirements quickly). For more on this money maker and others, see my article on ways to make money from credit cards.
43. Borrow On Crowdfunding Platforms
If you have a decent credit score you can borrow money on platforms like Lending Club and Prosper. Because you only get the money once investors have fully funded the loan, it can take a few weeks to complete the process.
44. Get Online Signup Bonuses
Many apps and websites pay a bonus when you sign up for their service. To find some of the best see this article: “10 Apps & Websites That Give You A $10+ Sign-Up Bonus.”
45. Do Reddit Gigs
The SlaveLabor subreddit has small task requests posted daily. They’re low-pay (hence the name), but you can get paid the same day for many gigs. Today’s gigs include carving a pumpkin and sending a photo of it, and animating a website logo.
46. Search For Unclaimed Money
You might have cash and not know it. Old accounts, refunds of mortgage insurance, and similar monies are sometimes forgotten, and then turned over to the state, waiting to be claimed. I’ve found two such accounts for my mother and my father (one was worth $900). Start your search at USA.gov.
47. Become An Amazon Flex Driver
As a flex driver, Amazon says you’ll make between $18 and $25 per hour. And you get to set your own schedule. You’ll be delivering packages in your area.
48. Refinance Your Home
Remortgaging your home can usually be accomplished in less than a month, and if the new interest rate is lower than your current rate, the savings might even pay for the extra money you pull out. But be aware that low interest rates can still mean a lot of interest expense if you pay on the loan for 15 or 30 years.
49. Sell Your Friendship
On RentAFriend.com you can offer services like hanging out with someone who is new to town, being a wingman, showing someone hiking trails, or anything a friend might do. You set the rate, which the website suggests can be as high as $50 per hour.
50. Join A Class Action Lawsuit
At ClassActionRebates.com you can peruse the ongoing cases to see if you qualify for any, and a few clicks later you’ll be on the list to get a check. I recently did this and got a check for a few bucks for some peanuts I bought that were short-weighted.
51. Sell Your Sperm
A sperm bank directory will get you started, but you do have to qualify for this one, and it’s not necessarily easy. Read David Plotz’ experience for more on what it takes. Expect to make about $200 per “deposit.”
52. Make Something To Sell
One summer I made hundreds of basic walking sticks and sold them. I cut the trees myself and decorated the sticks with anything I had.
Of course it helps to find something you can make without investing much if anything in supplies and tools. You should also have a market or two in mind before you spend much time making things. I sold retail at flea markets and craft shows, and wholesale to a guy that sold my creations at gun shows.
53. Flip Furniture
My wife and I are pretty good at spotting deals at rummage sales, and then negotiating an even lower price. As a result, we’ve many times bought used furniture cheap enough that we used it for months or years and then sold it for double what we paid.
Skip the months of use to raise cash fast. We’ve had the best luck with wood furniture, selling it at rummage sales or through furniture consignment stores (where we still profited even after their 40% commission).
54. Work Overtime Shifts
If you make $12 per hour and work an extra overtime shift every week at $18 per hour, in two months you’ll have made an extra $1,296 (before taxes) in two months.
55. Work Late
If you don’t want to work extra shifts, and you get paid hourly, you can still make some extra money by simply making it a point to stay at work a little longer. An extra fifteen minutes daily at $12 per hour adds up to $60 in four weeks.
56. Get A Second Job
A second job can be a way to raise money quickly, especially if your new employer pays weekly, or at least every-other week.
57. Download Cash-Back Apps
There are plenty of apps out there that you can use to generate a little bit of cash. For specifics, see Amy Baum’s article on “25 Apps To Make Money Fast.” We specifically recommend Ibotta, Shopkick, Checkout 51 and more.
58. Get Money From Your Retirement Account
The rules for IRA distributions are complex but, depending on what you need the money for, you might be able to get a penalty-free withdrawal. Otherwise, it might be worth paying the penalty (10% and the taxes due) to raise cash fast.
If you have a 401K plan, ask your plan administrator about borrowing from your plan. The interest you pay goes to yourself in the end.
Casino promotions can be a way to raise small amounts of cash. For more on that see my article “10 Ways To Make Money At A Casino Without Gambling.”
Starting a regular poker game at your place is another way to “gamble” and raise cash. Of course, you don’t really want to gamble unless the odds are in your favor, so invite only friends and associates who are worse players than you. By always avoiding better players I used to make money consistently playing poker.
60. Start A Business
There are some businesses that can be profitable within a month, and some of them can be started with almost no money (I’ve done it several times). For more on that, see the following articles:
- 6 Steps To Starting A Business With Nothing
- 16 Businesses You Can Start For Less Than $100
- 16 Businesses You Can Start For Less Than $200
61. Charge Coworkers For Rides
When I was working as a blackjack dealer I used to pick up several coworkers on the way to the casino, charging them a couple bucks each for the ride. Maybe you can do the same if you ask around to see who needs a ride. Promise to be reliable as long as they contribute “gas money.”
62. Serve On A Mock Jury
Mock juries are used to test real cases before trial. I did this locally for $150 one day in a hotel conference room, but it’s more common to find surrogate juror gigs are online. Here are some of your options, which pay from $10 to $60 for work that will take you from 10 minutes to an hour:
63. Sell Photos On Foap
Download the Foap app and you can upload your photos and videos. Foap.com will sell them and give you 50%.
64. Become A Website Tester
I’ve done website testing, and it’s a fun way to make some extra cash. To find these gigs, see Amy Baum’s article on companies that pay you to test websites.
65. Become a Tutor
You do not necessarily need a teaching degree to tutor online (but it does help to have some kind of degree). In her article on tutoring, Amy Baum lists a dozen places where you can tutor for up to $30 per hour. I personally recommend QKids and VIPKID.
66. Be A Test Subject
I’ve done this one too, although I made only $30 for taking a new aspirin for a few days. Some gigs pay thousands of dollars for a few weeks of participation. For more on this, see my article, “How To Get Paid To Be A Human Guinea Pig.”
67. Sell Something On Fiverr
68. Do Surveys
I’ve done a few online surveys that were well worth my time, but in my experience most of them work out to less than minimum wage. Still, it’s easy work you can do at home. Stick with the best 25 survey sites to avoid any questionable ones. I personally recommend Survey Junkie, Vindale Research and Swagbucks.
69. Drive For Uber Or Lyft
70. Publish A Kindle Book
Amazon’s Kindle platform makes ebook publishing easy (and free). I’ve made thousands of dollars on various Kindle books, including about $2,000 from an ultralight backpacking book that I wrote in five days. If your writing skills are weak, learn to use the Kindle platform and offer to publish a friend’s book for a percentage.
71. Rent Out A Room
If you talk to coworkers and get the word out that you have a room for rent, you might get your first week’s rent today. In any case, if your need for cash is not that immediate, renting out a bedroom is a great way to generate a lot of extra income.
See my article, “How To Pay Off Your Mortgage By Renting Out Rooms” for my experience and tips (yes, that’s how I paid off my 1st mortgage in a few short years).
72. Rent Out Something On Airbnb
Airbnb is the place to rent out a bedroom short-term, as in for a night or a week. But it’s also a good place to get more creative. You can rent out tent sites in your yard, condos, garage bedrooms, and more.
73. Invest Through Lending Club
Lending Club has 3-year and 5-year loans, but they also have a note trading platform where you’ll find thousands of notes for sale by previous buyers who want to raise cash. These have balances as low as $1, and interest rates as high as 20%, and you can screen for notes that have only 1 month left until they are paid in full.
I’ve done this with good results, usually keeping it under 6 months until payoff. I figure that loans on which 30 out of 36 payments have been made are some of the least risky — and how many borrowers are going to default and wreck their credit score with one payment left?
74. Do Some Freelance Work
Whether you write, create computer code, or have any of many other skills, you can sell your services online for some quick cash. See the following article for more on this: “10 Places To Get Started As A Freelancer.”
75. Advertise On Your Car
Platforms like Carvertise.com pay you to wrap your car in ads. Just be sure to never send them money (those are scams).
76. Deliver For Postmates
Postmates is a platform people use for delivery of everything from fast food to groceries and drinks and party supplies. As a delivery person you get paid a fee plus tips, and in many areas you don’t even need a car — you can deliver using your bicycle.
77. Cut Your Expenses
This is not a way to raise cash directly, but if you’re hoping to put together as much money as you can as quickly as possible, spending less makes sense. After all, everything you don’t spend can be added to that pile of cash you’re building.
If you can add to this list of ways to raise cash fast, please share your ideas with us below … and keep on frugaling!