No one ever plans to have a cash-flow issue, but these things do happen. If you find yourself in a tight spot where you need to find ways to make money fast, don’t stress. There are more opportunities than ever to make money online and to make money from home whether you have a college degree or not. Put your skills to good use, sell your stuff or perform near-mindless tasks to get some quick cash today.
You’ll be surprised to learn how many fast and easy ways there are to make money.
Get cash within hours
- Sell gift cards to family and friends – If you have unused gift cards lying around, you can turn them into quick cash by selling them to friends and family.
- Return soda cans for the deposit – Returning used soda or beer cans is a good way to make a few extra dollars. Take them to your local beverage or grocery store to cash in on your deposit.
- Collect debts – Remember that time you lent Johnny five bucks? Now is the time to ask for it back. When you need to make money fast, every little bit counts. Here’s a handy guide to help you approach the subject of collecting on a debt with friends or family.
- Turn gift cards into cash – On Cardpool, you can sell your unused gift cards for cash. Simply bring your gift cards to a kiosk and accept the cash offer.
- Perform on the street – If you can sing, dance, play an instrument, create balloon animals or mime, you may be able to make some quick cash by performing on the street. Just find out whether you need a permit in your area, or the fines may negate your efforts. Learn more about street performing laws here.
- Sell gold – If you have any gold jewelry that you’re willing to part with, you can sell it for instant cash at a “cash for gold” location. These storefronts are usually easy to spot because the words “cash” and “gold” are often in the title. The clerk will weigh your gold and determine its value. From there, you’ll get an offer and can walk away with cash in your hand. Here are ten tips to help you get the most for your gold.
- Pawn something of value – Pawn shops offer collateral-based loans. Bring something of value, and they will give you a loan based on your item's value. The pawn broker keeps your item until you pay the loan. If you do not repay the loan, they typically resell your item for a profit. If you intend on repaying the loan and getting your item back, be sure that you understand the terms of your agreement and repay the loan on time. Want to learn more about how pawning works? Here’s an in-depth guide.
- Sell old books at Half Price Books (or another used book store) – You may have a bookshelf of quick cash sitting next to you right now. Grab all the books you're willing to part with and take them to your local Half Price Books or similar. They'll give you an offer, and you can walk out with cash. Find out what your books are worth here.
- Hunt for hidden cash (and spare change) – Do you remember that time you stashed twenty bucks in the back of the freezer? What about all that spare change in your couch? The cash you have lying around your house and car may add up to more than you think. When you need money fast, this is a good place to start.
- Donate blood plasma – Plasma is the clear part of blood that contains water, enzymes, antibodies, and proteins. The process takes about 1.5 hours and most people between 18 and 69 years are eligible. How much you make will depend on where you are and how often you donate, but rates typically range between $20 and $50 per donation. Most organizations will require a waiting period of four weeks between donations. You will need to schedule an appointment to donate, but you may be able to get one within the week. Many plasma collection services pay via cash or debit card. Follow these tips to ensure you have a good donation experience.
Get gigs online for cash
- Drive for a ride share company like Uber – In a recent study, loan company Earnest found that the average Uber driver makes $364 a month. Another study performed by RideShareGuy indicates that the average Uber driver makes $15.68 per hour before factoring in expenses like gas and vehicle maintenance. To drive for Uber, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a clean driving record and a 4-door vehicle in great condition. You’ll also need to pass a background check.
Payment method: Direct deposit
When will I get paid?: Uber pays drivers weekly, and there’s a large cash signup bonus that varies by city. You’ll need to complete a certain number of drives before getting your signup bonus. Pay periods are Monday to Monday, and most payments are delivered by Thursday of each week.
Once you get the hang of the ride share deal, check out these ways to maximize your profits.
- Lead tours on Viator or Airbnb Experiences – If you live in an area that attracts tourists, you can make quick money by hosting tours on Viator or Airbnb Experiences. Both websites act as a marketplace for people looking to book specific tours and city experiences. You set the rate for your tour or service. Viator and Airbnb make money by adding their fee to your rate.
Payment method: Direct deposit
When will I get paid?: Payments are made monthly
- Deliver with Postmates – Postmates is a delivery service for local food, clothing and other goods. To deliver for Postmates, you’ll need to be 18 or older and pass a background check. You can deliver with your own car or bicycle. While Postmates advertises rates up to $25 an hour, drivers report typical earnings to be about half that.
Payment method: Direct deposit
When will I get paid?: Postmates drivers get their base rate within 4-7 business days after they complete a delivery. Tips may take longer. Customers have an unlimited amount of time to leave a tip, but they are required to leave either a tip or review before they place their next Postmates order.
- Deliver Food with GrubHub – GrubHub is a food delivery service that contracts drivers to make deliveries. To become a Grubhub driver, you'll need to be 19+ years of age (21+ in Chicago), have more than two years of driving experience, own a recent iPhone or Android smartphone and pass a background check. If you plan to drive to deliveries, you'll need a car and a valid driver's license. If you plan to use a bicycle for deliveries, you'll need a valid state-issued ID. Grubhub advertises rates up to $25 per hour, but they do note that rates vary from city to city.
Payment method: Direct deposit
When will I get paid?: The GrubHub work week spans from Monday through Sunday. Payments for the previous week’s deliveries are sent every Thursday, but it can take 3-5 business days for some banks to process the payment.
Similar services to consider: Bitesquad
- Do chores with TaskRabbit – Once you sign up to be a Tasker, you’ll need to attend an orientation in your area. Then, TaskRabbit will notify you of potential jobs. Common tasks include cleaning, delivery, moving, furniture assembly and handyman jobs. One of the greatest things about making money on TaskRabbit is that you get to set your own rate. The hourly rate potential customers will see is inclusive of TaskRabbit’s 30% fee.
Payment method: Direct deposit
When will I get paid?: The client has 24 hours to review the charges after your job is completed. After that, the money will be deposited into your account, which could take 3 to 5 business days.
Want to maximize your efforts? Learn more about how to make money with TaskRabbit.
- Become a Field Agent – Field Agent is an app that allows you to make money by performing tasks that usually take place in stores. It’s similar to a secret shopping gig, but Field Agent is a bit more focused on merchandising. Jobs pay between $3 and $12.
Payment method: Direct deposit
When will I get paid?: Once a job is completed, you should expect to see the funds in your Field Agent account within 48 hours. You can then request to have the money deposited into your bank account, which typically takes 3 to 5 business days.
Find your own jobs for cash
- Babysit – If you’re good with kids and know someone who needs a babysitter, this is a great way to make money fast. To broaden your potential client-base, consider advertising your services on Care.com. If you think babysitting may become a regular thing for you, check out these tips for starting a babysitting business.
- Pet sit or dog walk – Start by offering your services to people you know. Then consider advertising on Rover.com. Rover is a platform that connects people looking for pet care with people providing such services. Good ratings and experience help, but you don't need special credentials to walk or sit for dogs on Rover.
Payment method: PayPal, Direct Deposit or check (cash if you’re working for friends or family)
When will I get paid?: Rover will release your funds two days after you provided the service. There is a 72-hour waiting period on new bank accounts, so be sure to connect your bank account right away to get money fast.
- House sit – Spread the word that you're available for house sitting. If you find any opportunities, the work is typically minimal, and you'll likely get cash as soon as you're done. Check out these tips for finding the best house sitting jobs.
- Become a photographer – Did you take photography lessons in school? Maybe you’re just a natural with a DSLR? If so, you may be able to make money fast by offering your services at an affordable rate. You don’t have to be the best around. Just be sure your rate is in line with your level of experience. Advertise on Craigslist or Thumbtack.com to find clients. This may end up being a solid side-gig for you over time. Want more inspiration? Check out these 11 things you can do to make money with a DSLR.
- Become a tutor – If you excel at a certain subject, why not share the wealth? It could return some fast cash for you. Ask around to see if anyone needs tutoring or place an add on Craigslist. If your local school has a public billboard, you can also post an ad there. Rates vary by geographic area and expertise, but you can expect to make anywhere between $12 and $20 per hour.
- Offer music lessons – Do you know how to play an instrument? Turn your skills into cash by offering music lessons. The average rate for piano lessons ranges between $15 and $40.
- Gardening or lawn mowing jobs – Ask your neighbors if they’d like help caring for their lawns. The rate you charge will depend on the size of the lawn and the amount of work, but you can request to be paid in cash.
- House cleaning – House cleaning is a chore that most people would prefer not to do. That's probably why it's a popular one to outsource. Offer your house cleaning services on a site like Amazon Home Services, Thumbtack, Care.com or Handy. If this idea sounds interesting to you, check out these tips for starting your own side business as a housecleaner.
Sell or rent stuff to get money
- Sell used iPhone, Android or computer – If you have an old iPhone, Android device or computer that you’re willing to part with, you have a way to make money fast. There are a few ways you can sell these devices. The fastest way to make money is by selling your smartphone, tablet or computer to a friend or family member. You may also turn a quick buck by advertising a competitive price for your item on Craigslist. If these don’t sound like good options, try a Google search for electronics stores that will buy your device. Search something like, “sell used iPhone in [city].” You may find a location where you can drop in with your phone and leave with cash. If you’re selling an iPhone, you won’t want to miss this guide for getting the most money for your device.
- Sell furniture, clothes or electronics on Craigslist – Look around your home for things you aren’t using. As they say, one person’s trash is another’s treasure. Furniture and electronics typically hold the most value, but you can also sell things like clothing, appliances and home décor.
- Flip a Craigslist listing – People list items on Craigslist for free all the time. The free items you’ll find are often large items like couches or washing machines that people don’t want to pay to have moved. If you have a truck, you can pick up items that were listed for free and resell them for whatever you think you can get. This is a more profitable side hustle than you may think. Learn more about flipping Craigslist listings here.
- Rent a spare room – If you have a spare room, consider getting a roommate. Rates will vary depending on your space and location, but this can easily bring in a few hundred dollars every month. You’ll collect money for the room and any deposits upfront, so this could be a good way to make extra money. If you’re truly desperate and can stay with a friend, you may also consider listing your place on Airbnb for a short-term tenant. If you’re renting a spare room, there are some things you should know to keep yourself safe.
- Have a garage sale – Garage sales are a great way to clear your house of unwanted stuff and make money at the same time. Because they require some work and forethought, start planning your garage sale at least one week before you need the cash. Garage sales can be a lot of work. Get the most out of your efforts with these twenty tips.
- Rent your car on Turo – If you have a car you aren’t using, or if you are willing to take public transportation for a set amount of time, you can make money by renting your car on Turo. Turo offers a handy calculator on their site to help you determine how much you could make annually by renting your car. For example, if your car is worth $20,000 and you rent it for 15 days each month, you could earn $6,500 within a year. Turo sets the price for your car based on your car’s value, location and the time of year.
Payment method: Direct deposit
When will I get paid?: Turo will pay you 65% to 85% of the rental price within five days of each rental.
- Sell through a consignment shop – When you work with a consignment shop, you are essentially asking them to sell your items for you. You will bring your items and agree on a fair rate, and then the shop owner will place your items for sale in their store for an agreed-upon amount of time (usually 30, 60 or 90 days). If your items sell, you’ll get paid the retail price minus the consignment shop’s commission, which is typically about 30 percent. Check out these hot tips for making big bucks at consignment sales.
- Sell old books on Amazon – Sell used books or textbooks on Amazon by becoming an individual marketplace seller on Amazon.com. Connect your book through the ISBN number, select your book’s condition and set the price.
Payment method: ACH transfer
When will I get paid?: Amazon settles new accounts within 14 days after the first sale. Subsequent payments are made about every 14 days. ACH transfers may take 1-5 business days.
Similar services to consider: Half.com
- Collect scrap metal – With a truck and some ingenuity, you can get fast money by collecting and selling scrap metal. Here are some ideas for where to find scrap metal:
- Shooting range – Collect brass shells and sell them to a recycling center.
- Neighborhood shops – Repair shops typically have scrap metal that they’d like to trash. Make it easier for them by taking the metal off their hands.
- Construction sites – You can form relationships with site managers that allow you to remove the excess scrap metal from their job site. Never take scrap metal from a construction site without clear written permission.
- Craigslist – Post an ad offering to remove old appliances, junk vehicles or other types of scrap metal. You’ll need to post frequently to remain relevant.
Once you have collected as much scrap metal as you can haul, take it to your local recycling center to exchange it for cash. Yearning to know more? Learn the ins and outs of getting cash for selling scrap metal here.
- Sell digital items on Etsy – Put your graphic design skills to good use (if you have any) by creating digital downloads to sell on Etsy. You can design greeting cards, invitations, food and wine glass markers, banners and signs. Each listing on Etsy costs $0.20, and you'll also pay a 3.5% transaction fee and a payment processing fee on every order.
Payment method: Direct deposit or check
When will I get paid?: All new sellers in the United States must use Etsy Payments (sellers with older accounts may continue getting direct PayPal payments from customers). Your money will be in your Etsy account as soon as the transaction has completed. From here, you can transfer it to your bank, which can take 3 to 5 business days.
Feeling especially crafty? Consider other ways to make money on Etsy.
Other ways to make money fast
- See if you’re eligible for a payout from a class action lawsuit – If you’ve ever purchased a product or service, you may be eligible to benefit from a class action lawsuit. Let’s say you signed up for a dating site last year and entered personal information. Unbeknownst to you, the company’s negligence left them open to a data breach and now your information is in the wrong hands. Browse through the companies involved in Class Action Rebates to find out whether you may be eligible for money. You will need to prove that you belong in the qualifying group; this usually includes proof of purchase. Here are six more things you should know about class action lawsuits.
- Open a new Chase Premier Plus account – Get a $300 signup bonus when you open a new account and setup direct deposit. Your first deposit must be deposited within 60 days.
Payment method: Direct deposit
When will I get my money?: Within ten business days of making your first direct deposit.
Intrigued? You’ll be excited to learn that there are even more ways to get free money from your bank.
- Return things you haven’t used yet – If you find yourself unexpectedly short on cash, the first thing you should do is return any unnecessary purchases you’ve recently made. It will typically take 5 to 7 days for the money to return to your account, but at this point, it’s better to have the money than the items. You can always repurchase them when cash flow isn’t so much of an issue.
- Search for unclaimed funds – Do you think someone out there owes you money? Maybe you overpaid on a loan or weren’t paid the right amount of interest. Find out by searching for unclaimed funds in your name. These searches are performed by the state, so you’ll have to do a new search for each state you’ve lived in. Start your search on the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators’ website. If you find unclaimed funds in your name, you’ll be asked to share some personal information before your state comptroller’s office sends you a check.
Sound too good to be true? Learn the myths and facts of unclaimed funds here.
- Carvertise – Turn your car into a rolling billboard with Carvertise, and you'll get money each month. To become a Carvertise driver, you’ll need to drive a minimum of 25 miles each day, have a clean driving record and own a 2005 model year or newer with a factory paint job. You’ll need to fill out an application and wait for approval. Once you’re approved and matched with an advertiser, you’ll get $100 for every month for the duration of the campaign.
- Participate in medical studies – New drugs must be tested before they can be approved. Become a part of the testing process by signing up for a clinical trial. Rates and details will vary based on the trial itself, but be sure to review any potential side effects before you get involved. You can find opportunities on Centerwatch.com. Here’s an in-depth look at what to expect when you sign up for a clinical trial.
Ways to make money fast online
- Swagbucks – Swagbucks is a rewards-based program where you can get paid for shopping online, watching videos, searching the web and answering surveys. One hundred points typically equal one dollar, but some gift cards offer more value per Swagbucks. Choose from hundreds of store gift cards or choose to turn your Swagbucks to cash through PayPal.
Payment method: Gift cards or PayPal
When will I get paid?: Payment is instant once you rack up enough Swagbucks. Swagbucks activities that don’t require you to spend money typically pay between one and 100 Swagbucks, so it may take some time to accumulate a significant amount of cash. Your payout will be directly related to the amount of time you spend doing Swagbucks activities. Are you already on Swagbucks and want to learn how to earn more? Check out this guide to earning more from Swagbucks.
- Inbox Dollars – Inbox Dollars is another online rewards club that pays you cash for completing suggested activities. You’ll get a $5 signup bonus to bring you closer to your required $30 minimum payout. If you have a lot of time to spend taking surveys and watching videos, InboxDollars is a decent way to make a few extra dollars.
Payment method: Prepaid Visa, InboxDollars ecard or check
When will I get paid?: After you have earned at least $30 and requested a payment, you will receive funds within 10-16 days. All subsequent payments are processed within 3-9 days.
- Perform a bunch of tasks on Mechanical Turk – Gigs on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk tend to be small and cheap, but small jobs can add up quickly. To get started, create an account and choose a “HIT.” Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) are small jobs that can usually be completed in minutes. Jobs typically pay well under $1.00 each, but you can do as many as you’d like.
Payment method: Transfer to Amazon Payments account or to an Amazon.com gift card
When will I get paid? You must be active on Mechanical Turk for 10 days before you can request a payment. After the withholding period, you can request one transfer per calendar day. If you transfer a payment from Amazon Payments into your bank account, allow 3 to 5 business days for the transaction to process.
Check out more tips for making money on Mechanical Turk.
- Answer questions on Just Answer – Just Answer is a Q&A website where people post questions along with the amount they are willing to pay for the answer. If your first answer is accepted, you’ll earn 20% of what the person paid to ask. As you successfully answer more questions, you can earn up to 50%. Just Answer focuses on questions in specific categories, including mechanics, law, tech support, plumbing and electric and veterinary health. You must be able to verify your profession with a diploma, state license or certification.
Payment method: PayPal
When will I get paid?: Once you have earned $20, you will be able to cash out to your PayPal account.
Here are some tips for making the most money from JustAnswer.
- Do gigs on Fiverr – Fiverr is a freelance marketplace where the majority of gigs are sold for just five bucks. Browse the top-selling gigs to see what you may want to offer, and then come up with something you think would be worth five dollars.
Payment method: PayPal
When will I get paid?: You can withdraw money from Fiverr fourteen days after each transaction is complete.
Fast ways to borrow money
- Borrow from family – Ask someone in your family for a small loan to hold you over until your next payday. Just be sure to repay that loan, or you may risk ruining your relationship over money.
It can be tricky to navigate this financial relationship. Here are some tips for borrowing money from friends and family.
- Payday loan – If you are completely out of other options and need money fast, you should be able to get a payday loan. These loans are available to most people with a steady paycheck, but they come at a great cost. Interest rates can range from 300% to over 700%. Read the terms carefully to be sure you know exactly how much you’ll pay for your loan and that there are no early payment penalties.
The key to being successful with payday loans is to educate yourself. Learn more about payday loans here.
- Cash in part of your IRA – It’s not ideal to withdraw funds from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) early, but if you really need the money, it’s an option. Expect a 10% penalty for early withdrawal. With some creativity and a few little-known secrets, you may be able to avoid the penalty. Learn more about withdrawing from your IRA here.
- Get a credit card cash advance – If you’re having a cash flow issue, you can borrow from your credit card; just know that this will cost you. Rates vary based on your bank, but cash advance rates are always higher than your typical APR. It’s a better option to use your credit card for necessary purchases like gas and groceries if you have enough cash to get by otherwise. If you do have to get cash from your credit card, read this first.
Once you learn how to make fast money, you may quickly become addicted. Use some or all of these techniques for getting quick cash and your bank account will grow more every day.