How to Make Money

Need Cash ASAP? 101 Creative Ways to Make Money This Week

October 12, 2015
by Steve Gillman
Contributor
ways to make money

You need money fast, as in the next few days. What can you do?

To ease your worry, we’ve compiled a list of 101 ways to raise cash this week. But let’s make a few things clear…

  • First, ways to earn more money will be well-represented, but that’s not all you’ll find. When you need money quickly, you may have to sell stuff, borrow and find money you forgot you had.
  • Second, none of the ways listed here require much, if any, investment other than time.
  • Third, your results may vary. Having cash in hand in seven days or less is the criterion for inclusion, so if some readers can make it work in a week, it made the list. Your circumstances may not be the same, so it could take you longer to get ahold of that money using some of these strategies, and some might not work for you at all.

With that disclaimer out of the way, here’s a look at ways to make money fast.

Using Jobs

Employment isn’t always the fastest way to make money, but you can sometimes squeeze a little more from the job you have, or find a second job where you can make cash this week. Here are some options.

1. Boost Your Tip Income

If you work in a position where you get tips, quickly raise cash by working more hours, better hours and putting on your best smile. And there are at least a dozen other ways to get more tips.

2. Get a Paycheck Advance

Most employers won’t give you an advance on your paycheck these days.

But if you work for a small business, you can always ask. If your boss doesn’t want to mess with payroll issues, she might give you a personal loan you can repay when you get your next check.

3. Get Overtime at Work

You can make extra money with overtime, but collecting it within a week may be a problem depending on your paycheck schedule. Of course, if you happen to get cash tips on the job, this works right away.

4. Become a Day Laborer

As explained in my post on temporary jobs, there are two types of temp companies: job placement and “day labor” outfits.

The latter often pay at the end the end of each work day, which makes them a good choice for fast cash.

5. Try Simply Hired

Search “get paid today” on Simply Hired and you may find cash jobs in your area (there are 86 postings at the moment when searching without a zip code).

6. Be a Vegas Night Dealer

Search “vegas night” plus the name of cities near you to locate one of the many Vegas Night events put on by nonprofit groups.

Blackjack or money-wheel dealers sometimes earn cash nightly, and you don’t need experience to run a money wheel. If the organization uses a day labor company to staff the event (also common), find out which one.

7. Be a Sign Holder

The next time you see someone holding an advertising sign, stop and ask who hired him. Some companies specialize in this area, and day labor outfits hire for these positions as well.

My experience as a sign holder was pretty awful, but I did get paid at the end of the day.

8. Deliver Pizza

If you get a side job delivering pizza tomorrow, you still might not see a paycheck for more than a week. But the cash tips will start with your first shift.

Borrowing Money

Borrowing may not be the ideal way to raise cash, since taking on more debt may lead to the next “I need money fast” situation.

Then again, sometimes the important thing is to just to get cash now. If this is the case, try one of the strategies.

9. Borrow From Family

This may be the easiest and least expensive loan you’ll get, but put it all in writing.

And pay a little interest — at least the Applicable Federal rate. That’s the minimum interest charge the IRS will assume is collected.

10. Pawn Something

You can bring things you don’t need on a daily basis to a pawn shop to borrow against them, but you won’t get more than a fraction of the item’s value. You also may be fingerprinted, and typical pawn shop interest rates can be from 5 to 25% per month. It’s fast cash, but it’s also a troublesome and expensive way to get it.

11. Use Your Overdraft Account

If you have overdraft protection on your checking account, you can tap into it to raise money. Expect to pay a high interest rate.

12. Get a Credit Card Cash Advance

Typically you’ll pay 3 to 5% up front, and the average cash advance interest rate is almost 24% — making this an expensive way to borrow. You may want to try other options first.

13. Cash a Credit Card Convenience Check

A credit card convenience check is essentially a cash advance, but it can be better because these checks often come with lower promotional interest rates.

14. Use Your Credit Card to Buy Things for Friends

The average interest rate on credit card purchases is about 15%, a lot less than the cash advance rate. So if you collect cash from a friend and pay for his or her purchases with your credit card, you’ll effectively get a cash advance at a much lower rate.

15. Get a Payday Loan

The typical interest rate on a payday loan between 391% and 521% (yes, you read that correctly), so avoid this option if you can.

16. Borrow from Your 401(k)

Almost every guide to borrowing from your 401(k) retirement plan includes a warning about sabotaging your retirement. It probably is a bad idea, but you might get the money within a week, so I had to include it on this list.

17. Get a Car Loan

If you own your car free-and-clear, you may be able to get a loan on it, especially if you try local credit unions.

I did this once to pay off a medical bill (I got a steep discount on the bill for paying right away, making it worth paying interest on the loan).

18. Put It on a Credit Card

If you need money for something you can pay for with a credit card, just get a new card and use it.

While you’re at it, get a credit card signup bonus, so you’ll also get an extra $100 or $200 in a couple months.

Selling Your Stuff

You almost certainly own some things you don’t really need. Selling unnecessary possessions is often one of the quickest ways to raise money. Consider the following examples.

19. Sell Your Gold and Silver

If you have jewelry or other items made of precious metals, you can easily sell them today. See my post on getting cash for gold for tips on getting the best price and avoiding scams.

20. Cash in Your Gift Cards

You can sell your unused gift cards for 60 to 90% of their remaining balance. Online buyers (there are many) may take a week or more to pay you.

Or, use one of the many Coinstar machines that pay cash for gift cards as a faster alternative. You can enter your zip code on the website to find the closest one.

21. Have a Yard Sale

If it’s a weekend and there are other yard sales in your neighborhood, you might not even need to advertise. Just put out your stuff and make a sign.

22. Sell Old Phones

If you have unused cell phones, sell them through Gazelle, NextWorth or even eBay. Here’s a good guide to selling your phone for the most money.

You’ll often be paid through PayPal as soon as the buyer receives the phone.

23. Sell Things on Craigslist

Surely there are a few things you don’t need around your house or apartment. Take photos and list them for sale on Craigslist at no cost. Here’s how to make the most money from your items.

24. Sell DVDs and CDs

You can sell your DVDs and CDs at most pawn shops, but they only buy select ones, and typically give you a dollar or less for each. Still, if you have many popular titles, it could add up.

25. Sell Clothes

Sell your clothes for cash at places like Plato’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange. Bring your ID and preferably name-brand clothes to get a cash offer.

You can also try other second-hand clothing stores, and maybe get a better price. Consignment websites are great options, but might not be quick enough for most people.

26. Sell Furniture

I’ve written about how to make your furniture into a profitable investment, but that strategy may take too much time.

To sell that extra couch or table within a week, try a free ad on Craigslist or call consignment furniture stores to see if they’ll pay cash.

27. Sell Books

Half Price Books and Hastings pay cash for books. You get less if you opt for cash instead of store credit, but you get it right now.

28. Put a Sign on It

Around our neighborhood, people sell bicycles and other things in their front yards. Put a “for sale” sign on things in front of your home (lock them to a tree or take them in at night if they’re valuable) and see how many bites you get.

29. Scalp Your Tickets

As I reported in my post on how to make money scalping online, you can legally sell your concert or sporting event tickets as a way to raise money.

If you have a few tickets to upcoming events, you could turn them into fast cash.

30. Sell Your Car

If you can go without a car for a while, or buy a cheaper one, consider selling it.

Use online price guides like Kelley Blue Book to see what the value is in your area. For a fast sale (but probably at a lower price), go to a dealer.

Selling Other Stuff

Don’t stop with selling your own things. While you’re at it, sell items for friends, stuff you find and things you can buy cheap or get for free.

31. Sell Scrap Metal

If you have beer cans, aluminum junk, copper wire or tubing, or just about anything made of metal, you can sell it all and get cash today.

To do more than just cash in on the stuff in your garage, read up on how to find and sell scrap metal.

32. Sell Something on Fiverr

You keep $4 of each sale on Fiverr but, if you sell a service or product that takes little time to provide, those profits can add up quickly. You should be able to get your money within a week if you already have a PayPal account.

Read our guide to Fiverr and start selling something.

33. Try Dumpster Diving

Here’s one you might not like. That is, until you read about the guy who makes $2,500 per night dumpster diving.

Look for things you can turn into cash at pawn shops or recycling centers, or even get creative and look for makeup. I’ve posted about my experience selling the neighbors’ junk.

34. Sell Things at a Flea Market

Some flea markets charge by the month, but many let you set up a table for one day for less than $20. It’s a great way to sell your stuff and also other items.

As I explained in my post on selling at flea markets, my wife and I used to regularly buy rummage sale and thrift store items to sell for a profit.

35. Collect and Sell Flowers

Vendors who sell flowers on the street or in bars tell me (yes, I ask) they collect the day-old blooms from dumpsters behinds flower shops. An alternative is to harvest wildflowers to sell.

36. Make Things to Sell

My post about making and selling walking sticks covers my own experience (I’ve sold hundreds of them). You can head into the woods and make a dozen walking sticks today for under $10 total, and then sell them for up to $40 or more each.

37. Become a Street Vendor

If you have $20 to invest, you can sell something on the street. Read about Neville Medhora’s bottled water experiment for inspiration.

38. Sell Things on eBay

While selling your own things on eBay, why not sell things for your friends for a percentage?

Another strategy is to look up eBay prices for items you see at garage sales, so you can make an offer that leaves room for a profit. Keep your auctions short if you want to get the money within a week.

39. Sell Stuff Locally for Friends and Family

If you’re heading out to pawn something or sell your clothes or furniture, round up the stuff your friends and family members don’t need. Sell it for a percentage or ask what their minimum price is and keep anything over that.

40. Sell Coupons

Some coupons sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay around Black Friday, when 10% off at Target can mean a lot to a serious Christmas shopper.

At other times, you can get $10 or $15 for bank coupons offering big bonuses for opening an account.

Selling Your Services

If you’re willing to provide a service to others, you can always make some extra income. For this list, of course, it has to be something where you get paid quickly.

41. TaskRabbit

If you have an account on TaskRabbit, you can pick up a few jobs and get paid within five days. One “tasker” reports he made $1,500 his first week.

Read up on the best ways to make money on TaskRabbit. If you don’t have an account, approval can take a while, but at least you’ll be ready the next time you need fast cash.

42. Do Tasks for Friends and Family

Cleaning garages or raking leaves for family and friends will get you cash faster than TaskRabbit. Charge a reasonable hourly rate, and if they don’t need anything done right now, see the next suggestion…

43. Pre-Sell Your Labor

Print out papers saying, “This certificate is good for (blank) hours of my time.” Specify the types of work you’ll do and include your phone number. Sell these to anyone you know who needs future babysitting, yard work, etc.

44. Become a Mover

If you have a strong back, help people move. Watch for anyone moving as you drive around town and stop to offer your services for an hourly rate.

45. Bartend at a Party

If you have bartending skills, look for events where you can offer your services. Put the word out on Facebook. You’ll probably be paid at the end of the gig, and you’ll make cash tips as well.

46. Bartend at a Bar

True story: My friend ran out of money at the bar and made $30 in tips quickly (less than an hour) by taking orders and running drinks out to tables (there was no wait staff that night).

If you aren’t as good as she is at talking your way out of trouble, you might want to ask the bartender or manager if you can try this.

47. Become a Tutor

You don’t always need credentials to start a tutoring business. As long as you know more about a subject than your client, you have something to offer.

Online platforms may make for slower payment, so, if you need money really fast, talk to friends and advertise on Craigslist to find cash-paying clients this week.

48. Babysit Kids

My post on babysitting for up to $18 per hour explains how to use online platforms. But you might find work quicker by simply calling everyone you know to see if they need your help.

49. Be a Pet Sitter

I’ve paid up to $60 per night for cat sitters to stay with our cats. When I researched my post on pet sitting, I discovered the rate goes as high as $100 per night in some areas. A common charge for a quick stop to feed and check on pets: $20.

50. Walk Dogs

Wear a sign, print cards with your phone number and walk your dog at a local dog park to find clients. While you’re at it, call your friends to see if they need your services.

51. Paint Houses

My post on how to get started as a part-time house painter explains how I learned on the job and on YouTube. As a newbie I made only $13 per hour, but it was cash at the end of each day.

52. Paint House Numbers on Curbs

This is another service you can provide with a small initial investment (about $40), as detailed in my post on curb painting. You’re typically paid cash, so if you’re willing to knock on a few doors you could make $150 by the end of today.

53. Mow Lawns

Don’t let a lack of a lawn mower stop you. William Feller borrowed a lawn mower to start — and eventually took in $15,000 per month from — his lawn care business.

In any case, you might make a couple hundred dollars this week if you knock on doors and offer your services.

54. Do Customer Deliveries

If Postmates is active in your area, you can deliver anything from food and other goods for up to $25 per hour. You’ll need a bicycle, scooter or car, and the company will deposit your earnings weekly.

It takes time to get started, since Postmates does a background check, so you probably won’t see money the first week unless you’re already a member.

55. Deliver Phone Books

You can find phone book delivery jobs all over the country. I made decent money and was paid every day. DeliverYellow has a nice map where you can click to see any openings near you.

56. Wash Cars

This is another low-investment instant business. If you live in a busy area, put out a sign and start washing your own car to attract customers.

57. Sell Rides

I used to charge co-workers for rides to work. You could try that, or call your car-less friends to see if they need transportation. TPH regularly reports on opportunities like Uber and other ways to get paid to drive your car.

58. Shovel Snow

Invest $12 in a snow shovel and you should get it back on the first job. And check out Kristen Pope’s post on 18 ways to make money during a snowstorm.

59. Repair Computers

Can you fix computers? Call friends and family to ask if they need help. Or do what entrepreneurs do in our neighborhood: Put out handmade signs offering your services.

60. Clean Houses

If you clean your own home, you have what you need to start cleaning other people’s homes. Cleaning vacation rentals can be especially lucrative. For fast cash, call friends and family and ask for referrals.

61. Do Handyman Work

If you have the tools and know-how to fix a sink, paint a shed or install a counter, put a sign on your car and call friends and family to look for work.

62. Join Agent Anything

AgentAnything is a paid-task platform for college students. Once you complete a “mission” for a client, you’re paid via PayPal.

63. Clean Gutters

Most homeowners pay between $100 and $189 to have their gutters and downspouts cleaned, according to HomeAdvisor. You can buy a gutter-cleaning kit for less than $50, so you’ll be ahead after one client.

64. Wash Windows

This is yet another low-cost business in which you can recover your investment on the first job.

To limit what you have to spend on tools, go after clients with single-story homes and buildings.

65. Haul Junk

If you have a pickup truck, you might find cash jobs this week hauling away junk for people. First, see what it will cost to unload at the local dump, so you know how to price your services.

And don’t forget to separate those metal objects to sell for scrap value!

66. Work at Events

Check online for festivals, carnivals and events in your area. Stop by before they start to see if they need setup help, or on the last day to see if they need teardown help.

You’ll typically be paid cash each day (common for carnival ride teardown, for example).

Gathering Together Money You Already Have

You may already have more money than you realize. Even if it’s in various forms and places, you may be able to pull it together this week. Here’s where to look.

67. Check PayPal

Have any forgotten money in your PayPal account? Transfer anything to your bank account; it takes a few days at most.

68. Cash in Bottles and Cans

In my post on how I made $1,500 collecting soda cans, I explain that 10 states have deposit laws for beverage containers. If you live in one of them, round up all your 5- or 10-cent treasures and bring them to the store to cash in.

Ask friends for donations too. I once made $35 cleaning the cans out of a friend’s garage (350 of them).

69. Tap Your Emergency Funds

If you have an emergency savings fund, this may be the time to use it. If you don’t have one, remember to start one when the tough times are over.

70. Round up Your Loose Change and Bills

The change in your couch and car cup holder may not add up to much, but it’s a start. Also search dressers and any place you may have stashed a few bills.

71. Get Your Utility Deposits Refunded

If you had to pay a deposit to get electricity or gas turned on, you may be able to get it back. Many utility companies refund deposits once you’ve paid enough bills on time (often a year).

Some don’t do it automatically, so check to see if you have a deposit you can get back.

72. Cash in Your IRA

If you have a retirement account with a local bank, you can quickly cash in part of it to raise cash.

At tax time you’ll pay a penalty and taxes on the early distribution, so carefully calculate if it’s worth the cost, or look over the IRS penalty exceptions to see if you might qualify.

73. Return Your Purchases

Consider getting a refund on something you bought recently. Return policies vary, but can be generous. For example, Walmart gives you 90 days on most items, and 15 days to return electronics.

74. Cancel Subscriptions to Get a Refund

Many magazines, and even some services, will give you a prorated refund if you cancel. Call and ask.

75. Get That Tax Refund

If it’s near tax time, prepare your return to see if you’re owed a refund. CBS News reports the fastest way to get a tax refund is to file electronically and elect to get a direct deposit into your bank account, but it can still take two weeks.

Getting a refund anticipation loan is expensive, but you get the money the day you file.

76. Collect Your Unclaimed Money

Read my post on lost money that belongs to you or go straight to Unclaimed.org to search for lost bank accounts, insurance refunds and other unclaimed money that might belong to you or a relative who passed away.

In most states you won’t get it within a week, but if the money is coming soon, you could borrow until the check arrives.

Other Ways to Raise Cash Fast

Many of the ways you can raise cash this week don’t fit well in one of the categories above, or they fit into more than one. So, here are the rest of the strategies for putting cash in your hands as quickly as possible.

77. Beg for Money

Don’t like the idea of begging for cash? You might change your mind if you read about beggars making £200 per night ($310) to supplement their day job income. Anyhow, I don’t want to leave anything out of this list.

78. Flip Free Craigslist Stuff

I explained my process in my post on flipping Craigslist freebies. Look in the free section on Craigslist and find things you can sell for cash.

Here’s a tip: Cash in large metal objects at a recycling center for scrap metal value.

79. Sell Your Plasma

Check online for a BioLife Plasma Service center near you, and call to see how much they offer. They pay using a pre-paid Visa card.

You can search online for other plasma centers that pay by check or cash.

80. Sell Your Trees

If you own property with lots of trees, cut down and sell some of them. Local lumber mills may make an offer, or you can check with websites like SellYourTrees.com. My friend made thousands of dollars selling the trees around his house.

81. Rent Out Your Stuff

I’ve reported on websites where you rent out your stuff, but Craigslist may be the best bet.

I just clicked “for sale” and searched “for rent” on the Tampa Craigslist site (a routine that gets you beyond housing rentals). I saw a horse trailer, jet ski, shed and tablecloths among the items advertised, so who knows what you can rent out.

82. Sell Your Garden Produce

Sell your garden fruits and vegetables on a table in front of your home, or call friends to see if they want to buy them. At one job, my co-worker brought eggs and vegetables to work and always sold out.

83. Download the Field Agent App

“Jobs typically pay between $3 and $12 each,” per the Field Agent website. Examples of assignments (accessed through your smartphone) include local mystery shopping and doing surveys online.

You can ask for a PayPal cash-out when you like, and then transfer the money to your bank account or spend it using your PayPal debit card.

84. Sell Ads on Your Website

When I sell ads on my websites, I usually get paid within two days by PayPal (it takes two more days to transfer the money to my bank account).

With a dozen emails to previous clients, I can usually sell at least one $100 ad. If you’ve never sold ads, look at similar sites and contact the advertisers you see there.

85. Gamble

I’m not suggesting going to a casino, but if you read my post on bar bets you can’t lose, you’ll see you don’t have to take any big risks to raise some cash.

86. Collect Debts

Pick up your phone and start collecting any debts you are owed. If your debtors hesitate, offer to discount what they owe if they pay in full today.

87. Make Money as a Street Musician

If you have talent, hit the street. Nobody throws a credit card number in the hat, so it’s all cash right now.

88. Be a Street Character

Don’t have enough talent to be a street performer? Try costume busking. You might have to borrow or rent a costume, but again, you’ll make cash tips.

89. Sell Your Hair

Good, long hair can sell for $500 or more. You can find a list of buyers on websites like BuyandSellHair.com. Here’s a great guide from a writer who sold her long hair.

90. Find Money

You have to be desperate to check couches in public places for change — a suggestion I recently heard.

But people in casinos regularly go around checking slot machine trays for forgotten quarters or tokens (which they can cash in), and I’ve been known to scavenge a quarter or two from a vending machine change return.

91. Sell Your Bone Marrow

Julia Sheng told The Billfold she sold her bone marrow for $300. It can’t be that bad; she went back to sell marrow two more times.

92. Have a Party

If you know a lot of people, have a party with a $5 cover charge and provide all the snacks.

I’ve had friends who paid half the rent doing this. They had as many as 40 or 50 people show up, leaving them a profit of at least $120 after buying all the snacks.

93. Find a Renter

I paid off my mortgage by renting out rooms in my house, and I always collected rent in cash. It can be a good source of income long term, but you can also collect the first month of rent money this week.

94. Use Airbnb

If you don’t want long-term tenants in your house, you can still raise some quick cash by using Airbnb to rent out a room (or even a couch) for a weekend.

95. Go Scavenging

In several towns, I’ve watched scavengers prowling the streets as people put out their junk for a spring cleanup event. It’s amazing how many valuable items people throw out.

You could sell some items at pawn shops, others at your rummage sale and junk metal at a recycling center.

96. Check Classified Ads

Cash jobs and opportunities sometimes show up in newspaper classified ads. That’s how I made $150 for a day as a fake juror.

Consumer research companies also occasionally use classified ads to find paid focus group participants.

97. Cash in Your Reward Points

If you have reward points on credit cards you may be able to cash them in for statement credits you can spend.

And if you can use them to get a gift card for a store you normally shop at, that’s like cash, too (but you’ll typically wait a week to get it).

98. Write for a Blog

Most blogs don’t pay right away, but a few websites pay you instantly for your articles (usually by PayPal).

99. Try Social Funding

Last week my friend used Facebook and a GoFundMe campaign to successfully raise money for a car. It takes five to seven business days to transfer the money to your bank account, but you can withdraw money at any point.

So if your campaign starts well, you can have some money within a week, and maybe have much more in two weeks. GoFundMe takes a total of 7.9% of what you collect.

100. Sell Your Friendship

Learn how to use Rent a Friend and you might get paid to be anything from a chess partner to a tour guide.

101. Spend Less

This isn’t a way to raise cash directly, but any time you spend less on your normal purchases you free up money, right?

Maybe it’s time to eat up what’s in the cupboards, stay in the house for a week and do anything else to slow your spending.

Your Turn: Do you know of any other strategies for quickly raising cash? Let us hear about them!

Disclosure: We have a serious Taco Bell addiction around here. The affiliate links in this post help us order off the dollar menu. Thanks for your support!

Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. He’s been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).

by Steve Gillman
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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