10 Creative Ways to Pay Rent When You Don’t Have Any More Plasma to Sell

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Honest Abe

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Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.


Rent’s due.

Cue anxious scrambling.

You riffle through old birthday cards; maybe there’s a stray $10 bill in one?

You offer to pet-sit any and every critter in your neighborhood (even the squirrels). You see what you can do for $5 on Craigslist. You stare into your closet and wonder what your local consignment store will give you for that pilly sweater. You contemplate calling Mom or Dad… anything but that.

You even Google “sell plasma.” You know, just to see what that’s all about.

It’s a sad reality; many of us struggle to make rent.

Creative Ways to Make Your Rent Payment on Time

For a quick fix, we’ve got a few ways to make extra money this month — so your landlord doesn’t come a-knockin’.

1. Find a Work-From-Home Gig

If you’re not in the mood to leave your sweet abode (we get it; you’re paying a lot for that space), start looking for a work-from-home job.

You can find anything and everything out there — virtual assistant gigs, data-entry clerk positions, or even proofreading and transcribing jobs.

One we want to mention is an online tutoring website called VIPKID. It offers a flexible way to make money on the side.

With VIPKID, you’ll become an English tutor for children in China between ages 4 and 12. Base pay ranges from $14 to $22 an hour, and teachers get paid between the 10th and 15th of each month.

Learn more about the work-from-home gig on the VIPKID website.

2. Get Ahead of It: Set up an Emergency Fund

Nothing is more motivating than a nice dose of panic, right?

While you’re fretting, put your nervous energy to good use and start an emergency fund to help prevent this rent panic from happening again.

Tons of apps make this process painless nowadays, including Digit. It saves only money you can afford to spare.

Simply link it to your checking account, and the app’s algorithms will determine small (and safe!) amounts of money to withdraw into a separate FDIC-insured savings account.

Using the set-it-and-forget-it strategy, one of our editors was able to save more than $4,300 in just over two years. He was able to use the funds when he needed — like when he picked up and moved from Tampa to New York City, where rent is, well, expensive.

Digit is free for the first 100 days, then $2.99 per month thereafter — less than Netflix.

3. Share Your Opinions for Extra Cash

A lot of packaged food companies will pay you for your thoughts. They’re hungry for data on what shoppers think of their products, so they pay folks like you to join panels and answer questions.

Sign up for an online market research site like Harris Poll to participate.

Most surveys pay between $3 and $4 each for 20 minutes of your time. Heck, you can even fill them out while you watch TV — nice way to earn money in your down time!

Larger panels are hosted locally. These usually require two to four hours of your time — and you don’t get to watch Netflix while you’re at it — but they pay up to $75.

You can sign up for Harris Poll here.

4. Start a Flexible Side Gig

Need a fun, flexible way to earn money while also meeting lots of new people?

Try driving with Lyft.

Demand for ridesharing has been growing like crazy, and it shows no signs of slowing down. To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later.

We talked to Paul Pruce, who’s been driving full-time with Lyft for over a year. He earns $750 a week as a driver.

Best of all, he does it on his own time. You can work days, nights or weekends — it’s up to you!

Because it’s simple to switch between apps, many Lyft drivers also sign up as a driver partner with Uber.

As a driver partner with Uber, you are an independent contractor. You create your own schedule and work as much or as little as you want.

If you want to give it a try here are a few of the things to keep in mind: You must be at least 21 years old, have at least one year of licensed driving experience in the U.S. (three years if you are under 23 years old), have a valid US driver’s license and pass a background check.

Also, your car must be a four-door, seat at least four passengers (excluding the driver), be registered in-state and be covered by in-state insurance.

Here’s a link to sign up to use the Uber app.

5. Chip Away at Your Everyday Expenses

Pssstt… We’ve got a secret.

There’s a new rewards platform on the market — and it could help you save some money on your daily expenses to put toward rent.

Drop is a financial tech company that rewards you for your purchases.

All you have to do is link your credit and debit cards to the app. When you make a Drop-qualified purchase, you’ll automatically earn points, whether you’re grocery shopping, hailing an Uber or ordering a pizza.

The points will add up, and you can exchange them for gift cards to popular retailers like Amazon and Starbucks.

It’s the ultimate loyalty card — without the card.

For your online purchases, sign up with the cash-back site Ebates to earn money back every time you shop. Plus, it’s giving away $10 gift cards if you sign up as a new member and earn your first cash-back rebate.

To earn your free gift card:

  1. Sign up for Ebates here with your email or Facebook account.
  2. Make your first purchase through the site within 90 days, and spend at least $25.
  3. Your account will be credited with rewards points you cash in for your $10 gift card.

6. List Your Expensive Space on Airbnb

Have a spare room? Might as well use Airbnb to make some money by renting it out.

If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.

And there’s no reason you can’t be creative. We even found a guy who earns $1,380 a month renting out a backyard tent on Airbnb.

Taking a few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one.

Here are a few tips:

  • Make your space available during high-demand times in your area. Think: concerts, conventions and sporting events.
  • Be a good host, and make sure your place is stocked with the toiletries you’d expect at a hotel — toilet paper, soap and towels.
  • Be personable. A lot of travelers turn to Airbnb for the personal touch they won’t find at commercial properties.

Here’s the link to sign up as an Airbnb host.

(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)

7. Get Your Paycheck 2 Days Earlier

Want to get a jump on payday? Let Chime be your secret weapon.

Unlike most financial institutions, this online bank account doesn’t wait until your pay date to give you access to your money. As soon as it receives notification of the transaction from your employer, it immediately posts those funds to your account.

That means you’ll get your paycheck early — like Samuel Demeny, who recently switched to Chime. He uses direct deposit. His company technically pays everyone on Fridays, but Chime gets him access to that cash two days earlier than his co-workers.

“The fact that I’m paid on Wednesday versus Friday… helps me budget before the weekend even starts,” Demeny told The Penny Hoarder.

Not everyone is guaranteed the two-day head start Demeny has. That depends on your employer and its financial institution. We talked to another Chime account holder, Lee Best, who gets his paycheck one day ahead of his co-workers — on Wednesday instead of Thursday.

Who doesn’t want to get paid early?

Opening an account with Chime is free and only takes about five minutes.

8. Declutter Your Space

Living that #Minimalist lifestyle is all the rage right now, so why not use this mentality to your advantage when you need a couple of extra bucks?

Start taking a good hard look at your belongings. What do you actually need?

  • Clothes: If you have clothes you haven’t worn in the last year, why do you hang onto them? Try selling them to folks in your area through an online marketplace like letgo. It takes about five minute to list an item.
  • Technology: Begin with your overcrowded entertainment center, likely full of outdated music and movies. Consider selling these items to Decluttr. It’ll buy your old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, video games and even cell phones and tablets. Shipping is free, and Decluttr pays you within 24 hours of retrieval.
  • Books: Bookshelf collecting dust? We love books as much as the next person, but see if your treasures are worth anything by simply searching their ISBNs at Bookscouter. The platform searches dozens of buyback sites to see where you could get the most money.
  • Gift cards: While you’re digging out those stiff winter coats, check the pockets. You might come across a gift card or two in there. If you do, sell it for rent money through a gift-card exchange site like Raise.

9. Ask for Help

If you feel as though you’ve exhausted all your options, call a local resource line for help.

Start with 2-1-1, a confidential service offered through United Way that’ll help you find the resources you need to find affordable housing, make rent or pay utilities.

To use the service, head to 211.org and enter your location. It’ll show you services in your community and give you a number to call.

You can also look into applying for a grant. Take, for example, Modest Needs grants.

This nonprofit organization supports low-income workers, mainly through its Self-Sufficiency Grants. These are designed for workers just above the poverty line, who are ineligible for most conventional methods of social assistance but are still at risk for the types of financial disasters that result in homelessness.

If you’re working and in need, reach out and see if Modest Needs can help you.

10. Avoid the Endless Loop of Bank Fees

Calling it close with rent is a scary feeling. You might feel as though you’re playing chicken with your bank account, dodging various fees: late fees, overdraft fees, minimum-balance fees… you name it.

Rather than cowering in fear, you can switch to a bank account that won’t punish you for close calls.

We like the Aspiration Summit Checking account for that reason. It has no monthly fees and no minimum deposits, and it even reimburses you any ATM fees you might pay. Account holders also earn up to 1% in annual interest, which is a nice little form of passive income that might come in handy down the road.

(And maybe next month, finally start a budget?)

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