This post is from our regular contributor, Leslye.
I hate when my budget gets tight or unexpected expenses pop up. It’s not fun to think about having to spend more money than I planned, but I find comfort in knowing that I can make extra money when I need to.
So what do you do if you need to make money fast? Do you reach for your credit card? Take out a loan, or ask family for money?
Before you consider getting into debt, realize that you can easily make extra money today. No gimmicks, no tricks or scams, but actual ways to earn cash. If you’re interested, we’ve done the groundwork to get you started today.
1. Sell Your Stuff
Chances are you have more things than you need or use. From clothes and shoes to furniture and electronics, you can unload your excess items for a profit. I sold a pair of gently used 8-year old boots, there’s a market for everything and definitely an opportunity to make extra money today if you need to.
Websites like eBay and Amazon have become industry standards for selling items. However, apps like LetGo, Tradesy, Poshmark, and Mercari are also legitimate marketplaces. If you’re not interested in the digital method, an old-fashioned garage sale still works. Use your social media accounts and posters to promote your sale.
2. Drive for Uber
If you like driving and want to make some extra cash, Uber may be the place for you. Let your car be your office and set your own schedule. They provide you the availability to pick up fares on your schedule.
What I love about Uber is that they pay weekly and you can cash out earlier if you need money fast. So long as you’ve signed up, passed the background check and have an approved car that passes the inspection, you can start driving today and make extra money.
3. Use a Rewards App
Money is literally available at your fingertips. Would you like to be paid for shopping and purchasing items you already need?
ShopKick is a mobile app that allows you to earn points just for visiting your favorite stores. With multiple reward levels, you can cash out your points (or “kicks”) for gift cards. I just cashed out for a $25 Best Buy gift card. Ibotta allows you to earn cash for purchasing grocery, household and personal items.
Simply upload our receipt and select the rebate, and you earn cash. Swagbucks also allows you to earn gift cards by taking surveys, shopping, completing web searches, donating to charity and playing games online.
Ebates, my personal favorite lets you earn cash for your online purchases, and may even provide with a sign-up bonus. Turn your receipts into cash with ReceiptHog. Earn coins by uploading receipts weekly and cash out for Amazon gift cards or cash through PayPal.
4. Take Surveys
Taking surveys online is one of the easiest ways to make money fast. You won’t get rich taking surveys, but the money you earn can add up and help cover a small bill or supplement your income for other monthly or one-time expenses.
The key is to sign up with a few different survey sites to multiply your opportunities. Also, consider taking surveys during small moments of spare time whether it be during your lunch break, while watching TV, while waiting at the doctor’s office, or during your daily commute.
Survey Junkie is one of my favorite sites that is easy to use and pays out quickly. You can sign up today and start earning points that you can redeem for cash or gift cards. Some survey sites are better than others, so be sure to check out some of the top survey companies here.
5. Focus Groups
If anyone has ever told you that your opinion doesn’t matter, they couldn’t be further from the truth. Companies will actually pay good money for your opinion through focus groups. Focus groups are similar to surveys but they tend to pay a lot more and allow you to sit down in a group setting and discuss your thoughts and opinions on particular products or services.
These can be lucrative depending on the company. For just a couple an hour or two of your time, you could earn anywhere from $75 – $350+. While some focus groups take place in your local area, others enable you to participate via phone or online. Check out sites like FocusGroup or Respondent to get started.
6. Write a Guest Post
Do you like to write? So long as you are willing and able to contribute quality content online, you’ll always be able to earn an income. You can use your writing skills to contribute to blogs, magazines, and other publications.
Thanks to technology, you can request payment upon completion and get your money fast. PayPal, Cash App, Venmo, most businesses are connected and can pay you immediately. If you secure gigs on Upwork, you can also request to get paid in advance or get a partial advance payment. You can find a list of sites that pay for guest posts here.
7. Complete Tasks on UpWork
Speaking of Upwork, you can use this freelance job site to make money completing other services like editing, graphic design, voice over work, etc. You just need to narrow down your area of expertise and search for available gigs. Sometimes you can find recurring work here or one-time jobs if you’re just looking to make a quick buck or build your portfolio.
Upwork allows you to set your own rates while connecting you with businesses and other users who need your services.
8. Deliver Groceries
Have you ever felt like going grocery shopping was a chore? Well, that feeling is mutual. In the age of convenience, grocery store chains have started providing delivery services.
This requires shoppers to complete the order and deliver them. Instacart is a delivery service specifically for groceries. They are currently hiring for full service and in-store shoppers.
9. Food Delivery
There’s nothing like food delivered straight to your door. Food delivery has expanded beyond pizza, making it possible to get some of your favorite entrees without leaving the comfort of your own home. Delivery services like Uber Eats, Postmates, and DoorDash regularly hire for delivery drivers.
10. Babysit or Pet Sit
Every now and then, parents need a night out or a vacation. This includes fur parents as well. Lend your care-giving skills to babysit or pet set. You can set your own rates and collect cash the same day.
You can use Rover to find dog walking or pet sitting gigs or simply just put up flyers in your area or post on social media.
11. Customer Service
The holidays will soon be upon us and retailers will need assistance. Online retailers will allow you to work remotely; answering customer calls, respond to emails and online chats.
All you need is a laptop, high-speed internet, and in some instances a home telephone (landline) and you’ll be ready to work. Here is a list of some of the best work from home customer service jobs.
12. Become a Gigwalker
Cool name, right? Gigwalker is a another flexible way to earn cash. You complete tasks for businesses to help them find out how they’re doing. This could involve taking a picture of a menu, write a review of something, confirm the hours of operation for a business. How do you get started? Simply download the app, register your Gigwalk account, link it to PayPal, then find jobs in your area. Once you complete the “gig”, you can receive payment within 5 days.
13. Rent a Room in Your Home
Extra space comes in handy. If you own a home and have a space that could be designated for another person, turn it into cash. With the rising cost of living, people are always looking to cut costs. Especially if you live in or around a major city.
Take the opportunity and become a landlord. Not ready for that kind of commitment? You could also go the short-term route and rent out your space as an AirBnb. Use a vacation or out of town trip as an opportunity to make some extra cash.
14. Sell Unused Gift Cards
Have you ever looked into your wallet and found that random gift card from the holiday party at work? I know I’ve received a store-specific gift card that I wasn’t too sure how to use (hello Home Depot).
Like I said, there’s a market for everything. Those unused gift cards can be converted to cash. You can sell them online at websites likes CardPool.com and GiftCardGranny.com, or in some cases trade them for other gift cards.
15. Sell Blood or Plasma
Not only can you earn cash, but you can also help save a life. Healthcare providers and nonprofit organizations like the Red Cross are always in need of blood (especially O negative). If you don’t mind needles, this can be a good way to make some extra cash.
Plasma donation centers are available everywhere, and you can always ask your healthcare provider to point you in their direction. You can donate plasma up to twice weekly, and collect your cash on site each time. Look for a center in your area.
16. Teach English as a Second Language or Become a Translator
Language can be lucrative, especially when you know more than one. Companies and organizations will pay top dollar for various languages, using your services to translate or dictate documents. If your language skills are especially good, you could teach English to students native to your second language.
17. Work as an Event Staffer
Have you ever been a restaurant server? Even if you haven’t, you could learn on the job. Events such as weddings and conferences require large teams to be successful.
Event venues and event production companies often hire independent contractors to provide event support. I assisted with a wedding and made $150 for 5 hours of work. Check social media, network, and even swing by event venues to see if they have upcoming events.
18. Sell Your Photos
Camera phones have turned everyone into photographers. Perhaps you’re really good at taking photos. This is a revenue stream as well. Websites like Shutterstock, Fotolia, and Photoshelter will pay for stock photos.
These photos can be of anything, from landscapes to people and animals. Just upload your photos and you’ll get paid when someone purchases or downloads them. It helps to take images that can fit in specific categories that aren’t already widely covered on the site to eliminate competition. Happy snapping!
19. Sell Goods on Etsy
Etsy is a great marketplace from a little bit of everything. From homemade jewelry and soaps to business plan templates and WordPress themes. If you’re a creative, use your talents and translate them into cash.
20. Become a Housesitter
Yes, people will pay you for “babysitting” their home. Especially with the holidays approaching, people are interested in knowing their home is safe in their absence.
Tap into your network of friends or colleagues, or a website like HouseSitter.com to get started.
As you can see, there are so many unique and easy ways to make extra money today if you need cash fast. You just have to be creative and act quickly. One of the best things you can do as a backup is build up your savings so you’ll have something to fall back on when you’re in a bind and need fast money. Side hustles are great but they do take time. You can protect your finances with a fully funded emergency fund and checking account buffer. Learn how to start saving up your first $1,000 here.
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