Updated June 18, 2020

How to Make Money Fast

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Side jobs are great, but if you need cash quick, your options are limited. Here are the foolproof ways to make money right now.

Even with calendar reminders, they always sneak up on you:

Bills, loan payments, rent.

(Arguably scarier than any horror movie villain.)

And when it all falls on the same day? You know you need a back-up plan for fast cash.

Luckily, you have more options than you think. Below is a list of time-tested and trustworthy ways to make money quick, even in as little as a day.

1. Negotiate Bills & Subscriptions

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Haggling is for flea markets and yard sales—not the cable company (or so you thought).

Try calling up your cable, insurance, cell phone, or internet provider and act like you're thinking of canceling or switching to a different company. When you do this, customer service reps will usually ask why.

If you mention you are trying to save money, reps are often trained to offer you a discount or special promotional rate. If they don't, mention specific companies with better deals, and emphasize your record of paying bills on time (hopefully, that applies to you).

If they don't budge, you can always call back or follow through with canceling for a better deal elsewhere.

How quick is it? 1-3 hours per bill negotiation; 1 month to reap the benefits

How much can I make? Anywhere from $20-$100 back in your pocket

If you like the idea of negotiating down your bills but don't want to do the heavy lifting, stick around to the end to see how certain apps will do it for you...

2. Sell Your Clutter on eBay or Craigslist

This may be a no-brainer, but hey—people love to buy stuff! When it comes to which websites to list your items on, both eBay and Craigslist are household names and have millions of visitors each month. Chances are, if someone is looking to buy a specific item, they'll start their search there.

List unused clothes, old DVDs, and other clutter for a fast buck. Don't forget to add a detailed description and high-quality photos to make your items stand out.

How quick is it? 1-8 weeks depending on the popularity of your item

How much can I make? A few bucks to a few hundred—it will depend on your item(s)

3. Get Paid for Easy Survey Work

screenshot of pinecone research

Online surveys are the ultimate multitask money-maker. Get paid to share your opinions while you're catching up on your favorite TV shows at home or even waiting in line at the DMV. We know it sounds too good to be true, but sites like Swagbucks, Pinecone Research, and Survey Junkie are 100% legit and legal.

Signing up is free and many sites also offer prize drawings, paid referrals, and other perks. And don't forget to take advantage of any sign-up bonuses.

How quick is it? 1-2 weeks for processing

How much can I make? $1-3 per hour of survey-taking (you could easily make $20 in a day)

Survey Sites That Pay You Just for Signing Up
  1. Swagbucks: $5
  2. InboxDollars: $5
  3. MyPoints: $10

4. Sell Back Unused Gift Cards

We know your aunt meant well when she sent you a birthday gift card for The Gap, but if you haven't spent it by now, chances are slim that you ever will. Instead of letting it take up space in your wallet, sell it and pocket the cash.

Sites like Cardpool buy back your gift cards at up to 92% of their face value price. You can mail in physical gift cards for free, immediately cash in online gift certificates, and even find a physical buy-back kiosk near you.

How quick is it? Immediately for online and kiosk buy-backs and within 1-3 business days for physical card mail-in

How much can I make? 80%-92% of your gift card face value

5. Sell Back Unused….Anything

Now's the time to take a deep dive into your junk drawer. Beyond the hot sauce packets and dried-up pens, you'll find the real treasure: ink cartridges, unused foreign currency from your days studying abroad, and commemorative postage stamps.

All these things (and more) can be sold for a quick and easy buck. Evolve Recycling will buy back empty ink cartridges, Travelex will buy leftover foreign currency, and there are tons of sites to choose from if you're looking to profit off unused stamps.

How quick is it? Roughly 1 week

How much can I make? Ink cartridges can fetch $1-$5 each, unused stamps will earn around 70% of their face value, and foreign currency can get you a check based on the daily exchange rate

If you'd rather not part with your precious items, find out how renting things out can earn you a good chunk of change below.

6. Rent Out a Room, Guesthouse, and More

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You don't need a flashy guesthouse or empty vacation home to make an extra buck with renting. Spare rooms or even an empty bed make for the perfect quick cash opportunity.

Use sites like Airbnb, VRBO, and Vacasa will host your space and attract renters with positive references and background checks. (Craigslist is great for a lot of things, but maybe not this.)

Be sure to take high-quality photos and describe your space in detail to attract more renters.

How quick is it? Usually within 24 hours of your guest's check-in time

How much can I make? Roughly $10-$50 per night for a room, and $100-$500 for an entire house.

7. Rent Out Your Car This Weekend

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It's estimated that our cars sit idle for 20-22 hours per day. Really puts your $300 monthly car payment in perspective, doesn't it? Why am I paying for my car while it does…nothing? That's where sites like Turo and Getaround come in.

Instead of letting your car sit idly by while you're at work, sitting at home, or on vacation, you can rent it out to someone else for an hourly or daily rate. With liability protection plans and a thorough verification process for drivers, you can be sure your car is safe in your guests' hands.

How quick is it? 1-3 days after the car reservation ends

How much can I make? Anywhere from $20-$70 per day

If you use your car too much to rent it out to others, you're still in luck. Our next pick lets you reap the benefits of your parking spot.

8. Rent Out Your Parking Spot

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In some cities, a good parking spot is as valuable and rare as actual buried treasure. If this sounds like your city, then you may be sitting on a parking spot goldmine.

Spothero, Pavemint, and Parqex are a few of several apps that let you rent out your parking space. Whether it's a residential or business parking spot, you can charge either a flat or hourly rate and watch the cash add up.

If you're living in an area close to a sports stadium, convention center, or any other point of interest, you'll earn even more.

How quick is it? 4-6 days after your guest's parking reservation is over

How much can I make? $2-$6 per hour, or $10-$30 per day

9. Earn Cash Back for Purchases You Already Make

Screenshot of Rakuten

We'll be honest—a few of the ideas on this list require a bit of extra work that not everyone has time for. If you're looking to make existing purchases work harder for you and save cash in the process, then cashback may be just the thing.

Sites like Rakuten, Ibotta, and MyPoints help you earn money through online purchases and even travel bookings. The amount of cash back you'll earn will depend on the purchase you make and which site you use, but it's not uncommon to earn even 40% in some cases.

How quick is it? Ibotta pays back instantly, MyPoints processes payments in 4-5 days, and Rakuten pays quarterly

How much can I make? Up to 40% of your purchases

Shopping for deals can sometimes take a toll. If hanging out with animals sounds like a dream, you're in luck...

10. Get Paid to Watch (or Walk) Pets

Many animal lovers would walk dogs for free (I'm one of them), so getting paid is just an added bonus.

In recent years, apps like Wag, Rover, and DogVacay have offered animal owners a way to ensure their furry friends are cared for in their absence. You can get paid to walk, house, and even play with dogs and cats in your community.

How quick is it? Within 1 week of your assignment

How much can I make? Pet walkers can earn about $15 per hour, while sitters can earn roughly $40 per night

11. Use Your Skills to Tutor Online

Look, tutoring definitely isn't easy. But if you were born to teach and are passionate about a certain subject, it may be right for you. Sites like Teachable or Tutors.com are great platforms for creating a comprehensive course or sharing your expertise.

Plus, if you gain a substantial following and market your services well, it can easily turn into a sustainable side hustle. Think of it this way: As long as people are willing to learn, there is a need for those who teach.

How quick is it? Most sites deposit earnings every 2-4 weeks

How much can I make? $5-$15 per hour for tutoring, though earnings on a course website like Teachable will depend on the popularity of your course

12. Deliver Food & Groceries

Screenshots via Postmates

If everyone lived 2 minutes away from their favorite restaurant, delivery apps would still be thriving. The popularity of apps like Postmates, DoorDash and Grubhub are a true testament to how much people love hot food being delivered to their door.

In other words: Delivering food or groceries is a fairly reliable side-hustle. If you find yourself with a few free hours during the day or week, delivering food could be a great way to earn money relatively quickly.

How quick is it? Within 2-7 days of when you make your deliveries

How much can I make? $7-$25 per hour, depending on which app you deliver with, plus tips

How can I make money while I sleep?
  1. Sell e-books or online courses
  2. Buy a vending machine
  3. Create an app
  4. Rent a room, car, or other household items
  5. Invest in stocks

13. Become a Virtual Assistant

If you've got a knack for organization and communication, chances are you'd make a great assistant. Fortunately, you can get paid to perform these tasks from home as a virtual assistant.

Build your own website or advertise general assistant duties on sites like Upwork or Fiverr. Alternatively, you can reach out to family and friends who could use a hand with personal or professional tasks

How quick is it? 1-2 weeks (many virtual assistants are paid weekly or bi-weekly)

How much can I make? $10-$50 per hour, depending on your experience and qualifications

How to Make Money Online
Interested in more online money-making opportunities? Consider some of the following options to stack your earnings...

  1. Take surveys online
  2. Create and sell an online course, or tutor
  3. Complete micro-tasks with Mechanical Turk
  4. Get paid to be a virtual assistant
  5. Start an affiliate marketing blog

Don't be fooled: working as a virtual assistant is no walk in the park. Score low-effort cash with the option below.

14. Make Easy Money by House-Sitting

Have you ever worried about the safety of your home while on vacation? Or the packages sitting outside on the front porch? You're not alone.

As a house-sitter, you can earn money simply by watching someone's home, performing easy upkeep tasks, and keeping the homeowners informed and at ease.

It's probably best to ask friends and family first, but you can also try apps or websites like Housesitter.com if you have several good references.

How quick is it? Many homeowners pay upfront for house-sitting services or upon their return

How much can I make? $20-$50 per day

How can I make money fast as a teen?
  1. Survey Junkie surveys (13+)
  2. Sell old textbooks
  3. Babysit with Care.com (17+)
  4. Create designs to sell on Cafepress
  5. Tutor English on SameSpeak (16+)

15. Get Paid to Test Websites & Products


Before a product ends up in consumers' hands, it goes through rounds and rounds of product testing. Who is testing these products? Well…you.

Product testers are regular people paid by companies to test and share their thoughts on different products. And it's not too hard to become one.

Companies like UserTesting, MySoapBox, and McCormick pay people to test their products. Just be sure to check each company's website for eligibility requirements.

How quick is it? Roughly 2-4 weeks after your product testing assignment has finished

How much can I make? $10-$300, depending on the location of the product testing

16. Register as a Mystery Shopper

We know—it sounds fake. But mystery shopper programs can be 100% legit and legal. Here's how they work: Mystery shopper companies are hired by retail businesses to help improve their customers' shopping experience.

Mystery shoppers (that's you) will go into stores, purchase items, and report the experience back to the program. You get paid a fee per assignment and reimbursed for the purchases you make in the store.

How quick is it? 3-4 weeks for payment processing

How much can I make? $8-$50 per assignment, and an average of 10 assignments per month

While mystery shopping is a legitimate way to make money, you do need to watch out for scams. Here's how to choose a legit company:
  1. Check to see if the company is a member of the Mystery Shopping Professionals Association (MSPA).
  2. Never use a company that requires upfront payment to join.
  3. Never use a company that requires you to pay to see available jobs.

17. Donate Life-saving Plasma

© CreditDonkey

It's not for the faint of heart, but donating plasma could help someone survive cancer, develop new treatments for rare diseases, and even save a life.
If that isn't enough, you'll also get paid $50. Check with sites like CSL Plasma and DonatingPlasma.org for donor requirements and donation centers near you.

Keep in mind that plasma donation could have mild side effects, like dizziness or fatigue. But if you are healthy and meet all necessary requirements, this is a safe and legal way to earn cash quickly and do good at the same time.

How quick is it? Your first visit may be 2 or 3 hours, but following appointments are a quick 90 minutes

How much can I make? $20-$50, depending on how much plasma is collected; you can donate 1-2 times weekly at the most and earn up to $400 in a month

Not having money is extremely stressful. It can lead you to make decisions you'll later regret. Remember: You don't need to do anything you're uncomfortable with. The whole point of this guide is to show you how many options you have.

18. Share Your Expertise via Webinar

Don't worry—you don't need to be an astrophysicist to lead a webinar. People from all walks of life have an interesting story to tell. Whether you have experience raising special needs kids, regularly train for marathons, or have lived in 15 different countries, people will likely pay a small sum to learn something from you.

Host your webinar on sites like GoToWebinar or WebinarJam and put some effort into marketing your webinar ahead of time for the best results.

How quick is it? 1-2 months to create and advertise your webinar; this option will obviously take a little more time, but could definitely turn into a sustainable side hustle if you put some effort into it

How much can I make? $200-$1,000

Reach out to your personal network and try charging $10-$20 per person initially to gauge the response. Then, work up from there. It may take a little while to cultivate interest in your webinar, but the earning potential is high.

Experienced with a particular tool, product, or special equipment? Webinars are your chance to shine.

19. Lead Tourists Around as a Tour Guide

If you live in a big city or near a tourist attraction, you've probably had your fair share of annoying encounters with travelers.

But you're better off thinking of tourists as a money-making opportunity instead of people who just take up all the parking spots. Companies like ToursByLocals or Viator need savvy city natives to help guide tourists around, and you can earn a fair amount for your insider knowledge.

Just make sure you're able to offer a quality experience to visitors. The higher reviews you get, the more tours you can book.

How quick is it? Within 1 week of giving your tour

How much can I make? $100-$500 per tour

20. Pawn Your Treasures

It won't be easy pawning grandma's antique china, but it'll earn you much-needed cash fast. The upside is that, if you find yourself in better circumstances down the road, you can come back for grandma's china. That is, if someone hasn't bought it already.

Keep in mind that you won't get full retail price for your valuables. But if you have a couple good items (think jewelry, quality power tools, or a game console), you can walk out with a good chunk of change.

How quick is it? 1-2 hours

How much can I make? 25%-60% of your item's resale value; the average pawnshop loan is between $75 and $100

21. Save on Bills with Trim or Truebill

Credit: Trim

If you're like me, you probably have some sneaky subscriptions flying under the radar on your bank statement. You notice the big expenses (student loans, car payments) but the premium delivery smoothies or 30-day free trials that you forgot to cancel go unnoticed.

That's where apps like Trim and Truebill come in. They connect to your bank accounts, display all your recurring subscriptions, and make it easy to cut the non-essentials. Truebill even says there's an 85% chance they can lower at least one of your bills.

How quick is it? See savings in 1 month (or whenever your next billing cycle ends)

How much can I make? Anywhere from $5-$100, depending on what you trim or cancel

22. Ask Your Boss for a Raise

If you've worked hard at your dayjob, get ready to reap the rewards. The typical raise for top-ranking employees in 2020 is 4.6%.

When you're ready to make the case to your boss, cite specific examples of your good job performance. If you've really hustled, this should be an easy task. And remember, be confident! You've earned this.

If you ask for a raise, be sure to have realistic expectations...
The typical U.S. salary is $56,516 per year.

A 5% raise would be great, though that's only about $3,000 more per year. Divided by 12 annual salary payments, and you'll get around $250 more in your next check, excluding taxes.

What Experts Say

Making a living isn't always glamorous. Lots of people are afraid of getting stuck in unfulfilling jobs.

In an unpredictable job market, you don't have to go it alone. As part of our series on gig work and employment, CreditDonkey asked a panel of industry experts for their advice on the best way to find one's purpose within a job.

Here's what they said:

Bottom Line

While these ideas won't make you rich or earn you a six-figure salary, they're quick, proven ways to earn fast cash. Whatever you choose to do, your persistence and patience will pay off. Every little bit of extra cash makes a difference, so consider stacking your efforts to earn even more.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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