Updated July 3, 2020 10:23 AM PT

40 Reliable Ways to Make Money Fast

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Strapped for cash? There's ways to get back on track. Here are 40 reliable ideas to earn money this week, today, and right now.

© CreditDonkey

Dead car battery. Groceries. Mom's b-day gift.

Any way you slice it…

You need money. And quickly.

Luckily, there have never been more options for making cash fast.

In this guide, we break down all the legit (and legal) ways to make money fast. Plus surprising ways to cut back on your expenses.

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.

1. Save $100+ in Bills with Trim

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Are you paying for a streaming service that you've used twice? You're not alone. Trim can help.

Trim looks for subscription services in your bank statements and lets you cancel them with a simple swipe of a finger.

With Trim, you'll have extra money to spend. But if you have debt, don't spend all your cash on a big purchase.

See how you can be smart with your money and get out of debt fast.

2. Tackle Debt with a Personal Loan

If you need money fast to get back on your feet, consider getting a personal loan.

Lenders offer unsecured loans (meaning, no collateral) that you pay back over a period of time.

Personal loan amounts range from $5,000-$100,000 with terms of 2-5 years. Read our roundup of the best personal loans for more info.

A personal loan is a more long-term solution. If you need more of a quick fix, look no further than the stuff you already own.

3. Pawn Your Items for Quick Cash

Traditionally, people sold gold and jewelry at pawn shops. But most accept a wide array of household items, including:

  • Smartphones
  • Cameras
  • Flat-screen TVs
  • DSLR cameras by Nikon and Canon
  • Musical instruments
  • Sporting equipment

Get an estimate from PawnBat for how much your items might fetch at a pawn shop. Pawnbrokers usually get about 75% of a product's retail value. This means that you'll be lucky to get about 50% of it from them.

Don't have anything to give to a pawn shop? The next sites let you offer your writing or programming skills.

4. Freelance on Fiverr or Upwork

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If you're good at writing, graphic design or have other valuable skills, you can make some money with freelance marketplace Fiverr

Gigs can be priced at $5 and up, but keep in mind that Fiverr keeps 20%. Over time, you can build your portfolio of clients and even earn an income by freelancing.

Other freelance sites:

Looking for something more people-oriented? Check out the next apps if you're comfortable cleaning up snack-time mishaps.

5. Babysit for Cash This Weekend

Many of us may have babysat in our early teen years. But as adults, we have more skills that could result in more money, like driving and cooking.

It's a great way to earn, especially if you're good with kids.

Know a couple with kids? Ask to see if they need babysitting services. Or look into these websites:

Babysitting has always been a common job among teenagers. If you're a teen looking for more job ideas, be sure to read this guide on online jobs.

You might not want to go to someone else's house. Find out below how to make money by letting people come to you.

6. Host a Garage Sale

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Who doesn't love a good yard sale?

Special touches, like offering cold, bottled water on a hot day, could even boost your earning potential. It's all about creating a good environment for shopping.

Want an even lower maintenance option? Take the yard sale online with Craigslist and eBay.

Dealing with people all day can take a toll. If hanging out with animals sounds like a dream, you're in luck...

7. Pet Sit with Rover

Calling all dog walkers! This gig's for you. When pet owners need to travel without their pets, they'll often hire pet-sitters to help with dog-walking, playing, and feeding.

Make sure to check out Rover.com and DogVacay for opportunities - and don't forget to ask for a positive review.

Need more money? It's time to dig deep. As in, "up to your elbows in the couch" deep.

8. Look for Spare Change

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Most people have roughly $28 lying around the house. You never know where money might be hiding: Check your closets, desks, and jackets.

Then head out to the car. It's time to dig through the center console, underneath your seat, and anywhere else coins like to hide.

While any extra change is handy, there are methods you can try to make it go even further. Consider using a savings app that invests your spare change and watch it grow over time.

What can you do with all that loose change? Turn it into cash, of course. Learn how to turn metal into paper below. (Hint: It's not alchemy.)

9. Turn Change to Cash with Coinstar

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Many people take their coin jars to one of the over 17,000 Coinstar machines around the country. It's an easy way to cash in, though Coinstar's transaction fee is 12%.

To skip the fees, think about taking your change to banks that might have their own coin-counting machines. Just be sure to put your coins in rolls (which many banks offer for free).

Coinstar now offers no-free gift cards to 20 different service partners, like Amazon, Lowe's, and Dominoes. This is the best way to take advantage of Coinstar's convenience without paying the fees.

Helping others might just be the most rewarding way to make money. See how you can make good money while spreading knowledge below.

10. Earn $50/hour as a Tutor

Were you a math or lit wizard in school? Offer your knowledge to students and earn by tutoring.

All you need is a bachelor's degree, a good internet connection and a laptop. If you tutor consistently, you could even earn a decent income on the side.

Be sure to check Google Play, the App Store, and other sites for more opportunities:

You might have to work odd hours if you tutor kids online in different time zones. Find out which money-making method offers a ton of flexibility.

11. Sell…Anything, Anytime

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You really can sell pretty much anything online. It doesn't even have to be your own stuff! Plenty of people have things lying around that they want to get rid of but don't have the time or energy to sell.

Take and post quality pictures, communicate with prospective buyers, and arrange meetups - the sky's the limit with how much you can make.

Other sites to use for selling:

How to Make $100 in One Day
Need money ASAP? Here's what you can do:

  1. Sell Furniture with Facebook, Craigslist or Letgo
  2. Donate Life-Saving Plasma
  3. Recycle Valuable Materials with Earth911
  4. Pawn Your Treasures
  5. Find Unclaimed Money with the NAUPA

Another option: Asking friends for a loan might feel uncomfortable, but it doesn't have to be. Find our essential guidelines a little further down.

12. Make $100 with TaskRabbit

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Download TaskRabbit to your phone and earn fast cash for doing quick errands and services. "Taskers" can pull in about $110 a month doing a range of gigs including handyman work, cleaning, and other services.

To get started, simply provide a government ID and pass TaskRabbit's automated criminal background check process.

13. Cash in Credit Card Points

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Credit card points are a great way to get fast money in your pocket. (If you have a cash-back credit card, you probably know this already.)

Even travel cards can allow you to redeem for a statement credit.

You also aren't limited to your current statement (perfect for those pricey trips during last year's holidays).

Credit card points are worth $0.01 on average. If you have 25,000, for instance, this equals $25.

14. Refinance Your Student Loans

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Got a student loan with an insane interest rate? Refinancing those loans is one of the best methods to get a little relief.

Student loan refinancing is done through a private lender. They combine your loans and set an interest rate based on your credit score.

If your credit score has improved since getting the loan and you want a better interest rate, consider refinancing. You could save thousands over the life of the loan.

15. Return Recent Purchases

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When stores ask you if you'd like a receipt, be sure to say yes. If something doesn't work out with the item, you can take advantage of store returns and put a little money back in your pocket.

Even if it's no longer eligible for a cash refund, you can probably still get store credit.

Don't want store credit? Sell the gift card balance for cash online (more on that later).

16. Get Paid for Taking Surveys

When companies know what you like and dislike, they can figure out how to appeal to customers just like you. This is why you can get paid to take surveys.

Survey sites pay anywhere from $1-$4 per hour. Survey Junkie and InboxDollars also pay you to watch videos, use social media, and more.

Tired of being cooped up all day? Why not take your car for a spin and get paid for it? See more below.

17. Drive for Lyft or Uber

We've all ridden in an Uber or Lyft. Why not try it out for yourself? If you enjoy driving and meeting new people, it's one way to get money fast.

Lyft drivers make about $2 more per hour than Uber ($17.50 per hour vs $15.50). But you can always drive for more than one app.

Driving around can be fun, but if you're worried about the environment, you can make money while helping the planet too.

18. Recycle Valuable Materials

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Recycling isn't just for bottles and cans.

Items like scrap metal or car parts can be surprisingly profitable.

Refer to sites like Earth911 to find recycling centers near you. Just be sure to recycle what you can safely (and legally) obtain.

Look for specific requirements to ensure the recycling center will accept your items. You may have to clean or prepare your stuff before bringing it in.

19. Deliver Take-out or Groceries

As long as people are ordering take-out and shopping online, there's a way you can make money from it.

There are dozens of food delivery apps. For most, all you need is a smartphone, access to a car, and a background check.

The amount you earn varies by app. Postmates, for example, claims to pay up to $25 per hour. And you'll get 100% of tips.

Top delivery apps:

When times are tough, some methods of making fast cash just aren't fast enough. If you really need money fast, know that you can ask others for help.

20. Ask Friends or Family for a Loan

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Asking for a loan can be awkward, but clear communication and expectations can make it easier for all parties involved.

Keep in mind these guidelines:

  1. Make sure they can comfortably afford the loan.
  2. Communicate expectations.
  3. Be honest about why you need the loan
  4. Explain why you're asking that specific person.
  5. Outline how you will repay the loan.
  6. Discuss what happens if you can't pay the loan back at the agreed-upon time.
  7. If you can't repay the whole loan at once, pay some of it.
  8. Give regular updates about any changes to your loan situation.

21. Turn Receipts to Cash with ReceiptHog

Another reason to keep your receipts? ReceiptHog will pay you to scan them (how easy is that?).

All you have to do is snap a pic of your receipt and upload it to the ReceiptHog app.

Each receipt earns points, and once you've earned 1,000, you can redeem via PayPal or for giftcards to Amazon, Costco, and more.

Similar apps:

22. Ask Your Boss for a Paycheck Advance

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With a paycheck advance, you receive a portion of your check before your usual payday.

If you have a good relationship with your employer, asking for an advance usually isn't a big deal.

Just try not to make a habit of it. That may put both you and your employer in an awkward position.

Open communication is key in boss-employee relationships. And if you communicate right, it might just get you more money. Sitck around to learn how...

23. Ask Your Boss for a Raise

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If you've worked hard, 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.

The typical U.S. salary is $56,516 per year.

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

24. Exchange Gift Cards for Cash

Do you have unused gift cards around your house? (If so, you're definitely not alone!)

But did you know you can turn them in for money? Check to see if there's a Cardpool Exchange Kiosk or vendor near you. You'll be able to get up to 92% of the card's current value.

Other options:

Unused items can get you money, but so can used items. Learn how to cash in on your old shirts and shoes below.

25. Sell Clothes for Cash

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If you've got some old clothes taking up space in your closet, this option is for you. Services like thredUP, along with typical consignment shops, are a great way to get money for your clothes.

In general, the more valuable your clothes are, the more you can get for them.

    Poshmark: $10 Sign Up Bonus

    Sign up using your friend's username as referral code. New accounts created with a referral must be associated with a unique identity in order to be eligible for credits.

Adding high-quality photos of your items and writing a detailed description will help attract more buyers.

26. Sell Old Electronics for $100+

Most homes have about $400-$800 in unused electronics lying around. Not only can you earn a good chunk of change from your old tech, you can unclutter your home at the same time.

Check out sites like:

You can get an instant quote for your electronics. Then, print out their free shipping label and get either a PayPal or cash deposit within a week.

27. Find a Serving Job

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If you need a longer-term solution for cash, consider applying for a serving job.

National chains will tell you to apply online, while mom-and-pop shops are open to talking in person.

If you don't have prior experience, don't worry. Apply for host gigs instead, which many restaurants save for newer workers.

28. Try Street Performing

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Street performing is a less traditional option, but don't count it out just yet.

With several hours in a tourist locale (and a little creativity), you could turn your talent into cash.

Be sure to time your performances right to maximize your earnings. Performing as movies, sports games or concerts get out is a good place to start.

29. Negotiate Bills with Truebill

As more streaming services pop up, it's easy for monthly subscription costs to get out of hand.

That's where Truebill comes in.

Their algorithm finds recurring payments in your bank statements. Then, Truebill negotiates a lower monthly cost or lets you cancel the subscription altogether.

Typically, Truebill saves users 20% on their bills.

Need a safe space to store your income? Put it in a bank and snag the free cash they're offering.

30. Open a Bank Account for Sign-up Bonuses

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At any given time, banks around the country offer these to attract new customers: between $50 to $1,000+.

Just keep in mind that there may be requirements to receive the cash.

The requirements are simple, like keeping a minimum balance. Check out the current Chase bonus offer when you open an account and set up direct deposit.

Be sure to research multiple banks to find the best fit for you.

    Chase

    Chase Premier Plus Checking℠

    • Enjoy $300 as a new Chase checking customer, when you open a Chase Premier Plus Checking℠ account and set up direct deposit.
    • Enjoy $300, more benefits, and earn interest on your new Chase checking account.
    • The $25 Monthly Service Fee is waived when you keep an average beginning day balance of $15,000 or more in any combination of this account and linked qualifying Chase checking, savings and other balances.
    • No Chase fee on first four non-Chase ATM transactions per statement period.
    • Earn interest on your checking account balance.
    • Access to 16,000 Chase ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches
    • Open your account online now.
    • Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. For branch locations, visit locator.chase.com.

31. Get $400 to Donate Plasma

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While it's not for the squeamish, donating plasma is completely safe and fairly quick.

Donor requirements will vary across donation centers, but most healthy adults are eligible.

Check out the CSL Plasma website to find a donation center near you.

When the process is over, you could walk out with up to $400. Not bad for sitting in a chair for 90 minutes.

Once upon a time, letting strangers into your home was a bad idea. Today, it's a hugely popular way to make money. Stick around to learn more...

Take a look at how you can invite people into your space.

32. Rent Out a Room with Airbnb

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Airbnb hosts earn around $924 per month. Not too shabby for space you already have!

Whether you rent out your entire home or just a room, it's a pretty easy way to make some money.

Keep in mind that you'll need to provide home essentials and special perks for your guests. Be sure to clean out the clutter and supply new sheets and towels.

It will take a little time to build your reputation on the platform, but once you achieve Super Host status, your investment will really start paying off.

33. Rent Your Car Out

If you have a car and a driver's license, you have everything you need to earn extra cash.

Platforms like Turo have been called the "Airbnb" of car rental. Simply rent out your car when you're not using it.

Other sites like Getaround offer additional perks like a $50 credit for you to rent another car from the platform.

34. Consolidate Your Debt with Tally

The average credit card debt is $6,028 per person. If you count yourself among that group, Tally may be for you.

Download Tallyto help consolidate your debt and track credit card bills. You can even get a line of credit with them to pay down your cards while getting a lower APR loan with Tally than other lenders.

To qualify for Tally's loan program, you'll need a minimum FICO score of 660.

35. Monetize Your Blog

Starting a blog can be a great way to get money, especially through affiliate marketing. For example, if you write about products you like, those companies will pay you to recommend them.

You will earn cash when people click on the affiliate links in your blog post.

You can do even more with hobbies than just write about them. Check out #37 and you could turn your hobbies into a full-time gig.

36. Perform Microtasks on Mechanical Turk

Sign up for Amazon's Mechanical Turk platform and earn by completing a variety of small "human intelligence" tasks.

Companies will crowdsource these tasks to get them done quickly, and they can involve simple actions like data entry, quick surveys or identifying pictures.

You can earn around $300 a week working on Mechanical Turk. Members must complete a certain number of tasks to unlock higher-paying jobs.

37. Turn Your Hobby Into a Small Business

If you have a hobby you're passionate about, have you considered turning it into a small business?

Whether you sell products or teach skills, you can earn a profit within the first few months. To boost business, reach out to your personal network to get a potential clientele list. You could even print up a few business cards.

If you're serious about monetizing your hobby and starting a small business, check out our guide on the best banks for small businesses (some even offer sign-up bonuses).

38. Review Products with UserTesting

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Get paid to share your opinions on products with UserTesting. With a little time, you can eventually earn up to $60 per test.

Companies utilize UserTesting to have their products tested immediately by their target demographic. There's a catch: in order to test products, you have to be in marketing or IT.

To become a tester, you will need to submit a test for approval. Once you are approved, they pay through PayPal.

39. Rent Out Your Parking Space with Pavemint

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In a large city, it's estimated that cars release around 2.5 million tons of CO2 per year just while they look for parking.

Want to help decrease that number and make a little cash at the same time? Rent out your parking spot.

Pavemint can help you do just that. List your parking spot (residential or business) for an hourly or daily rate and watch the money add up.

40. Get a Cash Advance

Your credit card comes with a credit limit, but did you know you have the option to withdraw a portion of that money as cash? Enter: the credit card cash advance.

While they're good for fast cash, they do come with a higher-than-normal interest rate. In fact, interest rates for a cash advance are usually 24%.

Cash advances are considered to be one type of "emergency loan"; keep reading to learn about other loan types and which ones to avoid.

I Need Money. Are loans a good option for me?

If you're in a tight spot financially, you may be wondering if loans are your best option to get fast cash.

Don't get caught in the weeds of interest rates, loans, and lenders. Here are the essentials of loans to keep in mind:

  • Emergency loans: This is a blanket term for any fast loan used to pay for emergency expenses. These can include payday loans, personal loans, cashback advances, and more.

  • Payday loans: As a general rule, payday loans are a very bad idea. The loan interest rates are sky-high, the lenders are predatory, and they specifically target borrowers with bad credit.

    Want the convenience of a payday loan without the crazy interest rates? Check out our guide on payday advance apps to give you a little financial boost before payday.

  • Personal loans: These are usually short-term installment loans with no collateral involved. The loans can be for small amounts and the interest rate is usually fixed.

  • Cash advances: This is a cash advance on your credit card's credit limit. Just remember that the interest rate is often higher than your normal credit balance.

Keep reading to learn more about about which fast money options you should avoid.

Money Mistakes to Avoid

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When you're desperate for cash, it's easy to make a few missteps. Here are some of the worst things you can do in this situation:

1. Payday Loans

Payday loans are advances against your paycheck. Although this sounds harmless, the interest rates are astronomical: usually a whopping 391%!

Not only do predatory payday lenders target people with a bad credit score, payday loans are expensive and a huge risk.

Other reasons to avoid getting a payday loan:

  • Payday loans are usually due in full on the borrower's next payday.

  • Payday lenders secure their loans by holding the your signed personal check for the loan amount plus their fee, or by gaining electronic access to the your bank account.

  • Payday borrowers frequently get caught in a cycle of repeat loans that put them in a worse financial position than when they first borrowed.

Remember: Payday loans (and lenders) are bad news. Avoid them at all costs.

2. Borrowing Against Retirement

You're literally taking money away from yourself. And that's just the beginning of the problems with it.

First, you're getting double-taxed on it because you've already paid taxes on the money deposited, then it's taxed again when withdraw it. Second, if you're under age 59, you can also get hit with a 10% early distribution penalty.

Finally, you have an opportunity cost missed when you've removed and lowered your retirement investment.

The only time it's safe to do this if you can guarantee you can make all payments on time. Even then, you'll still have these issues to deal with.

3. Taking Out a Second Mortgage

With a second mortgage,you'll still have to pay for house appraisal, origination fees, credit checks and closing costs.

Plus, they're risky. If you stop making payments, your lender could foreclose even if you still have plenty of equity left in it.

Finally, you'll pay interest, which you have to tack on to any monthly payments while still paying your first mortgage.

4. Racking Up Credit Card Debt

If your credit score is high enough, you can open a credit card and start using it almost instantly. But it's very easy to rack up credit card debt quickly.

Even with a typical APR of 19.02%, carrying small balances can add up over time.

Another reason you don't want to get stuck in a cycle of revolving debt at high interest rates? It's very difficult to build a solid financial foundation with high-interest rate debt stacked against you. Learn more with our in-depth guide to paying off credit card debt.

5. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding isn't as risky as these other options, but it's still not a great idea. Less than one-third of campaigns reach their goals.

Plus, successful campaigns are usually for severe cases like medical bills or disaster relief. For all the work involved, you're better off trying something else.

Instead of turning to crowdfunding or payday loans for fast cash, try to 3-6 months of living expenses saved up for an emergency expense.

To get started follow these steps:

  1. Set a monthly saving target.
  2. Transfer remaining money after bills
  3. Save your tax refund.
  4. Increase contributions when possible.
  5. Get supplemental income to bulk up your emergency fund.

What Experts Say

In an unpredictable job market, you don't have to go it alone. As part of our series on side gigs and employment, CreditDonkey asked a panel of industry experts to answer some of readers' most pressing questions:

  • How do you find your purpose and do what you love?
  • Could gig work put an end to traditional employment?
  • How is the gig economy changing the workforce?
  • What jobs are the happiest?
  • What will the future of work look like?

Here's what they said:

Bottom Line

Who doesn't need a little extra cash? Follow this guide and you can reduce expenses, implement better financial management, and get some cash in your pocket.

Don't feel compelled to try all of this at once. Building financial stability takes time. And there's no guaranteed get-rich-quick scheme. But through discipline and a combination of these techniques, you will be able to secure a healthy financial future.

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.

More from CreditDonkey:


How to Make Money Fast


Odd Jobs


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About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a stock broker comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.