Let’s face it. Most of us, at one point or another, have been faced with a financial emergency, or a plain, old-fashioned cash crunch. It’s definitely not a fun spot to be in. While there are steps we can take to avoid such situations (more on that later), that’s often the last thing on our minds when we need to come up with money — quick.
To assist, I’ve compiled the following list of money-making ideas. While some of the items included are more lucrative than others (you’ll never get rich taking surveys, for example), they all share a common theme: making money fast. Ready? Let’s dive in.
And before anyone mentions it, yes we're aware of the irony of publishing an article about making money fast at a website called Get Rich Slowly.
Sell Your Old Stuff
I’ll kick off the list with an obvious one: selling your old stuff. After all, is there a faster way to make money? If you walked a few steps to your basement right now, or stepped outside to the garage, I’m willing to bet that you’d find some junk lying around that someone else could use:
- Old computers and video games.
- Sports equipment your kids have grown out of.
- That extra bike that’s never ridden.
- Your old collectibles. (J.D. sold his comic books. You could sell your baseball cards.)
Once you’ve come to grips with parting with your junk, selling it is as easy as taking a few pictures, and posting an ad on Craigslist, or your local Facebook Buy and Sell. If you need some inspiration, here’s a list of 12 surprisingly valuable things that are lying around your house.
Taking online surveys isn’t going to make you rich, but that’s not your goal here. You need to make money fast, and survey sites like Survey Junkie will help you do just that. In fact, you can start earning within a few minutes of signing up, and get paid as soon as you accumulate $10 in rewards.
Survey Junkie will pay you for each survey you complete, in the form of Paypal credits or gift cards to your favorite retail stores. The more surveys you take, the more you’ll make. The best part is that you can take surveys while doing other things, like watching TV, or listening to music, making it an easy way to earn some quick cash.
Swagbucks is similar to Survey Junkie, but they take things a step further, by giving you more ways to earn cash and rewards. In addition to completing surveys, Swagbucks will pay you to browse the internet, play games, and shop online. They’ll even send you a daily survey, and a daily poll, as a way to earn rewards faster.
With Swagbucks, you won’t have to wait before redeeming your rewards. While you’ll need $25 worth of Swagbucks to move cash to your Paypal account, you can redeem points for gift cards worth as little as $1. In fact, when I checked out the Swagbucks rewards page, I noticed $3 Amazon gift cards advertised.
Remember your goal – to make money fast. When you sign up for Acorns using my exclusive link, you’ll receive a $5 credit to kick off your account. Now, I wouldn’t suggest that you go to all that trouble for $5, but with Acorns, you’re getting so much more. Acorns is an investment app that makes saving money easy. You can open an account on your mobile phone in a couple of minutes, collect your $5, and be on your way to building that emergency fund, or saving for your next special purchase.
To help you get there, Acorns uses an innovative feature, called round up savings. Acorns syncs to your debit or credit card and then rounds up the “spare change” whenever you spend. For example, let’s say you buy a pack of gum for $1.25. Acorns will round to the nearest dollar, and set aside .75 into your Acorns investment account. Because the amounts are so small, you’ll hardly notice the money leaving your account, but you’ll be surprised how quickly the savings adds up.
Acorns works so well, in fact, that it’s my top choice for investment app for 2020.
Drive with Uber
If you have a clean driving record, a reliable vehicle, and enjoy being around people, driving for a rideshare service like Uber is a great way to make some extra money, and fast. One perk to this job is the flexibility it offers. You decide when, and how much you want to work.
Once you’ve signed up with Uber, most drivers report that it only takes about 3-5 days to be approved.
Here's more about the pros and cons of becoming a rideshare driver.
Deliver Food with UberEats
If driving for Uber sounds enticing, but you’d rather not spend your time making small talk with strangers, you could decide to deliver food with UberEats. You use the app to select deliveries that are in your area. The best part is that you decide when you want to work, and how much. Keep in mind, you will make more money during peak periods.
Rent Out Your Ride on Turo
Take advantage of your car’s downtime by renting it out to someone who needs a ride. Turo is a peer-to-peer car-sharing app that makes it easy to rent out your car. Once you’re set up through Turo, list your car on the app, wait for a request, and be ready to accept or decline. Keep in mind, your car will need to meet Turo’s vehicle requirements, and the nicer it is, the more money you can charge.
Rent Out a Room With Airbnb
If you have a spare bedroom in your home, you can rent it out to a short term guest, on Airbnb. Some people will even rent out their entire home, if they have another place where they can stay.
Not only is this a great way to make money quick, but if it’s something you enjoy, you could turn it into a regular income stream. A great perk with Airbnb is having the flexibility to decide when your space will be available, and how much you’ll charge.
Employee Referral Programs
Any recruiter will tell you, it’s tough for companies to find good people these days. As a result, many organizations will pay their own employees a bonus for successfully referring new talent.
Depending on the role, and the demand for the position, you could be eligible to receive hundreds, even thousands of dollars by bringing in a new employee. Not only is this a quick way to make money, but it requires almost no effort on your part. You’re simply connecting to parties.
Babysitting or At-Home Daycare
In today’s society, most families are dual income, with both parents working outside the home. Because of this, there is a constant demand for reliable childcare. If you’re a natural caregiver, and enjoy being around kids, you can make good money by offering to provide childcare within your local community. Whether it’s babysitting or an at-home daycare, it won’t take long to find your first client. Use your friends and family to get the word out, or notify your Facebook community, and you’ll be making money in no time.
Teach English with VIP Kid
If you enjoy teaching, consider putting your English skills to good use by becoming an online tutor. Websites like VIP Kid source clients for you, and the pay is pretty good too. It’s not uncommon to make $20-30/hour teaching online.
Tutoring is something that can be done in person as well. In fact, during the school year, there’s no shortage of students in your community in need of help with their studies. Check with your local high school, or get the word out on your community Facebook page.
J.D.'s note: For eighteen months, I met with a Spanish tutor three times each week. Aly had moved to the U.S. from Peru, and she found that tutoring was a fantastic way for her to make money.
Rent Out Your RV With Outdoorsy
If you own an RV, Outdoorsy will match you with people who are looking to rent a trailer or motorhome, for their next summer adventure. At rates as high as $150/day, or more, this is a great way to make money fast. Head to Outdoorsy, and find out how you can get your RV making money for you.
Collect Rewards With Drop App
Money doesn’t always have to arrive in the form of cash. Drop allows you to earn points when you shop at your favorite retailers, then redeem your rewards for gift cards at places like Starbucks, or Amazon. Drop works by syncing to your debit and/or credit card, and keeping track of your purchases. You don’t need to worry about clipping coupons, or scan receipts to receive discounts, Drop does all the work for you.
Download the free app to start earning with Drop!
Earn $50 per Year With the Nielsen Ratings App
For decades, Nielsen has been tracking TV ratings. But did you know that they will pay you to download their app to your computer or smartphone? Doing so allows them to compile data by tracking your internet usage. No need to worry however, your anonymity is guaranteed, and according to Neilson, the app won’t slow your device’s performance in the least.
Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? There is a BIG caveat, however. You must be selected by Nielsen. That’s because Nielsen families are chosen using a scientific process. That said, it’s good to know about this easy money-making opportunity, in case you are ever approached by Nielsen.
Take Advantage of Bank Signup Bonuses
This is a great way to make some quick money. Banks everywhere are in a constant battle for new customers. The financial services industry is highly competitive, and companies know that if they can secure your day to day banking business, they’ll have a shot at your mortgage and your investments as well.
While these promotions come and go, it’s not uncommon to be offered a few hundred dollars when you open a new checking account with a bank, providing that you meet the qualifying criteria. This usually includes hooking up your automatic payroll deposit and completing a couple of online bill payments, that kind of thing.
Earn Credit Card Rewards
I’m a big fan of credit card rewards, but I’ll be the first to admit that using credit cards as a way of making money can be dangerous, and definitely isn’t for everyone. If you’re not paying off your credit card balance in full each month, or if using a credit card creates a temptation to overspend, then having a rewards credit card will cost you more money than you will ever make.
That said, a cashback, or travel rewards credit card can be a great way to make extra money. Many premium cards come with a welcome bonus, such as a couple hundred dollars cashback upfront, or enough travel points to get you a free flight somewhere. Have an upcoming trip planned? This could be a great way to subsidize the cost. Head here for more information on the best credit card rewards.
Make Money as a Freelance Writer
If you have interest, or experience in a specific area and love to write, there’s a good chance you can make money online as a freelance writer. What I love about this side hustle, is that it’s something you can do on your own schedule from the comfort of your living room. Not only that, but you can make good money. The website Problogger has an active job board, where you can browse, and apply for, freelance writing gigs across a wide range of niches.
Note: Many former Get Rich Slowly staff writers have gone on to become professional freelance writers with lucrative careers.
Advertise Your Freelance Services on Fiverr
In addition to writing, there are no shortage of services you can offer as a freelancer. Graphic design, bookkeeping, social media management – these are all services that small businesses will pay you to provide. One of the best ways to find clients and start making money is by joining a freelance marketplace like Upwork, or Fiverr.
Teach Music Lessons
Who said that a musician needs to live like a starving artist? If you are skilled on any number of musical instruments, you can make good money teaching private lessons. Ask your local music store if you can post an ad on their bulletin board, or advertise through Craigslist or Facebook. Early September is a great time of year to get started, as students are back to school and looking to start up music lessons after the summer break.
Earn Cash Back With Rakuten (Formerly Ebates)
Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, makes it easy to earn cashback when you shop online at top retailers, such as Amazon, Kohl’s, and Microsoft. Sign up with Rakuten, and gain access to hundreds of partner retail stores via links directly on their site. Rakuten will keep track of your cash rebates, which can be as high as 40%, when you factor in limited time offers. The best part? Receive an automatic $10 bonus when you sign up for Rakuten, and earn an additional $25 when you refer friends or family.
Deliver Food With DoorDash
DoorDash is one of a number of app-powered food delivery services that have popped up in recent years. If you need to make money quick, becoming a delivery driver for Doordash may be the perfect solution. In fact, the signup box on their website reads, “Get Your First Check This Week”.
Ask for a Raise
Perhaps the fastest way to make extra money is by leveraging the job you already have. Unfortunately, many people don’t think about this, and instead feel like they need to take on something extra. I’ll finish with a few ways to increase your 9-5 income.
You’ve probably heard it said, “If you don’t ask, the answer will always be, no”. To most companies, a valuable employee is worth their weight in gold. Part of this is due to how much time and money it takes to hire and train someone new. Chances are, your employer is willing to pay you more, but you need to ask. If you’re able to effectively communicate your value to your boss, you may be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.
Since the early says of Get Rich Slowly, we've advocated learning how to negotiate your salary. It's one of the best ways to boost your income — now and in the future.
Apply for a Promotion
When was the last time you considered applying for a promotion? Not only is a new job a great way to make more money, challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone will further develop your skills, and help you grow as a person. If you’re having trouble getting promoted at your current company, you may decide to go to take your skills somewhere else. Here’s an article that gives 10 reasons successful people change jobs more often.
Take Advantage of Any Unused Benefits
If you’re not taking advantage of all of the benefits your employer is offering, you may be leaving cold hard cash on the table. Far too many employees don’t take the time to understand what’s available, and as they say, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Read through your employee benefits package, or speak to an HR representative if you have questions. There’s money to be made, from health spending balances and 401K matches, to affordable insurance coverage and employee discounts.
Ask to Work Overtime
Not every job offers this opportunity, but if yours does, consider volunteering to work overtime, if you’re needing to make more money fast. Overtime work saves you from having to start something extra in your spare time, such as a second job, or a time-consuming side hustle. Remember, the goal is to make money fast. Either way, always strive for a healthy balance between time at work, and time away. The last thing you want is to feel burned out.
Final Thoughts on Making Money Fast
At the outset of this article, I mentioned that there are ways to avoid finding yourself with a shortfall of cash. While we can never be prepared for absolutely every emergency (nor should we try to be), we can make life a little easier with some advanced planning.
My best advice is to build an emergency fund. This can be as little as $500, or enough to cover several months worth of expenses, it’s up to you. Having an emergency fund will not only reduce your stress level, but it will also decrease your odds of having to use a credit card to cover a financial emergency, and that is a good thing.
In the meantime, my hope is that you feel more confident about making money fast, should the need arise.
Author: Tom Drake
Tom Drake is the Founder of MapleMoney and covers Fintech and side hustles on Get Rich Slowly. That interest in technology and making money is what led to Tom's behind the scenes work at GRS. Tom has written for U.S. News & World Report and has been featured on Forbes and Entrepreneur.