In a bind? Need some fast cash? We're talking here about small bursts of capital, not millions of dollars -- enough to satisfy your monthly obligations or get that nagging creditor to stop calling you.
None of the 32 strategies listed here to get some money quickly will break the proverbial bank. Some are easier than others, but nearly all require very little to no capital. They are meant to get you through the difficult times.
Some of these strategies will require you to be in certain locales, while others are location-independent, but it all boils down to being resourceful. We've all found ourselves in a tight spot at one point in our lives or another, but to the person who's committed, anything is possible.
Much of this has to do with mindset. When you lack money, scarcity thinking sets in. The scarcity mindset is negative and thinks that there's never enough of whatever it is to go around. When you find yourself thinking like that, do everything in your power to move into an abundant mindset.
Our thoughts are incredibly powerful. We have upwards of 60,000 thoughts per day, many deep within our subconscious mind, much of which are repeated. We have to be stewards of our thoughts. Once you find yourself thinking negatively, you need to jar yourself out of that.
When you're looking to make money fast, you're often in a tough spot financially, even desperate to make ends meet, but everything that we have and everything that we become is partly born from our thoughts. Think and you shall become. Curate and cultivate the right thoughts if you want to live an abundant life.
The psychology of making money.
Regardless if you need to earn some fast cash or we're just talking about making money in the grand scheme of things, there's an important psychology that needs to be mentioned before getting into the strategies. If you study Freud's model of the mind, you'll discover the Psychic Apparatus. It's the three-part construct in your mind that controls all of your behavior.
Those three are the id, the super-ego and the ego. The id lives deep within the subconscious from birth. It's the source of our sudden and most instinctive urges. When you find yourself doing what you know you shouldn't, blame your id.
The super-ego is formed later in life to balance the id. It forms and breaks off from the id through our upbringing, parental guidance and our sense of community and beliefs. People who are careful with their money can thank their super-ego.
The ego is the driver making the decisions. It decides between the devil (the id) and the angel (the super-ego) on either shoulder (yes, all those cartoons you've ever seen are partly true). We have voices in our mind, and it's up to the ego to decide which one to fulfill. Its goal is to satisfy the id in some way while also attending to the super-ego.
Get-rich-quick schemes and fad weight-loss diets are naturally popular because they satisfy the id while also attending to the super-ego. The ego's job is complete when it sees something like this. The appeal of "fast'' stems from the innate desire for instant gratification, so beware of what seems too good to be true (they often are) when you're looking to make money quickly. Be wary. Listen to the conversation deep within the confines of your mind and do your best to tame the proverbial beasts.
What are the best ways to make money right away? While a search online when you're in need of some fast cash will produce millions of results, not all will be legitimate. It's up to you to filter through the so-called noise. These 32 strategies will help put you in the black, even if it's in a very small way. Once you are, resume planning and focusing on the bigger picture.
Related: How to Make a Fortune With $100
1. Drive for Uber or Lyft.
Companies like Uber and Lyft offer a great opportunity to make some quick cash. You'll need a clean driving record, a fairly new car and the authorization to work wherever it is that you live. If you have all of those things, you can work when it's feasible for you, whether that's in the middle of the day during rush hour, or in the wee hours of the night on a weekend. The choice is yours.
2. Become a market research participant.
In college I participated in loads of market research. It's fairly quick money for not a lot of work. Companies looking for consumers' opinions on a variety of products and services put you in a room to garner your opinion. That's it.
This often involves writing or stating your opinion, answering polls or surveys, or breaking off in a discussion group. The mechanics don't matter much. The point is that you can rely on it from time to time.
3. Sell old books on Amazon.
Amazon makes it fairly easy to list and sell old books on its marketplace. You can make more than just a few bucks If you have pricey text books from college. Be sure the books are in good condition. You'll get negative reviews if you attempt to sell books that are falling apart. Remember, add value where you can, no matter how small it might be and no matter how few people might readily notice it.
4. Sell, or resell, used electronics on Craigslist.
The market for used electronics is vast. You can use Craigslist to part ways with your old iPhone or your MacBook. You can grab a premium for these types of electronics. Some people even flip items by buying them and reselling them.
You could also use a website like Gazelle to sell your used phones, no matter what kind you have. Companies like that have made an entire business model out of buying used phones and refurbishing them. Either way, you can expect to get a fair bit of money relatively quickly if you have these items laying around your house.
5. Do tasks with TaskRabbit.
TaskRabbit lets you tap into an existing marketplace of people looking for help locally with chores. The tasks aren't always small. This platform (along with others) offers bigger tasks, such as home renovations, as well.
Amazon is getting into the task business with Amazon Home Services. The services listed there range from very small repairs to larger and more involved tasks that would take considerably more effort.
6. Deliver for PostMates.
You can earn some cash when you're in dire straits by using PostMates, and you don't even need a car, just a bike for deliveries in busier cities and downtown centers. I've used it often to get food from specialty places that don't deliver themselves, but it can be used for many things.
PostMates states on their website that you could earn up to $25/hour doing deliveries. You could also earn some tips in the process so it's a great option for people that are looking to do something in their spare time, similar to the big ride-sharing apps that are hogging up app stores everywhere.
7. Flip real estate contracts.
Ir you're thinking this is cost prohibitive, it's not. You can flip real estate contracts without ever taking possession of the property. This isn't a fixer-upper endeavor, just securing a contract and selling it to an interested party. That's it.
You can do this with just a few hundred dollars in most cases to open up escrow. There are companies dedicated to teaching how to do this like REWW. It's good for making a little bit of money, but is also potentially something more long term as well.
8. Sell on CafePress or Etsy.
If you can design digital items, you can sell them for a share of the profits on a site like CafePress. You can do this with nothing more than some design software. They can include custom logos, inspirational sayings and other topical or trending designs appealing to the masses.
You could hire a designer to assist you with this, but you still need to come up with the ideas. This works best if you understand design yourself but requires no overhead. Items are printed and delivered on-demand. You simply receive a share of the proceeds. Similarly, you could sell items on Etsy as well.
9. Answer questions on JustAnswer.
People looking for expertise online. JustAnswer (and several sites like it) allow doctors, lawyers, engineers and others with enhanced knowledge to earn a small income merely answering questions from people who would otherwise have to pay a hefty sum for those answers.
This platform is a great resource for people. It's also lucrative (for the time spent) if you're looking to earn a bit of cash in a hurry. Don't expect to get rich answering questions, but you can generate a few bucks here or there if you're in a bind.
10. Do gigs on Fivver.
No matter what type of service you offer, you can likely offer it Fivver. This is terrific for digital services such as graphic design, web design, short audio or video clip creation, editing services, writing and so on.
Fivver has expanded beyond just the $5-per-gig model. Fiverr Pro pools the best talent on its platform. Depending on your skills, you could do considerably well on here.
11. Walk dogs.
There are networks devoted connecting dog owners with dog walkers. Rover is one of the largest networks of dog walkers out there. Of course, you could also use social media or just knock on neighbors doors to advertise your services, but you can easily use one of these services.
Do a great job if you're serious about building a track record of solid reviews. That will help you make money in the future when you're in desperate need of it.
12. Babysitting with Care.com.
You can easily do some babysitting when you need to make a few bucks quickly. Parents everywhere are always in need of babysitting and nanny services.
Websites like Care.com connect parents with babysitters. The company does all the background checking and other due diligence to put parents' minds at ease. Of course, you can appeal directly to people in your personal network, but if you're looking to generate recurring revenue sign up with a site marketing to parents looking for child care services.
Have an eye for photography? Of course, you need to be good at this to earn any money but it you are, you can sell photos on ShutterStock or iStockPhoto (along with many others) to generate a passive income from something you might be very passionate about.
For a quicker way to earn by taking photos, solicit people looking for photographers to cover their wedding, engagement, child's birthday or any other life event. You'll need a good camera and some experience, but you can definitely earn some must-needed income this way no matter where you live.
14. Do personal training.
If you understand fitness, you could be a personal trainer. People pay good money for personal trainers, if only to have someone keep them on track towards their goals. You can add value while also helping yourself financially.
This could also break off into nutrition and assisting people with meal plans, and so on. You could solicit clients in your local gym, but depending on where you live, you might need some certification to do this (not to mention the gym's approval). You could also use a site like FitnessTrainer to advertise your services.
Parents are always willing to invest in their children's future. If you have a great deal of knowledge in subjects such as math, science or computers, you could tutor for cash.
Both Indeed.com and Care.com offer opportunities for tutoring local students. You could opt for either of these platforms or simply find your clients through your personal network or social media.
16. Advertise for companies with a car wrap.
Platforms like Carvertise connect brands and companies with drivers. The process is simple -- agree to turn your car into a roaming billboard for a price. If you qualify, you can earn a set monthly fee for advertising with your car. You won't have to pay anything to do this, but you'll need a clean driving record and a fairly new car.
You'll have to drive the car enough to be worth it for brands paying for your services. If you have all that, then you could make a bit of side-hustle income through this endeavor.
17. Do gardening for homes.
Offering your services as a local gardener could make you enough money quick enough to satisfy some pressing needs. There are loads of options from mowing lawns and pulling weeds to planning gardens and decor. If you pitch to enough neighbors, you'll find at least a few takers. It'll definitely be worth your while.
There's a variety of platforms online that you could tap into for doing this, or you could simply scour your neighborhood or post on social media. You could use Amazon's Home Services for this as well, or you could create your own simple, one-page website to advertise.
Either way, this is a terrific way to make upwards of $20 per hour or more doing a job that's often in high demand. You could easily make this a long-term gig if you perform well and don't cut corners.
19. Home organizing.
You could easily do home organizing for people. If you're a tidy and organized person yourself, and you're good at organizing spaces, why not offer your services to people around you? You'd be surprised at how many people, even on your own social media feed, might take you up on doing something like this.
Again, a site like Care.com also helps to connect home organizers with people looking for this type of service. It all depends on whether you want to go through a professional company or pitch it yourself to people that are already in your personal or business network.
20. Wash carpets.
Rent a carpet cleaning machine at your local home improvement store, or buy one if you think you can get enough work doing this. You'll likely find lots of people need something like this, but haven't actively looked for the service.
You can wash carpets in the owner's homes, or have them steam-cleaned offsite, depending on the job and the trust you build with the owners.
21. Give blood.
You can \make around $20 to $50 per donation of blood, depending if your blood type is rare or common. You can also donate plasma. Different states have different minimum requirements that must be paid when people donate plasma.
Plasma donations help people who are fighting Leukemia and other immune disorders. This is a bit more complicated and involved than donating blood but you won't get much more than donating blood.
22. Decorate homes for the holidays.
Whether it's New Year's, Christmas lighting, Easter, Fourth of July or any other holiday, you can get paid to help decorate homes. This might involve putting up lights inside or outside, decorating trees, setting up games and other decor.
Use the internet and social media to find clients, or simply advertise to your local network. There are loads of options when it comes to doing specialty jobs like this.
Related: 50 Ideas for a Lucrative Side Hustle
23. Medical studies participant.
If you don't mind throwing caution to the wind, consider becoming a participant in medical studies or drug trials. Companies pay a significant amount of money to participants.
You'll need to find the companies conducting medial studies and expect side effects. If you can live with that, then you can definitely make some money fast without too much effort.
24. Rent a spare room on AirBnB
AirBnB can s a terrific platform for renting out a spare room. You can make some good money, especially if you live in a tourist destination. If you don't mind the neighbors, then this is definitely an option. You can crash with friends and family and rent out your entire house if you're really desperate.
25. Do micro gigs on Mechanical Turk.
Mechanical Turk is a platform by Amazon that allows you to do small jobs and get paid for it. But don't expect too much money out of this. These gigs truly are "micro" and range from a few cents to a few dollars at the most. But if you string several of these together, it might be in your benefit.
You don't need any serious qualification to do this. Usually this involves clicking on links, taking surveys, giving an opinion, doing some light categorizing or other human-intelligence tasks (HITs as they like to call it).
26. Sell vintage clothes at a thrift shop.
You'll likely get paid by the pound but it's some money, so if you're in need, then why not -- especially if you have no use for those clothes anymore. This works best for things like maternity clothes, old children's clothes, clothes that you haven't worn in years or are simply out of style.
27. Open a cash-bonus checking account.
Check with your local bank to see if they're giving away cash bonuses for opening up accounts. Banks run promotions like this all the time, so grab some real cash quickly if you're in need. It won't break the bank (no pun intended) but it will give you a quick $50 or $100 -- maybe even more -- when you really need it. You might need to deposit a minimum amount of cash (usually in the thousands) in order to qualify for these types of accounts (but not always).
28. Get a small micro-loan on Fundera.
You can get a small business loan (very small) on Fundera, or Prosper if you're looking for a very small personal loan. Depending on your credit and your financial and employment situations, you can secure up to a few thousand dollars like this.
There are loads of platforms that offer these small micro loans. You have to pay them back but it can help if you're in a bind.
29. Conduct a webinar.
Okay, it sounds intimidating but webinars are one of the best ways to earn cash quickly. You're speaking to a highly engaged audience. If you position yourself and the offer correctly, you can make loads of money in a very short period.
GoToWebinar is by far the biggest platform. Webinar Jam is one of the most feature-rich platforms out there. Whichever you go with comes down to how well you can sell. It takes practice, but this is fast cash at its essence.
30. Wash or detail cars.
People are always looking to have their cars washed and detailed. You could be a mobile car washer and detailer with a permanent location. Reach out to people you know or make some flyers and put it in your neighbors' mailboxes. If you want to get serious about it, prop up a one-page website or give out business cards. You can make money quickly doing this.
31. Lead walking tours on Viator.
If you live in a tourist locale, consider doing walking tours on Viator, which is one of the largest platforms for tour operators in the world. You'll really need to work hard to get a good reputation. To find clients quickly offer free tours and ask for tips at the end.
This is leveraging the principle of reciprocity with the power of free. People love to get things for free, but they feel obligated at the end to give something in return. That's why supermarkets are always giving away food. They know if you like it, you'll buy it.
32. Pawn your valuables.
If you're running on fumes, financially speaking, but you have some money coming your way soon, consider pawning something of value to borrow fast cash. Of course, to get those items back you'll need to pay back the loan with interest. If you don't pay it back in time, that you'll lose the item. If it's really something that has a lot of intrinsic value to you, don't do it. But if it's something that doesn't, you can certainly consider it depending on your situation.