Do you need money today? Times like these — when you’ve suddenly been hit with an emergency or an unexpected expense — can be stressful and overwhelming. But there are options.
Just remember: the cure for stress is action. The quicker you commit to taking concrete steps to solve the challenges you’re facing, the better you and your wallet will feel.
The good news is that with a little bit of creativity and hustle, you can get yourself out of the situation you’re in and prevent this kind of financial crunch from ever happening again.
Read through this list of viable, safe ways to get money fast. They’ll work today, but they can also serve as a solid foundation for building a better financial future.
Ideas To Make Extra Money In Less Than A Week
When it comes to needing money urgently, there are three strategies to pursue. You can borrow money, make money, or save money in a way that frees up cash flow today.
These strategies are not mutually exclusive. Depending on your situation, it may make sense to pursue all three today.
Keep in mind, however, that it’s best to avoid borrowing money if at all possible. Often, people in emergency financial situations take out expensive loans with bad terms. These loans may help them meet their immediate needs, but will only cause more problems down the road.
That said, the ideas below are broken down into three different categories:
- Ideas to make extra money in less than a week.
- How to save big money in a cash crunch.
- The best (and worst) ways to borrow short-term money.
Without further ado, let’s find you some cash fast.
Leverage The Gig Economy
For most gig economy jobs, it may take a day or two to get approved and start making money. Once you do get approved though, having the option to earn money on-demand is quite nice.
Here are 10 popular gig economy jobs that allow you to make money on demand. If you have any interest at all, apply now; by taking action, you’ll avoid the “I need money today” desperation in the future. You can also check out our list of the highest-paying gig economy jobs for more options.
#1 — Postmates
Postmates is one of the fastest ways to get started making money in the gig economy. As a Postmates courier, you’ll deliver groceries, food from restaurants, and other miscellaneous items.
With Postmates, you can work literally whenever you want (as little or as much as you want), and you can cash out instantly after earning money. That means you can work for a few hours one afternoon and have that cash in your bank account the same day.
One of the unique things about Postmates is that it’s one of the few freelance delivery services that allows you to deliver by foot. This is really only a viable option in very dense urban areas, such as New York City and San Francisco. But if you live near such a location, it can be a decent way to make some quick money without a vehicle.
#2 — Airbnb
You can earn money fast renting out your place on Airbnb. Stay with friends or your folks while your place is booked. (Your mom thinks you don’t visit enough anyway…)
Payments for Airbnb sellers are released 24 hours after your guests check in.
Think your place isn’t nice enough? Think again. You can offer everything from full homes to basement couches. You might not earn top dollar for the latter, but rates for shared rooms still tend to be around $30 per night, even in remote areas.
#3 — Instacart
Instacart is an online grocery shopping and delivery company. There are two types of work available on the platform.
In-store shopper: A part-time job as an employee of Instacart. You’ll work inside grocery stores, hand picking and packing customers’ online grocery orders and handing them off for delivery.
Because this is a part-time position, you’ll earn a consistent wage, but it will be on the lower end of the spectrum. Since you’re working in-store, you don’t need a vehicle.
Full-service shopper: An independent contractor (i.e., a freelancer). As a full-service shopper, Instacart will send customer orders to your smartphone. You’ll then go to the assigned store, pick and pack the items on their shopping list, and deliver the order directly to their door.
You’ll earn per-order commissions based on the time it takes you to complete the delivery (as well as the driving distance from the store), plus customer tips. That means you have the potential to make more money than in-store shoppers. However, since the work is dependent upon demand, it can be less consistent.
In general, full-service shoppers make around $10 to $20 per hour. Unfortunately, unlike with Postmates, you’ll be paid weekly and there’s currently no option for instant withdrawal.
#4 — TaskRabbit
TaskRabbit is a gig economy platform that helps connect people looking for help with odd jobs and those looking for short-term, on-demand work.
Taskers — as TaskRabbit freelancers are called — perform every kind of work under the sun. You’ll find typical day labor tasks like running errands, picking up and delivering items, and doing yard work. But you’ll also find less common things, like assembling IKEA furniture and even just standing in line.
Here’s an example: whenever Nike releases new limited-edition sneakers, resellers will pay Taskers to show up at stores hours early and hold a spot in line.
No matter what your experience or skillset is, chances are you can find a way to make money on the site.
#5 — DoorDash
Like Postmates, DoorDash is a food delivery service that allows freelancers to work (almost) on-demand, picking up and delivering customers’ orders from local establishments. I say “almost” because DoorDash does have a scheduling system; you have to sign up for shifts (which you can choose), and failing to consistently go online during your shifts can get you kicked off the platform.
However, one perk about DoorDash is that if you live in an area where it has a consistent stream of orders, the payout tends to be a bit better than Postmates. Also, each time you’re offered a delivery (via a notice on your smartphone), you’ll see a minimum guaranteed payout amount, and you can choose to accept or decline the job.
As with Postmates, “Dashers” can get paid daily, although there is a $1.99 instant cash-out fee.
#6 — Rover
Love dogs and need a quick way to make money? Rover might be the perfect option. Think of Rover like Uber for dogs; you’ll visit customers’ homes at designated times and take their dog for a walk.
Average pay is about $15 per hour, although you’ll do slightly better if you live in an urban area, or a place where there’s enough demand that you can take two or three dogs out for a stroll at the same time.
#7 — Tutoring
As an EF tutor, you’ll have clients assigned to you and all the necessary teaching materials will be provided. Base pay starts as high as $20 per hour, and you can earn bonuses by reaching teaching milestones (like 100 classes taught).
To become an EF tutor, you do need a bachelor’s degree (in any field) but no teaching experience is required as EF considers all aspects of your resume and professional background.
#8 — Turo
Turo is like Airbnb for car owners. When you sign up, you can list your car and rent it on a daily basis for cash. This can be surprisingly lucrative, and is one of the few options on the list that often works out better for people who live in rural areas (where there’s a lower supply of available rental cars).
Also, the type of car you own can really boost your earnings. Obviously, people are willing to pay a premium to rent a convertible. But other types of vehicles can also bring in above-average rates. One prime example is minivans, which are highly-sought by families on vacation but are often sold out at commercial car rental locations.
#9 — Uber
Uber is one of the most popular gig economy jobs. As an Uber driver, you’ll make money by picking up passengers and driving them to their desired destination. The rates vary by location and demand; for example, prices are usually higher when it’s raining. You’ll usually earn better rates in cities, but you can also do well in rural areas where rides tend to be longer.
Uber also has a service called Uber Eats, which allows you to pick up food orders from local restaurants and bring them directly to customers at their home or workplace. If you’re in an area with strong demand, you can often make slightly better per-hour rates with Uber Eats as compared to traditional Uber. And if you don’t have a car, Uber Eats allows you to deliver via bicycle or scooter.
One of the best perks about Uber is that once you’re approved, the company will send you a special debit card issued by GoBank. Having this card allows you to cash out your earnings and get paid instantly — that means you can drive for a few hours and immediately access your funds, with no waiting or clearance periods.
Another perk is that you can work whenever you want, with no restrictions or limitations. There are no schedules on minimum/maximum hours — it can be either a full-time or part-time job on the weekends, depending upon your needs.
#10 — Fiverr
Fiverr is a marketplace where you can sell services — which are called “gigs” — for as little as $5 (and for as much as you want). Some popular gigs on Fiverr are services such as proofreading, website design, data entry, and miscellaneous virtual assistant jobs.
But it’s a great forum for creatives of all types, as you can monetize almost any skill or talent. Keep in mind, however, that it takes three weeks from the time the client accepts your work for your earnings to clear and become available for transfer to your bank account or PayPal.
Sell Something On Craigslist, Facebook, EBay Or Other Marketplaces
Aside from the options above, your best bet for fast cash is to sell an asset you own.
To do that, you’ll want to:
- Sell something that has a lot of demand
- List your item on a marketplace with many active buyers
Some of the best marketplaces to list on are:
Here are some of the best options for selling specific types of items.
Books:Have extra books lying around? Head to a used book store to cash them in. Make sure to call ahead to ask if they’re buying books right now. For those that live in a state with a Half-Priced Books (120+ locations across the U.S.), they’ll give you cash on the spot.
Clothes:Plato’s Closet gives you cash on the spot for used clothes. The one catch here is that the store is aimed at teens and young adults, and only buys new and lightly-worn threads from in-style name brands.
If you’re a bit older and have designer items that might not be a fit for Plato’s, check out The Real Real. You might hate to part with something like a designer handbag or shoes, but just one such item can fetch a pretty penny if it’s still in great condition.
DVDs and other random stuff: Many people are surprised to hear this, but Amazon allows private sellers to list items like used DVDs, books, games, LEGOs and tech on its site. You can even opt-in to the company’s Fulfillment by Amazon program (FBA), which means you’ll send the items to an Amazon warehouse and they’ll take care of shipping them to the customer.
Electronics:If you have old electronics lying around (especially cell phones), a good marketplace to sell them on is Gazelle. What’s nice is that you’ll know the price ahead of time; as soon as you enter your device’s details, you’ll see a flat-rate offer.
Everything else: Try a pawn shop, which will usually buy almost anything of value. Of course, you’re not going to get maximum value for selling items at a pawn shop, but you will indeed get cash on the spot. Items that sell well are:
- Precious metals and jewelry
- Popular tech (phones, tablets, cameras, and e-readers)
Do your research beforehand to understand the value of what you’re wanting to sell. This allows you to negotiate better. Also, if you have the time, visit more than one pawn shop for a quote — and don’t fall for the “this offer is only good right now” speech; pawn shops need to buy items to make money… if they made you an offer once, they’ll more than likely make the same offer later.
Don’t forget about yard sales, the OG method for selling things quickly. If you don’t get any good offers from the options listed above, garage sales or yard sales are still an effective way to generate cash quickly. Plan your sale for a Friday and Saturday to maximize revenue. You’ll be surprised how many people still attend these sales.
Related reading: The Best Craigslist Alternatives for Buying and Selling
Do A Bonus Round Of Survey Companies
There are dozens of legit websites that pay you to share your opinion. You can’t make a lot of money this way, but you can definitely earn some extra cash relatively quickly — especially if you use a strategy called “the bonus round.”
With the bonus round, you sign up for sites that offer a new-member bonus and complete just the minimum amount of work necessary to cash out. For example, Swagbucks offers you a $10 sign-up bonus with a minimum withdrawal of $25.
Here are two survey sites with bonus offers that pay cash, along with the minimum amount to withdraw.
- $10 sign-up bonus
- $25 minimum withdrawal through PayPal
- $5 sign-up bonus (after completing five surveys)
- $25 minimum withdrawal through PayPal