Make Extra Cash

What You Should Do If You Need Money Right Now

Updated on May 13, 2024 Updated on May 13, 2024
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Sooner or later, it happens to the best of us; you’re in a position where you need money right now. If you are in a jam and need to come up with extra funds in the short term, don’t stress out just yet. We’re here to help you make money today.

Thanks to the internet, there are many ways to make money online. And many of them don’t require adhering to someone else’s schedule like you have to do if you take a part-time job. Many ways you can earn money fast these days can be done in your free time or during your downtime at work. So if you need money right now, you no longer have to resort to things like selling your plasma or pawning your precious family heirlooms.

It’s scary to be in this position. You might be tempted to do things like take a cash advance on your credit card or take out a payday loan with a three-figure interest rate. While those “solutions” can solve your problem in the short term, in the long term, they are likely only to make things worse. We want to provide you with ways to solve the immediate problem without digging yourself into an even bigger hole.

Take a deep breath and read on. We will help you find the money you need when you need cash fast.

You’re Not the Only One

Did you know that almost half of Americans could not come up with $400 to cover an emergency? And if ever there’s a genuine ‘need money now’ situation, it’s an emergency.

According to a recently released report by the Federal Reserve in 2023, 49% of Americans could not access $400 in a case of an emergency.

If that isn’t shocking enough, 25% of those earning more than $100,000 are among that 49%. If you are searching Google for “I need money now,” let’s figure out how you can accumulate it and get out of the 49% club.

When you turn to the internet because you need money now, you have to wade through a lot of spam and a lot of scams.

We will provide you with real help, help to get money now and help to make sure you don’t find yourself in this position again.

Sell Your Spare Time

Getting a part-time job is an excellent way to make extra money, but it involves all of the unpleasant aspects of any job search, the looking, the resumes, and the interviews. And you’ll have to adhere to someone else’s schedule.

But there are ways you can earn the extra money that you would from a part-time job without going the formal route.

Work in Your Pajamas

Don’t want to leave your house? Sign up for survey sites like Swagbucks and Survey Junkie to make money fast online by doing things like watching videos and answering survey questions.

If you are looking for other ways to make quick, fast cash, here are 127 more ideas to make money today.

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Freecash – Get paid for testing apps, games & surveys

Freecash.com is a platform that rewards you for completing small online tasks. It’s like a one-stop shop for earning some extra cash (or gift cards!) in your free time. Think surveys, playing games, and trying out new apps – all activities you might be doing anyway.

Here’s the kicker: each completed task earns you “coins,” which can be redeemed for real rewards. It’s a legitimate way to supplement your income without any upfront investment. So explore Freecash.com – a platform where you can be productive and get rewarded for it.

Freecash: Get paid for testing apps, games & surveys

Earn cash or rewards like gift cards and cryptocurrency by completing online tasks, surveys, and games.

You can redeem your earnings for real money via PayPal or bank transfer, or choose from various rewards.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

You Got a Fast Car

Lyft is a great option to make some extra money fast and in your free time. The hourly pay after expenses varies from city to city, but you can expect to earn between $15.28 and $36.62 per hour. Tips can add another $1.01 to $4.00 per hour

It will often be much more in larger cities and in smaller towns, sometimes a little less.

Be a Taskmaster

TaskRabbit connects people who need services like moving help, handyman tasks, odd jobs, and cleaners with those who can perform them. The average hourly rate for Taskers is $49.

Be a Sitter

Sittercity.com has become a much more comprehensive platform than the traditional babysitting scene of the past. Whether you have a passion for playing with puppies, love interacting with seniors, or enjoy the structured environment of nannying, Sittercity can be a great resource for finding your perfect caregiving gig!

Sittercity

Sittercity connects families with nearby sitters in a variety of fields. Depending on the needs, you can find nannying, babysitting, companion care, and even pet sitting jobs.

Now sitters are commanding up to as much as $16 an hour! Even if you don’t have an emergency you need cash for, babysitting is a lucrative side gig these days.

Want to get your money under control?

This is our guide to budgeting simply and effectively. We walk you through exactly how to use Mint, what your budget should be, and how to monitor your spending automatically.

Get the Course

Sell Your Stuff

Look around you right now. I bet you can find half a dozen things you could sell. You probably have more stuff that other people will pay you money for than you realize!

You can sell almost anything on eBay, Craigslist, or Amazon and earn a few hundred bucks. You can also try online arbitrage, where you can buy low on eBay and sell high on Amazon.

There are some great online marketplaces to sell your stuff. Offer Up created a platform where you can buy and sell things locally. Take a photo of an item through the app, and it will circulate it to people nearby.

If you have a little more time, you can declutter your home and organize a garage sale. Let other people know about your plans. Many people would be happy to get rid of some stuff and let you have it for your sale. If not, offer to sell it and keep a percentage for yourself.

“Don’t own so much stuff that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.”

Wendell Berry

If there is a reputable pawn shop near you, that can be a source of quick cash. You may be back on your feet in time to bail out your items before they are sold but perhaps not. Don’t pawn family heirlooms or the laptop you need to do your job.

You can also offer up most of the things we talked about on your local Facebook Sales Page and get some money the same day.

Clean Out Your Closet

We all have a closet full of clothes we no longer wear. Why not turn them into cash? Many have found success selling their old clothes on platforms like Poshmark.

If your wardrobe doesn’t contain items worth selling, consider visiting a thrift shop or Goodwill in an upscale neighborhood. You might be surprised by the high-quality, designer pieces available—often unused with tags still attached.

This approach requires a small investment, but with the right finds, you can quickly sell them for a significant profit. If you’re unsure which items are in demand, dedicate an hour or two to browsing listings on eBay and Poshmark to understand popular trends.

Your Old iPods and Smart Phones

If you have a drawer full of old electronics you kept after each upgrade, you can turn those into quick cash, even if they no longer work.

Gazelle offers cash for your used electronics through various payment methods including PayPal, check, and Amazon gift cards. While it’s difficult to confirm the exact total amount paid, Gazelle has helped many people turn their unwanted electronics into cash. Processing times can vary depending on the chosen method.

need money now gazelle

Ask family, friends, and co-workers if they have any old electronics or cell phones lying around they don’t need. If you are embarrassed to admit you will sell them because you need quick money, you can say you’re collecting the items to recycle them responsibly.

Electronics aren’t supposed to be tossed out with the regular trash, which is why many people have old broken devices stashed away. You can also sell your old electronics and games on Decluttr.

Your Library

If you’re really in an, I need money now sort of pinch and don’t want to wait for an online auction or sale, grab up all your used books and sell them to a local used bookstore or Half Price Books for instant cash.

Once you’ve exhausted your supply of books, you can find free or nearly free books at thrift stores and yard sales. Scoop them up and sell them for a profit.

Rent Your Stuff

The explosion of the sharing economy means there are more opportunities than ever to make money by renting things to other people. It’s a great way to make some money with minimal effort.

Your Home Sweet Home

If you live in a place people like to visit, renting your home through Airbnb can net you that $400 in just a few nights.

Stay with a friend, sleep in your car, or rent a cheap hotel room while guests luxuriate in your place. Airbnb only takes approximately 3% of what the owner charges.

Co-Host

You can still make money even if you can’t rent your house on Airbnb. Many people who rent on Airbnb are absentee owners; they don’t live in the same city as their rental.

Those people need co-hosts who take care of the house and the guests. Co-hosts do things like clean or arrange cleaners, buy groceries and toiletries for guests, and meet guests with the house keys.

It’s hard to find a good co-host; I know because I have a friend who is always hiring and firing co-hosts that didn’t work out. Co-hosting isn’t available in all cities, but if it’s available near you, you can make a profile on Airbnb’s site and get hired that way.

Your Sweet Ride

If you’re not into driving people around, then you can let them rent your car. You can rent your vehicle through a company like Turo when you aren’t using it. The company provides liability insurance and screens renters.

You decide how much to charge when to rent, and who can rent it.

Sell Your Spare Time on the Clock

Being able to work when you want is nice, but don’t discount more traditional part-time work options. They can sometimes offer more stable pay than you will find in the gig economy, and some conventional part-time jobs even provide benefits.

Make That Sale!

Retail jobs are always excellent part-time jobs because while you’ll work set hours, they are often somewhat flexible. Most retailers have full-time staff with set schedules, so they need part-time help to fill in gaps. The holidays are a perfect time to get a retail job on the side.

Sling Some Drinks, Deliver Some Happiness

Bars and restaurants will give full-time staff the more lucrative weekend shifts, but if you have a few extra hours during the week, you might get a service industry job to make some extra money.

Everyone loves the pizza person! Delivering pizza is a great way to earn money. And the best part of these positions is that you immediately start bringing in cash tips.

It’s Easy to Get a Loan…

It’s easy to get a loan unless you need one, as the saying goes. And that’s true if you’re trying to get a loan from a bank. But a bank isn’t your only option these days.

You can borrow money as installment loans from Up. Choose an offer and complete the online loan application process to see what terms you’re eligible for.

Upgrade offers personal Loans up to $50,000 with competitive and low fixed rates and fast funding. A personal loan can help you eliminate high-interest credit card debt, streamline your credit or upgrade your life with a fixed-rate loan instead of a high-interest credit card.

Upgrade Personal Loans

Upgrade offers personal Loans up to $50,000 with competitive and low fixed rates and fast funding. A personal loan can help you eliminate high-interest credit card debt, streamline your credit or upgrade your life with a fixed-rate loan instead of a high-interest credit card.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

PayPal Loans Money

For businesses using PayPal, their Working Capital program offers a fast funding option. There’s no traditional interest rate, but there is a fixed fee. While there’s no hard credit check, PayPal considers your business health for approval. Repayment is automatic through a percentage deduction from your future PayPal sales.

PayPal Credit
PayPal Credit is payment option accessed through your PayPal account. It's a revolving, digital credit line with no annual fee, letting you pay immediately or over time. Users gain special financing on purchases of $99 or more.

Ask, and You May Receive

Asking for money can be challenging, but when you need it now, it’s the fastest way to get it. Ask anyone you think might say yes and is in a position to do so to loan you some money temporarily; family, friends, and your employer.

Some employers may be willing to give you a payday loan without the exorbitant interest rate that payday lenders charge. If you have a 401k, you can borrow money from that. We devoted an episode to this practice.

Be ready to explain why you got into this position and how you will make sure never to find yourself here again. (That’s the second part of this article).

When the crisis has passed, paying these people back is your priority. You don’t want to lose the trust of the people who helped you out of a jam or destroy your relationship.

Negotiate Your Debt Bill

Yes, you can get your debt lowered. Your debt costs you money daily – the faster you pay it off, the better. National Debt Relief will negotiate with your creditors to significantly reduce your debt and help you be debt free more quickly.

National Debt Relief

Did you know that credit card companies will forgive some of your debt if you’re in trouble? Imagine reducing a $10,000 bill to $4,000 just by asking. National Debt Relief negotiates on your behalf.

Payday Loans

We devoted an entire section to payday loans because we know that when you find yourself in a position where you need money now, you turn to Google. Who wouldn’t? The results you’ll get will include a lot of payday lenders.

It may not be evident initially, but these places charge outrageously high interest rates. The average rate for a two-week loan is between 391-521%! Scared?

You should be; they’re ripping you off because they know you need cash now. We wrote an entire article on payday loans. Please read it.

Most of these loans are terrible ideas, but some are downright predatory. There are certainly better options out there.

While a payday loan is far from an ideal solution, if it is a one-time thing and you pay it back when you get paid, it is a solution.

The real problem with payday loans comes when they become a vicious cycle.

You need money, so you take out a loan. When the payment is due, you can’t pay it, so you take out another. And another. And another.

“When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person that walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.”

Haruki Murakami

Refinance Your Debt

When you refinance, you still owe money to someone, but now at a lower rate of interest. You’re losing less money and paying off the debt faster when you refinance for a better rate. Look carefully at the refinancing terms of the new lender.

You should refinance a loan if it saves you money. Nothing more complicated than that. In most cases, refinancing won’t make you money, but it will save you money.

If you have a high-interest rate debt, credit card debt, for instance, you can take out a loan with a lower interest rate from a company like Credible to pay it off.

Many lenders will refinance debt for you. Do your research before you decide to refinance. (And get to know this handy refinancing calculator.)

Upgrade Personal Loans

Upgrade offers personal Loans up to $50,000 with competitive and low fixed rates and fast funding. A personal loan can help you eliminate high-interest credit card debt, streamline your credit or upgrade your life with a fixed-rate loan instead of a high-interest credit card.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Federal student loans, for example, come with certain protections you will lose when you refinance with a private lender.

Some lenders like Credible also specialize in student loan refinancing. They offer some protections but understand what they are and what you’re giving up.

We gave you several ways to get money fast, and they worked. The worst of the crisis is over. What can we do to keep our heads above water and start working towards financial independence?

Credible: Personal Loan

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Step 1: Assess Your Financial Situation

Before considering a loan or dipping into emergency savings, it’s crucial to thoroughly evaluate your financial status. Start by reviewing your monthly income and expenses to identify potential savings.

Check your bank statements and categorize your spending to pinpoint non-essential expenses you can cut, such as cable services you found you could live without during tighter times. Additionally, assess any debts and their interest rates.

As you scrutinize your budget, consider the sustainability of your recent changes: for example, while eliminating cable might be manageable, working every weekend may be detrimental in the long run.

Understanding the full scope of your finances not only reveals better management strategies but also prevents unnecessary borrowing, ensuring you make informed decisions when cash flow is tight.

Step 2: Set Up A Budget

Setting up a budget is an essential first step to gaining control over your finances. Many individuals are unaware of their exact income and expenditure. By clearly identifying how much money you have coming in and where it is going, you can make empowered decisions to direct your financial future.

Start by listing all sources of income and tracking every expense, no matter how small. This clarity allows you to prioritize spending, save more effectively, and ensure that your money serves your goals rather than dictating your choices. This proactive approach not only helps in managing current finances but also in planning for future financial stability.

A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.

Tweet This

We often talk about Monarch Money for budgeting.  Monarch Money is a budgeting app that allows users to connect their financial accounts to track spending, categorize expenses, set budgets, and receive alerts about unusual spending.

Reviews of Monarch Money say that it is easy to use and provides good insights into spending habits. Here is a summary of what Monarch Money offers:

  • Consolidation of financial accounts.
  • Expense categorization.
  • Spending insights.
  • Custom budget setting and monitoring.
  • Unusual spending alerts.

There are lots of budgeting formulas, but we like 50/30/20 because it’s straightforward. The 50/30/20 budgeting rule is a simple way to manage your money. Here’s how it works: you use half of your income (50%) for necessities like rent and bills, 30% for fun or optional things like movies and shopping, and the last 20% for saving up for big goals or paying off debts. This method helps you keep track of your spending in a balanced way. paying off debt.

Budget

The 50/30/20 method is a flexible budgeting tool. If you’re prioritizing debt repayment or need to build your savings, consider temporarily swapping the 20% and 30% categories to reach your financial goals faster.

You can make your budget categories as simple or detailed as you want. You can use “Car” as a category to include your payment, insurance, gas, and repairs. Or you can budget each of those as separate categories.

We think it’s best to keep things simple at the beginning with just basic categories. If you have spending leaks and can’t figure out where they’re coming from, you can further break down categories until you find them.

Step 3: Start to Save Money

Money can often be found in unexpected places. While a few dollars spent here and there may not seem significant at the time, these small expenditures can accumulate, contributing to a shortfall in your budget by the end of the month. By paying closer attention to these minor outgoings, you can better manage your finances and potentially save a substantial amount over time.

If you are shocked to see more going out than coming in, we have you covered. LMM has a course on the subject with fifteen podcasts and articles that will help you save money around the house.

You might be unknowingly spending money on subscriptions you no longer need, such as gym memberships, magazines, or services that started as free trials and rolled into paid plans without cancellation. Regularly reviewing your expenses can help you identify and eliminate these overlooked charges, potentially freeing up a significant portion of your budget.

Using a financial personal assistant app like Cushion can streamline your financial management by tracking spending, categorizing expenses, and setting goals, helping you maintain control over your finances.

The Cushion app automates the process of identifying and negotiating refunds for bank and credit card fees, such as overdraft, late, and monthly service charges. Using artificial intelligence, Cushion seeks to recover disputable fees on behalf of users, aiming to save them money and enhance their financial management through insights into their spending habits.

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Step 4: Get Rid of That Debt. Now.

Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is a prime example of the kind of debt you want to consolidate because it has a high rate of interest. The average interest rate on a credit card is 24.61% When your interest rate is so high, it can take years to pay off debt especially if you are only making the monthly minimum payments.

If you have credit card debt, you need to prioritize attacking it. To efficiently pay it off, you need a plan. You can use the snowball or the stacking method.  Both methods will help you pay off debt more quickly, the stacking method will save you the most money on interest, but both have merits.

Balance transfer credit cards can be a good strategy to pay down high-interest debt. You transfer existing balances to a new card with a 0% introductory APR offer. This allows you to focus your payments on reducing the principal balance you owe, potentially saving you money on interest during the introductory period (usually 12-21 months). However, be aware of balance transfer fees and the fact that the 0% APR is only introductory.

Consider getting credit consolidation loans at Prosper. Propser is a peer-to-peer lender. They grade borrowers based on things like their credit score, the amount of the loan they’re seeking, and the term of the loan.

Student Loan Debt

If student loan debt is what you struggle with, you can refinance through Lendkey. LendKey’s student loan refinancing program connects borrowers with a network of community banks and credit unions, offering competitive interest rates. Its streamlined platform simplifies the refinancing process, enabling easy comparison of rates and terms from various lenders with just one application.

Step 5: Make More Money

We could all use some extra cash, and there are many ways to make it. At a certain point, you can’t save any more money; there isn’t anything left to cut. And really, saving money is not nearly as impactful as making more.

Your Career

You already spend a lot of time at work, so it’s important to make the most of it by seeking professional growth, enhancing skills, and engaging in meaningful tasks. This approach turns your job into a valuable opportunity for both personal and professional development.

Maybe it’s time to start looking for a new opportunity. Even if you’re completely satisfied with your current position, it’s wise to stay open to unique opportunities that may arise.

The average pay raise in 2023 within a company was a measly 4.4%. However, when you move to a new company, the raise is 10-20%. If you’re unsure how much you should be making, you can check out sites like PayScale.

LinkedIn is probably the best way to find a job or a recruiter who gets paid to get you a job.

Side Hustles

There’s a ton of side hustles out there, and for sure, there’s one you can rock at—or at least get pretty good at if you give it a shot. Who knows? You might just start raking in some cash doing it.

Step 6: Find  The Root of the Problem

When you’re in a financial pinch, pinpointing the root cause is key. Review your bank statements to spot unnecessary expenses or patterns that might be leading to financial strain. This helps you understand whether unexpected bills or reduced income is disrupting your budget, allowing for immediate corrective action.

Cutting back on impulsive buys and non-essential spending is essential during tight times. Identify and eliminate these expenditures to quickly improve your financial situation. For recurring financial issues, consider seeking advice from a financial advisor. They can offer strategies for effective budget management and help build a more resilient financial foundation.

Your financial issues may be linked to a spending addiction. If so, professional help can be essential. Debtors Anonymous offers peer support similar to what is found in programs for drug or alcohol addiction, helping you tackle and overcome your spending habits.

If you find yourself spending money when you’re bored, angry, frustrated, or sad, you might be an emotional spender. It’s important to recognize the triggers that lead to this behavior, such as feeling restless at home, having a rough day at work, or experiencing conflict with a spouse.

Once you’ve identified these triggers, try replacing the urge to spend with other activities. Consider going for a walk, calling a friend, or baking something instead. These alternatives can help you manage your emotions without impacting your wallet.

To further curb emotional spending, introduce practical barriers. For example, use the envelope budgeting method and avoid carrying credit or debit cards when you leave the house. This approach can help you gain better control over your spending habits.

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Step 7: Have Some Hard Conversations

If financial difficulties stem from actions by a family member, it’s essential to address these issues as a team. Managing finances should be a shared responsibility. If you’ve previously delegated financial duties because they seemed tedious, reconsider this setup.

Arrange a specific time to discuss finances together, allowing both parties to prepare and ensuring the conversation is constructive. Avoid assigning blame and focus on transparency and problem-solving.

Create and regularly review a monthly budget together. If one of you is not currently earning, explore temporary ways to contribute financially, such as remote work or flexible jobs. For those with disabilities, consider home-based income opportunities.

In cases where these strategies are insufficient, seeking professional advice from marriage or debt counselors may be necessary. Ultimately, every family member should be involved in managing finances to prevent future issues.

Step 8: Downsize and Spend Mindfully

To downsize your expenses effectively, begin by thoroughly reviewing your monthly budget to pinpoint non-essential spending areas where you can cut back. Common reductions include entertainment, dining out, and luxury purchases. Redirect the money saved into essential spending or savings.

Additionally, shop around for less expensive alternatives for necessities such as utilities, insurance, and groceries. Opting for generic brands, taking advantage of sales, and switching to cost-efficient providers can substantially lower your monthly expenses.

Regularly reassess your spending habits and adjust your budget to accommodate changes in your financial situation. Staying vigilant about your expenses helps ensure you maintain a streamlined budget, ultimately freeing up more funds for savings or investment. This disciplined approach can significantly improve your financial health over time.

Step 9: Rebuild Your Credit Score

If you have a bad credit score, you must fix it. Your credit may have taken a hit through this. A good credit score matters, but it’s only essential when planning something like buying a home or car or renting an apartment.

Six key factors contribute to your credit score: payment history, credit utilization, derogatory marks, length of credit history, credit mix, and new credit inquiries. While the exact weighting can differ slightly, payment history, utilization, and derogatory marks generally hold the most influence.

If you often forget to pay your bills on time, setting up reminders can help. You can program alerts on your phone, mark due dates on a calendar, or even place sticky notes on your mirror. While some might recommend setting up automatic payments, manually paying your bills can enhance your awareness of spending and help you practice financial mindfulness. This approach ensures you stay engaged with your financial responsibilities.

Utilization refers to the percentage of your available credit that you are using. For example, if your credit limit is $1,000 and you have a $500 balance, your utilization rate is 50%. It’s best to keep this rate below 30% to maintain a healthy credit score. If you’re still working on paying off your credit card debt, continue making consistent payments to reduce your balance and improve your credit utilization.

You can obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the credit bureaus annually. Review it for any derogatory remarks. If these remarks are accurate, there’s little you can do but wait for them to expire after seven years.

However, if you find inaccuracies, you have the right to dispute them with the credit bureau. If the bureau verifies these as errors, they will make the necessary corrections. Addressing these issues can help improve your credit score more quickly. Although not always crucial, maintaining a clean credit report is important in certain situations.

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Step 10: Build Your Emergency Fund

If you’re not a super saver and are dealing with debt without any savings, there are essential steps to take before diving into investing. First, establish an emergency fund.

Ideally, this fund should cover three to six months’ worth of basic expenses. Building this can take time, so if you’re starting from scratch, aim first to accumulate $1,000. This amount will create a buffer between you and potential financial crises, providing peace of mind as you begin to navigate your investment journey.

Focus on cutting spending and making additional income until you save at least that first $1,000.

Step 11: Start Investing

The best way to grow your money is to start investing. LMM has a ton of detailed information on all kinds of investments, and we want you to read it. Eventually, there is a lot to learn, but you need a breather.

Using an online broker can be a great way for individuals, especially beginners, to start investing. We like M1 Finance. M1 Finance is an online broker and investment manager hybrid. Unlike most services, they allow for both self-managed and robo-directed investing. They are perfect for investors who don’t want to be largely hands-on but still can pick a handful of individual stocks.

M1 Finance

They're perfect for DIY investors who prefer a hands-off approach but can still pick individual stocks and funds. We specifically use them for the Golden Butterfly portion of our portfolio.

Let Us Help

LMM was started to help educate people about their finances. There is hardly a topic related to money we haven’t covered. You found this article because you needed money in the short term. We’re glad you’re here. It’s the first step towards a positive financial future.

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Mark Fiebert - Contributor Mark spent over 30 years as a senior finance executive in Private Banking, Asset Management and Alternative Investments. Mark holds a BS in Accounting from Brooklyn College, an MBA in Finance from Pace University as well as being sponsored to attend The Wharton School Executive Development Program.
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