Edited by Phillip Steyn, Liz, Versageek, Tom Viren and 378 others
Need a little extra cash in a hurry? Follow these steps and you're bound to have a fuller pocket by the end of the week. It may not be much, and it may not be reliable, but your options are limited if you're short on time. Later, you can read up on long-term ways to make money, reducing expenses, saving, and investing. Otherwise, hurry up and follow these steps so you can make money ASAP!
- 1Sell things you no longer need. Dig out that old guitar you never play, those CDs you don't listen to anymore, or your antique toy collection. Go to the pawnshop, put an ad on local internet classifieds, or hold a yard sale in front of your house or on a busy street corner (just display the item with a big sign announcing the ridiculously low price). Price items at half of what somebody would be able to buy them for anywhere else, and you may be able to sell them within an hour or two.
- If you don’t want to part with your CDs or DVDs, burn yourself copies (or even just back them up in digital format on your computer) and then sell the originals. Do not sell the copies!
- Consider whether or not to sell items online at auction websites like eBay, or more generalist sites like Amazon. If you do, choose a fast end time for the auction or trade, or choose "buy it now" to encourage a swift turnaround. However, if you want cash in your hands quickly, you might want to arrange a sale with someone locally.
- 2Sell crafts. If you're a dab hand at making something quickly that people want, do so and sell it either online (sites like Etsy are great for handmade goodies) or at local craft fairs or other community-based sales.
- If you don’t have time to make anything fancy, break glass bottles of various colors, put them through a rock tumbler, and sell bags of it as beach glass. Bits of frosted glass like this look great in clear vases to prop up dried flower stems, for example. You can also sell something you find growing outside. Pressed wildflowers, dried vines, branches, or Chinese lanterns, or even long/large pinecones can fetch a tidy sum if you sell a lot of them individually.
- 3Sell stock photos. Stock photos are relatively easy to take and, once you’ve posted them to your stock-photo account, can make money fairly passively.
- 4Sell scavenged valuables. If you have a metal detector, go to public places (especially parks, beaches, and other areas where people are likely to drop something unnoticed) and look for jewelry and other goods.
- 5Sell things walking about the roadside. Entrepreneurial sorts sell things like cold drinks on hot days or hot nuts in winter. But it can be dangerous work and it may be illegal, so check the laws and watch the traffic with great care. A safer option is a roadside stall, where people have to park the car and come and see your wares.
- 6"Donate" plasma. Plasma is a component of blood, and the process is similar to donating blood. You're not permitted to actually sell your plasma, but you can be compensated for your time spent donating (and essentially, it's like selling your plasma). Your blood is drawn, the plasma is separated, and the red blood cells are returned to your body. In the United States, you can make US$20-30 per visit and give plasma twice a week, but you must weigh at least 110 pounds, be between the ages of 18 and 59, and be in good health. Many college students do this to make extra cash. If you haven't been to the doctor in a while, this may be a good way to get a free health checkup.
- 7Sell your hair. If your hair is healthy, untreated, and longer than 10in (25cm), you can sell it for hundreds of dollars – or possibly thousands if it’s a superb length and color.
- 8Flip products. Flipping is simply buying something and then selling it for more. Some people flip items by investing a lot of time and effort into repairs, but it’s also possible to flip simply by finding good deals.
- Flip web domains. Research keywords, topics, or industries that are trending, buy relevant domain names, and sell them to interested parties. Watch for businesses that open up in your area, snag that domain name before they do, and offer to sell it to them (for a reasonable price – or you’ll risk sabotaging the deal and ending up with nothing). People who get good at this can actually make a nice income from it – or occasionally strike it rich by buying a name out from underneath a big player.
- Flip thrift-store, yard-sale, and police-auction purchases. Even if you don’t know the first thing about jewelry or antiques, sometimes being the first one to show up is all it takes to find a steal.
- Flip wholesale items. If you can get a deal on wholesale items (especially if you know or are willing to make friends with a wholesaler), selling them individually online – even for only a few dollars more apiece – can really add up.
- 9Open a lemonade stand. Especially if you're a kid, a lemonade stand or baked goods stand can bring in good money in one day. If the lemonade isn't selling, or you want to diversify, sell cookies and brownies as well. The important thing here is to find a good location, like the main entrance to an apartment building, outside a shopping center, on a busy corner near your house, or outside one of your parents’ workplaces (if you're a kid; otherwise you might get in trouble).
Make Money Online or On Your Phone
- 1Find small paid tasks via apps. There are several money-making apps including WeReward, CheckPoints, and GigWalk that will either pay you for doing marketing tasks (ex. scanning products at a grocery store) or connect you with someone who wants a more extensive project accomplished.
- 2Fill out online surveys. These usually only pay a few dollars apiece, but they are also short and require very little effort. Read How to Make Money with Free Online Surveys for more information.
- 3Enter sweepstakes. By choosing sweepstakes carefully, you can increase your likelihood of hitting the jackpot (or at least getting a few useful freebies that you can sell, as mentioned above). Search the internet––there are even internet databases, some free and some by subscription only, that can clue you in to hundreds or thousands of sweepstakes. Sweepstakes with smaller prizes can be great because you generally have a more realistic chance of winning. Don't, however, waste your time entering a sweepstakes for a prize you don't want and can't easily sell for a good profit. Enter as many times as possible. The more times you enter, the better your odds. It's as simple as that. Before you send in a million entries, however, make sure you know how many entries the rules allow you.
- 1Recycle bottles and cans. Host a bring-your-own-beverage party and when the party’s over, gather all the bottles and cans and turn them in for cash; if you live in a state with a bottle or can deposit system, you may be able to get 5 or 10 US cents per container. You can also go looking for them in trash cans or along busy roads, especially rural ones.
- 2Scrap a junk pile. Everyone knows you can turn bottles and cans into cash by bringing them in to be recycled, but other metals such as scrap steel (worth anywhere between 1 or 2 cents per pound) or as copper or aluminum (worth considerably more) can also fetch good prices. If you've got a big pile of scrap in your backyard, own a junked camper or other vehicle, or know of an illegal dumpsite, you can sort and sell it.
- 3Scrap a worthless computer. Computers are full of valuable metals (ex. tower cases are usually made of steel and/or aluminum, plus the CPUs, RAM, motherboards, and PCIs all contain gold). If possible, amass a good pile of these parts (offer to take outdated computers off the hands of a building or school doing considerable upgrades or find junked computers in the fee ads, for example) and sell them in bulk, which will make you more money. Don’t scrap good computers; what you get for the scrap probably won’t be as much as you get for components in working order.
- 4Hunt for pre-1982 pennies. These contain considerable amounts of copper (whereas newer ones are alloyed with zinc to cut costs) and are worth more than a cent apiece. Buy rolls of pennies at the bank, sort them to find older coins, then return the ones you don’t want. Read How to Hoard Copper Pennies for more information.
- 5Hunt for pre-1964 silver half dollars. These are 90% silver and are worth more than fifty cents apiece. As with pennies, buy rolls of silver dollars at the bank and keep only the most valuable ones. Read How to Find Silver Half Dollars for more information.
Become a Moving Advertisement
- 1“Wrap” your car in an advertisement. There are companies with bumper sticker programs as well.
- 2Wear t-shirts, clothes, costumes that advertise a business. In addition to receiving a free t-shirt, you can get paid for every day that you wear the shirt to a public, conspicuous place.
- 3Get a temporary tattoo on your forehead, a pregnant belly, or other body parts. Auction off a body parts for advertising space to the highest bidder. 
Do Odd Jobs
- 1Find focus groups in your area. Monitor local postings or search a site like FindFocusGroups.com to find a focus group in your area that you are eligible to participate in. Check frequently; though the pay tends to be excellent, they are less frequent than many other opportunities.
- 2Board someone’s pet. Find a friend or a friend-of-a-friend who’s going out of town and offer to take care of their pet while they’re gone. Professional boarding places tend to be very expensive (not to mention impersonal and intimidating for a pet), so your cozy little house or apartment may seem like a very nice alternative. Around the holidays, pet-boarders fill up quickly, meaning you can probably charge more.
- 3Consider day labor. There are employment agencies that specialize in this type of arrangement, and you can get paid at the end of the workday. The jobs you find through an agency can vary, but are usually in construction, factories, offices, and manufacturing. An alternative to finding day labor is to go where other day laborers meet (usually street corners or parking lots) and wait for employers (building contractors, landscapers, home owners and small business owners).
- Check your local newspaper or internet classifieds to find quick labor gigs, like painting, mowing, or moving work. Amazon Mechanical Turk is reliable and has lots of postings, but the pay tends to be low.
- Consider whether or not to go through an agency. If you go the non-agency route, you might get paid in cash – but keep in mind that less formal arrangements could result in your not getting paid or, worse, getting injured without any kind of compensation.
- Don't be shy about doing odd jobs. Lawn-mowing, babysitting, hedge-trimming, dog-walking, house-sitting, and de-cluttering can all serve as quick ways of getting cash.
- 4Become a street performer. If you can dance, play music, mime, sing, or tell jokes, you can probably get some cash by performing in public. But don't do this unless you are actually good at it. Put together a good act and find a place to perform. Give people a dose of live entertainment, and hopefully they'll reward you with tips.
- If there is a group of you trying to find quick money, put together a quick skit for a bit of street theater .
- Sometimes you can combine something for free with a request for a donation "as wished". For example, give out free hugs but suggest to people that a donation would be appreciated. Don't push it though!
- Always check the bylaws before performing in a public space.
- 5Panhandle. A panhandler is a person who depends on the spontaneous charity of strangers for their survival. If you really need the cash, you might swallow your pride and decide to ask for help. Make a sign, find a good location, ask politely for money, and say thank you. A sign that is witty or details something interesting is more likely to have people stop and help than one filled with a litany of complaints about being down and out.
- Cyberbegging is becoming increasingly popular, and there have been some amazing success stories, but these are the exception rather than the rule. While there are some sites on which you can beg just by putting up a brief ad, if you're looking to make any substantial money you'll probably have to build your own site and invest the time and money into it to make it successful. Moreover, cyberbegging really annoys some people and you may get bad social media feedback.
- Be sure that panhandling or begging is permissible where you live.