We’ve all been there. Whether we mean to or not at some point we just need fast cash. Maybe it’s to pay off a bill or maybe you are just sick of all the credit card debt hanging around. Either way, there are creative ways to make money fast (and they’re all legal!) Here is a list of some things I’ve done in the past to bring in extra cash. Some of them are easy, some are not so fun and some are just downright funny! Keep reading for 9 creative ways to make money fast.
9 creative ways to make money fast:
1. Clean Houses
No, it’s not the most fun job in the world but it paid in cash and was a great regular gig for me. I also cleaned houses for people who were moving out of a house they sold. If you’re friends with a realtor or anyone who deals with apartment rentals, it’s a great way to find cleaning jobs. Most people are exhausted and stressed from moving and the last thing they want to do is have to clean!
2. Participate in Focus Groups
If you live in or near a metropolitan area, you can usually find market research companies who are looking for participants to be involved in their focus groups. I have done focus groups on chewing gum (Yes, for 2 hours!), cat litter, cat food and local newscasters. You have to qualify for the studies and you won’t always get in, but when you do, you can make quick cash for giving your opinion. Remember, this should always be free at the minimum. Do not pay someone to match you with a focus group.
3. Mystery Shopping
This is usually a fun one. Large companies will pay you to visit their store or restaurant where you will write about your experience. There is some writing involved with this and you have to be very specific about what you find but once you get the hang of it, the process is pretty easy. I’ve gotten free groceries and several free meals at restaurants by doing this. Again, never pay for this information! A simple search online will lead you to several companies looking for shoppers.
4. Have a Yard Sale
Most of us have a bunch of extra “stuff” lying around the house, the garage or the basement. If you do and haven’t used it for a year, you probably don’t need it! The last time I had a yard sale, I made enough money to buy a new stove after my other one went out. If you know other people who want to sell their stuff, having a neighborhood or family yardsale will help to draw in more people. For more tips on getting more from your garage sale, check out this recent post.
5. Sell Your Things on eBay or Craigslist
If you like the idea of selling online, eBbay and Craigslist are great options. This is also good if you have rare items like antiques or one-of-a-kind collectibles. Just remember with eBay, you need to factor in your fees and make sure you have a good scale to calculate shipping. With Craigslist, I don’t recommend people coming to your home. Meet in a public area to do the sale.
6. Flip Other People’s Things on eBay or Craigslist
Yes I have done this and made a lot of money doing it! Some people don’t understand or care about the value of the things they have and they just want to get rid of them, particularly at yard sales. If you have a good eye for things, you can go to yard sales and resell the items for a profit. The best deal I had was with some small Harley Davidson collectible motorcycle models. I paid $10 at a yardsale for them and sold them for $115 on eBay! If you are lucky enough to find jackpots like this, and repeat the process, you can raise some serious extra cash. It’s all about supply and demand!
7. Serve Subpoenas for a Lawyer Friend
This was fun and exciting work! It was a little odd to do but it paid quickly and that’s what I was looking for. If you don’t know a lawyer, maybe you know someone who has another business that needs a little help. For example, caterers often need help with events on the weekend. There are always people looking for last minute fill-ins for various types of jobs. Just ask around, you might be surprised.
8. Work Temp Jobs
I did this when I got laid off a few years ago and I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. This is a great way to test out a company or a position to see if it’s right for you. I’ve known a lot of people whose temp jobs lead to permanent positions. And if it’s only truly a temporary thing, it can be pretty tolerable while you look for something better.
9. Participate in a Sleep Study
I saved this one for last because it’s probably the funniest yet best way I made a lot of money quickly. I participated in a sleep study for narcolepcy at one of the local hospitals. I had to stay in a hotel for a week where they monitored my sleeping and then during the middle of the week, I had to stay up 48 hours straight! I didn’t think I was going to make it but in the end I did and got to collect my big fat $1,000 check. And yes, that made it worth it! This may not be your thing but medical research studies are another way you can bring in quick money.
Of course, this list is not all inclusive, these are just some things I’ve done that worked for me. If you have a special skill, say sewing, offer your skills to your friends and family or place an ad in a classified letting people know what you can do. I can guarantee you most people today do not know how to sew! Kyle, the Editor of The PerkStreet Blog, even has a friend who moonlights as a freelance baker. If you have a skill, market it a little.
If you have a truck, offer to haul or move things for people. Another easy way you can make money is offer to do yard work for an elderly neighbor or a business person that travels regularly. This type of work can usually be done year around so it makes a great side income.
I hope this list has inspired you to get creative with making money. Even if it may not seem like a lot at first, consistently bringing in extra cash can mean improving your income dramatically. Extra money always adds up very quickly. The trick is not to waste it; put it aside and reserve it for something specific. If you start to bring in extra cash and want to find ways to cut expenses to really make a difference in your finances, I have a page devoted to this on my website. Visit my Budget Help section at TheJennyPincher.com for more information.
What are the best ways you’ve made extra cash? Share your most surprising, most useful, or most interesting ways below.
Jenny Kerr is a PerkStreet customer and midwestern gal who loves yoga, her Blackberry, makeup and Apple TV. She’s a personal finance blogger at TheJennyPincher, where she shares financial tips for single ladies. Jenny is a former banker and currently works as a consultant during the day. She’s also taught budgeting in a classroom setting.
Interested in banking with an organization that thinks the way you think when it comes to money? Welcome to PerkStreet FinancialSM, where banking doesn’t suck.