Emergency situations can come up when you least expect them.
Maybe your dog needs surgery, your car needs servicing, or you can’t pay the rent before your next paycheck arrives. Expensive situations like these can be stressful when you need money right away.
What are the best ways to get quick cash in your hand without selling your soul? There are a few obvious ways, like applying for payday loans, but doing so could push you into even more financial trouble when those payments are due.
It’s always better to earn your money rather than borrow it. That said, there are legitimate ways to earn some extra income when you need money fast.
Ways to Get Fast Cash Online
Before applying for a loan, consider taking advantage of one of the many ways that you can make quick cash online when you’re in a bind.
1. Sell Something You Own
Selling something online is one of the quickest ways to earn money. As long as the item you sell belongs to you, there’s no upfront cost, and you can have cash in hand as soon as today.
Sell electronics on Decluttr, clothes on Poshmark, or all kinds of valuables on sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Jewelry, furniture, DVDs, and shoes are a few of the items you can sell to get fast cash.
2. Consign Stuff for Friends and Neighbors
Offer to help a friend or neighbor clean out his or her closet, attic, or garage and list unneeded items for sale online. Write up an agreement to split the profits of all items that sell 50/50.
You can take the stuff that doesn’t sell to a local donation center if your friend doesn’t want to keep them.
As previously mentioned, Decluttr is a great place to sell electronics, games, and DVDs. Poshmark is good for selling clothes, and local sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are options for everything else.
3. Get Cash Back on Purchases You Need to Make
It’s fast and easy to shop online for most necessary items. If you need to make any purchases, take these steps to earn cashback on every possible investment.
Many cashback websites like Rakuten pay you to shop online at stores such as Walmart, Target, and Amazon. With the Rakuten browser extension, you’ll receive alerts any time you visit a website that offers cashback. The app also informs you of available coupons and deals.
Ibotta offers similar deals for groceries. When you sign up for Ibotta and link a store loyalty card, you’ll receive cashback automatically when you shop at Kroger, Whole Foods, Costco, and hundreds of other locations.
4. Sell Your Gift Cards
While your electric company won’t accept a gift card to Amazon as payment, you can get quick cash for your gift cards by selling them on a site like Raise.
List your unneeded gift cards at a discount, and Raise shoppers will purchase them with cash. You won’t get full price for your cards, but at least you’ll have quick cash in hand to pay your immediate bills.
5. Offer Freelance Services
Hundreds of thousands of online businesses hire freelancers to do virtual work for them. Freelancers provide skills including writing, graphic design, proofreading, transcription services, and so much more.
If you need to earn money quickly, post your services on Fiverr, or share your talents on your social media accounts. These easy, one-time services will put cash into your pocket fast.
6. Tutor Online
Tutoring online (or in-person) can lead to some quick cash when you’re in a pinch. If you have expertise in math, reading, English, or any other topic, you can list your tutoring services on a site like Wyzant.
If you enjoy working with students, you can also apply to teach English as a second language with VIPKid. This option will not pay overnight since the application process can take a while, but if you get hired, you can pick up tutoring gigs in your spare time to make fast cash in the future.
Ways to Earn Quick Cash (Near Me)
Sometimes the quickest way to earn cash is to work with people in your own neighborhood. There are plenty of services you can offer to do when you need money now.
7. Ask Your Employer for Overtime
It’s easy to overlook the opportunity to work overtime with your current employer. But since anything you might try in order to make some quick cash will require your time and effort, consider something that has a guaranteed payout – like working overtime.
If you have a good relationship with your boss, and your company needs extra labor, you could earn a few hundred extra dollars this week. Plus, most employers are required to pay time and a half for overtime, which puts more in your pocket at the end of the pay period.
8. Rent a Room (or Entire Home) on Airbnb
Renting a spare room on Airbnb could bring in some fast cash as soon as the weekend. Depending on where you live, travelers and vacationers might already be viewing your area for a place to stay for a few nights. You can list your room on Airbnb at a per-night rate, and charge a cleaning service fee on top of the price.
If you have an entire house or apartment to spare and can stay with friends or family for the weekend, list your space for even more per night. Check other listings in your area as well as Airbnb’s income estimator to find out what rates you can charge. When you list your rental on Airbnb, take nice pictures of your space and include all amenities in the description.
9. Deliver Food
Delivering food to people in your local area is a sure way to make some quick cash. Since most companies allow you to drive in your spare time, you don’t have to commit to long hours or quit your day job to fit in the extra work.
Postmates: Deliver anything anywhere as a Postmates courier. The company estimates that drivers earn between $10 and $20 per hour with delivery charges ranging between $4 and $8 each.
Instacart: You can earn an average of $10 to $15 per hour delivering groceries as an Instacart full-service shopper. Earning tips on top of your income is also a possibility. Apply to be a part-time in-store shopper with the company if you prefer to shop for, but not deliver, groceries.
DoorDash: Apply to DoorDash to make food deliveries as a “Dasher.” You’ll earn an average of $9 to $12 per delivery depending on the distance, and you can keep 100% of the tips you receive.
10. Rent Your Car
If you’re stuck in the office from 9 to 5 or are simply not using your car all day, rent it out to earn some easy money on the side. Getaround is a car-sharing app that lets you list your vehicle and connect with locals who need temporary transportation. Each area is different, but you can potentially earn a residual $5 per hour while your car is in use.
Getaround provides premium insurance, so if anything happens while your car is being rented out, you’re probably covered. The company also handles scheduling and key exchange with drivers so that you don’t have to.
11. Rent Your Stuff
You can rent out almost anything for some quick money using a website like Fat Llama. List anything you already own but aren’t currently using, from a drone to odd tools sitting in the shed to last year’s maternity wardrobe. The more items you can list online, the better chance you have of earning extra money.
12. Work with Pets
Earning fast cash doesn’t need to involve hard or tedious work. Instead, do something you find enjoyable like pet sitting or dog walking. Rover connects animal lovers with fast-cash jobs. Schedule services like daily walks, pet check-ins during your client’s workday, or pet sitting in your own home.
13. Mystery Shop
Many companies pay people to shop undercover at some of their locations. Make some quick money as a mystery shopper in your area by visiting specified businesses and then answering some questions online about your experience. Companies like Secret Shopper and Quest for Best let you sign up for free memberships. If you’re selected, you can apply to mystery shopping opportunities in your area.
14. Work Today for Pay Today
Another way to earn fast cash is to offer services that allow you to work for immediate payment.
You can post your availability on local Facebook groups, or sign up for a site like TaskRabbit, which lets you offer hundreds of services, including lawn mowing, painting, gardening, garage cleanouts, car detailing, and more. If you’re working independently for a neighbor, talk about payment terms ahead of time so that you can get paid as soon as the job is complete.
15. Wait on Tables
If you have nights or weekends available, serving customers at a local restaurant can bring in some immediate cash. While you’ll have to wait for a biweekly paycheck in most cases, some jobs will let you take home your tips after every shift.
Make sure to understand the pay rate before accepting a position, since some waitstaff jobs pay as low as $3 per hour, plus tips. But this arrangement could still work in your favor if your goal is to take home cash after clocking out every night.
16. Take Some Stuff to a Pawn Shop
One of the quickest ways to earn cash is to gather up some valuable items and head over to your local pawn shop. You won’t earn top dollar selling things this way since pawn shops need to turn around and resell your items at a profit. But it could provide you with enough cash to get you out of a tight spot if you need money now.
Items you could sell at a pawn shop include jewelry, electronics, power tools, collectibles, and more. Walk through your home and gather as many items as possible to get the most cash fast.
17. Return Purchases to the Store
If you save receipts, check them from the past 60 days and pinpoint some items that you haven’t used or needed.
If you paid in cash, you might be able to get your money back for things you didn’t end up needing. But if you used a credit card, your money will likely be credited back to the original payment method or given to you via a store gift card.
Other Ways to Get Cash in an Emergency Situation
In a true emergency, it’s OK to ask for help. You can get fast cash doing something out of the ordinary if you’re willing to put yourself out there.
18. Start a GoFundMe
You can start a GoFundMe for almost any reason, but getting people to donate requires a legitimate cause. The more details you can share about your emergency, the more people might consider helping you out. Post your GoFundMe fundraiser on social media and ask family and friends to share it to get more exposure.
Setting up a fundraiser on GoFundMe is free, but if you do get donations, the company will take a transaction fee of 2.9% + $.30 per donation. This fee is standard and comparable to other payment processing companies like PayPal.
19. Ask Family/Friends for a Loan or Donation
To avoid fundraiser transaction fees and to keep your financial issues private, you can ask friends and family members for a loan or donation. Only you can determine if asking for help is worth the potential money you may receive.
While it wouldn’t make sense to ask friends for a loan to buy new clothes, it might be worth asking for help to pay your rent in order to keep a roof over your head.
20. Contact Local Churches and Charities
Local churches and charities sometimes offer programs to help people in emergency situations. The help they provide may not be in the form of money, but they may be willing to meet other needs.
For example, if you get in touch with a ministry that provides free food for those who need it, that’s one less necessity to put your own money toward. You can use the cash you’ve saved to pay down other emergency bills.
21. Apply for Free Government Money
At certain income levels, you can apply for free government money when you’re in desperate need.
You could be approved for SNAP (previously called Food Stamps) to help cover your grocery bill or Section 8 to pay for housing costs. Other programs are available to help with utilities, healthcare, and education costs.
22. Look for Free Stuff
You might find yourself in a situation where you think you need cash immediately, but what you really need are winter coats for the kids or some furniture to fill up your empty apartment.
See if those things are available on your local Facebook Buy Nothing groups, Craigslist’s free section, or from local charities that give away free items to those in need. Sometimes it’s easier to find free stuff than it is to earn money fast.
23. Barter Services
If your hot water tank needs servicing or your driveway needs plowing, consider bartering your services with someone who can help.
Offer to babysit, clean, or manage a small business’s social media account in exchange for the services you need today. There’s always someone who could use your help if the exchange is fair and beneficial for both parties.
Take Out a Loan (The Last Resort)
Quick cash loans should be reserved for situations in which you need money desperately. Whether you’ve exhausted all other options or you’ve run out of time, a loan might be necessary. Use these methods wisely, as you don’t want to end up in a worse financial situation down the road.
24. Ask Your Employer for an Advanced Paycheck
If you have a good work ethic and show up to work on time, your boss might be willing to write an advanced paycheck to cover your immediate needs. Use this request wisely, as your employer could easily withhold your next paycheck as repayment, putting you back into the same desperate financial situation.
25. Take Out a 401(k) Loan
You could borrow up to 50% of your 401(k). Find out more by contacting your 401(k) plan administrator.
The benefit of taking a loan from your 401(k) is that you pay interest on the loan to yourself. But you’ll want to avoid taking large or long-term loans from your 401(k) because doing so could significantly lower your balance at retirement.
26. Borrow Against Your Life Insurance
If you have permanent or whole life insurance, you could potentially borrow against it. You’ll first need to determine your policy’s cash value, as that will be the highest number available for you to borrow.
So if you have a $100,000 policy with a cash value of $10,000, you only have up to $10,000 in collateral to borrow against. Pay the loan back quickly since the interest continues to accrue whether or not you’re making payments on the loan.
27. Get a Payday Loan
You don’t have to have good credit to get a payday loan, but they typically require repayment when your next paycheck arrives. Applying for same-day loans online may be your only option in an emergency, but if possible, try to avoid it at all costs.
According to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, the average payday loan costs almost 400% APR or $15 per $100 borrowed. If your loan extends past your next paycheck for any reason, you could find yourself drowning in more debt due to the interest.
28. Get a Cash Advance from Your Credit Card
Getting a cash advance from your credit card is easy when you need money immediately. But don’t forget the 3-5% fee plus the standard interest you’ll pay on the transaction.
If you pay off your statement balance by the due date, you’ll only pay the fee, which might not be a bad trade-off in an emergency situation.
Have an Emergency Fund for Next Time
Falling into a desperate financial situation could happen to anyone. It’s hard to plan for crises that come out of nowhere. But because emergencies can happen at any time, it’s always best to plan ahead.
Once you get back on your feet, set up an emergency fund as soon as possible. Having cash readily available could mean keeping a roof over your head, ensuring that your electricity is left on, or keeping your car from being repossessed.
No one plans to fall into debt, but it can happen. Be prepared, and make sure you have quick cash available for the next emergency that arises.