30 Legitimate Ways to Get Money Fast

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If you’re one of the nearly half of U.S. adults who don’t have $400 saved up for an emergency expense, then you might be looking for ways to get money fast. When we find ourselves in deep water, many turn to a personal loan or a high interest credit card to solve the problem. But before you sign on the dotted line, consider if that’s really the best way to get what you need. There are practical and legitimate ways to earn extra money to supplement your lifestyle or cover your monthly bills.

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If you need cash quick and you’re looking for some legitimate ways to make money fast, here are some ideas, depending on what “quick” means in your situation.

In this article

    30 ways to get money fast

    1. Become an Uber or Lyft Driver
    2. Sell your things online
    3. Try food delivery
    4. Set up an Etsy business
    5. Dog walk or babysit
    6. Take out a cash advance
    7. Payday loans
    8. Try Swagbucks
    9. Use InboxDollars
    10. Get cash back with Rakuten
    11. Delivery food with Instacart
    12. Complete surveys with Survey Junkie
    13. Invest with Robinhood
    14. Become an online tutor
    15. Take up virtual bookkeeping
    16. Sell your services
    17. Book interpreting or translating gigs
    18. Rent out your home or car
    19. Take out an emergency loan
    20. Reorganize your budget
    21. Look around your home for extra cash
    22. Pawn or sell items of value
    23. Sell an old cell phone or computer
    24. Ask a friend or family member for a loan
    25. Get a part-time job
    26. Host a garage sale
    27. Look at online lenders
    28. Sell your expensive concert tickets
    29. Sell your gift cards
    30. Open a new bank account

    Fastest ways to get money

    1. Take out a cash advance
    2. Payday loans
    3. Look around your home for extra cash
    4. Pawn or sell items of value
    5. Host a garage sale
    6. Sell an old cell phone or computer

    Take out a cash advance

    Your credit card may offer the option of a cash advance, which allows you to take out cash (from an ATM) against your card’s credit limit. Which sounds simple enough. But the downside of cash advances is how much you’ll end up paying for them. Through higher-than-usual interest and cash advance fees, this isn’t an option you should take on a whim. You can easily find yourself paying $1,000 to access $800, for example. Still, it’s a way to turn your available credit into cash if you’re in desperate need of money fast.

    Payday loans

    If you need money today, you don’t have credit cards, you can turn to a payday loan. On an annualized basis, interest rates on payday loans carry an average APR of more than 300%. So it’s a legitimate way to get cash and it’s better than robbing a bank, but you’ll end up paying a lot in interest so this is a last-resort, worst-case scenario option.

    Before you take out a payday loan, make sure you can pay it back under the specified terms. If you can’t pay back the loan and its hefty interest within two weeks, generally, that’s when you run into trouble. Ask yourself, “If things are bad now, will they really be better in two weeks? Can I pay back this loan and the interest without creating more problems?”

    [Related: Alternatives to Payday Loans If You Need Cash Immediately]

    Check Your Personal Loan Rates

    Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. It’s quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

    Get Started

    with our trusted partners at Bankrate.com

    Five practical options to get money fast

    1. Become an Uber or Lyft Driver
    2. Sell your things online
    3. Try food delivery
    4. Set up an Etsy business
    5. Dog walk or babysit

    Drive for Lyft or Uber

    Driving for ride sharing apps like Lyft or Uber is a fast and relatively easy way to make money. All you have to do is sign up and start driving –– or so it seems. While the process of driving for these companies is relatively simple, there are still some things you need to know. Both Uber and Lyft have requirements for drivers and their vehicles.

    [Related: How to Make Money Driving for Uber]

    Sell things online

    We all have things laying around the house that we don’t need. Instead of letting them collect dust in the corner, try selling them online to earn some extra cash. Whether it be old furniture or clothes, there are online marketplaces that cater to everything.

    In the era of the coronavirus, you may be hesitant to have people come to your home to pick up what they bought. If you can’t mail the items you sell, try setting up a no-contact pick-up or drop-off and have the buyer send the money in an app instead of handing over cash.

    Popular marketplaces:

    [Related: A Field Guide to Facebook Yard Sale Groups]

    Food delivery

    If the idea of picking up strangers isn’t your idea of a good time, try food delivery instead. While you do still have to consider the long-term damage you may be doing to your car, the $8–$19 an hour pay range may be worth it. With less stringent requirements on vehicle types, you can start working in under a week from when you sign up.

    Popular food delivery options:

    Set up an Etsy business

    If you have a creative flair, try selling your services and crafts on Etsy. Setting up an account is easy and the fee for listing is very low at only $0.20. While most people know Etsy for art and jewelry, it doesn’t have to stop there. Many people sell resume designs, websites, custom furniture and more. Whatever you can create, you can sell on Etsy.

    Dog walk or babysit

    Many of us haven’t taken a babysitting gig since we were teens, but the need hasn’t gone away. Forget hanging flyers, websites like Care.com or UrbanSitter make connecting with parents easy. Just make a profile and book gigs in your area.

    [Related: Make Money Dog Sitting With Rover]

    Another alternative is dog walking. You may not earn thousands, but you can earn a few bucks and make a few friends. The Rover and Wag apps have made finding jobs easy. Just sign up and start searching for clients in your area that need dog-walking services.

    Apps that help you get money fast

    1. Swagbucks
    2. InboxDollars
    3. Rakuten
    4. Instacart
    5. Survey Junkie
    6. Robinhood

    Swagbucks

    Making money is easy with the Swagbucks app. Watch videos, take surveys, play games and shop online to earn money with Swagbucks. The best part is, there are no caps on how much you can make. You get paid in points for the tasks you do, which can be redeemed for cash or gift cards.

    InboxDollars

    Similar to Swagbucks, InboxDollars pays you for things like completing surveys, reading emails and watching videos. Unlike Swagbucks however, you earn cash, so there’s no redeeming points for gift cards. As of May 2020, there is also a $5 signup bonus.

    Rakuten

    Formerly known as Ebates, Rakuten helps you get cash back on all of your online purchases. All you have to do is sign up and start shopping at any of the 2,500 stores it works with. As of June 2020, you can get $10 for just signing up.

    Instacart

    Instacart is the cross between making money and giving back. It pays you to shop and deliver groceries to your friends and neighbors who may not be able, or don’t want to go to the grocery store. With the ability to make money fast, the average miles driven and size of the order will determine how much you get paid. Unlike other options, you’ll be able to earn tips with Instacart.

    Survey Junkie

    As the name suggests, Survey Junkie pays you for taking surveys. Unique to the app, it allows you to make a profile and review products and services that mean something for you. After you complete the tasks, you’ll earn virtual rewards that can be redeemed for money through paypal or e-gift cards.

    Robinhood

    Robinhood is a commission-free investing platform that lets users trade stocks, options, ETFs and cryptocurrencies. You can invest any amount you want and customize your portfolio to reduce risk. Don’t worry if you have no experience with investing, Robinhood is a great place to start and will help you learn along the way. The best part is, you get free stock when you open an account.

    Five ways to get money fast by working from home

    1. Become an online tutor
    2. Virtual bookkeeping
    3. Sell your services
    4. Become an interpreter or translator
    5. Rent out rooms of your home

    Become a virtual tutor

    If you have a desire to teach, becoming a virtual tutor is a way to make money fast while sharing your expertise. You’ll be able to set your prices and take on as many students as you want. Tutors are in high demand, especially in the era of COVID-19.

    “Today, more than ever, kids of all ages need tutoring. Especially as our world goes on lockdown and schools remain closed indefinitely. When both parents work, they may find it difficult to find the time to homeschool, says Andrea Woroch, a nationally-known consumer and money-saving expert. “If you are an expert in any field, all the work is online, so you can stay at home and provide your expertise to kids who need it.”

    Virtual bookkeeping

    If you’re good with numbers and an expert with spreadsheets, virtual bookkeeping is a great way to make money from home. Resources like Bookkeepers.com will teach you everything you need to know about opening your own home business. It even offers a free intro class to get you started. The best part? You’ll have the potential to earn up to $64 per hour.

    Sell your services

    Websites like fiverr and Upwork allow you to leverage specialized skills. All you have to do is sign up and create a listing for the gig you’re offering. Once you complete the order you received, you get paid. No redeeming points, it’s money straight to your bank account. Whether you’re a writer, reader or graphic designer, these platforms have it all.

    Become an interpreter or translator

    If you’re multilingual, consider using your skills to do some freelance interpreting or translating work. There are many remote opportunities for places like call centers and hospitals. You can also find translating gigs on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, so you can get money as soon as you complete the task.

    Rent out rooms of your home

    Platforms like Airbnb or HomeAway can help you make some cash on the side by renting out your home. You set the price and dictate the terms, though you should consider the cleaning and possible damage that can be done to your home. It’s free to sign up and get started, but Airbnb does charge a 3% fee per reservation. Payment is simple, once the guest checks in you’re paid via PayPal, direct deposit or whatever method you choose.

    [Related: How to Make Serious Money as an Airbnb Host]

    Other methods of saving and making money

    1. Emergency loans
    2. Reorganize your budget

    Emergency loans

    Even though a loan isn’t always the best option for every situation, emergencies happen. Some lenders offer same-day loans, but typically it takes from two to seven days to get access to the money you need.

    The fees and APRs of each loan will vary, so compare all of your options before you sign. The lowest APR is best, as long as you can afford the monthly payments. Even if you have bad credit, you can find an emergency loan to get by. Most offer an online form to prequalify and check your interest rate, which doesn’t impact your credit score.

    Check Your Personal Loan Rates

    Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. It’s quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

    Get Started

    with our trusted partners at Bankrate.com

    Reorganize your budget

    You can capitalize on the money you’re wasting just by making a few changes. Gather up all of your bank and credit card statements and go through them with a fine-tooth comb. Notice a lot of unnecessary spending or charges for things you no longer use? Try narrowing down the list of avoidable transactions to save you money from month to month.

    “Take a look at your last few months of utility bills, then look into ways you can reduce what you owe. Do you regularly leave minor appliances plugged in when you’re not using them?” says Lauren Bringle Jackson, an accredited financial counselor at Self Financial. “Do you crank up the heat, or blast your air conditioning? If so, unplug what you can, turn off what you’re not using and monitor your thermostat more carefully.”
    Other ways: list list list

    Personal Loan FAQ’s

    A personal loan can be used for many reasons — consolidating debt, an unexpected emergency, to make a large purchase, or to finance remodeling of your home. It’s a lump sum that is deposited into your bank account to be paid back, with interest, over a fixed time at a fixed rate.

    A cash advance is essentially a loan given against the balance of your credit card. Most cards do have a limit, but it’s a legitimate way to get cash fast. However, high interest rates and cash advance fees make this a very expensive option.

    Payday loans are short term loans that come with extremely high-interest rates. Unsecured and generally for a small amount of money, payday loans can get you money fast but you run the risk of trapping yourself in a cycle of debt.

    We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

    Money resources during COVID-19

    Managing your finances during the Covid-19 pandemic can be difficult. Luckily there are plenty of resources available to you.

    Taylor Leamey

    Personal Finance Reporter

    Taylor Leamey is a personal finance reporter at The Simple Dollar who covers banking, savings, mortgages, loans and credit cards. Her writing has also been featured at Reviews.com, Interest.com and ISP.com.

    Reviewed by

    • Courtney Mihocik
      Courtney Mihocik
      Editor

      Courtney Mihocik is an editor at The Simple Dollar who specializes in insurance, personal finance, and loans. Previously, she wrote and edited for Interest.com, PersonalLoans.org, Ballantyne Magazine, Thread Magazine, The Post, ACRN, The New Political, Columbus Alive and the Institute for International Journalism.