Make Quick Cash
Temporary Income Fixes
With Zero-to-Little Up-Front Cost
There are so many ways to make quick cash to fill a temporary hole in your budget. You might need some extra funds to pay for an emergency expense like a car repair or a vet bill. Perhaps you need some extra money for the holidays. Or you might just need a small amount of money each month to pay for an indulgence that doesn’t fit into your normal budget.
Whatever the need, there are a lot of ways to make quick cash to take care of it.
Here’s my list to get you started:
- Recycling is an excellent way to make quick cash while also helping the environment. Recycling your own cans, plastic, cardboard and glass is a good start. It’s better if you can enlist family members, neighbors and friends to save their recyclables for you. And if you’re a serious recycler find a venue or location with a lot of traffic (like the local sports field, street fair or Friday night football game) and actively collect discarded cans and bottles. If you ask, you might be allowed to put out receptacles marked specifically for recyclables.
- Sell a large item that you don’t use or don’t need, such as a boat, old car, musical instrument, etc.
- Sell gold or silver jewelry, sterling silverware, silver serving dishes
- Sell vintage jewelry
- Sell old coins or bills
- Take your near-new clothes to a consignment shop
- Find a consignment shop to sell household items: the set of china you got for a wedding present that you’ve never used, your mother’s tea cup collection, the carnival glass dish your great aunt left you.
- Babysitting or child care – I was talking to several mothers just the other day who said they pay $10-$15 per hour for their babysitters. If you did that for 4 hours one night a week, that would add up!
- Have a yard sale – This is an age-old way to make quick cash. To have a successful sale you need to have customers, so be sure to publicize it. Always have signs around the neighborhood, on well-traveled streets, pointing people to you. If you think it’s cost-effective, put an ad in your local paper. And think about what you have to sell – maybe a combined sale with one or more of your neighbors makes sense. You can combine your money to buy the ad, and you’ll attract more customers because larger sales are usually more appealing.
- Do yard work – general mowing/edging, or specialize in tree trimming, sprinklers, fertilizing, etc. You could even become the neighborhood leaf raker.
- Ebay and other online sales – make some money from things you would otherwise give away like the kids’ near-new clothes and toys, last year’s Christmas gift that’s never come out of the package, books, CDs, and other unwanted items. You can also hunt for treasure at estate sales or yard sales and then sell those items online.
- Sell crafts at Arts & Crafts fairs – many cities have at least one a year. Many have street fairs for several months of the year.
- Deliver newspapers
- Clean houses
- Do windows
- Do small home maintenance projects like cleaning out rain gutters, clearing pine needles, sealing roofs, etc.
- Create gift baskets – great around the holidays, but also do-able for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, weddings, new baby, etc. Take pictures of sample baskets so people can see your work. Offer standard baskets (for people with no imagination!) and custom baskets
- Install something – what are you good at or knowledgeable about? Examples – security lights, lawn lights, doorbells, screen doors, ceiling fans, window air conditioners, set up home computers, mount flat screen TV’s, basketball hoops, etc…
- Be a plasma seller – If there is a plasma collection center near where you live or work, this is a great way to make quick cash. You can make $10 to $35 each time you donate plasma (part of your blood) and you can donate as often as twice a week. Not all of the centers pay cash, so check into it first. But they do usually give some kind of incentive like movie tickets or something similar which might still make it worthwhile.
- Do online surveys for cash or gift cards. For more information on this idea,
- Clean out garages or storage units – try to arrange it so you get paid for cleaning and hauling the junk, AND you get to keep any treasures you find. You can sell the things you keep and it’s like getting paid twice.
- Haul away things like junk, trash or dirt, for a fee.
- Wash cars, or wax cars, or provide a mobile detailing service
- Do basic car maintenance for friends and neighbors
- Be a dog walker
- House sit, or pet sit, or plant sit for people who are going away for the weekend – or for several weeks.
- Be a tutor
- Bake birthday cakes or other specialty cakes
- Do children’s parties – be a clown or a magician, make balloon animals, coordinate games or activities to keep them engaged. You could even market yourself as a kid’s party planner and handle everything.
- Teach a class at the local community center, senior center, or junior college.
- If you’re an artist, try drawing quick portraits or caricatures at local fairs or art festivals.
- If you play a musical instrument well, try playing for tips at the local farmer’s market or street fair.
- There are several opportunities to make quick cash doing seasonal work:
- Retail work at the mall, Toys R Us, etc.
- Work in a tree lot – often this is just for tips, but a kind smile and helpful attitude can be worth a lot!
- Install holiday lights on houses
- Set-up and decorate trees in homes or businesses
- Be a personal shopper for busy executives or shut-ins
- Start a package wrapping service – charge a fee based on package size, or if it’s more appropriate, do this for tips instead of a set fee.
- Install snow chains
- Clear snow from driveways and walkways
This list is definitely a work in progress, but it's a great way for you to begin brainstorming ideas that fit your life. I’m sure there are many more ways to make quick cash that I haven’t thought of. I’d love to hear from you about ideas that have worked for you. Once you've submitted an idea, be sure to check back to see if your suggestion has been added to the list!
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These are suggestions only and carry no guarantee of success or monetary result. Be sure you research and follow all state and local licensing, insurance and tax requirements for any of these suggestions you chose to pursue.