20 Simple Ways to Make Money Fast

If you’re looking for a few good ideas on how to make money fast, you’re in the right place.

I’ve compiled a list of the fastest ways to make money online. These are not loans or grants, no applications or approvals necessary.

These are money earning opportunities that you can start and complete within a short time to put some extra cash in your digital pocket.

Some opportunities come in the form of gift cards, some are cash payouts to a Paypal account, while others are premier online jobs in the gig economy – which pay to a bank account.

Whether you need $20 for beer money this weekend or an extra $100 towards a car or credit card payment, you can find it on this list.

Table of Contents
  1. Get Free Stock
  2. Get Paid for Surveys
  3. Become a Shopper for Instacart
  4. Collect a New Bank Account Bonus
  5. Drive for DoorDash
  6. Rent Out a Room on Airbnb
  7. Join Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel
  8. Sign up for Swagbucks
  9. $5 from Drop
  10. Find Missing Money
  11. Get $10 from Rakuten
  12. Donate Blood Plasma
  13. Look for Class Action Settlements
  14. Evaluate Websites
  15. Sell Unwanted Stuff

Get Free Stock

There are a lot of new brokerage apps competing for your business – you can get free shares of stock from Robinhood and Webull when you open an account with them.

You can read more about their new account programs:

(here are a few others)

Get Paid for Surveys

Market research companies, also known as survey companies, are always looking for people to share their opinions and get paid for it. My favorite survey company is Survey Junkie, who pays anywhere from $0.50 to $75 to answer surveys. The shorter ones, which take just a few minutes, pay less. If you are selected for longer focus groups, that’s when you can earn closer to $75.

Swagbucks is also well regarded as another place to get rewarded for taking online surveys (more on that below).

Like the other legitimate survey companies I recommend, they are free to join. Here is a full review of SurveyJunkie if you want to learn more.

Become a Shopper for Instacart

Want to make money driving your car but don’t want to pick up passengers? Join Instacart and become a full-service grocery shopper. As a full-service shopper, you shop groceries on demand for people. You take the job, shop for groceries, and then deliver those groceries.

Make Money on Instacart

If you don’t want to deliver, you can just become an in-store shopper. For that, you just handle the shopping in a store and someone else delivers it.

You set your schedule and can work flexibly.

Collect a New Bank Account Bonus

Our list of the best bank bonuses has over thirty banks offering at least a hundred dollars to open an account.

The bonus takes a little bit of time to arrive but getting a hundred dollars or more to do something fairly simple is unbeatable. One of the most popular options is to open a Chase bank account (or one of their sweet credit cards) because they have branches nationwide.

And the best part is you can repeat this at different banks over and over again.

Drive for DoorDash

We all know about driving around people to make money, but what if you don’t like dealing with people? If you don’t mind delivering takeout, you can always make extra cash driving for DoorDash. You can deliver food on an as-needed basis, you won’t need to drive across a large geographic area, and you don’t have to deal with people!

Rent Out a Room on Airbnb

If you have a spare room, consider renting it out on Airbnb!

You have to check your local community regulations and laws but it’s not unheard of to make a few hundred dollars a month on Airbnb. My neighbor converted his basement to an in-law suite and started renting it out for $80 a night. It’s often rented out and it’s a single bedroom with a sleeper sofa. In fact, I’ve even rented it out for a new nights when we had family in town and not enough rooms in our house to host them.

Another friend of mine rents out his entire apartment whenever he’s away. If he’s gone for the weekend, he just pops it on Airbnb to see if there are any takers. It’s sporadic but why not subside your vacation right? If you pursue this, make sure you read this post on how to become an Airbnb superhost.

Join Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel

You’ve heard of Nielsen, they do television ratings (among other things) and they will pay you $50 a year to install an app on your devices to report internet usage. The Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel is their internet market research arm and if you’re OK with sharing usage data, they’ll give you sweepstakes entries and rewards.

Learn more about the Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel

Sign up for Swagbucks

Swagbucks is one of the most well known “beer money” type of sites – places where you can quickly make a few bucks for beer money, but don’t expect to get rich. You can earn points answering surveys, signing up for offers, watching videos, searching the internet, using their mobile app, and much more.

Each Swagbuck is worth about a penny and you can turn them into gift cards to places like Amazon.com.

(another solid company is Kashkick, check out our review for more details)

$5 from Drop

Drop is an app that builds an instant loyalty cashback program to five stores you pick. When you shop that these five stores, you’ll earn a small percentage (up to 2%) in points to your Drop account.

You get $5 once you link up a debit or credit card, which is how they know how to reward your purchases, and you earn those rewards passively. No coupons to clip, receipts to scan, or app to “check-in” on – you just spend and earn points. These points are in addition to whatever rewards you may earn from your credit card.

You can cash out points at 1,000 points = $1 for places like Amazon.com and Starbucks.

Find Missing Money

Missing money Info
I love getting these emails!

There are billions of dollars of unclaimed property in various state coffers and some of it could be yours. There are a variety of reasons why property goes unclaimed. Maybe you left a security deposit on an apartment, moved out, and your landlord wasn’t able to find a forwarding address for you. Maybe you left a bank account in another state, forgot, and the bank turned it over to the state.

It takes just a few minutes to check. Go to MissingMoney.com, a website set up by the Unclaimed Property Clearinghouse, and check your name and every state you’ve lived in. You may be pleasantly surprised! (while you’re at it, check for your family members too – they’d love to know they have some cash lying around)

Get $10 from Rakuten

Rakuten is an online cashback portal that will give you $10 after you make your first purchase. The app is free to sign up and they are one of the oldest cashback portals, which means they have partnerships with a lot of brands. It won’t take long for you to find somewhere you already shop at and take advantage of the free Hamilton!

Check out our comprehensive review of Rakuten for more.

Donate Blood Plasma

Blood plasma is the yellowish liquid component of your blood and what holds white and red blood cells in suspension. That plasma is valuable and if you are healthy, you can earn quite a bit of money for donating blood plasma (and about an hour and a half of your time to collect it).

Generally, if you are over the age of 18 and weigh more than 110 pounds, you are eligible to donate. Local state laws may override these general rules so double-check with the donation centers. You are compensated based on how much you donate but it could be anywhere from $20 to $50 per donation. You can donate many times within a month so this can be a quick source of cash if you’re willing to spend the time.

Here’s our list of the highest paying plasma centers.

Look for Class Action Settlements

There are class action lawsuits happening all the time and you may not even know you’re part of the class!

I periodically review these websites to see if there’s a settlement that I can claim that I didn’t know about previously. This is a simple way to get the cash that’s owed to you but unfortunately, won’t be fast. Settlements have to be reached, then approved by a judge, and then finally paid out.

It is, however, very easy to claim so I kept it on the list.

Two sites that seem to have the best lists of class actions are ClassActionRebates.com and TopClassActions.com.

Evaluate Websites

If you have a microphone, a camera, and a willingness test websites – you can join User Testing and become a website tester. The jobs are in 20-minute increments and involve some pretty mundane user testing situations, like searching for and then adding a product to a shopping card. Website operators want to make sure their website is working as expected and will pay you $10 for each 20-minute user experience test. You’re paid via PayPal exactly 7 days after completing a test (they use this time to review it).

Sell Unwanted Stuff

If you have a pile of unwanted stuff, whether it’s old DVDs or electronics or other detritus, there are a lot of services that will help you get rid of it quickly.

Gazelle is one of the best places to sell old cell phones. Decluttr will help you turn DVDs, CDs, games and other tech into cash. (if you don’t like those, here are 21 apps that will help you turn junk into cash)

Or you can always turn to trusty old eBay if you want to sell it one by one… but you knew that already. Check out Gazelle and Decluttr and save yourself some headaches.

Is your favorite way to earn money fast NOT on this list? Tell us all about it!

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools, everything I use) is Empower Personal Dashboard, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Susan Dippold
5 years ago

Check your taxes. If you are getting a refund of $1200 or more, you should change who you claim on your W-4. If you are cash strapped on a monthly basis, this could put $100 a month in your pocket instead of Uncle Sams. Of course, you would not get as big of a refund in May.

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