Having to find some quick cash to pay the bills is a stressful situation. My wife and I had to find some creative ways to make ends meet a few years ago when I went several months without earning a steady income.
Cutting expenses and looking for creative ways to make money helped us live on an irregular income.
If you need money today, selling unwanted items (like selling jewelry) or borrowing money can help you receive funds within a few days and with minimal effort.
Sell Old Electronics
Most of us have old phones and tablets collecting dust in a box or desk drawer. These devices can still be worth money even if you no longer use them. Of course, newer generations fetch more than older models.
SellCell is a marketplace where you can get quotes on your electronics from multiple buyers. One of the benefits of using SellCell is that with some of those buyers, they've higher payouts – sometimes 5% to 10% more than what you would get going directly to the buyer themselves. We list them first because they should be your first stop – why check multiple sites when you can just check one (and perhaps get a bonus on your sale!).
You can sell old phones, tablets, smartwatches, gaming consoles, etc. through SellCell partners.
You can get instant cash for your phones, tablets, and MP3 players at an ecoATM kiosk. These self-serve machines are in shopping malls plus many Walmart and Kroger stores.
EcoATM lets you get a price estimate for your devices online before you find a kiosk. The machine inspects your device to give a final offer and you get an instant cash payment.
Online Trade-In Sites
Although it takes a few days longer, you can mail your devices to Decluttr for instant cash payments.
Each website buys these used electronics:
Get a free quote from both sites and choose the higher offer. You will get a prepaid shipping label to mail your devices. The buyback vendor will inspect your device to make a firm offer and send a paper check or PayPal payment.
Gold, diamond, and silver jewelry can be an excellent option if you need money fast. Locally owned jewelry stores are more likely to offer cash payments. National brands like Zales or Jared only offer trade-in credit and you must mail your jewelry to their processing center.
Your quickest option for finding a merchant is searching “sell jewelry near me.” You should see local jewelers and gold or diamond exchange stores. Compare quotes from at least two stores.
Sell Clothing to Consignment Stores
Some consignment stores will buy adult and children’s clothing outright. Other consignment stores don't pay you until after your items sell. If there are several consignment stores nearby, see if any offer upfront payment option. You might consign the rest to get more money in a few weeks.
Sell Items on Local Sell Apps
Local sell apps like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and OfferUp are free and make it easy to sell items. It only takes a few minutes to take pictures and list items. Here is a big list of selling apps to get you started.
While you need to meet the potential buyer, you avoid the seller fees and shipping fees other online marketplaces charge.
You can sell almost anything on these apps. Some of the most popular items include:
- Baby items
My wife sold two of her old MacBook laptops and other sell unwanted items.
You can also pawn items at a local pawn shop when you need quick cash. You have 30 days to repay the loan amount and interest. The shop can sell the item if you don’t repay the loan in time.
These are some of the most valuable items for pawnshop loans:
- Video games and consoles
- Musical instruments
- Small kitchen appliances
- Power tools
Your local pawn shop may also buy your item if there is high demand.
Sell Used Gift Cards
Do you have a drawer full of gift cards? Even if your gift card has a partial balance, you can sell it. I use Raise to sell gift cards to stores and restaurants and I sell most gift cards within 36 hours.
It’s free to list your gift card and you can get paid via direct deposit, PayPal, or paper check.
Sell Textbooks to an Online Vendor
College textbooks are pricey but can hold their value if they are the most recent edition. Selling textbooks can be a quick way to make $100 in a month.
Bookscouter compares the buyback prices from over 30 vendors. You can ship your books for free and receive payment by PayPal or check.
You can make up to $300 a month by donating plasma while helping others with medical needs. It’s possible to earn up to $50 per donation and you can give weekly. As each donation takes an hour, that’s a reasonable hourly wage.
Unlike donating blood, plasma requires two donations to make a complete donation. Your donation isn’t usable if you only donate once. Most centers only have you wait 24 hours between your two donations making it easy to make money in a few days.
Here's our list of the highest paying plasma centers.
Sell Scrap Metal
Taking scrap metal like old appliances or metal furniture to a scrapyard is one way to declutter if you need money fast. It’s also possible to make money recycling in states that charge a deposit for cans and bottles. Here are some other ways to make money recycling.
Sell Stuff on eBay
eBay is one of the best places to sell stuff online. It’s free to list your items but most sold items incur 13% in seller fees (eBay keeps 10% and PayPal keeps 3%). Popular items can sell quickly and you might be able to make more than selling locally.
You can also list your items on both eBay and a local sell app to see where you find a buyer first.
One of the best ways to make money in the spring or summer can be mowing lawns. You can start by asking your friends on Facebook or knocking on front doors. The homeowner may also have you do landscaping and pressure washing if you have the equipment and skills.
Do One-Day Gigs
You can find single-day gigs on Craigslist in the “Gigs” section. Some of these jobs are scams yet there are many legit options. Having to send money to get a job is a red flag.
Some of the jobs you can complete include:
- Unloading trucks
- Junk removal
- Installing a chain-link fence
Another side gig that doesn’t require too much physical labor is walking dogs and pet sitting. You can ask friends, solicit pet owners on Facebook, or connect with others on Rover.
Borrow Money from Friends
Selling items and working extra hours may not be enough to make ends meet. Borrowing money may be your only option to pay the bills this month.
Borrowing from friends and family members can be your quickest and most affordable option. Your friends can send you money using PayPal, Venmo, or a bank app like Zelle. You can also use Zirtue if your friend wants a formal loan contract that doesn’t affect your credit.
Another borrowing tool can be getting a credit card cash advance. You may tap a home equity line of credit (HELOC) first if you have one as the interest rate is lower. These lines of credit offer instant funding and don’t require a credit check like when you apply for a new loan.
Getting a personal loan is your best option when you need at least $1,000. Other loans may only let you borrow a few hundred dollars at once. The interest rate for personal loans can also be lower than other short-term loans. Some personal loan companies distribute your loan funds the next business day after approval.
Banks let you use personal loan funds as you see fit. You may use the full loan balance for paying for an avoidable expense when your emergency fund isn’t enough.
Personal loans are also an excellent way to save money by refinancing high-interest debt like a credit card balance. Most loans have a three-year or five-year repayment period.
A payday loan can fill a funding gap when you need money fast but it’s still several days until payday. It’s possible to borrow up to $1,000 but some states have smaller limits. This borrowing option is one of the quickest ways to get cash as you don’t need a credit check.
You will need to show proof of income and a banking account to qualify. If you live near an ACE Cash Express store, you may be able to put your funds onto an ACE Flare Account.
Car Title Loans
If you own a car, you can use your hot rod as collateral with a car title loan. This title loan can have a higher borrowing limit than payday loans with a potentially lower APR. A car title loan for a car can also be between 12 and 36 months versus two weeks for a payday loan.
Some lenders may also report your payments to the credit bureaus. Successfully repaying the loan can help improve your credit.
Transcribe Audio Transcriptions
If you have a discerning ear for listening to conversations, you can make money transcribing audio. SpeechPad pays you up to $2 per audio minute and translators can earn as much as $5.00 per audio minute.
Unlike other transcription services, SpeechPad pays twice a week and has no upfront investment like buying specialized equipment or undergoing training to start.
You will need to apply and pass a test to start working. There may also be a waiting list to join the team but you can check back regularly.
These proven ways can help you get quick cash when it’s a few days before your next paycheck. Negotiating bills and cutting expenses are a solid first step. But pursuing some of the other options can help provide financial relief when you need money fast.