We’ve all been a little strapped for cash. Whether our paychecks are on hold or we’re drowning in bills, there’s quite possibly nothing more stressful than being low on precious dollars. But don’t worry. While you’re waiting for that check to come in, there are some quick and painless ways to help supplement your income. Maybe you have excess junk laying around the house, have a unique skill-set to sell, or maybe—quite frankly—you don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your couch. That’s okay, because we’ve got you covered.
1. Claim Lost Money
We’re listing this gem first because it requires very little effort and offers immediate gratification. Check out unclaimed.org and com to conduct a free multi-state search for lost property in your name. This can include unclaimed rebates, tax refunds, and much, much more. Simply request a claim form, print it out, and mail it to the address provided on the website. You’ll receive your check in the mail.
2. Pet sitting, House Sitting, Babysitting
You can make quick weekend cash by pet sitting, house sitting, or babysitting — whichever one you’re most comfortable with. Advertising yourself on various websites is a great way to market yourself to people looking for your particular service. com, housesittersamerica.com, and rover.com are three of the top websites for this type of thing. Simply set up a profile and get started.
3. Garage Sales and Flea Markets
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Have some junk laying around? Why not nab a spot at the local flea market or set up a yard sale? Have 4 unopened silverware sets? How about a second copy of Elton John’s Greatest Hits album? And what about that dusty box in your attic filled with trinkets from 1996? Get rid of it! Someone out there will appreciate your discounted item and gladly buy it off of you. Think of it as spring cleaning with a cash reward at the end. And remember, don’t forget to haggle.
4. Ebay and Craigslist
This is a perfect way to quickly offload your items to inquiring customers. Maybe you have a 2nd generation iPad you wouldn’t mind parting with. Ebay is your pot of gold. Ebay, in particular, allows customers to bid on your item for a set window of time. If you’re uncomfortable with this, you can also set the sale price at a fixed rate. Either way, once your item is sold, you’ll receive the cash in your PayPal account within 2 days. All you have to do is package your item and ship it out to the customer within 30 days.
Craigslist, on the other hand, enables you to post your item for sale in your particular area. Most customers like to see a photo of the item, the history of the item, and the sale price. If you do find a willing customer to buy your item, please meet this person in a well-lit public area during the day time. This is for your safety. Perhaps bring a friend with you just in case. Most sales don’t end up disastrously, but it’s not unheard of. Better safe than sorry.
5. Pawn Shop
Forget the reputation and focus on the immediate monetary gratification of pawn shops. Maybe your 2nd generation iPad didn’t sell at the garage sale. Maybe no fish were biting in the Ebay pond. When you really need some quick cash now and all else fails, sell that puppy at the local pawn shop. Chances are, the guy behind the plastic counter guard will give you a decent wad of cash for your item. We recommend researching the actual value of your item based on brand, sale date, and wear and tear. Use that as ammo to get a good payoff. If you don’t feel comfortable with the offer price, you can always check out other pawn shops and come back later.
6. Teach What You’re Good At
Maybe you’re a math wiz, a violin prodigy, or a personal trainer. Why not offer lessons to prospective students? You can create a small ad on org and wait for the hits to roll in, or go to Wyzant.com to create a profile and set your own prices. Who knows? Not only could you make some cash, but it might turn out to be a rewarding experience.
7. Sell Back Gift Cards
One of the beautiful things about Christmas is that glittery stack of gift cards we receive each year — two of which we spend immediately, thirteen of which remain unused. If this happens to you, then listen up! You can sell back your gift cards online for up to 92% cash back. The mysterious 8% percent goes to the website owners, but the rest is pure cash…for you…in your pocket. If you’re allergic to seafood and can justify parting with that $50 Red Lobster gift card, then you can receive up to $46 cash back using websites like com or GiftCardGranny.com. Now that’s nothing to sneeze at.
8. Consignment Shops
Have some gently worn name brand clothes laying around? What about accessories? Most shops offer cash for name brand clothing and accessories, particularly high-end wear, such as Hollister, Abercrombie and Fitch, American Eagle, Banana Republic, etc. However, there are some shops which accept more “mid-scale” brands as well, like Charlotte Russe, New York and Company, and Forever 21. Some stores will give you between 5 to 20 dollars per clothing item. If you bought it at the mall, and it’s in relatively good condition, give it a shot. You might be surprised how much cash you walk away with.
9. Air B ‘n B
Have some tourists spots near you? Is your area heavily travelled? Compete with local hotels and make your house or apartment a safe haven for travelers this season. Post your offer on com. State the length of time you’re willing to rent your property and the going rate you’re willing to charge. Keep in mind that there are many elements you can work with when establishing an appropriate going rate. For instance, if you have a kitschy, comfortable little apartment, you’re probably going to charge less than the guy who has a renovated house with a backyard swimming pool. Just be smart and carefully evaluate your competition. Play your cards correctly and you’ll have a few hundred dollars coming your way in no time. Plus, some new friends!
10. Perform Tasks
Now, this is awesome. Some companies will pay you to use their apps and complete tasks. Tasks vary per app. The Gigwalk app, for instance, will send you on missions like taking pictures of store displays, testing mobile apps, and even mystery shopping. Surprisingly enough, the cash you can earn with this app is pretty darn impressive. In the case of Gigwalk, pay ranges from 6 to 220 dollars per gig, and that is just one of the many apps that pay you to complete tasks. For a full list of apps that pay, check out this list.
11. Sell Back Textbooks
Sell back your textbooks to buyers. This normally works best if you’re a college student with books from last semester laying around, or if you have a stack of newer textbooks at your disposal. First things first, check out online buyers. These websites usually accept old and new versions of textbooks in a wide variety of brands. Typically, the newer the textbook, the more money you’ll receive in exchange—unless it’s a more exotic, sought after, out-of-print book.
You can use BookScouter to compare offers from several vendors in just one simple search.
If you’re looking to sell in-person, you can always search online for a local pawn shop. These shops generally seek out brand-specific books and want the newest versions on the market—so this option is a hit or a miss, but it’s worth a shot if you think you’ve got something of value and are up for a good haggle.
12. Work for Pay Today
Most cities have a local Labor Ready or While most of these jobs are manual labor, it’s still a great way to make money on a per diem basis, and quickly. Manual labor not your thing? Check out the gigs section on Craigslist.com. Jobs can range from acoustic entertainer to part-time computer geek. It’s hit or miss, but you’re bound to find something you’re able to tolerate, or even enjoy.
13. Street Performer
Can you play a mean sax? Can you fiddle like there’s no tomorrow? Are you, by chance, a talented mime? If you have experience in the performing arts, why not take it from the stage to the streets? People love a good performance and will probably throw you a few dollars here and there. Plus, you get to do something you enjoy while entertaining the masses with your fine talent.
14. Partner with Uber
Apply with Uber to become a driver. You don’t even have to have your own car for this one, as Uber provides you with access to local rental cars. With Uber, you can make up to $35 dollars an hour, depending on your availability and location. You’d be surprised how many people, even in rural areas, are without cars and looking for a quick ride from point A to point B. Sign up here to get started.
15. Be an Online Juror
Check out ejury.com to become an online juror and participate in mock cases. Jurors generally make between 5-10 dollars per case. Certain qualifications must be met in order to become a juror. Unless you are a felon, are on trial, or are not a U.S. citizen, you’ll most likely qualify.
16. Review Items
Yelp and other websites like Vindale Research, User Testing, and Shvoong will pay to review restaurants, items, books, articles, etc. Rates vary based on different assignments, but it’s a great way to pull in some extra cash quickly. Make sure you set up a PayPal account for this one.
17. Arts and Crafts
The days of the starving artist are over. If you’re crafty or artsy, you can convert your masterpieces or handmade trinkets into cash. Are you a photographer, a graphic designer, or digital artist? If yes, check out com, RedBubble.com, or Foap.com to sell your photographs, prints, and digital works. If you’re more on the crafty side, try selling some of your unique handiwork on Etsy.com, Artfire.com, or Society6.com. You can also check out Festivalnet.com for a list of local craft fairs. Chances are, someone out there will love your work and want it for themselves.
18. Sell Scrap Metal
Have any spare brass or iron scrap metal laying around? What about copper wires or pipes? Well, guess what? It’s worth money. The condition of the metal is irrelevant. It can all go. Metal recyclers will pay per pound for it. Your best bet is to contact a local scrap yard. The scrap yard will ask that you bring your metals to their location. From there, the metal will be weighed. You’ll be provided with a slip of paper with a cash amount that can be redeemed at the on-site ATM.
19. Return Items
Have you made any big purchases lately and still have the receipt laying around? Return it. Nobody enjoys doing that, especially if it was a gift from a friend, but when you’re strapped for cash—you’re strapped for cash. If the item is important, consider re-purchasing it at a later date when you’re financially able. For now, your wallet will thank you.
20. Apply for a Payday Loan
Last but not least, you can get a payday loan. To do so, simply fill out an application. You’ll be asked about your current employment situation, bank account information, and your social security number to run a credit check. More often than not, you’ll be approved for one of these loans—but, a word to the wise, be careful. These loans have can have interest rates of up to 390% per week. If you don’t plan on paying these loans back immediately, you may find yourself in the same position you were in before you got the loan—so tread lightly with this one.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/27435717@N00/14379658675″>Art for sale, Omaha Summer Arts Festival</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>