There are few things worse than needing access to cash but not knowing where it’s going to come from. But that’s exactly what happens when life gives us lemons. Unexpected life events can cost serious money, and often there’s a pretty tight timeframe to cough up the goods. If your brain is screaming, "I need money desperately," it can be tempting to turn to credit cards or take out a loan if you don't have an emergency fund.
But we're here to offer more creative ways to raise cash quickly without getting into debt!
Why might I need money desperately?
Home or vehicle maintenance and medical expenses are common reasons for being in desperate need of money. Funeral costs, large medical bills, and the cost of a job loss can also leave a gaping financial hole to fill.
If you suddenly need to replace stolen belongings or need to shoulder costs due to a natural disaster, this can also be expensive.
But everyone's finances are different, and there are multiple reasons you might desperately need money at any time.
How to have the right attitude when in desperate need of money
The first thing to remember is that necessity is the mother of invention. Not heard this expression before? It means that we can be super creative in our problem-solving abilities when something is essential.
We need to think a little more outside of the box and find unique ways to raise cash that we haven’t considered before.
Even when I need money desperately, I remember there's no limit to how much cash I can raise. And at speed, too!
For example, how about starting a side gig if you have a full-time job? Or, if your home has rooms you hardly ever use, perhaps you could downsize or rent them out?
Things to avoid when we desperately need money
If you're in a pinch, payday loans, emergency loans, and credit cards can be tempting to get you out of your bind. Lenders heavily advertise these as the perfect solution for situations exactly like those you're facing. And unfortunately, they're known to target women of color with these products.
Some of these financial products have more favorable terms than others so you might be attracted to the idea of fast cash from a loan provider. But often, payday lenders are promoting loans with up to 664% APRs.
So, unless you have a very solid repayment plan (and many people who desperately need money sadly don't), it's challenging to pay back the loan plus interest without your debt spiraling out of control.
A better solution is to get your thinking caps on and devise creative ways to raise cash for unexpected expenses.
26 ways to raise cash when you're in desperate need of money
If you’re desperately in need of money, consider some of these ways to raise cash. Remember to use them as a starting point, just as I do if I need money desperately.
1. Downsize to a smaller home
Downsizing to a smaller home can make sense for both renters and homeowners. If you own your home outright, you could sell it and use the cash to buy a smaller property or even rent long-term.
If you're a renter, you could look for a smaller apartment or house to share with others. Living in a smaller place will also help to reduce your monthly bills.
2. Rent out your parking space
Parking spaces are like gold dust, especially if you live in the city. If you have a private driveway to spare, don't leave it vacant when you could be making money off this valuable real estate.
You could list your parking space on a platform like JustPark, where people can search and book spaces for their vehicles.
3. Rent out your storage space
If you have a garage, attic, or lock-up, this is another excellent way to make extra money. You can list your storage space on platforms like Neighbor, where people in need of storage can find and book your space.
4. Rent out your spare room
Renting out a spare room is possible for anyone who isn't ready to downsize. You may want to find a roommate to live with you long-term, or perhaps you'd prefer to welcome ad-hoc visitors AirBnB style. Either way, this is a fast way to bring in the cash.
5. Rent out your car
If you've found yourself saying, "I need money desperately," and you don't use your car regularly, this could be another cash card. If you don't want to sell your vehicle, try renting out your car to other drivers on a car-sharing marketplace like Turo.
6. Sign up to TaskRabbit
Are you good with your hands and putting IKEA furniture together for fun? If this sounds like you, why not get paid to help people with their odd jobs?
From putting up shelves to painting people's homes, you can do all sorts of tasks to earn money on TaskRabbit. Consider making yourself available for same-day tasking. That way, you can start earning fast when you're in desperate need of money.
7. Sign up for a freelance platform
Do you have any skills that can be sold online? For example, web design and development or social media marketing, or even writing and editing? If so, start picking up odd jobs on a freelance platform like Fiverr or Upwork.
You can start earning as soon as the platform has approved your profile (typically a quick process.) The initial few jobs you take may not be great earners. But once you've built up some positive feedback, you can start bidding for higher-paying jobs.
8. Sell your clutter on eBay
We may not have dollar bills lying around our homes, but often there's quite a bit of value in the items we own but no longer need. Spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to have a good sort out and sell anything you don't want or need on eBay.
If you need money urgently, opt for an auction-style listing with a low starting price and let the bidding war commence!
9. Sell crafts on Etsy
If you're a dab-hand with a set of knitting needles or like to make your jewelry, set up an Etsy shop to make some extra money. Start by selling items you already have.
As your money-making craft business grows, you can start making new items to sell. When you're desperately in need of money, every little bit helps!
10. Sell photos online
11. Ask your boss for a salary advance
If you have a regular paycheck, one option for getting your hands on some extra cash is asking your boss for a salary advance. This is effectively a loan from your future wages, but it can tide you over in an emergency.
12. Negotiate a raise
If you're already employed but struggling to make ends meet, then it may be time to chat with your manager about a pay raise. Negotiating your pay raise requires some consideration.
You'll need to be strategic with your timing and present a clear case to explain why your company should pay you more.
Don't go into the discussion with an "I need money desperately" vibe. Instead, focus on how much extra value you bring to the company. Execute this well, and you may be surprised at how much extra cash you can earn each month.
13. Borrow money from your relatives
Asking family for a loan can be extremely sensitive. Often, many of us are too proud to admit we need help. But if you're in dire straits, it may be worth considering.
If you decide to do this, always draw up a repayment plan to get back on your feet as soon as possible and avoid putting unnecessary strain on your relationship.
14. Babysit kids in your neighborhood
If you're a natural with kids and need fast access to cash, then offer to babysit for local families. Many parents are eager to find a reliable sitter who lives nearby, gets along well with their kids, and is available at short notice.
You could start by advertising your services on local social media pages, target WhatsApp groups or even put up flyers in your neighborhood.
15. Pet-sitting and dog-walking
Pet ownership rose dramatically during the pandemic lockdowns. But there has since been a surge in these animals arriving at shelters, partly due to owners going back to work in offices.
Help ease the pressure of pet ownership by offering to dog walk for neighbors or pet-sitting while people are away on vacation.
16. Offer gardening and landscaping services
A green thumb and some basic gardening equipment are all you need to offer gardening services to your neighbors. From weeding to planting, there are plenty of ways to help people spruce up their yards.
And there are jobs available every season, from shoveling snow in winter to mowing lawns in the summer.
17. Offer cleaning services
Cleaning services are always in demand, so if you're desperately in need of money and you don't mind the hard work, this might be a good match.
Start by offering your cleaning services to friends and family, and then once you've built up a good reputation, you can start charging other people for your services.
You don't need to stick to home cleaning. Offices and small businesses also need regular cleaning to meet health and safety requirements while keeping their premises sparkling.
18. Offer tutoring services
If your grades were solid in school, or you're particularly good at a certain subject, the tutoring market could be an excellent place to dip your toe into. First, figure out which age range or topic you want to teach (for example, math, flute, or biology).
You can either seek students in your local area or join an online tutoring platform to teach people from further afield.
19. Deliver flyers for local businesses
Delivering flyers brings in extra cash and keeps you active outdoors. Start by approaching local businesses and see if they have any upcoming campaigns you could help with.
Once you've got a few clients on board, design a delivery route to make the most of your time and energy.
20. Become an Uber driver
If you're a car owner with a few hours to spare, sign up with Uber and earn money as a driver. Wondering how much you could earn? Uber drivers in New York City make $25.91 per ride and average two rides per hour.
Say you work ten hours a week as a side gig, you'd bring in an average of $518.20. Not bad at all if you're in desperate need of money.
21. Put up holiday decorations
Ever seen those phenomenal houses in your neighborhood with stunning holiday decorations? Well, they didn't get there by accident.
Luxury homeowners hire people to assemble their decorations, and this can be quite a lucrative gig in the run-up to Halloween or Christmas.
If you have access to a ladder, some basic tools, and aren't afraid of heights, this could be the perfect opportunity.
22. Sell your engagement ring
Selling your engagement ring can be a huge step, especially if you're still in a happy, committed relationship with the person who gave it to you.
But if it's from a previous relationship, or if you've upgraded your ring, then selling your jewels could be the right decision to bring in some quick cash.
Get a professional valuation, so you never sell for less than the ring is worth, and take steps to ensure no one scams you during the sale.
23. Sell your car
If you're in a bind and need to raise some quick cash, selling your car could be a winner, especially if you don't use it too often. Cars can fetch a surprisingly high price, especially if they're in good condition and have low mileage.
24. Sell or exchange your unused gift cards
Have you ever gotten a present like a gift card for your birthday but never gotten around to spending it? Or perhaps you've been given a voucher for a store you never visit.
Whatever the reason, if you have an unused gift card burning a hole in your pocket, then it's time to turn it into cash. Do this by selling the card directly to a gift card exchange site.
25. Donate your plasma for money
Plasma is actually the liquid part of your blood packed with antibodies and other proteins that help fight infection. You can donate yours every few weeks to earn some extra cash.
Compensation rates vary, with an average of $50 to $75 per donation. However, as a first-time donor at a center like CSL Plasma, some donors can make up to $1,100 in their first month.
26. Donate your eggs to support another family
Women going through fertility struggles often seek help from egg donors to improve their chances of pregnancy. Donors are then compensated financially for donating their eggs.
It's a serious physical, and emotional commitment as the process can take up to two months, including the initial screen process, injections to stimulate egg production, and egg retrieval itself.
But if you're healthy and fall within the correct age bracket, you can earn between $5,000 to $10,000 per cycle. Women who have cycled before or have exceptional quality eggs could earn more.
Egg donation can be a significant emotional investment, as you're essentially handing over your DNA to another family. But you're also giving another woman the chance to become a mother, and that's a wonderful thing.
Counseling is often mandatory as an egg donor and if you're in a committed relationship, take the time to talk about this with your partner too.
Desperately need money? Act now to bring in some cash!
Hopefully, you've gone from feeling like "I need money desperately" to "I never knew there were so many ways to make money." Remember, there are endless opportunities to make money, and you don't need to give your power to a payday loan company.
Instead, get creative and think outside the box. The sooner you start taking action, the sooner you'll be able to improve your financial situation.