We all know the standard advice about keeping an emergency fund and always being prepared for financial surprises. But life doesn’t always go according to plan, and even though you’ve tried, you might still find yourself in a pinch. When you’re struggling to make ends meet, or an unexpected cost comes up, you may need to know how to make 500 dollars fast.
An extra $500 can feel like a lifeline in times of financial hardship and if you are in desperate need of some cash. Maybe you’ve been keeping great tabs on your budget, but suddenly face a month-long stretch when life demands more of you than you anticipated.
The following ideas are suggestions of ways you can actually earn the money you need to cover the unexpected. You won’t do all of these, and you probably won’t do any of them forever.
But they’re great ways to pad your wallet and get you through until the next payday (and avoid the dreaded payday loan). You might also use them to help rebuild your emergency fund after it’s depleted.
How to make 500 dollars fast with signup bonuses
One great—and easy—way for how to get 500 dollars fast is by signing up for accounts that offer attractive bonuses. Lots of institutions have special offers that are basically free money for you. Here’s what I mean.
Bank account bonuses
Banks and financial institutions love to give out cash bonuses. It’s a way they lure customers in. Even if you already have a bank you love, there’s no rule saying you can’t open a separate account elsewhere.
Search online to find the best bank account signup bonuses and you’ll find plenty of options, many of them at online-only banks. The bonuses are often $100 or more. I did this not long ago to earn a $150 signup bonus, and it was super easy.
The one thing to remember with bank signup bonuses is that you probably won’t get the money instantly. Often the account must remain open for a minimum of three to six months before they give you the bonus. Also, you need to have the minimum amount required to open an account, which may not be possible if you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
Bank account bonuses are a great way to earn a few hundred dollars easily, but not necessarily as fast as you’d like.
Credit card signup bonuses
If you’re looking for how to get 500 dollars fast, credit card bonuses may be a way to get you part of the way there. Credit cards may not always give cash bonuses, but some rewards like bonus points or miles that you can use to cover expenses.
However, it’s essential that you know yourself and your spending habits. If you have a habit of overspending on credit, it’s best to pass on credit card bonuses, because you could spend more than the bonus.
But if you’re able to use credit cards wisely and you know you’ll pay your balance in full each month, go for it. Be careful not to open up too many new credit accounts at once, though, because that could harm your credit score.
Signup bonuses for online brokerages
Similar to bank accounts and credit cards, online brokerages may have some free money for you as well.
If you haven’t yet opened an investment account like this, this might be a great time to do so. Check and see if any bonuses are offered with the brokerage you're considering.
How to make 500 dollars fast with driver and delivery work
Lots of opportunities for you to earn money quickly are out there, especially in the driving and delivery niches. Consider taking on gigs during free time to make some quick cash.
Uber or Lyft
The two giants of ride-sharing, Uber and Lyft, might be a great place to start earning extra money. If you have a vehicle and can shuttle passengers around the area where you live, you can earn a decent amount as a driver.
The perks of this type of gig work are that you can start working quickly and get paid quickly. That’s amazing when you really need money now! However, if you hate sitting in traffic and don’t want to put wear and tear on your car, it’s not the best option.
Instacart and Postmates
If you’ve never delivered food, I bet you know at least one friend who has done so in the past few years. Instacart and Postmates are just two of the companies you could work for to deliver groceries and food for pay.
Similar to Uber and Lyft, these are great gig opportunities that allow you to work when it’s convenient for you. You’re not obligated to follow a set schedule. Plus, the tips can be lucrative. A friend of mine has been driving for a grocery delivery app for a couple of years now. His biggest customer tip was $200 on a single delivery!
Similar delivery gigs
There are plenty of delivery and driving gig jobs out there. Whether you have a full-time job and just need to supplement your income for a while, or you’re trying to find a more permanent job, these gig jobs can tide you over.
A great aspect of working for a delivery app is that you can start making money even if you don’t have any skills. (Of course, you do have skills, but maybe not the specific ones companies are looking for—yet.) You just need to be a licensed driver with a vehicle to start earning with apps or even a local business requiring delivery.
So if you're wondering how to make an extra $500 a month consistently, delivery gigs could be the answer!
How to make 500 dollars fast with paid surveys
If you need to make 500 dollars fast, you may be willing to try just about anything. While online surveys don’t pay much, they do pay you for your time spent online answering questions.
When you have some free moments just sitting on the couch, why not find a survey website and earn a little bit?
Some survey sites you could try include SurveyJunkie, InboxDollars, and Swagbucks. Be sure to read the qualifications and guidelines before getting started. And beware—the pay is low, so if you can focus more on the higher-earning side jobs, that’s probably best.
Join a focus group
Focus groups are similar to taking surveys, except the pay is typically better. You get to provide your opinions to help businesses make decisions about their products and plans.
Along with the higher pay, however, is the fact that it can be tough to get into many quality focus groups. Just search online for “focus groups near me” to find local opportunities that might fit.
How to make 500 dollars fast through caregiving or tutoring
Are you a compassionate and kind person? Do you have skills in taking care of others or teaching them? Then caregiving or tutoring could bring in a nice side income, whether temporarily or permanently.
Babysitting and child care
Of course, parents are always going to need quality child care. That’s where you come in if you enjoy being with children and need to make some extra money.
There are so many ways you could provide this valuable service to other parents. Maybe you could provide necessary child care to parents either before or after school, or on off days if your schedule allows it.
You might offer special weekend or holiday babysitting as well. Multiply several kids by an hourly or flat rate, and you could earn a good amount of money quickly.
Another way to get this is through the barter system, in which you’d watch a friend’s kids one day, and she’d return the favor another day. It doesn’t pay you, but it’s a valuable swap!
Are you wondering how to make an extra $500 a month doing something you love? Become a pet sitter!
I’ve had to find people to care for my cats and dogs over the years, and it can be such a hassle. You might sign up as a pet-sitter with Rover.com and start moving towards making 500 dollars fast.
Another way to find pet-sitting gigs could be to simply ask around your social circle. Tell friends and local family members you’re willing to step in and walk their dogs, feed their fish, and whatever other animal care is needed.
For those of you with an educational background, tutoring could be the perfect way to make 500 dollars fast. Tutoring is great because even if you can’t find clients locally, you can tutor anyone just about anywhere in the world. You just need a great internet connection and the ability to make video calls to have the ideal work-from-home job.
Plenty of kids and adults are looking for tutoring. Maybe you can put your fluency in French to good use by tutoring a family before their planned trip to Paris. Or start up a tutoring group, which would mean each student would pay, increasing your hourly earnings.
How to get 500 dollars fast by renting out your stuff
Renting out items you already own is an easy way how to make an extra 500 a month easily.
It's a perfect way to earn money quickly without having to invest anything other than a little time. Cars, rooms, houses, and more are things you might be able to rent out.
Rent out your car
With platforms like Turo and Getaround, people like you are making extra money with an asset they already own. For instance, their car, motorcycle, or other vehicles. If you aren’t using your vehicle all the time, why not put it to productive use by renting it out?
Earning money by renting out your car could help someone else out while building up your savings. It might be a great option, especially if you already work from home and don’t need to drive during significant portions of the day.
Wrap your car in advertising
Although not all companies are created equal, you may be able to make some money towards earning 500 dollars quickly by “wrapping” your car. It’s something that you only have to do once and then drive around in order to earn a paycheck.
Wrapify is one company that may pay you for wrapping your car in advertising, especially if you drive a minimum amount on a regular basis. This is just one way to help you get towards making some emergency cash for whatever you need.
Rent out an apartment or living space
Renting out a room or space is another excellent way how to get 500 dollars fast. Plus, it's a great house-hacking trick! Now, you may not have an entire extra apartment available to rent out on Airbnb, but that’s not the only way to earn money from renting your space. Maybe your home has a spare bedroom or apartment-like space, and you could offer someone a place to live.
Airbnb and other similar platforms, such as Neighbor and Store At My House, enable people to rent out spaces in their homes for living or storage. Considering how many of us need to declutter our lives, offering storage space for a fee seems like a great option.
How to make 500 dollars fast through creative work
Are you a creative person? Consider whether you might be able to monetize a hobby or crafty talent you already possess.
Sell handmade goods on Etsy
Etsy is definitely one of the top platforms for creative people to sell their handiwork. You might be able to sell your hand-crocheted baby clothes or personalized screen-printed tees there. Perhaps you’re a skilled calligrapher who can design beautiful greeting cards and decor.
Whatever your talent, if you make something yourself, you can likely sell it on Etsy. The platform isn’t free to use, but you can gain more exposure there than most of us can drum up on our own. Selling crafts is one way how to get 500 dollars fast while doing something you love!
Sell crafts on your own website
If Etsy isn’t your thing, perhaps you’d rather set up your own e-commerce website. This might take a lot more legwork to get set up, but some people love this avenue.
Putting your crafts out there for people to buy can also work via social media. Of course, be sure to read your preferred platform’s rules surrounding sales and promotions before you do so. Plenty of people are willing to buy through social media networks because they love to support local or personally-made artists.
How to get 500 dollars fast by freelancing
Freelancing simply means taking on jobs in whatever skill you have that people need. You’re not beholden to any single employer, and the freedom of freelancing is hard to beat. Here are some ways to get 500 dollars fast (and maybe more) as a freelancer.
Types of freelance jobs
Freelancing runs the gamut of a wide range of types of work, but let’s talk about a few of the most common options. If you’ve got stellar communication skills, you might be a freelance writer, proofreader, or virtual assistant (VA).
Here are a few others to consider:
- Freelance DJ for local dances and weddings
- Freelance marketing
- Landscaping or yard work
- SEO optimization
- Graphic design
- Web development
Freelancing is one great way how to make an extra 500 a month even if you are a beginner!
Find jobs on Upwork or Fiverr
If you’re unsure of how to get started as a freelancer in your chosen field, many of these types of gig work are available on Upwork and Fiverr. Although you may hear people criticizing those platforms for low pay, the truth is they can be an excellent starting point for freelancers.
You might only earn $5 from an early job on one of these platforms, but that can help you gain confidence in your abilities. It helps you develop your skills so you can improve.
Once you’ve done a few jobs successfully, you might begin to branch out to other clients. Check online job boards and join social media groups (search “freelance ___ jobs” to start). Freelancing can not only earn you the money you need immediately, but it can also potentially lead to full-time income.
How to make 500 dollars fast by selling stuff you don't need or use
Just as you can earn money by renting out your possessions and spaces, you can also make 500 dollars fast by selling things you no longer need. If you’ve never done a serious decluttering of your home, maybe now’s the time to tackle it!
Use social media to sell stuff
As we all know, social media has many flaws, but one great thing about it is the chance to sell gently used or new items. Facebook Marketplace, for example, is where you can post items for sale. Craigslist is another one to try.
How can you get started selling your items? Well, think about going through your closets, garage, storage spaces, and cabinets. You might find still-wrapped dishes and cookware, or clothing you or your family members no longer wear. Furniture, sporting equipment, handbags, kids’ toys, you name it—you could find a new home for your stuff and fatten your wallet too!
I moved residences three times in three years, and believe me, I used the heck out of FB Marketplace to get rid of things we didn’t want to pack. It was a great way to lighten our load and earn a little bit of money simultaneously.
Have a garage or yard sale
While trying to earn 500 dollars fast, don’t forget about the tried-and-true garage sale (or yard sale). This can be a fantastic and quick way to make money, especially if you have a large number of items to sell.
Now, the downside of garage sales is they can be a burden to set up. You need to clear your garage or outdoor space for the sale, as well as organize where everything goes and what to charge. Of course, garage sale shoppers are looking for a bargain, so don’t expect to “get what you paid” for stuff.
A yard sale can help you shed tons of unwanted stuff that might be just perfect for another family. Whether you have a few high-dollar items like furniture or it’s mostly small items like baby clothes, the money can really add up fast.
Flip the script: cut your spending to save $500 fast
Now you know how to make an extra 500 a month, but let’s shift gears a bit. Instead of talking about making money, don’t underestimate the power of spending less. Of course, this is limited—you can’t slash spending down to zero. But before you go crazy starting second and third jobs, first look at where you might trim the budget.
Cancel unused subscriptions
This is a top recommendation in the personal finance space, and for good reason. If you’re looking to keep more money in your pocket, a great way to start is by cutting your spending. Subscriptions can be especially dangerous because we sometimes forget we even have them.
Whether you’ve been budgeting meticulously for years or are a budget newbie, it can’t hurt to examine your budget once more. Some of the common culprits of unnecessary spending include gym memberships, entertainment/streaming subscriptions, and magazine subscriptions.
Cutting out subscriptions could add up quickly in your quest to make and keep more of your money. The average gym membership costs $37.71 per month in 2021. Netflix is $8.99 to $17.99 monthly. You may love those luxuries, but getting back on track financially is worth sacrificing for a few months.
Negotiate your bills
Although some of your expenses are fixed, with no wiggle room, some types of companies are willing to negotiate on bills. You might need to consult with a bill negotiation service to help you. Or you can simply make a phone call to the company.
If you’re struggling to meet financial obligations, asking utility and phone companies for some help could work out well. They might be willing to let you make reduced payments for a few months if you’re facing unemployment for a few months.
You can try a bill negotiating company, like BillCutterz, BillFixers, or Truebill. Do a little research to find out what their fees are, of course, but they may be able to help if you don’t have any luck on your own.
A tip if you’re asking the phone or internet company to give you a lower price or a flexible payment plan: shop around first. If you’ve found an alternative to their company and you’re willing to walk away, that might give you leverage with your current company. They want to keep your business, so see what they’re willing to do to help out.
Drop eating out and luxuries
This goes along with your unused (or unnecessary) subscriptions: if you don’t need it, stop spending on it. Sometimes life is just throwing a lot of hurdles in your way, and you have to take drastic steps.
If eating out is a fixture in your life, you may just have to give it up for a time. You might also simply cut back, but if money is truly an issue, going cold turkey may be best. It depends on how badly you need to make 500 dollars fast (or more).
Many of us have things we “can’t imagine” doing without, but in reality, we’re more than capable. Whether it’s your specialty latte from the local cafe, monthly hair appointments, dining out several times a week, you may just have to drop them—for now.
Luxuries are things we don’t actually need in order to live. Figure out your priorities, and build your spending around those things. If you’re in debt or facing upcoming big expenses, it’s time to give up a few of the costly things you love (sorry!).
Making more money at work can help you make $500 fast
Now that we’ve discussed side gigs and spending less, let’s not forget about the obvious solution. For many of us, simply working more at your “regular” job is the best way to increase income and find career success.
Take extra shifts or work overtime
Although I would not recommend working overtime for an extended period of time, it can be an awesome solution for when you’re in a pinch. Are you already working a full-time job? Then a great step would be to ask for extra shifts or overtime hours.
Some jobs may not allow overtime, but if you’re in a field that does, let your supervisor know you’re open to extra shifts. Tell them you’re willing to work holidays for bonus pay, if possible. Chances are, you’ll earn more money, more quickly, doing this than by taking on random side gigs.
Ask for a raise
Getting a raise is a really great way for how to make an extra $500 a month every month! If you’ve never asked for a raise in your current position, perhaps it’s time to focus on your accomplishments and ask for what you’re worth. You could be earning much less than you deserve.
I’m thinking of a relative of mine who has complained many times about her employer never having given her a raise. However, I have to wonder whether she ever asked her boss for that raise. If not, she’s largely to blame for her own disappointment.
Be sure you’re doing an amazing job at work, and figure out a plan. Check out these tips on how to ask for a raise. You could be earning more before you know it!
Take another job
Even if you only can work an extra 5-10 hours per week, that might be just enough to float you through the hard times.
How to best use the $500 (or more) you make!
Of course, it wouldn’t be smart to work hard for more money only to find yourself spending it all instantly. Be sure to make a plan for strategically using your new income for your benefit.
Cover emergencies and build an emergency fund
The first priority, if you’re going through financial troubles, is to take care of the immediate financial issue. Whether it’s a sudden medical bill that appeared in the mail, a car repair, or a hole in the roof, pay what you must.
Get those emergencies taken care of as soon as possible with any newly-earned cash. Next, focus on rebuilding your emergency fund, since you may not have anything saved there. You could start with a small amount like $500 and eventually add enough to cover 3-6 months’ worth of expenses. A solid emergency fund is a great way to guard against the stress of needing money instantly.
Save for a future expense
If there’s no pressing matter to cover financially, you could start saving for a future expense. We call these “sinking funds” when they’re money set aside for a future expense.
This is a great time to start an account for future expenses like a newer vehicle, a vacation, children’s summer camp, or a family member’s wedding. Think about things like eventual furniture replacements, house repairs, and holiday gifts.
You might not know a precise dollar amount you’ll need for this expense, but if you start saving automatically now, you’ll have something available when you need it.
Invest your money
Outside of sinking funds and your emergency fund, you could start looking further into the future. Investing is the best way to ensure your money will grow, not just sit in a savings account.
High-yield savings account
A high-yield savings account is a good place to invest money that you might need soon. You’ll earn a little bit of interest (not much, but more than a typical savings account). These are also good places to stash a part of your emergency fund or sinking funds because your money is safe.
For a beginner investor, index funds are often an excellent way to go. They usually offer low costs and bring decent returns on your investment.
You get diversification with index funds because the fund contains stocks from multiple companies. That lowers your risk and increases your chances of earning a good percentage back over time.
Leverage these options on how to make 500 dollars fast and start saving!
Although making money may not be easy, there are definitely options for how to make 500 dollars fast when you need it. Believe in yourself and your ability to do the work. Whatever the challenges you might be facing today, you have the power to make things better.
Learn more tips on how to increase your income with our completely free course! Also, tune in to the Clever Girls Know podcast and YouTube channel for more top tips on saving money, earning more, and building wealth!