There are few things worse than needing access to cash but not knowing where it’s going to come from. 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 today," 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!
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Why might I need money desperately?
Home repairs, car repairs, 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 need extra cash 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. Then we can find unique ways to raise cash that we haven’t considered before. So if you have less money in your checking account than you'd like, don't panic.
Even when I need money desperately, I remember there's no limit to how much cash I can raise. And at speed, too! So rather than worry about online lenders, an application process, and good credit scores, try another way to get the money you need.
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 you 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 a high-interest rate of around 400% APR.
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 you may also incur high-interest fees to pay off as you try to prevent your debt from spiraling out of control.
Credit cards and cash advances
Credit cards are another thing that might seem like a good solution but aren't. Since borrowers need to pay back credit cards promptly, even if you have a good credit history, paying back the funds can be challenging.
In addition, you may have heard of a credit card cash advance. This is when you borrow money from your credit card. However, depending on eligibility criteria, you may not be able to borrow as much as you'd think, and it can wind up being another bad solution.
So rather than taking out a personal loan or dealing with bad credit loans or other debts, when your bank account is empty, get your thinking caps on and devise creative ways to raise cash for unexpected expenses.
Thinking, "I need money desperately"? 34 Ways to raise cash
If you’re desperately in need of money, consider some of these ways to raise cash. Remember to use them as a starting point and you can come up with more ideas along the way.
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. Then you can 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 for 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? It's a great way to make money today and add to your savings or pay bills.
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 now or urgently, opt for an auction-style listing with a low starting price and let the bidding war commence! You could wind up with some cash by the next business day!
As an in-person alternative, you can have a garage sale. It's easy to throw one together quickly, put up some fliers, and then have the sale over the weekend for some quick cash.
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
If you love taking photos, you could make money by selling your snaps online. Sites like Alamy allow you to upload your pictures and set a price. Once they sell, you'll receive a commission.
11. Ask your employer 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. It is effectively a loan from your future wages, but it can tide you over if you need to pay emergency expenses.
While a salary advance isn't ideal, it can work out fine as long as you make a plan for your budget.
12. Negotiate a raise
A pay raise can be a good way to get money fast. 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
Need money now? Your family might be able to help but 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 plan with the loan amount and repayment terms, in order to get back on your feet as soon as possible and avoid putting unnecessary strain on your relationship.
It could be one way to get a loan without dealing with a loan application or high interest.
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, check out Care.com for jobs, or even put up flyers in your neighborhood.
15. Pet-sitting and dog-walking
A lot of people have pets, but they may not be able to get home in the afternoon to feed or walk their pets, especially during business days when they're at work. That's where you can help and maybe get your next paycheck fast if you need money now!
Help ease the pressure of pet ownership by offering to dog walk for neighbors or pet-sit while people are away on vacation. You can use the internet to find dog walking gigs, using sites like Rover. Or simply ask people you know.
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. This can be quite lucrative, for example, in New York City, drivers earn about $26.24 an hour.
Say you work ten hours a week as a side gig, you'd bring in an average of $1049.60. 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, have 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 appraisal, 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 the liquid part of your blood packed with antibodies and other proteins that help fight infection. You can donate yours approximately once a month to earn some extra cash.
According to CSL Plasma, some donors can make up to $1,100 in their first month. In addition, they explain that compensation rates vary with plasma donation centers, with an average of $50 to $75 per donation.
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 screening 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. Some women can earn even 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.
27. Negotiate your bills
If you're still saying "I need money desperately today", and are looking to reduce your bills, you can negotiate them. While this isn't guaranteed to save money, it might be worth calling about your phone bill, internet, and insurance, to see if there's any way to save money.
The idea is to make sure you're saving the maximum amount of cash by negotiating your bills to the lowest rate possible.
28. Pawn some items for cash
If you are able to, consider pawning some items as collateral for cash. To get them back, you'll need to pay back the loan, but it can be helpful in certain circumstances. Pawn loans are typically short-term loans that allow you to get some cash quickly and pay the loan back in about 30 days.
These quick loans can help you get through a tough time, but they aren't a good thing to rely on long-term as you can lose the items you pawned if you can't pay the loan.
29. Be as frugal as possible
If you need money desperately, you are already on a tight budget. But even if you think you have no extra, it is worth taking a second look at your spending.
Think of creative ways you can spend less. For example, can you buy cheap but healthy foods and save $20 on your grocery budget? Or are you spending on anything unnecessary, such as a subscription, TV streaming service, etc?
You might be able to save an extra $50-$100 just by checking your expense habits. And every little bit counts. Even if you find that you can't possibly spend any less, at least you'll know that you're being as frugal as possible and doing all you can for your financial situation.
30. Flip items to earn cash
If someone tells you that you need to spend money to make money, it isn't always true. Sites such as Facebook Marketplace let users list items for sale at no upfront cost. All you need is a phone and an internet connection.
If you have any items of value around your house that you can clean up/paint/ etc., you can flip them. Then you can use the income to pay bills and also buy more inventory to flip. Sell the items online or to your friends and neighbors.
31. Do surveys
While this certainly won’t make you wealthy and can take up a good amount of time, participating in online surveys has been known to rake in extra dollars for participants.
There are many survey sites offering these services. However, not all are made equal and proper diligence needs to go into exploring your options.
A good option to consider is Swagbucks. Another one is Survey Junkie, which gives you points for surveys that you can convert into cash.
32. Ask for overtime at work
One of the easiest ways to remedy your "I need money desperately today" situation is to ask if you can work overtime. Sometimes we spend hours and hours trying to figure out the best way to make additional funds when the opportunity is staring us in the face.
If your job offers the opportunity to work extra shifts, you’re in a great position to earn more cash quickly. Some additional benefits of working overtime include the fact that you incur no additional costs to get to and from work.
You may also require no additional training, and you automatically contribute more to your retirement nest egg through your existing payment arrangements. Talk to your employer if you haven’t explored the opportunity yet.
33. Return unnecessary purchases
In this day of online shopping, it is not uncommon to buy something you think you love only to try it at home and realize that you actually don't need it. Online shopping is notoriously the cause of a ton of overspending.
Many people stop here and accumulate heaps of unwanted items because of the hassle of processing a return. If you need cash today to pay bills, check the return policy on items you bought. Many stores have generous return policies you can benefit from.
34. Sell tech items you don't need
If you have an old phone that you no longer use, a laptop, or some other device, this can be one of your best options when you're desperately in need of money. It's a great short-term solution when you need cash, and using a site like Decluttr is the perfect place to start.
You can also make a good amount of money. For example, if you have a newer model iPhone to sell, you could make hundreds of dollars from it!
If you find yourself in a position where you need money desperately it's important to gain clarity before you take any actions.
Assess why you need the money, plan out the actions you will take and think positively. These simple steps can ensure you make the right decisions and resolve your situation as quickly as possible.
How to avoid being in a place where you find yourself saying, "I need money desperately!"
It could be time to think about your financial habits and make some changes. Thinking ahead by using these suggestions can help you to be prepared for the future.
Set up an emergency fund
Emergency funds exist for unexpected moments. When you face unexpected circumstances beyond your immediate control, having cash can be the difference between taking on additional debt and comfortably cruising through a tough patch in life.
An emergency fund is essentially a savings account exclusively dedicated to helping you through life’s emergency expenses.
An emergency could be medical bills, car repairs, or job loss. The size of the fund largely depends on your lifestyle choices, though many choose somewhere between three months and a year's worth of expenses.
Get in the habit of building a sinking fund
If you have large one-time expenses coming up, the best way to prepare is by putting a sinking fund in place. Sinking funds are essentially extra cash you set aside for a specific one-time purpose. It can include setting aside part of your pay for a new couch, paying for a wedding, or buying a new car.
Sinking funds can be an excellent way to ensure that your budget remains balanced throughout the year without looking for additional income or taking on debt. Planning ahead by setting up a sinking fund is the best way to avoid being in desperate need of money.
Establish multiple streams of income
Income diversification can take place in so many ways – the choice is yours. Trade time for income by doing work such as house sitting or pet sitting. Invest in the stock market and grow your income through asset appreciation.
Focus on passive streams of income such as peer-to-peer lending. Invest in real estate by buying properties that will bring in rental income. You could even start a side hustle.
As you can see, there are a ton of options, and anyone at any income level can start earning more.
Wondering, "How can I get $1000 ASAP?"
so you've read our tips on what to do if you are desperate for cash but if you $1,000 asap which of these tips should you focus on? Well, one of the question ways to raise $1,000 fast is to consider selling items you own that you no longer need.
Items like electronics, jewelry, and designer pieces will bring the most cash. You can offload these items on platforms like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Poshmark, and more. You could also consider asking your friends and family if they are interested as well.
Next, consider the skills you have and leverage them to raise quick cash. For instance, getting on TaskRabbit and doing freelance work on Fivver or Upwork can help you get quick gigs.
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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.