Job hunting is a time-consuming task, but learning how to make money fast doesn't pay a cent until you actually land a job. In the meantime, you still have to pay rent, utilities, health costs and somehow afford groceries. Unemployment benefits run out pretty fast, so there's little cushion for many of us.
Here are 24 ways to earn quick cash with links to detailed instructions and useful connections. Combine several or focus on a single area, but make sure you get paid. Don't forget to file quarterly income taxes for the self-employed.
1. Human Guinea Pig
If you’re willing to subject yourself to up-and-coming medical treatments, you can earn anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars by participating in a clinical research study. Some studies accept healthy patients while others require volunteers to have specific diseases, viruses or conditions for which the experimental treatment is being tested. There are a myriad of things to consider before deciding to be a human guinea pig, so proceed with caution and care. To learn more about the process and what studies are available in your area, consult CenterWatch.com.
2. Clean Houses
House cleaning is hard work and requires an eye for detail, but represents a great way to earn income between jobs. You may even decide to open your own business! Depending on your experience or ability to market yourself and your skills, you might be well served to work for an established house-cleaning business before setting off on your own. Tough Nickel offers great insights and tips for those interested in housecleaning.
3. Give Blood
Some plasma banks pay up to $60 per pint, but on average donors should expect to receive about $30. In the U.S., federal regulations state that an individual may donate two times in a seven-day period, with a minimum of two days between donations. However, blood banks and plasma donation facilities may have their own rules and restrictions. First Quarter Finance offers an in-depth summary of what you can expect by being a plasma donor.
4. Walk Dogs
Do you love dogs and love spending time with them? So do lots of other people, but not everyone has the time to walk them, particularly in the middle of the day. Walking dogs is a good way to get some exercise while being paid for your time. Opportunities abound in large cities where dogs are often confined to apartments, but people all over the country are desirous of dog-walking services. Rover.com estimates you can earn $1,000 or more per month walking and watching dogs, so consider establishing a profile with their service (for a fee). Otherwise, check out the “gigs” section of your local Craigslist and start advertising your services on local Facebook groups.
5. Resell Your Unused Gift Cards
Do you have a pile of unused gift cards collecting dust in junk drawers? You can sell them for cash and put that money to better use. Gift card exchange site Gift Card Granny is the best resource for identifying the reseller who will give you the most money for your cards. Receive up to 90 percent of your card’s face value back in cash, with top brands like Target, Walmart and Amazon commanding the biggest payouts.
You did it as a teenager, so why not babysit as an adult? You’d need a license and state accreditation to provide regular child care in your home but occasional babysitting in your or a client’s home requires nothing but patience and a talent for child care. To get started, consider chatting with friends who have kids to learn if someone in their network needs child care services. When you’re reliable and trustworthy, parents will stay loyal and likely pay a competitive rate to keep you! Use Care.com to calculate an hourly rate that’s competitive for your area.
7. House Sit
Safety is the primary reason homeowners hire people to sit while they're out of town, but house sitters also water plants and care for the lawn, feed pets, collect mail, perform light housecleaning duties and take care of any emergency situations that might arise, like calling a plumber if a pipe bursts. Much of your work will come through referrals rather than advertising. Retirees who travel a great deal frequently need house sitters, so you can begin by volunteering your services to a friend and going from there. HouseCarers.com also can help connect you with housesitting jobs.
If you can explain educational subjects in ways kids and young adults can understand, consider being a tutor to pull in some extra cash. Hourly rates depend on your region and experience, but expect to earn anywhere from $15 to $50 per hour. When advertising your services to friends and online, be sure to highlight specialized experience that sets you apart from the competition. Prior teaching experience is definitely worth calling out! For more tips on tutoring, check out this guide from The Penny Hoarder.
9. Sell Your Hair
Are you constantly fielding compliments about how beautiful your hair is? Consider selling it for cash and earn hundreds to thousands of dollars. Hair that earns top dollar is called “virgin hair,” which means you’ve never used heating tools like curling irons, and you’ve never colored it or bleached it. The longer and healthier your locks, the more money you’ll be able to fetch for them! The Balance offers more details on what to expect from hair sales as well as a couple online resources that only charge you a listing fee (not a commission).
10. Shop for Money
Wouldn’t it be nice to get paid to shop in kidsstores or dine at kidsrestaurants? Well, you can! It’s called mystery shopping, and retail and restaurants hire people to visit their establishments and evaluate their operations, from how staff engages with you to how well food is prepared or clothing is displayed. In addition to earning a fee for your services, you’re typically reimbursed up to a certain amount if your assignment you requires you to make a purchase. Mystery shopping scams are common, so be wary of sites or organizations that ask you to pay them for membership or access to available opportunities. Before you commit to a company, make sure they're part of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association.
11. Sell Your Eggs
Ladies, donating your eggs can pay serious bank -- sometimes upwards of $5,000. The process isn’t easy, however, and requires a time commitment. It’s also not for everyone: most egg donation centers have strict requirements related to your age as well as your physical, emotional and reproductive health. Search for egg donation facilities in your area and review their guidelines to determine if you’re a suitable candidate.
As a truck owner, you’re likely accustomed to friends and neighbors asking to borrow your ride to haul heavy items. Turn this request into a side hustle by advertising your vehicle and your services to help people in your community move items from A to B. Being capable of moving and loading heavy items is a plus!
13. Complete Odd Jobs
Canvas your community for such odd jobs as shoveling snow, washing cars, mowing lawns, weeding gardens, grocery shopping and more. The elderly, single mothers and busy couples may be more than delighted to have these time-consuming jobs taken off their hands. See if TaskRabbit operates in your area (FYI: they’ll take a cut) or check out the "gigs" section of your local Craigslist page for opportunities.
14. Monetize Your Website or Blog
Assume there’s no money to be made off your website or blog? Think again. Simply connecting with Google AdSense will bring you some cash, while more strategic affiliate relationships can serve as a great form of passive income. To ensure you’re getting the most value from your blog, remember to provide great content and network with other bloggers and online resources in your niche to get your name in front of more readers. Who knows, you may end up like this woman who makes six figures per month off her blog!
15. Human Billboard
If you don't mind dressing up like the Statue of Liberty, a chicken or some other mascot, you can earn money standing on a busy corner to wave a sign and attract clients for various businesses. Not all jobs require a costume, but you do have to be willing to work in all types of weather. You'll frequently find ads for such work on CraigsList "Jobs," "Marketing."
16. Brand Your Ride
Like the Human Billboard, you can deck out your car in brand decals and get paid for your daily commute. Once you fill out a profile, agencies like Carvertise and Wrapify will match you with brands that want exposure in your area. In most cases, people who live in highly populated areas and big cities are more likely to be matched with opportunities. Sometimes, you may be required to drive to certain areas for increased brand exposure.
17. Rent Out a Room
Sharing your place is a great way to offset your living costs, or simply put more money in your pockets, while dipping your toe in the real estate rental market. Make sure you draw up a lease agreement specifying rent, security deposit terms, length of stay, etc. This becomes even more important if you're renting to someone you know!
18. Paper Route
In the digital age, it may be surprising to learn that paper routes are still a thing. Get paid to deliver newspapers to those who prefer to learn about current events the old-fashioned way. Early birds with reliable vehicles are the best candidates for this job since most routes are completed by 6:30 a.m. In addition to city papers, check with local community papers to see if they need delivery assistance.
19. Teach English to Adults
Check with local schools and colleges to see if they need teachers for English as a Second Language classes. Not all schools require a language-specific degree for this level of instruction. ESL.com can connect you with ESL jobs across America and in other countries if you’d like to live abroad. You can also find ESL jobs through LinkedIn or local job aggregator Indeed.com.
20. Sell Your Stuff
Have you heard? Minimalism is trending. Give yourself more space by filling up your pockets with cash made from selling your stuff. Craigslist, eBay and Facebook community groups are great places to advertise your goods, as are apps like OfferUp and LetGo. Larger items like furniture and electronics are best sold locally so you don’t have to hassle with packaging and shipping. High-end items and [URL category collectibles [TARGET _blank]]collectibles[/URL] are best sold through eBay, though the site does take a cut of your profits and requires a bit more technical savvy.
21. Recycle Containers
Ten states require consumers pay a deposit on bottles and aluminum cans, but many people don't bother with returning the empties. You can gather empties at parks, cafeterias, school and athletic grounds, and on busy roadsides. The 10 states with bottle laws are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Vermont.
22. Paint Street Numbers
A high profit gig that only takes about $40 in start-up fees is painting street numbers on curbs. This task requires you to go door-to-door and market your services, but once you get the hang of it, you can make $200 per day in neighborhoods with high interest. Check with your city or county to see if you need a permit or license, and consider getting liability insurance if you plan to make this a full-time gig. Otherwise, all you need are stencils, a wire brush, a few quality cans of paint and your own transportation.
23. Become a Virtual Assistant
Do you have experience as an administrative or executive assistant? Consider applying for virtual assistant positions that allow you to support companies remotely. As long as you have the tools required by the position, you can work from virtually anywhere! Established virtual assistants can make $20 to $40 per hour, while some clients are rumored to pay upwards of $100 per hour to reputable and reliable candidates. For details on how to become a successful virtual assistant, check out this blog post from Scott Alan Turner.
24. Freelance Work
Many easy-money stories will suggest putting your creative skills to work by freelance writing, website designing, and other tasks. While freelancing can be lucrative, it’s not a feasible way to make quick cash as it takes time to build up a clientele, even if you're well connected. Freelance work often pays pathetically little until you're well established, and collecting paychecks often requires constant follow-up. For some reason, people don't place as high a value on creative skills and many have no qualms about asking you to work for free.
That said, freelance work can be an excellent way to maintain your skills while developing a network for a real job. UpWork has an extensive list of freelance opportunities in many different areas.