We’ve all been there. You’re in a pickle, and you need an extra $200 to make rent. Or you wake up to a flat tire. Maybe the electric company is threatening your life. Not cool.
Now your bank account is closing in on $0… If you want to add a little cushion, do these seven simple tasks to earn an extra $183 in a couple of hours.
If you need money by nightfall, stick around until the end of the post to find 10 more strategies to help you make money by the end of the day.
In total, these tasks shouldn’t take more than an hour or two. You might not receive the money right away. The longest you’d have to wait to get paid for any of these is 90 days, but hey, it’s easy and in some cases, free money.
1. Get a $20 Target Gift Card for Going Green
Eric Hanson wanted a cleaner energy source, but didn’t have the option in his Maine home — and didn’t want to install pricy solar panels.
So he went with renewable energy company Arcadia Power, which helps you offset your monthly energy consumption with 100% renewable sources.
“On a fundamental level, the power that I use in my house is coming from renewable sources,” Hanson says. “By providing financial support for renewable energy sites, I can disrupt the market. I’m willing to support green growth.”
And, because you’re such a good person, the company will throw in a free $20 Target gift card.
You can sign up to qualify for your free gift card in about two minutes.
2. Sign up for a Cash-Back Card and Work Toward a $150 Bonus
If you’re not using a rewards credit card for everyday purchases, you’re missing out on free money.
You just have to be sure you don’t get too carried away with those purchases — and that the card is paid off at the end of each billing period.
Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom card. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $150 bonus.
The card also offers 5% cash-back on select rotating categories. For example, in one quarter, you can earn 5% cash back on gas. The next quarter? Groceries. The categories continue to rotate throughout the year.
There’s no annual fee, and the cash-back rewards don’t expire.
*The information for the Chase Freedom card has been collected independently by The Penny Hoarder. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. The Penny Hoarder is a partner of Credible.
3. Earn a $10 Walmart Gift Card for Shopping Online
One of our favorite ways to save on any shopping is with Rakuten, a cash-back site that rewards you nearly every time you buy something. For example, Ebates gives you up to 10% cash back on purchases at Walmart online.
Plus you’ll get a free $10 gift card to Walmart for giving the site a try.
To earn your gift card:
- Sign up for Rakuten with your email or Facebook account.
- Use the Ebates portal the next time you need to buy something. It’s connected to thousands of stores, including Walmart, Amazon and Target. You’ll need to make your first purchase through the site within 90 days and spend at least $25.
- Your account will be credited with rewards points. Every three months, Ebates will send you a check in the mail — or wire money over to you through PayPal.
If you’re already shopping, why not earn some cash back?
4. Collect $5 in Free Stocks
It’s no brilliant secret that investing can be a smart way to make money. Sometimes, though, it feels restricted to a few wealthy elite.
But Stash is different. This app lets you start investing with as little as $5 and for just a $1 monthly fee for balances under $5,000.
Stash curates investments from professional fund managers and investors and lets you choose where to put your money.
But it leaves the complicated investment terms out of it. You just choose from a set of simple portfolios reflecting your beliefs, interests and goals.
Bonus: Right now, The Penny Hoarder is teaming up with Stash to give you an extra $5 after your first investment.
Note: You can withdraw your money at any time, but it’ll take two to three business days to transfer funds over to your bank account.
5. Sell Your Old Movies and CDs
If you have a little more time, start shuffling through your old movies or CDs, because Decluttr will pay you for them.
Decluttr buys your old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and video games, plus hardware like cell phones, tablets, game consoles and iPods — it’s easily one of the simplest ways to make money online.
One user, Gil Flores, told us he sold about 100 DVDs and 75 CDs and made $275 — an average of $1.57 each.
Just download the app, and start scanning the barcodes on your media to get immediate quotes. It’s completely free to use — no listing or seller fees.
Payment is pretty fast — it’ll take a day or two after Decluttr receives your goods — and shipping is free.
If you’re desperate for money, here are 10 ways to make money today. They’re not all glamorous, but you’re certain to have cash in hand by the end of the day.
1. Sell Your Old Phone
Got an old iPhone or Android collecting dust? Probably. Clear your data — then sell it.
There are a number of ways to earn instant cash for your phone. For example, you can recycle your device (iPhone, Android, tablet, mp3 player) at an EcoATM kiosk. Enter your phone’s information into its estimator tool, then find a location near you — likely at a local mall or Walmart.
Depending on the condition of your device, you could earn cash. For example, an iPhone 6 with 32GB of storage in decent condition could get you $30. A newer tablet, on the other hand, could help you bag more than $100.
2. Pet Sit for Your Neighbor
Tons of apps help you secure a pet-sitting side gig, but you likely won’t pocket the money immediately. Plus, the apps typically take a cut of your commission.
If you don’t have that kind of time, offer up your services to family, friends or neighbors. You can even post in a local Facebook community page, advertise on Craigslist or set up a profile on Care.com.
You could get paid $40 just to take Pup for a walk.
3. Sell Your Plasma
Nope, you’re not going to want to sell your plasma every day, but if you’re desperate for money today, it can be a good deed that’ll reap a monetary reward.
Look into plasma donation centers near you. Be careful to do your research.
We found an International Quality Plasma Program-approved center near us, and it says first-time donors can make up to $400. However, you should probably expect something more like Penny Hoarder contributor MaryBeth Matzek’s experience. She sold plasma in 2014 and earned about $20 for two hours of her time.
4. Sell Your Clothes — or Make Returns
Take a look in your closet. If anything still has tags on it, return it if you can. After all, you haven’t worn it yet.
Then ask yourself: When’s the last time you wore that blouse? Or dressed up in those heels?
Gather up a bag of clothing, and take it to a consignment store like Plato’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange.
Brand names will likely get you the most cash.
If you don’t have luck there, you can always market and sell your items to locals though Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or Letgo. For other options, we reviewed four of the most popular peer-to-peer selling apps.
5. Sell Your Unused Gift Cards
No need to hang onto that gift card you’ll never use — exchange it for cash.
Although you can sell your gift card online and receive cash within several days, you can also find a physical location that’ll take your gift card through Cardpool.
Search Cardpool’s cashier-assisted and kiosk locations. For example, a popular buy-back location is Target’s electronics section. Be sure to read the details and restrictions of each location. You might be able to exchange that Starbucks gift card only for a Target gift card, for example.
If you have more time on your hands, check out these five sites that’ll buy back your gift cards.
6. Sell Your Gold and Silver
If you need money by the end of the day, dig deep in your closet. Remember those gold and silver collectors’ coins your grandpa gave you? Or maybe you have an old piece of jewelry from a long-ago ex… Exchange these items for some cash.
Use a few of these tips to sell your gold for cash.
Find a local shop to sell to. You’ll get paid a lot faster than with a national buyer you see advertised on TV.
7. Find a Quick-Paying Side Gig
People always need help, whether it’s with yard maintenance, moving or a simple repair.
You can sell your services via Craigslist under its “Gigs” section. Pay and tasks will vary, of course, but start advertising. The platform has millions of users.
If you don’t trust Craigslist, you can always check out other gig platforms, including TaskRabbit or Fiverr — to name just a few.
You can also break out of the internet bubble and reach out to your family, friends and neighbors. Chances are someone could use a hand.
8. Sell Your Old College Textbooks
Yeah, we know you’ve still got some textbooks lingering in your closet or on your bookshelf. Dust them off — then see whether they’re worth anything.
Use BookScouter to see how much your books are worth. It’ll suggest the best online marketplace to sell them, but if you want to get money by the end of the day, list them on eBay, Letgo, OfferUp or Craigslist. Heads up: They might not sell immediately, but you can at least get the selling process rolling.
9. Flip a Craigslist Freebie
Craigslist is plagued with freebies. Just hop over to its “Free” section, and see what you can find — whether it’s clothing, furniture or appliances.
If you need money sooner than later, low-ball your eBay prices and set your item as “buy it now.”
Once you secure a freebie, you can resell it. Take notes from Penny Hoarder contributor Kerrie Urban. She sold her freebie finds on eBay and earned $545. If you need the money sooner than later, low-ball the prices and set it as “buy it now.”
After all, you got it for free.
If you collect enough, you can also consider hosting a garage sale, though that’ll require a bit more time.
10. Sell Household Items You No Longer Use
If you’ve been meaning to declutter your house, now’s the time. Look through your kitchen cabinets, your desk drawers and your utility closet. Whatever you don’t need, purge.
Advertise your items to locals on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, OfferUp, 5miles or Letgo.
*The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has been collected independently by The Penny Hoarder. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. The Penny Hoarder is a partner of Credible.
Carson Kohler ([email protected]) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She enjoys making a quick buck.