16 legitimate ways to find fast cash

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Even if you’ve always managed your money responsibly and worked hard, unexpected events can easily overwhelm your cash reserves and you might need some fast cash in your life.

Let’s explore some of the legitimate ways to find the cash you need.

16 ways to find fast cash

Here are some of the best places to look for a legitimate source of funds if you need fast cash.

1. Sell something

If you have anything sitting around your house collecting dust, then you could turn it into cash. Whether you have old electronics, collectible items, furniture, household equipment or something else, you can list items for sale on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

2. Hold a garage sale

Not a fan of listing items online? You can hold an old-fashioned garage sale to turn your clutter into cash.

3. Pawn something

Don’t want to part with something that has sentimental and monetary value?

A pawnshop loan could be an option for you. You can pawn an item to put money in your pocket today. Then, you’ll have some time to come up with new funds to reclaim the item.

This is far from a perfect solution (there are finance charges, for example), but it could work in a pinch.

4. Sell unused gift cards

Do you have a gift card to a store you’ll never visit?

The well-intentioned gift could turn into some of the cash you need with the help of online gift card resellers like CardCash. However, it will take a few days for the transaction to clear and for you to receive your funds.

5. Access your paycheck earlier

If you are facing a temporary cash flow issue, then receiving your paycheck a couple days early  could help you solve your short-term liquidity issue. Earnin, for example, is an app that will allow you to get early access to your paycheck without any fees or interest payments involved. The company does ask for tips, however. Also keep in mind that your next paycheck will be lower as a result.

Some banks, like Fifth Third Bank, and challenger banks, like Chime, let you access your paycheck a couple of days early, too.

6. Pet sit

Pet lovers will find this option an enjoyable way to earn fast cash. Take advantage of the apps out there, like Rover, that are designed to connect you with pet owners that need your help.

You can choose to watch the pet in someone else’s home or bring the pet to your place. Either way, you can set your rates to earn between $20+ per night.

7. Babysit

If you aren’t a fan of pets, you could choose to babysit instead. Care.com makes it easy to connect with families that are looking for a babysitter. Depending on your location, you could earn at least $13 per hour.

8. Ask for a loan from a family member or friend

If you are struggling to come up with the funds you need, it might be time to turn to family. Before diving into this route, make sure you have a solid plan to repay the loan in a reasonable timeframe. Otherwise, you run the risk of upsetting the relationship.

9. Earn money on the side with food delivery services

Food delivery services have become a big business in recent years. You can join one of the many services as a deliverer to bring home some fast cash.

A few options include DoorDash, Uber Eats and Instacart.

10. Rent out extra space

Have an extra bedroom? You can turn that space into fast cash with the help of a service like Airbnb. If you live in a popular location, this is an especially lucrative opportunity.

Once the guest checks in, you’ll receive payment from Airbnb 24 hours later.

11. Consolidate your debt

If you have decent credit and several outstanding loans with high interest rates, you could benefit from debt consolidation. Although you won’t technically earn money from this strategy, it can help to reduce the amount you’re paying in fees, therefore leaving you with additional cash flow each month.

Explore the best debt consolidation loans with Bankrate.

12. Flip items

You can find freebies on sites like Craigslist to flip for cash. Seek out items that have some inherent value but are in need of a little bit of TLC.

For example, you might find a free bookcase that needs a bit of elbow grease. Take the time to make the free item more attractive, then sell it for a profit.

13. Participate in a medical study

Although medical study opportunities aren’t available in every city, it can be an out-of-the-box way to earn fast cash. On average, you can expect to earn between $50 to $300 per day for your participation in medical studies, according to Miami Clinical Research.

Explore the medical study options in your area through ClinicalTrials.gov.

14. Turn coins into cash

Do you have a jar of coins at home? Consider taking those to the bank for a deposit. You won’t become rich, but you might have enough to cover a minor problem.

Before you head to the bank, call ahead to see if the financial institution will charge any fees to deposit coins. Although some banks offer a free coin exchange, others will charge a fee.

15. Find unclaimed money

It’s possible that there are funds out there waiting to be claimed by you. Although missing money may take some time to claim and find its way to your account, this is a strategy worth looking into.

You can find unclaimed money owed to you with a little help from the federal government.

16. Ask for a raise

A raise for the work you currently do could be a longer-term solution to financial issues you are facing. Never be afraid to ask for the raise you know you deserve.

Of course, it won’t happen overnight. But it could help solve some of your money issues on a regular basis.

Need some help starting the conversation? Check out our top tips.

Avoid these sources of fast cash

Not every option to obtain fast cash is a good idea. Here’s what to avoid.

Payday loans

Payday loans are unsecured personal loans that must be repaid by your next paycheck. Unfortunately, high interest rates and short terms can lead to a vicious cycle of growing debt.

If at all possible, avoid payday loans.

Title loans

Car title loans use your car’s title as collateral for a short-term, high interest loan. With that option, you are putting your vehicle on the line to access a high interest loan that is often laden with fees.

If you have a choice, seek a different option.

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Written by
Sarah Sharkey
Contributing writer
Sarah Sharkey is a contributing writer for Bankrate. Sarah writes about a range of subjects, including banking, savings tips, homebuying, homeownership and personal finance.
Edited by
Banking editor