I Need Money Desperately: 33 Ways to Get Cash Now (2021)

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If you’ve ever said to yourself “I need money desperately”, the usual money-saving tips are probably not what you need to hear right now.

The fact is that if you have a desperate need for money, you require creative solutions. That’s what this article is here to help you with.

We’ll tackle this in three ways.

Firstly, we’ll discuss ways to find extra money so you can try to avoid getting into debt. The best way to raise extra cash without needing to get a loan is to start a side hustle. Thankfully, not all side hustles need money to get started.

Then we’ll cover some options if getting a loan is something you just have to do. We discuss personal loans, credit cards as well as high interest options for when you are really in a bind.

Finally, we’ll share some tips to ensure you never have a repeat of this and come out the other side in a better financial position than when you started.

33 Things To Do When You Need Money Urgently

Assess your options below to see if any of these options will help you get money urgently.

1. Get free money from sign up bonuses

These websites actually pay you just to sign up. Not kidding! This is real actual free money.

Most of them are either survey sites or get paid to (GPT) sites, so you might want to stick with them and continue to earn, but you are also able to just cash out the signup bonus.

Swagbucks will pay you $5 for signing up. You can earn money by watching videos, answering surveys and playing games.

Ibotta will pay you $20 on activation of an offer (which you can do at the grocery store so this is very easy). Ibotta is a coupon and saving app that allows you to claim offers on things you buy anyway. Read our Ibotta review.

InboxDollars also has a $5 sign up bonus.

There are loads more websites in this article: Get Paid to Sign Up: 11 Sites That Pay You To Join

2. Offer to do odd jobs

If you have the tools, people are always looking for help with odd jobs like gardening, general yard work, cleaning and housekeeping.

Use social media to offer your services, command an hourly rate that’s not too high (as you actually need the money and therefore need the work) and be available when people contact you.

Local community Facebook groups are your best bet for finding odd jobs that you don’t have to travel too far to complete.

3. Have a yard sale

One of the easiest ways to make quick cash is to have a yard or garage sale.

You can do it in one day and then spend the next day listing items that didn’t get sold online.

Make sure you charge enough for your items – price them fairly so they will sell. You need money today, after all.

4. Use Craigslist

Another way to make extra cash quickly is by using Craigslist.

People sell all types of things on there, and often at times when they need money fast.

If you’ve got unused stuff laying around the house, put it to work for you.

Post your items on Craigslist or eBay and let them go to good homes where they will be properly cared for instead of sitting in your basement.

Just be careful as sometimes people will try to scam you into giving them the items before they have paid.

5. Work freelance

If you have skills, one of the best ways to get money fast is to offer to work freelance.

You could advertise on sites like Upwork or Fiverr and sell your skills for quick cash.

I used to write articles on Upwork for $50 a pop. It wasn’t huge money, but it was a quick and reliable way to make money.

Consider things like working as a virtual assistant, as a graphic designer, web developer, online tutor.

Anything you are good at can be monetized online – you just need to get creative.

6. Consider renting out a spare room

If you have a spare room – that’s rent money!

Make the room look tidy and take some good images, then list it on Facebook Marketplace or sites like Craigslist or Gumtree.

If you don’t want a long term roommate you can always offer it for a set period of time, just enough to get the money you need.

People are always looking for affordable short term accommodation, so you could be helping someone else out as well.

You might even find that after time, you enjoy the extra income and the roommate gets to stay!

7. Sublet your house and move in with family

Subletting your home for extra income is an option that you should consider.

If you have somewhere else you can stay for free or cheap while you get your finances on track this can be a viable strategy.

Ensure your local laws allow this type of arrangement, and if you are renting, be sure to check with your landlord first.

8. Rent out your car

If you don’t drive often, or have a vehicle that you won’t need for a few days per month then consider renting it out on sites like Turo, Carnextdoor.  

It’s similar to Airbnb in that it allows regular people to offer their services to others at an affordable price – which is great if you’ve got something in the driveway collecting dust.

9. Sell your car

If you have a reliable vehicle, sell it! If the price is right people will buy used cars all year round.  

A lot of people don’t mind buying older models – in fact, some prefer them because they are cheaper.

If you don’t need a car for living and getting to work, selling it could make a huge difference to your bottom line.

10. Sell your old cell phone

Would you believe that your old cell phone is worth money? That’s right – there are people who will buy old models of phones that are no longer sold by cell phone companies.

Make a little cash and help someone else out at the same time!

You can sell your old devices online on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, or even trade them in directly with some wireless providers like Koodo Mobile for credit towards new phones.

11. Sell unused gift cards

Check your cupboards – chances are you have some unused gift cards which you never redeemed.

Consider selling these on websites like Raise to get cash for them and make use of all those expired opportunities that would otherwise be going to waste.

You might be surprised at just how much money is hiding inside those expired gift card accounts!

12. Downgrade your services

This is a step to be taken very carefully.  If you have a lot of debt already and can’t make ends meet, then consider cancelling your expensive services – like the cable or cellphone, and downgrade to a cheaper plan.  

This can be tricky because some companies will give you an extremely low offer in exchange for leaving their service completely, so it might be worth calling around to explore options before simply cutting ties.

13. Take surveys online

This is one of those things you are going to want to make sure is legitimate before taking part in.  

There are many companies that pay people for their feedback, but there are also companies who scam people into signing up for fake survey sites only under the pretense of making money.

It’s best to stick with large well-trusted sites. We like the following sites:

  • Branded Surveys – awesome reviews on Trustpilot, available in Canada, USA, UK.
  • Survey Junkie – popular, highest paying surveys. USA, Australia, Canada.
  • Opinion Outpost – established trust brand – USA and UK.
  • Opinion World – same company as Opinion Outpost. Australia, New Zealand, Ireland.

This is a list of genuine survey sites that pay cash through PayPal, so you can get free cash in your bank account.

If you are not based in the USA, these are the sites we recommend for our international readers in:

14. Get a part time job

A part time job can answer all your woes. Depending on your experience you could earn between $10 – $20 an hour for work ranging from retail to admin, and even childcare or data entry.

You’ll need a flexible schedule which might be hard if you have family commitments already but it’s certainly one way to get some quick cash in a hurry!

15. Offer your services as a pet sitter or dog walker

Many people who go away on vacation don’t want their pet left alone at home – so they look for someone to come in and take care of them while their owners are away.

This is easier said than done, but with sites like Rover.com it becomes much more feasible because you can reach thousands of local clients needing dog walking services right away.

16. Get a personal loan

If you need to borrow money, a personal loan can be a good option, as long as you already have a job or other income source.

Just keep in mind that it may take some time before you get approved and receive the money.

This is because personal loans require application forms and credit checks and can be more of a hassle to get than other sources of funding.

However, if taking out a personal loan is what you need to do in case of emergency, then it’s something to keep in your arsenal.

Personal loans also tend to be easier to get when you have good credit, so it is a good idea to do everything you can to maintain your credit score.

This includes paying all of your bills on time every month and making payments more than the minimum due on any accounts that you have.

This is probably not helpful to read when you need money desperately or if you have bad credit, but it’s something to keep in mind for the future when you come out the other side of your money crisis.

In terms of interest rates, personal loans tend to have lower rates than cash advances and payday loans.

17. Ask family and friends

Ask for help from a family member, friends or other well-off acquaintances if you are in desperate need of money.

This can be very difficult to do, and shouldn’t be something you do regularly (if you value the relationship), as it creates tension.

That said, asking family and friends can be hugely helpful if done sparingly.

And most people who love you won’t want to see you stuck.

Make sure you provide upfront information about how you plan to repay the loan and stick to it.

18. Use credit cards

Credit card interest rates are high, but not as high as payday lenders so they should be near the bottom of the list of options.

Getting a new credit card isn’t something you should do when you need money urgently.

If you have an existing card, then accessing the funds available can get you out of a bind.

19. Rent-to-own

Rent to own can be a good option when you’re in dire straits and need an essential item immediately.

This method is used by many stores, and it involves renting the item while making installment loan payments towards the cost of the item.

It’s essentially like buying on credit, but you have more time.

20. Get a credit union loan

If you are a member, a credit union can be a good option for getting loans with low rates and fees.

And, unlike some banks, credit unions are known to take you on as a member even if you have bad credit or not much money.

Many credit unions require that you join the bank before you make a loan request.

Some credit unions only all you to borrow amounts equal to what you have deposited in there.

If you have $1000 in your account, most are not going to give you a loan for more than $1000.

This is an unfortunate truth about credit unions and no amount of pleading or explaining will help. This is simply how the credit union survives.

21. Apply for hardship programs

Banks, card companies and even some retirement funds have hardship programs that might be able to help you.

To qualify, you’ll need to prove that your income has dropped or that you recently went through a life change (like unemployment or the death of your spouse).

22. Negotiate payment plans

If you’ve got a stellar track record with your creditors, many will negotiate terms when they see that you really need their services and are sincere about paying them back.

Keep in mind that this is only for emergencies so make sure you’re an ideal candidate by getting in contact and explaining your situation as early as you can.

You don’t want your file sent to a collections agency, as that is when you have lose some of your power to negotiate.

23. Max out your credit card

Sometimes you need cash fast so putting it on plastic can get things moving very quickly – especially if you’ve got a flexible interest free promotion running right now.

Be careful not to go overboard, but try to remember that there’s always another option down the road for when these funds run out.

24. Get a cash advance

If you’ve got a good track record there’s no reason why banks won’t give you money when you need it. Withdrawing cash from your credit card as a cash advance is a viable strategy in a financial emergency.

This option should be used sparingly because charges for cash advances are typically very high (15%+) and the interest is applied from the date of the cash advance. Use this option only in emergencies!

25. Visit the pawn shop

If you have valuables hanging around the house that aren’t making an appearance these days, take them to the pawn shop and see what they can give you for them.

These shops will give you a cash loan using the item as security. The loan amount is almost always less than the item’s value.  The – so it’s definitely a good idea to do some research before just handing over your stuff!

You can then buy the item back by making regular payments. If you decide to do this make sure you have a good idea of what your item is worth and keep in mind that the pawn shop will be adding on interest and fees for their service as well.

If you value the item, then it’s not worth doing.

But for things you could live without, the cash might help cover some of your outgoings and it’s usually paid instantly so a good option when you need money today.

Note: if you have the time and energy, you’ll almost always make more money selling your valuable items privately than at a pawn shop. This is another last resort option for when you are desperate for money.

26. Use a payday loan as a last resort

If you’ve never used a payday loan before, you should know that there are two types of them. A short term loan and a longer-term loan. They work like this:

You fill out an online application form and submit it to the loan provider. You are given an option to choose your repayment period (e.g., 1 month, 3 months etc.), the amount you want to borrow ($500 – $1000) and how often you’d like to pay back ($100 a week, every two weeks, every month).  

Once that information is submitted they will do an automated credit check followed by human verification of your income (we live in a robot world after all!). Once verification is completed you’ll get access to the funds.

Payday lenders sit on the fringe of the financial services world because, unfortunately, they are very much needed.

Payday loans are for when you absolutely need money fast and have no other options. Because of the extortionate fees and interest rates, they should be your last line of defense.

Things to do once your money crisis is over

The following steps can be taken once you have come out the other side of your personal financial crisis.

27. Start a emergency fund

Once you get back on your feet, starting an emergency fund should be your first order of business.

You need to make sure you have enough put away that if you ever need money again, you can get it from your own savings.

Ideally, you’ll put away between 3-6 months worth of expenses.

That amount can seem overwhelming at the start, so start with at least $50 monthly and if you can do it consistently, that’s a great start.

Related: How to Start an Emergency Fund: A Complete Guide

28. Create a budget

Once you’ve got everything in order, make sure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes by creating a monthly budget so that you know exactly how much money is coming in and going out.

The best way to do this is to use a budgeting tool like Mint . It takes all the work out of tracking your spending. All you have to do is link your bank account to Mint and it’ll take care of everything else.

Get into the habit of checking your finances on a regular basis as well so that no surprises blindside you again. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Pro tip: Make a bare bones, survival budget alongside your main budget. Think of this like an action plan you can implement if another crisis occurs.

A survival budget is a stripped back version of your regular budget, you can read more about how to make a survival budget here.

29. Live more frugally

You might already think you’re living frugally, but we can always improve.

When you’re in a pinch for some cash, making small changes like cutting back on that daily Starbucks coffee can really help.

You might also want to consider taking advantage of any opportunities to get more involved with your community so that you don’t have to pay as much for entertainment.

Getting outside and becoming part of something will make life cheaper in general as improving your general enjoyment of life.

This monster list of frugal living tips is a great place to get inspired.

30. Check your credit score

If you’ve gone through a difficult money experience and want to make sure it doesn’t happen again, it’s a good idea to get your free credit score on an annual basis.

If necessary take steps to improve it – even if they’re small, every little bit helps when you don’t have any cash flow!

The type of loan you can access in the future will be determined by your credit score – so make sure that you do everything you can to get it back on track.

31. Pay off debt once and for all

Whether it be overdraft fees or large store card balances, the sooner you can pay everything off the better.

If you took a high interest loan to get through a tough financial time, focus on paying that loan back first.

Then, work through the loans by interest rate, paying them off one by one. That way nothing will hold you back from reaching your goals in life!

Related: How to Get Out Of Debt: A 10-Step Plan for Becoming Debt Free

32. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need

This might seem obvious, but if you are already short on money, do not spend money that you need.

Use it to pay off high interest loans instead.

A little bit of money can go a long way if you’re living on the edge.

If you have an amount that makes everything okay for another month, spend it wisely and be grateful that you’ve got it!

33. Have someone to bounce ideas off of

If you feel like life is just slipping through your fingers, don’t go through it alone.

Talking to someone like a financial counselor or mentor can really help to get your finances on track.

A support person can also be super helpful for helping you avoid future situations where you desperately need money.

They can help you build a budget so you always have the money you need, talk to creditors on your behalf and help facilitate payment plans.

It’s also just really nice to have someone you can be completely open with about money.

Getting your money right is not something that happens easily for most people.

Unless you’ve had excellent money education (most haven’t), getting finances on track is usually spurred by some sort of terrifying personal financial crisis. I know this was the case for me to start being good with money.

The great thing is, once you have your money in order, it’s relatively easy to stay on top of things.

No one wants to experience a financial emergency though and that’s okay – what is important is that you learn from it and take action to make sure that next time, you’ve got the money lying around to do what you need to do.

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About Emma Healey

Emma is a recognised family finance and budgeting expert and founder of Mum's Money. Her advice has been featured in Readers Digest, Yahoo Finance, Lifehacker, The Simple Dollar, MSN Money and more.