14 Quick Ways To Raise Cash

In the days before emergency funds are fully established there will come a time when you need to generate some quick cash.  In a worst case scenario you may need the cash to pay a utility bill, a medical bill, or even your mortgage.  In a real emergency, every little bit of cash helps, and here are several ways to raise cash quickly.

1. Take a “day laborer” job. Check out the classifieds for listings looking for day laborers.  Often times contractors are looking for people to do some type of manual labor for a short duration, even as short as one day.  It could be cleaning up a job site on a new build, or tossing bricks up to guys on a scaffold.  You’ll probably earn minimum wage, or only slightly better, but for a couple days work you could clear $100.

2. Sell Your DVD Collection on Ebay.  Seriously, how many of those DVDs do you really watch repeatedly?  I can count on one hand the ones I would want to keep, but the rest could be sold and I’d never miss them.

3. Work surveys at CashCrate.  I’ve been a member of CashCrate for nearly two years now, and still work surveys for extra grocery money.  It may take a while to get to $100, but hitting the minimum payout can easily be done the first day. Talk up CashCrate to your friends and family and have them sign up under your name, as the real earning opportunity is in the referrals.

4. Ask neighbors if you can mow their lawn.  Even if you don’t consider yourself a “landscaper,” you could easily mow, edge and blow a couple yards for your neighbors on a Saturday morning and make $100.  You’d be surprised how many people will take you up on the offer just to take a week off from yard work!

5. Hold a yard sale. One of the faster ways to raise cash is to hold a yard sale.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money on advertising.  Simply buy a few pieces of brightly-colored poster board and a fat magic marker.  Write “YARD SALE” in bold letters, followed by the times and your street address.  Place the signs at major intersections to draw traffic.  For other ideas read more tips for a successful yard sale.

6. Sell gold jewelry.  Thanks to the recession gold prices are still running high. If you have some gold jewelry sitting around that you rarely wear, it might be worth offering it up to broker such as Cash4Gold, who will give you cash in exchange for allowing him to melt it down and resell it for a profit.

7. Be a medical guinea pig.  Medical research facilities and universities will pay participants to take part in trials, surveys, and other types of research.  Tread carefully here; some trials could have negative medical consequences, while things like surveys and sleep studies don’t seem so bad.

8. Donate plasma.  Most cities of any size have a donation center that will offer $25-$35 for a donating plasma.  And depending on your medical condition you may be able to donate up to twice a week.

9. Redeem your credit card rewards.  Even if you are like me and you haven’t used credit cards in a while, but are working to pay them off, chances are there are some rewards points accumulated from past spending.  Contact each credit card company and ask about your rewards balance.  Redeem what is available in the form of cash (check from company), or a gift card to a store you can buy some household essentials (Walmart, Home Depot, etc.).

10. Sell your books online.  Services like Cash4Books.com will provide an online quote for your books and even add a little extra for the trouble of shipping.  Books that don’t sell here may sell at sites like Amazon.com marketplace (a great place to sell textbooks) or eBay.

11. Take something valuable to a pawn shop.  Musical instruments, computer equipment, jewelry and sporting equipment in good condition all sell well at pawn shops, and owners are more likely to give you cash for these items.

12. Sell company stock.  If you currently participate in an employee stock purchase plan at work, consider cashing out if you are in need of cash. Company stock is not well-diversified, and often the cash could be put to better use, even if it is simply reinvested with a broader diversification.

13. Ask to work overtime.  With unemployment running high, and little budgeted for new hires, you may be able to work a little overtime if demand justifies it.  Talk to your boss about working some extra hours and you should have a little extra in your next paycheck.

14. Gather up loose change.  If you are like me you probably have a couple stashes of loose change – on top of your dresser, in the cup holder of your car, and the cracks between sofa cushions.  You can either roll the coins in wrappers provided by your bank, or visit a Coinstar machine in your area to convert the coins to cash.  Coinstar charges a fee for cash payouts, but you can get an Amazon.com gift certificate for your full balance, which could be used to buy just about everything under the sun.


  1. These are all great suggestions and many of the ideas I’ve actually done or seriously considered.

    When I was younger I worked 3 jobs, one of which was mowing lawns. It was nice to have that extra income from mowing, even though I already had 2 jobs, it still helped.

    I have sold a ton of things on eBay and made well over $2,000 in a couple of months time. A lot of what I sold was just stuff that was cluttering up my apartment.

    I have pawned off most of my DVD collection because it wasn’t doing anything, just collecting dust. No sense in allowing it to take up space for no good reason. I may have to thin it out again.

    Gathering up loose change is a challenge because I keep pretty good tabs on my change and collect it in a big glass jar. I turn it in when I have right around $50 or so. That also helps to offset costs once in a while.

    I am not entirely sure about the medical experiments. I have a friend who does them on semester breaks from school and brings in big money for a couple weeks of work. Of course, who knows what the future consequences of these will be in the future…he may glow in the dark for all I know!

    Great post for people who are looking for ideas to earn quick money!

  2. Funny, I’m actually writing this while wrapping up a couple day garage sale. Almost $500 in profit not to mention emptying out a lot of storage bins! I just wanted to point out that Amazon is great for selling any kind of books, not just text books.

  3. I really recommend the idea of selling some company stock; especially as you mentioned it’s not diversified: you haven’t really chosen to buy it, you already work there (so that’s two sources of income from the same company), etc. And if it doesn’t even pay a dividend, for me that’s automatically a sell.

    And yes, I would be very careful with medical experiments. It’s better us than on animals, but even vaccines have been known to kill people!

  4. These are some great tips. With the way the economy is going these days, we need all the extra cash we can get. I’ve never heard of CashCrate–I will definitely check that website out. There are also quite a few other sites out there that let you accumulate points by shopping online and earning giftcards. I was a little skeptical at first but I tried out two of them and I like them so far. http://www.ebates.com and http://www.mypoints.com

  5. Thanks for the great ideas, but I have to pick at one of them.

    If you get paid money to do something, it’s not really donating. Please say sell your plasma, as that is actually whay you are doing. I donate blood to the Red Cross all the time and it annoys me to have my donation lumped in with people selling their plasma by the use of the word donate.

    Thank you and good post

  6. Good starter list for anyone needing extra cash. It just scratches the surface as there are so many more ways to make money on the side. I’ve seen several longer lists, but they can almost be overwhelming. It’s nice to see a shorter one where you can quickly pick one or two items and do them now instead of getting stuck in indecisive land from too many options.

    Sell your DVDs… that one has a special meaning for me. I was an avid DVD watcher and collector when I was single – so much so that I didn’t even have cable or satellite TV. Last year, I cleared out about 800 DVDs out of over 2000! This was done because my wife and I needed money (and space!) for our new baby.

    I am still paring down the collection. I haven’t sold anything on eBay (yet), but I have sold to friends and collegues as well as at garage sales – which we have twice a year. It’s amazing how much stuff you accumulate in your home. It’s even more amazing at what other people will buy from a garage sale. We rarely throw anything out that isn’t real trash – it all goes in the next garage sale.

    Books are another weakness. I frequently visit used bookstores and often sell back what I no longer want. I’ll have to see if Cash4Books gives a better deal.

    I haven’t used CashCrate before, but might check it out. I do use MyPoints in order to get gift certificates to Amazon every once in a while. You can rack up quite a few points over time just by clicking through from their frequent e-mails without actually buying anything. I also use eRewards connected to my UPromise account to help pay my student loans. It’s not much, but it helps.

  7. Donating plasma is a good, simple, easy way to make quick money. Can get about $20-$25 for about an hour visit, can do once a week even.

    If you don’t want to drain fluids and get stuck with needles, I think selling old crap like you mention is a great way to clear space and make some extra money.

  8. Nice list. I would say working harder at your job for a bonus is the best idea. You don’t want to be dividing your attention away from your main income source and risk slipping on the job.

  9. I’ve done the following things to make quick money:
    – sell stuff on Craigslist and eBay.
    – bounce at a local bar.
    – sold my beater car
    – rolled up my spare change in my coin sorter
    – surveys – I’ve participated in some surveys for quick cash, up to $100. Doing another one tomorrow for $75. Easy money and it’s fun.
    Where there’s a will, there’s a way – you can always make quick cash if you get creative.

  10. I sell books at half.com. It works out great for me. I make between 25-80 bucks a month. I live in a college town and always frequent my thrift marts after graduation to purchase text books for next to nothing! Then I list them on half.com and sell. It is VERY easy and the buyer even pays shipping.
    Great and timely post FD!

  11. Nice post! It is amazing how much loose change you can find in your car, purse, pockets, couch, etc… And don’t forget to recycle all your bottles and cans, it adds up quick!

  12. great information. i recently used your “Sell Your DVD Collection on Ebay” suggestion, but quick turned it from junk in my garage to small business.

    i found a way to make some quick doe. i found these, “8 point and 7/16 wrench catv cable star key security tool” listed on eBay for $50.00 each. Found the source (newelectronx) that sells them for $5 to 15 bucks per piece. I sell them on craigslist for a good return. i’ve been making good money every since. i’m not wealthy yet, but income is going smoothly and sell aren’t that bad. profit is at least $35 per sale. if i sell eight pieces per day then i make like $280 which is better than a 8 hour job to me. so online selling works.. try it

  13. With havin so much written content do you ever run
    into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement? My website has a lot of unique content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any methods to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d really appreciate it.

    • It’s tough with the Internet. For the most part, it’s just not worth pursuing. You’d waste the time that you could spend creating original content trying chase down the people that have “borrowed” your stuff. With appropriate attribution, it’s fair use; but you are right: without attribution it’s plagiarism. That being said, you could always contact the hosting site and let them know that they are hosting plagiarized material. That will work in a lot of cases. Good luck!