Money is a problem for many Americans. Prices are rising, wages don’t keep up. Many of us work multiple jobs and still struggle with debt, and many live from paycheck to paycheck. If you’re one of them, you might need to make $500 fast. Here are some ways to do it.
Before we start, remember to be careful if you’re looking for ways to make money. There are many legit opportunities, but there are also scams. If it seems too easy, watch out, especially if someone wants you to pay. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not true!
12 Side Hustles that Can Help You Earn $500 in a Week or Less
Many Americans, probably most, need more money. After all, 51% of us have less than 3 months’ worth of emergency savings and 56% of us couldn’t cover a $1,000 emergency expense. If anything goes wrong, or even if it doesn’t, we’ll need money fast.
If you’re working, your first option will be to ask for more hours or ask for a raise. The labor market is tight and employers want to retain their people, so if you have a good record at work you have a good chance of success.
If that doesn’t work or if you’re self-employed or out of work, you need a side hustle. Here are some options to consider.
Work for a Ridesharing Company
How long will it take to earn $500? It depends on the market, but you can probably make $500 in your first week if you work a standard full-time 40-hour week. You can make even more in a high-demand market.
If you have a car, a driver’s license, and a good driving record, you can apply to drive for Uber, Lyft, or other ridesharing services. You and your vehicle will have to meet some requirements, but if you can do that you’re good to go.
The ridesharing company will connect you with the customers, set the rates, and collect the payments. All you have to do is drive and get paid. You set your own hours, which makes this a uniquely flexible side hustle.
How long will it take to earn $500? It depends on the market and demand, but in a busy location it’s possible to earn $500 a week.
Food delivery services exploded in popularity during the pandemic and have remained popular since. Services like UberEats, Grubhub, and DoorDash always need delivery staff.
Food delivery services are less picky about the type of vehicle you use, since you aren’t carrying people. Many food delivery workers use motorcycles and even bicycles, cutting fuel and maintenance costs dramatically.
You can earn $15 to $20/hour delivering food during peak hours, but you’ll have to remember that most orders come during a limited time of day. You can’t expect to work 8-hour days!
Personal Grocery Shopper
How long will it take to earn $500? It will depend on how many jobs you can complete and variables like the time of day, but it’s possible to earn $500 over the course of a week.
Services like Instacart use personal shoppers to select grocery items to fill customer orders. Personal shoppers are in contact with the person making the order and may adjust orders due to availability or quality.
Instacart shoppers need to be over 18, eligible to work in the U.S., have a recent-model smartphone, and be able to lift 50 pounds. You can set your own schedule, but you’ll earn more by working during high-demand hours.
There are other employers in the market, though Instacart dominates the space
Dog Walking or Pet Sitting
How long will it take to earn $500? It will depend on how many jobs you can complete and variables like time of day, but it’s possible to earn $500 over the course of a week.
If you love dogs or other pets, you can turn that passion into a profitable side hustle. Services like Rover and Wag connect you to clients seeking pet sitting, pet boarding, and pet walking services.
You can set your available hours and your preference for pet types and sizes. Most services offer insurance and a variety of support services, including veterinarian support. Most services pay per pet, so you can add to your income by handling several pets at the same time.
How long will it take to earn $500? If you charge $20 per hour, you’d have to spend 25 hours babysitting.
Babysitting is a traditional side hustle for young people, but there’s a demand for sitters of all ages. Services like Babysits or Care.com can help you find clients, but many sitters start out working for friends or family and spread their networks from there.
Babysitters are always in demand but trust is a key element in finding work, so your best source of referrals will often be satisfied clients. It’s not always an easy job and you’ll need to learn to handle kids (basic first aid skills are good as well), but if you’re good with kids you can earn quite a bit.
Become a Nanny or Home Caregiver
How long will it take to earn $500? The wages vary but average around $20 per hour.
This is more of a regular job and can require a significant time commitment, though part-time employment is often available, particularly to cover someone else’s time off. Care.com offers child care, elder care, and housekeeping positions, and once you gain experience, you can advertise your services locally.
Again, trust is a key part of getting regular work, so your past clients will be a key resource when it comes to finding new work. Give quality service and word of mouth will be your best advertisement!
How long will it take to earn $500? Wages typically range from $10-$15 per hour.
If you’re a native English speaker, you already have a professional skill that’s in demand in much of the world. Services like Preply, VIPKid, and Cambly link you with students around the world. You set your own schedule and the service handles payments.
You’ll have to consider time zones (many students are in Asia or the Middle East) and you’ll need reliable internet and a quiet, undisturbed place to work, but this can be a very satisfying part-time side hustle that could even lead to a new career.
Repair Broken Screens
How long will it take to earn $500? At $50 per screen repair, you’d have to replace 10 to earn $500.
If you’re willing to start with a bit of training, repairing mobile phones is a solid niche with continuous demand. Broken LED screens are a constant problem and there’s always someone looking to have one fixed.
Phone repair courses are available online – some for free – and many areas have face-to-face classes. You’ll need to invest in tools and some old phones to practice on, but once you’re set up phone repair can be a lucrative side hustle.
Start a Freelance Business
How long will it take to earn $500? It depends on your skill set and experience, but experienced freelancers can earn $500 in a week.
Do you have a skill that’s in demand? Platforms like Fiverr and Upwork specialize in linking service providers with potential customers. Writers, graphic designers, and web developers are always in demand, and the range of marketable skills is wider than you might expect.
Start by taking an inventory of your skills and browsing freelance work platforms to get a sense of what clients are looking for. Once you get a sense of where you fit in you’ll need to construct an appealing profile and start actually applying for jobs and projects.
It takes time and patience to get established, and most freelancers cope with a lot of rejections in the beginning. Once you establish a work portfolio and get some positive reviews, freelancing can earn money and even become a full-time career.
How long will it take to earn $500? At $50 an hour, you’d have to complete 10 hours’ worth of jobs.
People need work done around their houses. Some of that work requires specialized skills like plumbing or carpentry, but it’s often as simple as moving furniture or cleaning up bathrooms and kitchens.
Sites like Taskrabbit link service providers with potential customers. You can review the site to see what projects are available in your area. If any match your skills you can get to work. You can also advertise on Craigslist or on local social media groups.
Work as a Virtual Assistant
How long will it take to earn $500? 23 hours at the average salary of $22 an hour.
Virtual assistants handle the same jobs as any executive assistant: scheduling appointments, making calls, arranging travel, managing files, and much more. The only difference is that virtual assistants do these jobs from their own homes.
Websites like Belay and VaVaVirtual Assistants specialize in linking virtual assistants with clients, and many virtual assistants find work on platforms like UpWork and Fiverr.
As with most freelance work, getting started can take some patience and effort. You may have to take some jobs for less than you’d like to build experience and a list of references. Once you have some experience, it will be easier to attract clients and you can raise your rates.
Offer a Unique Service
How long will it take to earn $500? It will depend on the job, but should easily be able to earn $500 in a week.
The first step in looking for a side hustle is looking at your own skills. The more skill a job requires the higher the pay is likely to be, so you want to make the most of what you can do.
This doesn’t just mean work-related skills. If your jobs have left you with marketable skills, you have an obvious basis for a side hustle. If they haven’t look closely at your hobbies, interests, or just your life experience. You’re likely to find skills you didn’t know you had.
Once you’ve targeted your unique skill set, you’ll need to sell it. How you do that will depend on the skill set involved, but you’ll need to be creative and use both standard and outside-the-box methods.
Learn more about online side hustles by watching this video:
Take Advantage of What You Already Own
If you need to make $500 fast, your first step should be to look around you. If you have assets that can be sold or rented, that can be a fast way to get the cash you need.
Sell Your Books, CDs, Tech
Books, CDs, or gadgets that you aren’t using may be treasures to someone else. A quick internet search will give you an idea of what items are worth. You can sell your tech on Decluttr, books and music on Half Price Books, and almost anything on Craigslist.
Use Your Real Estate
If you have extra space in your house or apartment you have a side hustle waiting for you. Rent out your space on Air BnB or VRBO.
Rent Out Your Car
If you have an extra car or you don’t need your car all the time, you can rent it out using Hyrecar or Turo.
Rent Out Your RV
Plenty of people want to use an RV once in a while but don’t want to buy one. If you own one, rent it out through Outdoorsy for extra income.
Store Other People’s Stuff
Storage space is in demand all over the country. If you have a secure space, fill it up with other people’s items and earn money in the process! Neighbor bills itself as “Air BnB for storage” and can help you find clients.
Rent Out Your Pool
If you have a pool, use Swimply to rent it out by the hour or day to individuals or groups. Be sure to read the liability paperwork.
Sell Your Used Clothing or Shoes
If you’ve piled up more clothing, shoes, or bags than you can use, sell them on Poshmark, Mercari, or eBay for fast cash. Some users turn this side hustle into a full-time job!
Sell Home Items You No Longer Need
Got a full house? If you have furniture, appliances, or other items to dispose of, list them on OfferUp or your local Craigslist or social media groups. You can make money and clear space at the same time!
Sell Items on Social Media
Facebook Marketplace, NextDoor and other hyperlocal platforms make it simple to sell furniture, clothing or almost any other items you no longer use. Be sure to accurately describe items and set up safe places to complete the exchange if you’re selling top-dollar items.
Sell Crafts Online
If you’re creatively inclined, consider selling handicrafts on Etsy. Browse the platform to see what sort of products are being sold and for what prices. Don’t be afraid to try something new!
Do Errands and Other Small Jobs
If you think you have nothing to sell, remember that for many people time is a valuable resource. If you have extra time you can effectively sell it by performing errands or small jobs for others. Market your services on social media or start with friends and personal contacts.
Sell Your Gift Cards
Do you have gift cards for stores where you don’t regularly shop? You can sell them on sites like Cardcash, ClipKard, or GiftCash. You won’t get face value, but you may be able to get 75% to 80% of face value in a cash sale.
Other Legit Ways to Earn Quick Cash
There are many ways to earn cash online. Most of them will not earn you $500 unless you put a lot of time in, but they can help you toward your goal.
Complete Online Surveys
You can fill out surveys online and earn money. You won’t earn a lot, and you may find that you aren’t eligible for many surveys. Try survey-specific sites like Survey Junkie or Opinion Outpost or more general sites like Inbox Dollars or Swagbucks.
You can get paid for watching videos. You won’t get paid a lot, but you can watch while doing something else. Try sites like Swagbucks, Inbox Dollars, or MyPoints.
Cash Back Apps
Inbox Dollars, Cashbackholic, Cashback Monitor, Ibotta, and other similar sites will help you earn cash back on your purchases. Don’t get tempted into buying things you wouldn’t have bought anyway!
Amazon Mturk is a crowdsourcing marketplace for outsourcing processes and jobs. There’s a huge range of work available, from highly specialized skilled jobs to work that anyone can do. Review the site for a sense of what it can do for you.
A penny saved is a penny earned. Review your budget, drop subscriptions you don’t need, and keep a record of your purchases so you know where your money is going. Apps like Rocket Money, Trim, and Billshark can help you negotiate lower prices on recurring expenses.
Open a Bank Account
Some savings accounts offer a signup bonus. Discover Bank, Citi, and Chase all offer up to $200 for qualifying accounts. Be sure to read the fine print and be aware of any restrictions. You may have to deposit a large amount to qualify for the bonus.
Apply For a Credit Card
Some credit cards offer a bonus or incentive if you spend a certain amount within a fixed time. It’s only worth it if your ordinary spending is high enough to get you the bonus! Try the Citi Custom Cash, Chase Freedom Flex, or Citi Double Cash cards.
Money Making Apps
Several apps and websites offer a range of money-making opportunities. Don’t expect big money, but every little bit counts.
Inbox Dollars offers cash for taking surveys, shopping, trying new apps, playing games, and more.
Swagbucks lets you earn gift cards by playing games, taking surveys, coupons and cashback offers, and more.
You can get paid for playing games! Check out Mistplay, or apps like Big Time Cash or Gamee.
Apps like Acorns, Chrome, and Digit set aside money by rounding your purchases up to the nearest dollar and depositing the difference in an investment or savings account. Don’t expect fast money, but those small amounts can add up!
The Bottom Line
When you need $500 fast, it can seem intimidating. But in some instances, if you have the time or skills, you can earn that much in a week or even less, particularly if you live in an area where services are in demand. Or start some of the steps listed here to get a savings account started, so that next time you need an emergency $500, you won’t have to struggle.
If you have handyman skills, a service like TaskRabbit is one of the most lucrative ways to earn money. People are always searching for others to help them complete complicated tasks, like furniture assembly, roof patching and painting. The most experienced workers with the best reviews can often charge up to $80 an hour. Personal shopping and food-delivery during office lunch hours can also be lucrative, particularly if you can snag large orders (with appropriately large tips.)
Amazon Mechanical Turk, or Mturk, lets you get paid for completing small tasks. Some are surveys, some are small tasks. They don’t pay much, but can add up, particularly if you can complete several a day. You’ll have to start out slowly, usually with tasks that only pay a few cents until you’ve worked your way up, many of the more lucrative tasks require you to complete 50 or more tasks to qualify. You can sign up here.
When you need $500 fast, a payday loan might seem like the simplest option. It is not. Payday lenders charge high fees and interest rates, sometimes higher than 400%. Because many people are unable to pay the loan back from the next paycheck, they’re forced to take out another loan, and end up trapped in a cycle of debt. If you find yourself in need of emergency cash, try a side hustle or cash advance app instead.