Do You Need Money Now? 26 Ways to Get Help or Quick Cash

Most of us have been there before, a little short on funds to pay a critical bill or an emergency repair.

If you need money fast, don’t turn to a payday lender or use a title loan. Here are several better, quicker, cheaper options without the eye-watering high-interest rates.

Need Money Today? Here are 26 Tips to Get Some Relief

If you’re reading this and thinking “I need money now,” these various options offer a quick source of income when you need cash immediately.

1. Are There Government Resources That Can Help?

Though the government won’t make loan or credit card payments for you, there are some programs available that can help you get through a financial crisis, covering food aid, children’s health care and energy costs.

If you need immediate food assistance, contact a local food pantry. Feeding America offers a searchable database. Don’t be embarrassed; many families are suffering right now.

  • SNAP: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food.
  • CHIP: The Children’s Health Insurance Program provides coverage to low- and moderate-income children for families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid.
  • LIHEAP: The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs. LIHEAP provides federally funded assistance to reduce the costs associated with home energy bills, energy crises, weatherization, and minor energy-related home repairs.

General Resources

Here are a few more resources that may help.

  • Benefits.gov: This offers a nearly comprehensive guide to the benefits you may receive, including medical and food assistance
  • Oblito.com: Provides information on emergency services such as medical, housing, and food assistance
  • 211 Program: This program gives out free referrals and information to people who need human and health services
  • Community action agencies: These provide child care, utility, and other grants for people in need

Other Resources for Immediate Help

Contact a local church, shelter, or food bank/drive if you need immediate assistance. Other options include:

  • AARP
  • ShelterListings.org
  • LowIncomeHousing.us
  • StartSleeping
  • Need Help Paying Bills
  • Senior Resources for Professionals and Consumers

2. Make Sure the Government Doesn’t Owe You Money

Approximately 10% of Americans have unclaimed property. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) will help you find it.

NAUPA operates in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. To date, it has returned more than $3 billion in unclaimed property—the average claim of $1,780.

Go to their website and search for any unclaimed property. If you find any, send in a claim. Once you’ve proven the property is yours, you should receive it within 30 days of filing.

READ MORE: Easy ways to make $500 fast

3. Take Some Items to a Pawn Shop

Pawning some items allows you to get your belongings back after payday. Or, if you have some things you know will retain some value but don’t mind ever getting them back, starting with these items is another great option. It will alleviate the stress of trying to get back the items on your next payday.

4. Sell Unused Items

Sell unused or unwanted items on Craigslist, eBay, Facebook marketplace, Offer Up, etc., Or have a garage sale. Promote it for free on social media or post signs in and around significant thoroughfares in your neighborhood.

5. Drive for Uber or Lyft

There are plenty of side hustle opportunities with ride-share companies. Note that you will need to update your car insurance if you’re taking on passengers. If your car doesn’t meet the company’s requirements for ride-share, you can still take on meal deliveries.

6. Take On a Side Hustle

Maybe you have a particular crafting skill and can sell your wares on eBay or Etsy. Or if you love cooking, there are elderly people who might be willing to hire you to prepare some meals for them. And while some multi-level marketing have earned a bad reputation, there are a few legitimate ones that could help you earn a little extra cash. The key is that you have to be a skilled networker, and have about $100 in startup money. Choose a product you believe in, and don’t hand over any money until you’ve thoroughly researched the company’s earning structure. You don’t want to get roped into a pyramid scheme, or sign up for a company that rewards you for recruiting rather than sales. A few MLM companies include Mary Kay, Avon, Scentsy, Norway and Rodan + Fields.

7. If You Already Have a Full-Time Job, Ask for Overtime

Even just a couple of extra hours a week can be a real help when your financial situation is spiraling out of control. Also, see if your employer participates in a payroll service that allows you to access your pay early. Apps like PayActiv and DailyPay allow paycheck advances when you need emergency cash — if your employer participates.

8. Become a Professional Shopper

Sign up to work for Instacart, Shipt, or another service. Instacart and Shipt shoppers make money by buying groceries at local stores that the company has partnered with and delivering those items to customers’ homes.

9. Work as a Freelancer

Check Fiverr or Upwork. These online marketplaces connect freelancers (sellers) to people or businesses looking to hire (buyers). Everybody has a skill set that is useful to someone willing to pay for it. 

10. Babysit

Babysitting can be a big business. Care.com offers childcare, senior care, tutoring, housekeeping, daycare and even pet care.

The average cost of childcare in the U.S. is a little over $10,000 a year.

11. Pet Sit Through Rover.com

Pet sitting is the equivalent of $609/week or $2,641/month. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $15.24 an hour. According to ZipRecruiter, the national average of a pet sitter is around $31,694 a year in 2022.

12. Rent Your Extra Space Through Airbnb or VRBO

If you have an extra bedroom or converted garage apartment, this is a great way to offset some of the expenses of homeownership and make friends with a stranger. It’s a win-win for your bottom line and mental well-being. You could even take in a roommate if you’re willing to make a long-term commitment.

13. Take on Jobs Through Taskrabbit

Not everyone is great at assembling that IKEA sofa or dining set from Wayfair. Taskrabbit and Thumbtack are online and mobile marketplaces that match freelance labor with local demand, allowing consumers to find help with everyday tasks, including furniture assembly, moving, delivery and handyman work.

14. Sell Unused Gift Cards

Almost two-thirds of Americans have unspent gift cards. Companies like Raise and CardCash let you sell gift cards for as much as 92 percent cash back. While you won’t walk away with 100 percent of the card’s value, you can use these sites to turn old gift cards into cash.

15. Apply for a Payday Alternative Loan

A Payday Alternative Loan is a short-term loan offered by federal credit unions as an affordable alternative to expensive payday loans if you need money to make ends meet on short notice. The National Credit Union Administration sets the guidelines with better terms and capped interest rates.

16. Use a Credit Card Cash Advance or Balance Transfer

A cash advance lets you borrow a certain amount of money against your credit card’s line of credit. Make sure you don’t exceed your credit limit and be aware that you will have a transaction fee and a higher annual percentage rate (APR).

READ MORE: Here are the 12 best balance transfer credit cards

17. Use a Cash Advance App

Use a cash advance app like Albert that allows borrowers to get small paycheck advances. These apps offer fast cash, are cheaper than a payday loan, there’s no interest, and are typically paid with tips or maybe a small monthly fee. The only drawback is the loan amount will be small. There’s no credit check, so you’ll qualify even if you have bad credit.

18. Get a Quick Cash Loan from Cash App or Venmo

Cash App Borrow is a type of short-term loan offered through the platform Cash App. Eligible borrowers can take out a loan from $20 to $200. They have four weeks to pay it back, plus a 5% flat fee — Venmo loans up to $5,000.

19. Complete Online Surveys

It is possible to complete online surveys for money. Sign up for Swagbucks, Amazon Mturk, Survey Monkey, Opinion Outpost, etc. The payouts won’t gain your financial freedom overnight, but completing surveys for cash can give you a slight economic boost.

20. Crowdfund

If you need help with medical bills or a crisis, try asking friends and family for help. You can even request a stranger for help and do this directly or through a platform like GoFundMe.

21. Borrow Money from a Stranger 

Peer-to-peer lending is growing in popularity, and there are even ways to borrow using social media, including a subreddit (r/borrow) that allows people to post loan requests funded by fellow Redditors.

READ MORE: Best peer-to-peer loans for bad credit

22. Sign Up for a Cash Back Shopping App

Apps like Ibotta and Rakuten can help you save on groceries, shopping from big name stores and brands, gift cards and sometimes doubles your savings from in-store discounts. Sites like Cashback Monitor and Cashbackholic will even tell you which site pays the most.

READ MORE: Here are the best receipt-scanning apps

23. Play Games Online

There are many games that pay real money. These games are available on different platforms, including mobile devices or a computer. Some are free to play, though others cost money to sign up or require in-app purchases. From cards to word puzzles to competitive online tournaments, there’s the potential for anyone to win real-world cash.

READ MORE: Best game apps that pay real money

24. Sign Up for Zogo and Earn Money by Improving Your Financial Literacy

Zogo is an app that pays you for completing tasks to improve your financial literacy and learn how money really works in real life. By completing brief quizzes, you can earn “pineapples” that are redeemed for gift cards to places like Amazon or Walmart. It’s available for iOs (iPhone) and Android. You won’t get rich doing this, but you can earn some quick grocery money and learn more about money management.

25. Get an Installment Loan

The personal loan application process is quick. Some are approved instantly, and you can have the money in your bank account by the next business day. There will, however, be a credit check. The loan terms will be better than most short-term loans.

READ MORE: Best installment loans for bad credit

26. Call Your Credit Card Company and Ask if it Offers a Hardship Program

Some offer repayment assistance if you’re going through a tough time, like a job loss or health crisis. Some lenders expanded their hardship programs due to the coronavirus pandemic, and some of the expanded COVID-19 programs are still in place today. Call your credit card company and ask if they offer one.

READ MORE: Hardship loans for bad credit

To learn more about how to find out if the government owes you money, check out this video:

If You Can, Try More Than One Option

If you have the extra money in your checking account once you’ve covered your immediate needs, stash it away in an emergency fund. That way, you have some flexibility the next time you have emergency expenses.

Build Your Credit Score

If your score is less than ideal, you aren’t alone. Take some time to focus on boosting your credit score. If you’re scrambling for instant cash, you probably have a less-than-ideal credit history. Sign up for a service like Experian Boost, which helps you build credit through monthly subscriptions by reporting standard monthly payments to the Big Three credit bureaus; Experian, Transunion and Equifax.

The Bottom Line

Desperate times may call for desperate measures, but these measures don’t have to feel dire. You can turn the current economic uncertainty into an opportunity to assess where your money goes and where it comes from. Assess your spending habits and ensure they match your priorities for yourself and your family. 

Learning to reduce your spending now can make your life easier if you’re forced to live on less later on.

FAQs

What Are Some Good Personal Loan Options if I Have Bad Credit?

A payday alternative loan from a credit union is a great option. Credit unions offer these loans and cost considerably less than a payday loan. It allows 12 months to repay, and loans can be up to $2000. The maximum APR is 28%, with an application fee of no more than $20. You must be a credit union member for at least one month or six months, depending on the credit union. You can receive a maximum of 3 loans within six months. Most don’t require good credit but the borrower’s income and ability to repay the loan.
Another option is to get a cash advance from your credit card. You are borrowing money against your card’s line of credit, and it can be as simple as heading to the ATM. You will pay a higher interest rate than what you pay for purchases, but it is better than any payday lender charges you.
Cash advance apps are another great way to tap into earnings you already worked for.
Another alternative is applying for a home equity loan or line of credit. This loan uses a percentage of equity in your home to get cash and is a line of credit secured by your home. 

What FICO Score Should I Aim For?

You need at least to qualify for any loan in the 500 and 600 range. A credit score lower than 500 may not be eligible for anything. Higher credit scores will always get you better rates and terms. Credit scores in the 700s and 800s will get the lowest interest rates so aim for that.
READ MORE: 10 possible reasons why your credit score suddenly dropped

How Can I Earn Some Quick Money Online?

Receipt apps, games, etc., are easy ways to earn quick cash but won’t help much if you need money now. It takes some time to build up enough for redemptions. Instead, you’re better off signing up for the apps now and letting money build, so you have some flex if you need some quick cash later.

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