We all know the basics of money management. We’re supposed to have a well-calculated budget and abide by it. We’re supposed to put money in savings and live below our means.
That might be the plan, but in real life, things happen and you need to roll with the punches. Sometimes that means getting into debt.
The problem is that debt costs serious money in the form of interest charges. Instead of paying for it for years, try these strategies to make fast money and pay off your debt.
1. Declutter for Cash
Take a quick look around your home. Think about how many of the items that are in plain sight have gone unused for years. Can you imagine how many more idle items there are in the back of your closet that you never touch?
Not only is that all taking up space but it may as well be frozen cash.
Now is the time to make some money with your spring cleaning. Find anything around your home that you don’t need and, if it’s in good shape, sell it online.
Platforms like Amazon and eBay are typically the safest options. You don’t need to meet the person to make the exchange and the platform acts as the go-between. Of course, there are options like Craigslist and local buy/sell groups too.
If you want to take it a step further, you can turn selling into a business. Start buying valuable items from thrift stores and selling them online for a profit.
2. Get Rid of Unused Gifts
What do you do when you get a gift card to a store or site where you’ll never shop? You probably toss them into a junk drawer like the rest of us.
Instead, get some of the value from it by selling your gift cards online. You aren’t likely to get the full value of the card, but you’ll get more than the $0 of value you’d receive if the card stayed in your junk drawer.
3. Use Your Special Skills
Everyone has unique skills and knowledge, and chances are that there’s a way to make money with yours.
Think about what you do for a living or any subjects you have an academic background in. There’s likely a way to turn it into a freelancing service. For instance, if you know about search engine optimization, there are businesses everywhere who will pay you to improve their Google rankings.
Your talent doesn’t need to come from your job, though. You can also turn your hobby into a side hustle.
Do you enjoy carpentry, for example? Offer your services to fix or assemble furniture.
It’s easy to get this side business started. You can put together a site of your own with a low-cost site builder like Wix or Squarespace to advertise your service and you can accept payments with PayPal. You could also use existing platforms like Fiverr, Taskrabbit, or Upwork.
4. Share Your Thoughts
Businesses do extensive amounts of research on things like product packaging, site design, brand tag lines, and more. They also want to know if there is a market for their products in the first place. They’re willing to pay extensive amounts of money to find out.
That’s when they turn to sites and apps for online surveys. Platforms like Survey Junkie, Opinion Outpost, and Toluna will pay you cash or rewards to take surveys. It’s an easy way to make money online while you’re watching TV or waiting in line with only your smartphone.
Keep in mind that in many cases, these surveys are looking for respondents in specific demographic groups or regions. It’s best to sign up for several survey sites so you don’t run out of options.
5. Hit the Road
If you’re someone who doesn’t mind rolling your window down and cruising the streets, you have plenty of options to make money in your car.
For the extroverts, try driving for rideshare services like Uber or Lyft. This will be especially helpful if you’re in a well-populated city with more customers for the picking.
If you’re more of an introvert, why not drive food instead of people? Food delivery services like DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and Postmates are thriving. It’s easy to apply and you can start working quickly.
6. Rent Out Your Car
Perhaps you’re in the opposite camp from the joyful drivers above. You have a vehicle you aren’t using and it’s simply sitting around in your driveway. Turn it into ongoing cash by renting it out.
You may hear this under the name of car sharing. Either way, the gist is that as a private vehicle owner, you rent your vehicle to others in exchange for daily, weekly, or monthly fees.
There is a lot to think about to prevent legal issues, though, so read up on how to rent out your car first.
7. Try Multi-Faceted Rewards Systems
You already know about taking online surveys, but that’s only one of many ways to make money doing crowdsourced tasks.
Some platforms will give you cash or other rewards for doing a variety of tasks. This can include searching the web, watching video ads, shopping online, or even playing games. Not only do you earn rewards for things you’d be doing anyway, but you can switch up your activities whenever you want so you don’t get bored.
The most popular platforms include Swagbucks and InboxDollars. You can take advantage of either of these from anywhere on your cell phone.
8. Start A Blog
Everyone has thoughts they want to share. If you have any amount of writing ability, why not take to the web and use it to make money?
You can start a blog for just about any niche. Focus on something you’re an expert in, like a subject related to your job or something as simple as running your home. The niche must be general enough that it will attract many readers.
As you start posting blogs and building a following, there are plenty of ways to monetize your blog. One option is to get passive income with affiliate marketing. You include links to products in your blogs and any time a user buys the product by clicking through that link, you get a commission.
You could also sell ads on your site, especially when you’ve built up a strong following. If you expand your blog to your online presence, you can make money as a social media influencer as well.
Of course, it does take time to build your site and produce strong blogs. This is a great way to make money if you’re laid off from work and have extra time on your hands.
9. Put Your Love of Animals to Good Use
If you’re a fan of the furrier species, you could have more fun making money than you realize.
People with pets are busy and sometimes they need help. You can offer services like dog walking, dog sitting, or even bathing pets.
Make sure you’re clear with your customers about your qualifications, though. If you don’t have training as a dog groomer, it’s not wise to agree to give someone’s dog a haircut. If you want to be a dog walker, make sure you aren’t agreeing to walk more dogs than you can handle at one time.
10. Turn Your Home Into an Income Property
One of the best tricks to making extra cash, especially if you don’t have much free time, is to monetize something you already have. That includes your home.
Especially if you have an extra room, rent it out on Airbnb, VRBO, or similar sites. You can make money from your guests even while you stay at home.
Want to make even more money? Check out the prices for renting out your entire home to the customer rather than sharing it with them. You can stay in a hotel while the guest is in your home.
11. Make Money with Repetitive Tasks
Something is soothing about repetitive, predictable tasks like data entry. You can turn that relaxation into cash.
Try Amazon Mechanical Turk. This Amazon service allows you to get paid for performing simple tasks for customers. Data entry is the most common type of task you’ll find but it varies.
Another service to try is ClickWorker. This site is run similarly to Amazon Mechanical Turk but it’s another option to have available.
You can do this while watching TV in your spare time. If you want to make money, though, do it during your downtime for other paid gigs like house sitting.
12. Get Paid to Shop and Sleuth
Every company wants to know how their employees perform when they aren’t watching. They’re even willing to pay secret shoppers to find out.
A secret shopper or mystery shopper is exactly what it sounds like. You pretend to be a typical shopper interacting with customer service or browsing around a store. The company may give you scripts to use or circumstances to create to see how their employees react.
Whether in person or online, you’ll submit your feedback and the report of the interaction to the company to get paid.
13. Put Your Photography Skills to Work
If you have a camera or an advanced smartphone, you can make money with it by selling stock photos.
Stock photos are pictures that companies can buy online to use on their websites or in marketing materials. When you see smiling faces in ad campaigns, most of them are stock photos.
You can take generic photos and sell them on sites like Shutterstock or iStockPhoto. Keep in mind that the photos need to be high-resolution and well-lit, though. Stock photo sites will need to review them to make sure they meet their standards before posting the pictures.
If you’re a graphic designer, you can also make money this way. Stock photo sites buy vector artwork as well as photographs.
14. Rethink Your Credit Card Strategy
People think of credit cards as a way to lose money. If you play your cards right (pun intended), you can make money with them instead.
Find a card with a great cash-back offer. Start using that card to make all your daily purchases, which you’d normally buy with your debit card. Pay off all your purchases right away by paying the total every week or month.
By doing this, you earn cash-back on everything you buy. At the same time, you don’t pay any interest because you aren’t carrying a balance.
15. Get Crafty
People love one-of-a-kind, handmade items. If you’re a crafter, they’ll be willing to pay for yours.
Sites like Etsy let you post your crafts online for sale. Whether you sew, knit, crochet, make pottery, or do woodwork, you’re likely to have a market for your creations.
Be careful about overspending on materials, though. You don’t want to spend money on making products if they never sell, so keep your inventory low.
16. Become a Virtual Assistant
If you’re at home with spare time and in need of extra money, check out job postings for a virtual assistant.
The job varies, but for many companies, a virtual assistant would do anything a receptionist would do in a traditional office. You’d answer phones, handle scheduling, complete data entry, and more.
Companies hire virtual assistants when they don’t want the cost of a full-time administrative assistant. Keep in mind that if you’re answering phones, though, you need to have a quiet, dedicated space available and you’ll need to work specific hours.
17. Build Your Quality Assurance Skills
In this technology era, a company’s website is a critical part of helping them to be successful. As a result, they do extensive testing to make sure their site is compelling, functional, and easy to use.
You can get paid to be their quality control at home. Sites like UserTesting.com will pay you to perform certain tasks or simply explore their customers’ websites.
Be sure that you have a working webcam, however. These sites often track your eye movements to see which parts of the site draw you in, and they use your webcam to do this.
Making Fast Money to Clear Your Debt
When it comes to paying off debt, time is of the essence because your interest is building as we speak. Making fast money allows you to keep your interest costs low and pay off your debt more quickly.
If you need some quick cash, try the tips above to make money fast. For more advice on boosting your financial health, check out our personal finance resources.