When You're in Dire Straits

Late on rent? Can't fill your car with gas to get to work? Assuming all available funds and traditional sources of credit are tapped out, here are 25 ways to raise cash in a few days. Keep in mind, while all of these ideas are legal, some of them are not something we would encourage. From being an Amazon Mechanical Turk to banking your sperm we share WalletPop.com's 25 ideas for raising cash in a hurry, in order of the least to most desperate.

Start Your Own Part-Time
Business From Home

If you want to start a business, you don't have to invest much money to make money. Sometimes you can start a business with next to nothing. Jacob and Susan D'Aniello's pooper scooper business is now a multi-million dollar franchise called DoodyCalls. But in the beginning, it was just them, a bag and a shovel. You might also consider hiring yourself out as a dog walker, errand runner, driver or computer consultant.
' More on Starting Home Biz

Take a Part-Time Job

With most part-time jobs, it's probably going to be two weeks, at best, before you receive that first paycheck. When you need cash sooner than that, look for jobs that offer immediate money in your pocket, like one that includes tips. Bartending and waiting tables are two tried-and-true examples.

' More Part-Time Tips

Seek Emergency Assistance

Many charities provide services and items that you would otherwise spend money on, freeing up some dollars to apply to your most pressing needs. Among the most common of these are food banks and open-dining opportunities, help or waiver of utility costs, and clothing and other household essential

Make Stuff to Sell

Think of the proverbial lemonade stand, but all grown up. When one WalletPop blogger is entirely broke, she'll get out her sewing machine and make her favorite quick project: stuffed geese (made out of thrifted fabric). They sell like crazy on Etsy, an online shop devoted to crafty vendors, and is her go-to plan when the well runs dry and she needs to bring in some quick cash.

Rent Out Your 'Spot'

If you own some prime parking real estate, you could put cash in your pocket and get more exercise by renting out your spot and parking further away. If access to your car is less convenient, perhaps you'll even drive less, saving money on gas, too.

Sell Stuff on Craigslist

A good alternative to the yard sale is to make use of Craigslist, a great internet site for buying and selling almost anything legal -- furniture, bicycles, musical equipment, housewares, art, and whatever. Over 40 million people use it every month. It's free and localized, so there is typically no shipping involved.

Do Odd Jobs

Babysitters earn upwards of $10 an hour these days. Offer to sit for friends' kids on Friday or Saturday night. The parents will be only too happy to hand you cash when they return! One complaint of young males is that nobody is likely to hire them to watch their kids. An alternative is to offer to wash cars, mow lawns, weed backyards or haul crap out of the garage, instead.

Find an Online Gig

One valid work-at-home program is Amazon Mechanical Turk, where companies post tasks that machines cannot easily do, but that are relatively simple for humans. You choose an assignment, and, on completion, are credited with payment to your Amazon account. This money can be withdrawn once you accumulate $10.

Collect Your Change

If you are like most Americans, there is hidden cash throughout your home. It may be underneath your sofa cushions, in little jars or piggy banks, but there is bound to be bounties of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters just waiting for you to unearth them. You may be surprised how much you find and how much all that "small change" is worth.

Return Past Purchases

Taking recently purchased items back for cash is really one of the most efficient ways of making quick cash. Not only are you typically able to get your full purchase price back if you have a receipt, but you'll reduce your stuff and pay penance for your spending habit, too.

Hold a Yard Sale

If you have furniture, electronics, children's items, sports equipment, jewelry, collectibles (in other words, the usual hodgepodge of clutter that most of us once thought we needed to buy), then a yard sale may help you raise some money fast.

Recycle Scrap Metal

One way you can get some quick cash is to sell scrap metal to your local salvage yard or recycling center. One WalletPop blogger's co-worker bought a used camper for just over $600 and took his old one to get scrapped. The scrap value of his camper almost paid for his new camper purchase.

Become a Temp

If you show up to work on time, take reasonably short lunch breaks, don't leave too early, and demonstrate even the slightest amount of energy and initiative, chances are that your employers will view you as a God-send. In many cases, they will even offer you permanent employment. And temp jobs can pay really well.

Sign Up for Medical Tests

Perhaps your path to wealth is as a medical guinea pig. The National Institutes of Health has 300 studies that need volunteers. Rochester Clinical Research is looking for volunteers to test an Avian Flu vaccine.

Take in a Boarder

Sharing living expenses can put more cash in your pocket. However, if you ask someone to move into your spare room -- or onto your couch -- draw up a lease agreement, even/especially if your prospective boarder is someone you know.

Tap Your Life Insurance

If you have whole life (a type of insurance you buy to last your "whole" life and your heirs get the payout even if you live to 104), you pay higher premiums, but the insurance has a "cash value" that you can tap any time. All you have to do is call your life insurance company to access the money.

Get a Payday Loan

If you're responsible with your money and know that you're facing less than two weeks of a cash shortfall, borrowing $300 today in return for repaying $345 in two weeks may be a good idea. If you're the sort of person who has a continual spending or money management problem, this is the dumbest thing you could possibly do.

Raid Your IRA

If you need quick cash, your retirement savings can look like a great place to find the lump sum you need, but tread carefully. There are lots of rules and if you don't qualify for an eligible withdrawal you'll have to pay a 10% penalty plus taxes on the money at your current income tax rate.

Sell Some Body Parts

Well, not body parts, as in a kidney or lung, we're talking more of the replaceable (and legally sold) kind like plasma and hair. In most larger cities, there are clinics that will pay you up to $35 or so for some of your plasma, which you can donate twice a week. Sales for generous lengths of tresses reportedly can net you several hundred to over a thousand dollars.

Bank on Your Sperm

Advertised sperm donation rates vary from $1 to $200 per week; most donors can expect somewhere around $40 per donation. It does, however, require a six-month or greater commitment, and no "liberation" of sperm when you're off the clock.

Sell Stuff to Motorists

Roadside sales can pull in some quick cash. Pick high-profit items that aren't highly perishable and/or have a high cost/sale price ratio: cold soda, corn, baked goods, flowers.

Scalp Tickets (Legally)

So you're broke, and it suddenly occurs to you that you are sitting on concert tickets to Hannah Montana. If the water dept. is threatening to cut you off for non-payment, scalping those tickets could save you from a dirty, smelly fate.

Go Scavenging

100,000 homeless can't be wrong! In states that require a deposit, 50 cans could bring you $2.50 or more. As scrap, 32 cans make a pound, worth 70 cents. Grab a shopping cart and go hunting! If you live near a beach, another treasure-hunting option is to use a metal detector to look for coins or other valuable items just below the sand's surface.

Head to the Casino

Understand this first: this is our No. 1 most desperate way to make some quick cash, and only applies in this situation: you have some money, but not enough, and MUST have more within a very short time or your life will fall into ruin. Only then does a reasonable man consider the casino.


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