Help I Need Cash Fast


I need a fist full of dollars.How fast is fast? Does it mean yesterday, today, next week or in a month? Depending on the answer you do have some options for raising quick money, but we can’t promise any of them are easy. Below we list 15 methods for getting money fast and 5 to avoid like the plague.


Figure Out Your Best Options


Chances are that if you’re in desperate need of money right now you’re already in debt. Here’s something to remember: Do whatever you can to avoid going further into debt (and no we don’t mean anything illegal). Going further into debt only pushes the day of reckoning down the road and inevitably makes everything worse. If you really want things to get better, then spend time and effort each day working on the best options you have at your disposal. In the end, a persistent willingness to chip away at the problem and a generally upbeat attitude are the best weapons for getting out of a financial jam.



15 Tips For Raising Money Fast


(1) Start with a self assessment and then talk to your family: First ask if you’ve been honest with yourself about how much money you really need to solve the current problem. Then ask if you’ve been honest with family and close friends about your situation. These people might be your best option to get quick help, but only if you haven’t burned them previously. When you approach close loved ones for help, be completely frank about your situation, be ready to discuss the amount of money you owe or need, have a plan in mind for paying them back, and be okay with it if they tell you no. Even if your family or friends aren’t in a position to lend or give cash, they may come up with other ideas that will help as you move forward. Remember: It never hurts to have those who care about you the most pulling for you in your corner.


I could use some spare change.

Where do you find spare change? Look carefully. You could be sitting on it.

(2) Scrounge for spare change: Most everyone has some change hidden away. Check all the pockets in your clothes, in your drawers, under couch cushions, behind or underneath furniture, on or behind the washer and dryer, and between and underneath the seats in your car. A few minutes scrounging might easily net several bucks.


(3) Return recent purchases: Assuming you’ve made any recent purchases of clothing or other household items and you’re able to take them back, do it! You can always get the same item or something similar again when things turn around.


I need to recycle my old PC.

Got an old computer or laptop or know someone that does? Recycle it for cash.

(4) Recycle for cash: Call around and find out where to take computers, laptops, cell phones, glass, plastic bottles, scrap metal, books and/or DVD’s. Ask how much you’ll get paid for these items. If you can’t find a local company to take them some online sites may pay cash. Check out,, and for electronics, for CD’s and DVDs, and for books. Now, decide if you (a) have the time to do this, (b) the means to get recyclables wherever they need to go and (c) whether you have enough to make it worth your while. Some metals (like copper and brass) are clearly more valuable than others so it pays to learn which recyclables will reap the best and easiest reward.


I need to sell this old diamond ring.

Gold jewelry or jewelry with precious gemstones is easy to pawn, but less valuable jewelry is always a hot item at garage sales.

(5) Scavenge for easy to sell items: Got jewelry, rare coins, watches, tools or guns? You can always pawn items like these for fast cash, but don’t expect full value. For other items, hold a garage or yard sale or put a free advertisement on Craigslist to sell them yourself. If you haven’t used Craigslist to sell an item before or if it’s been awhile, be sure you check their links on “scams and frauds” and “personal safety tips” first. These tips can literally save your life and your money. For tips on holding a successful garage sale check our post: Great Savings Tip #83: Hold A Garage Sale.


There are so many potential odd jobs.

Is someone moving? Find out if they need help or have items they're giving away that you can convert to cash.

(6) Find a quick odd job: Make a list of your friends, family, neighbors, apartment manager, pastor, and anyone else you might know. Now, add in any nearby real estate companies, hair salons, oil change outfits or any other companies where you’ve seen people waving signs at cars on the street. Next contact all these people. You can email, call or directly speak to every person or company on your list. Tell them you are struggling and are looking for any sort of odd job that will generate some quick cash. Most may not have anything to offer right now, so be prepared to ask if they know someone else who does. Better yet, if they do know someone ask politely if they can introduce you.


Most people don't have time for everything, which leaves room to find those odd jobs.

You don't have to be all things to all people. Pick something you can do well, like washing cars and make it your specialty.

What are some tips that might improve your chances to get an odd job? (a) Try to project a sense that you’re eager to work. (b) Suggestions are powerful. Be ready to tell people what you can do for them. This can work best if you spend a few moments trying to figure out what they might need most. For example, you might hit them up to wash dirty cars or windows rather than just ask if any work is available. (c) Don’t burn bridges by insulting them, complaining about a crummy offer, failing to show up for work or failing to do the job. (d) If you have access to a copier, make some flyers and put a few up on poles around the neighborhood, on bulletin boards in the area, on mailboxes, or several neighbor’s front door steps. On the flyer, be sure to list the things you know you can do, like babysitting, pet sitting, cleaning, mowing, pruning, organizing, help with moving, etc. (e) If you did the work and did a good job, then don’t be bashful to ask the person who hired you if you could use them as a reference. If they say yes, be sure to get their phone number. (f) Remember friendly persistence pays off in the long run. It may not seem like it, but there is work to be had if you start early, keep trying and never give up.


Construction contractors utilize lots of day laborers.

Day labor jobs aren't limited to construction, but many do involve long hours of labor or heavy lifting.

(7) Get a day labor job: Find the nearest company that specializes in day labor and find out their hiring policy (for example Labor Ready). Most firms like these require you sign up ahead. Now, plan to show up early to wait for a job. Be prepared to wait several hours. There are always a few regulars who know the ropes and will get the first jobs that come available. Be patient and hang in there. There are several simple rules that might help you land something more permanent or get chosen for the jobs that come up. These include: Be consistent, show up early and be ready to work, be friendly, work hard, don’t complain, and whenever you can, directly thank the person you worked for.


(8) Look for job that pays tips: Most any job you get will be great for helping pay bills, but since you need cash sooner, you may fare better at one where tips are paid out daily. Besides bar-tending or working as a waiter or waitress also consider pizza, flower or other delivery jobs.


(9) Ask your boss for an advance: Only ask if it’s not against the rules stated in the company policy and you’re already on good terms with your boss. One thing’s for certain: An advance from your boss is always better than a payday loan that charges interest. This means that unless it’s going to create a problem at work, screw up your courage and ask. Be prepared to give a least some reasonable explanation for why you need the money. Your boss may understand a medical emergency or special circumstances, but if he or she sees you frequently blowing your money at a bar after work don’t expect a miracle.


Keep looking. You find something eventually.

If you have access to a computer check Craigslist or other online sites for day jobs and temporary gigs.

(10) Sell plasma, hair or sperm: Got long beautiful hair? You might sell it to wig makers for several hundred dollars or more, or sell it yourself at online sites such as or ebay. You’ll need nice hair. Well-kept hair that has been untreated is best, and the more length you have to offer the better. Basically healthy? Then you can probably sell your blood plasma for money for $20 to $45 dollars or more per donation and donate once a week.  Your donation could actually save lives, too. Your first visit to a donation facility could take up to 3 hours as they’ll want to check you out. You’ll need proper I.D. For a blood plasma donor center near you, check the yellow pages or the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association donor search page. Are you a healthy male, age 14-40 and willing to be faithful to a sperm bank for at least 6 months? Then you might make good money donating sperm—up to a $100 per specimen 3 times a week. There are a number of issues worth considering here beyond the money, including how your girlfriend or significant other feels about about abstaining from sex or the fact you’ll be fathering anonymous children. Also, expect to be thoroughly screened—the process rules out far more people than ever get in. To locate a sperm bank nearby, check the yellow pages or try Some or all of these options may make sense for you depending on your circumstances.


Playing my guitar for cash.

If you're talented you can make quick cash singing at a busy location. However, check with local authorities to find out if you need a permit.

(11) Rent out a spare room. If you’ve got a room to spare, finding a roommate can mean instant rent money. Plus, if you set it up right, you may even be able to charge something for utilities and that should cut your out of pocket expenses going forward. Be careful not to get stuck with a lousy roommate. Check out references and have a potential roommate sign a rental agreement that has specific terms for when rent is due and what happens if it’s not paid. For more on this subject see: Great Savings Tip #65: Rent Out A Room In Your Home.


(12) Temp or part-time jobs: If you have enough time, the best solution for getting extra cash is getting a better job, a second job or any job at all. Getting a job is ultimately about making enough connections with the people who make hiring decisions. A good temp agency can be critical to this effort as they make it their business to talk to employers and pre-screen applicants for them. For this reason, temporary jobs often lead to long-term employment. Check your local paper or yellow pages for temp agencies nearby. It’s not enough to call or email. Make an appointment and meet with a recruiter. Then keep hounding them until you get a job. This is definitely one of those instances where the squeaky wheel gets the grease. You don’t want to come off annoying, but be persistent. Just be aware it will take at least a week if not two after you land a job before that first paycheck comes in.


(13) Talk to Social Services: Are you getting food stamps? Welfare? Housing assistance? If not, check with the local office or your state’s social services department and learn what rules apply to your specific situation. This can be a cumbersome process with lots of lines and paper shuffling, but if you qualify it will definitely be worth the effort. One note: It can pay off big to call first and find out if they offer appointments.


I think I'll ask this coffee stand if they want me to wave their sign at passing motorists.

Lots of businesses hire people to wave signs at passing cars for the day. Ask around.

(14) Check in with food banks and local charities: Among other things, being short of cash means there’s not enough money to go around to cover all your needs. However, if you can find free food and clothing that’s money saved, which might just make whatever else you have enough to scrape by. To find a local food bank, check the yellow pages, do a web search, or start with an group like FeedingAmerica.Org.


(15) Can you file for bankruptcy? Assuming you have big debts and the payments you need to make are part of the problem, you’re best option could be to file for bankruptcy. That might eliminate or reduce potential loan payments you owe and free up some cash. We should note the act of filing can cost hundreds to several thousands up front in paralegal or attorney fees depending on your specific situation. Bankruptcy is more complicated than it used to be. Many people may not qualify for a complete discharge of debt (Chapter 7) and will have to work out a payment plan instead (Chapter 13). And some debt won’t be discharged in any case (think student loans). Still, filing for bankruptcy can be a good solution for those who need a fresh start. Be advised: Your credit rating will take a nosedive for an extended period of time (think years) and that can make insurance and other services more expensive to buy down the road. Talk to a qualified debt counselor or attorney before you decide which way to go. For more information on this topic see our post: Debt Relief: 2 Solutions That Work.


5 Options To Avoid Like The Plague


Not every idea for raising quick cash is a good one. Some have significant long-term consequences or even end up leaving you worse off than you started. Here are 5 that are best to avoid:


Sometimes a payday loan may be your only choice, but try not to make it a habit.

All that cash from the payday loan comes at a huge cost in interest. Is there another option?

(1) Quick payday loans: Whether it’s an online payday loan or a one you got from the store down the block, these loans carry huge interest charges that literally rob you of an ability to get back on your feet. Yes, if you have a job you can get quick cash with one of these for an emergency, but it’s next to impossible to get ahead if you take out payday loans on a regular basis. You’ll be much better off borrowing money from people who still love and trust you to pay it back—people who won’t ask for an arm and a leg in return.


(2) Credit Card Advances: If you still have credit available on your card, a cash advance can seem like a quick and easy fix to get out of a jam. We know it’s tempting, but those cash advances carry your bank’s maximum interest charges and if you happen to bump up against your credit limit you can get smacked with additional fees. Using credit is rarely the way out of debt. The only real exception is when you’re charged a reasonable rate of interest and you’re using it responsibly as part of a business plan that will result in generating more sales, not for buying gas and groceries or a new pair of jeans.


(3) Gambling: Legalized gambling may seem like the only option if you have to have money today. The trouble is you could end up walking away much worse off than if you’d skipped it altogether. People do get lucky while gambling, but it’s a rare person who gets lucky and quits when he’s ahead. Most are inevitably sucked into the belief their luck has changed as they dream of a bigger pay off ahead. Don’t let that be you—it’s what the casinos bank on. Gambling can be a great source of entertainment if you understand the risks involved, have money to burn, and go in with a set limit on what you can afford to lose and when to get out with your winnings. Otherwise, it’s a long-term recipe for financial ruin.


For some, a credit card cash advance is the only option.

A credit card cash advance is so tempting, but the interest you pay may come back to bite you.

(4) Cashing out your retirement fund: Unless you’re already at the age of retirement and know the rules, you could lose a substantial part of your retirement investments from tax penalties for early withdrawal. Borrowing against a retirement fund can also be a bad idea. If you switch or lose your job, you’ll generally have to pay back the balance on the loan right away. That’s because most loan payments are made through payroll deductions and since you’re moving on your old company will no longer be collecting those. There are some exceptions, but you’ll want to be in a secure job and check into the specific details with your retirement plan administrator before risking this type of loan.


(5) Don’t sell your unborn child, rent out your womb or offer to sell organs. Selling organs is illegal, but that doesn’t necessary stop certain people from pursuing the option if they feel desperate enough. Here’s the rub with any of these ideas: Getting a big chunk of change may offer a temporary reprieve, but giving up a baby or having an operation is a permanent decision that could affect you for the rest of your life. Do you really want to risk being wracked with guilt and regret? Or do you want to end up permanently disabled, suffer from severe physical pain, injury or potentially even death as a result of a botched operation? Any short term financial gain just isn’t worth the physical and emotional toll these options might bring. A far better bet is to reach out and seek the help of others. If you don’t know where to turn, look to your extended family and friends, to churches, charities, food banks, and to social services and other government organizations.


Stay focused. Be persistent. There's hope around the corner.

At the end of every storm there's a rainbow. Hold out. There's hope ahead.

Stay Focused


Life always looks bleakest when we can’t see our way around the financial hole we’ve dug ourselves into. You may find it looks so bad you don’t see a way out. When things are at their worst it can feel extremely hard just to get up in the morning. Do your best not to despair. Every day is a new day and each day holds at least some small hope certain things can change for the better. Don’t give up. Get up and keep trying. Every small step you take to move forward eventually adds up. To play on Neil Armstrong’s famous moon-landing words, “That’s one small step for you, and one giant leap toward a brighter future.”


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