You only need one great idea to get money without working but here’s seven that work fast
I’m all for side hustles and working for extra cash but sometimes you just need money now and don’t have time to get another job. Whether you need money to get back on track or just a one-time boost to your bank account, your options for fast cash can be limited.
That shouldn’t stop you from getting the money you need. In fact, all you need is one good idea to get the cash to get you out of trouble.
I’ve put together a list of seven ideas to get money that involve no work. Not all of them are the easy money you may be thinking of but all work fast. I tried not to judge which are best but a few are probably better than others in terms of cost and how quick they work.
I’ve also included a bonus idea at the end of the article that could get you extra cash for years after asking.
Take stuff back if within 30 days
Most places will make refunds no questions asked if you return the purchase within 30 days. If you don’t have the receipt, you might be able to get credit for something you can actually use.
Before you look around the house for things you can sell online, think through everything you’ve bought over the last month. You’ll be lucky to get about half of what you paid originally if you try selling through Craigslist or eBay but taking something back means a 100% refund.
Sell everything to Make a Quick Buck
Selling on the second-hand sites like Craigslist and eBay won’t get you nearly as much as taking it back but it’s one of the easiest ways to get some cash without working.
We all have stuff we don’t need or will never use…I’m looking at you treadmill coatrack in the corner! It doesn’t mean you have to clean out your entire closet but it’s an easy way to make a few hundred dollars without having to do anything.
Tips on selling your stuff to make quick money:
- Look to eBay before you list on Craigslist or a garage sale. You’ll get much more by selling to a national audience than you ever will locally. If you still have the original packaging, you might even be able to sell it on Amazon.
- Clean it up! This is a surprising problem on Craigslist. Take just five minutes to clean up what you’re trying to sell and you’ll get way more money.
- Check out similar items on eBay and Amazon to see how much your stuff is worth. This is going to put you in the best position to negotiate and make as much money as possible.
- While you’re on the reselling sites, check out the images and descriptions other sellers are using. The more you can talk up your item, the more money you’ll get when you sell it.
- Watch the shipping costs and travel time when selling through eBay or Craigslist. You might not want people coming to your home to pick something up but agree to meet at a public place nearby.
Shop Around for a Good Peer-to-Peer Loan
Let’s face it. Your options for getting money quickly are limited and even more so if you’re only looking for cash you don’t have to pay back. While a peer-to-peer loan will come with interest, it’s more affordable than other types of loans and is usually easier to get than a bank loan.
That doesn’t mean you should jump at the first personal loan offered on the first website you apply. Rates on p2p loans can vary from 6% to as high as 36% so it pays to shop around for the best deal.
The upside is that most do a soft-pull of your credit to pre-approve your loan. That means it won’t affect your credit score to apply on several peer-to-peer lenders to make sure you’re getting the lowest rate.
Your credit score will be the biggest factor in deciding where you get a loan. Some websites like PersonalLoans.com and BadCreditLoans specialize in p2p loans for low credit scores. Rates will be a little higher but there’s no penalty for paying your loan off early to save on interest.
If your credit score is a little higher, you might try sites like SoFi and Upstart which may be able to offer lower rates for better credit borrowers.
I’ve used several personal loans over the past ten years, for everything from debt consolidation to home improvement and to pay for a vacation. It takes less than five minutes to apply but take the extra 20 minutes to apply on a few more websites to make sure you’re getting a good deal.
Tips for getting the best deal on a peer-to-peer loan:
- Apply for only as much as you need. Smaller loan amounts come with lower rates.
- Apply for a 24- or 36-month loan. Short one-year loans may be difficult to pay off with higher payments but shorter-term loans are generally offered lower rates. Avoid 60-month loans that will lock you into debt for a long time.
- If you’re having trouble getting approved for a loan, consider taking out a smaller loan first. Paying this loan off within the year will help you get approved for a higher amount later.
Check your rate on a loan up to $40,000 – instant approval
Borrowing from family and friends
Asking family for a loan can be embarrassing and tricky but it usually comes with much lower (if any) interest on the debt. While defaulting on a personal loan will ruin your credit score, not being able to pay back a family loan may ruin that bond and make Thanksgiving…a little uncomfortable.
There are two ways to ask family and friends for money. You can ask personally, face-to-face or you can set up a crowdfunding project on a site like GoFundMe.
As easy as crowdfunding is, and besides the fact that you can get a lot more money, I would actually recommend the face-to-face route first. Crowdfunding is an innovative way to raise money for projects but people don’t respond as well to the non-rewards requests. In fact, even with a crowdfunding campaign, you’ll still have to ask people personally to contribute to your campaign to get the ball rolling.
That informality of asking family or friends for money doesn’t mean the loan should be informal. Put everything in writing to give them peace of mind. This includes the time frame of the loan, how often you’ll be making payments and any interest that will accrue.
If repaying the loan might be difficult, consider including services in-kind as a repayment. This can be touchy, having to clean your cousin’s house or something, but you might not have a lot of options.
Cash advance on credit card
There are a few ideas on the list that I struggled whether to include or not and cash advances was one of them.
Your credit card will work in most ATMs just like a debit card would. You’ll need a PIN to take money out and can get one from customer service. You may also be able to get cash back using your card at a retail store or for groceries.
The problem with using your credit card to get fast cash is that cash advances usually come with a higher rate than regular purchases. For example, I have a Barclays Mastercard that charges 18% on regular purchases but 24% on cash advances.
The upside to using your credit card for a cash advance is that you may get a grace period to pay the balance before interest is charged. Even if you end up paying interest, it’s still lower than the rate and fees charged by payday lenders.
Installment Loans for Quick Cash
Installment loans are nearly identical to peer-to-peer loans. In fact, you probably won’t notice a difference as a borrower.
Technically, p2p loans are made directly between a borrower and private investor while installment loans are made between a borrower and lending company. For most people though, it really doesn’t matter who you pay back as long as you get the money you need.
Installment loans work like any traditional loan. Your loan is at a fixed-rate and for a fixed number of months. Your monthly payment includes the payoff and interest payments with no balloon payment at the end of the period.
Most installment loans and online lenders require borrowers to be employed and making at least $2,000 a month so it’s not like getting money without a job but you don’t have to work to get the loan itself.
Rates on installment loans are comparable to peer-to-peer loans. Both types of loans will go on your credit report and help build your credit score which may help to lower your interest rate on future loans.
Check your rate on an installment loan – won’t affect your credit score
For anyone not afraid of needles…selling your plasma can be an easy way to get quick cash. Most blood centers will pay between $50 to $100 each time you come in and you can do it every other week.
That’s not a lot of money but can keep you from bouncing a few checks.
The process takes about an hour and is more-or-less painless. A needle is inserted in your arm to draw blood which is then separated from the plasma by a machine. The blood is then pumped back into your body. It’s all completely safe and conducted by trained medical staff.
Bonus Way to Make Cash Fast: Ask for a Raise
It always amazes me how far people will go to make extra cash when one resource is right in front of them. The average raise most people get each year just barely covers inflation, which means you’re really not making any more money than you were.
We’re blurring the line here on ways to make money without working but it’s definitely a way to make MORE money for the work you already do.
Getting a higher raise or getting an additional raise starts with a little planning. You have to make sure you’re an asset to your company and worth that extra 5% in your paycheck. This means taking on special projects or knowing how to do tasks other employees might not be able to do.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a raise. If you’ve done your job and are truly an asset to your company, then you deserve more than they would pay just any worker. Go into the negotiations being able to show exactly what you do and how much similar jobs make at other companies.
The upside to asking for a raise is that you’ll get that extra money every single month and for years to come. It might just be the step that keeps you from looking for ways to get fast cash in the future.
Notice that nowhere in the list was it recommended you go to payday loans or check cashing stores. These are the worst ways to get money and can trap you into a cycle of debt that will leave you bankrupt. That $15 fee might seem insignificant but you won’t be able to borrow as much as you need so you’ll be forced to come back every couple of weeks and pay a new fee. It ends up trapping you into debt and interest rates many times what you’d pay on a peer-to-peer loan.
About the Author
Joseph Hogue is a financial expert and investment analyst. After serving in the Marine Corps, he started his career investing in real estate before becoming an investment analyst for some of the largest private investors. He's appeared on Bloomberg and on CNBC as an investment expert and has published ten books in personal finance. Now he helps investors reach their financial goals and invest in the stock market with some of the same advice he used when working for the rich.