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Personal Finance

7 Ways to Make Money Fast

If you're feeling pinched for cash, you may be wondering what your options are. Depending on your current financial situation and the time you have available, here are some ways you can make money fast.

Look for Temporary Work

Companies are often on the hunt for temporary workers, and some jobs don't even require you to leave your house. Websites such as Indeed and ZipRecruiter list a variety of openings for temporary work-from-home jobs in customer service, quality assurance, data entry, tutoring and more.

  • Find someone in need of your expertise. If tutoring is high on your interest list, for example, specialized websites like Tutors.com allow you to sync with students and parents looking for tutors with specific expertise. You also may be able to put your skills to good use online with websites like Upwork and Fiverr. Whether you're experienced in graphic design, web development, writing or coding, these freelancer websites can help you find clients willing to pay for your help.
  • Get started with a gig job. The gig economy also provides opportunities for extra work you can do temporarily, and some options can even become a full-time job. For example, you can work for a ride-hailing or delivery service, such as Uber, Instacart or DoorDash. With these services, you can choose when you work and for how long. Depending on the demand in your area and how many jobs you're able to pick up, a gig economy job could work well for you.
  • Find odd jobs near you. Other websites, such as Thumbtack and TaskRabbit, can help you connect with people who need help with specific tasks, such as handyman work, cleaning, furniture assembly and more. These platforms can help you earn extra cash simply by performing jobs others can't do.

No matter what you end up doing, be sure to stay safe and protect not only your personal information, but your physical safety as well. Part-time or temporary work can be hazardous, and you may not have the same recourse or rights as you would working a full-time job. Also, pay attention to any applicable tax laws and follow them to the letter.

Try to Limit Overspending

This tip won't help you increase your income, but it can help you maximize it by freeing up money already in your budget.

If you don't already follow a budget every month, making one can be a great first step in understanding where your money is going and where you may be able to cut back. Then as you take inventory of your spending going forward and try to stick with the budget you set each month, adjusting it as necessary, you'll have a better chance of avoiding overspending.

Here are some tips on how to approach your monthly spending to free up needed cash:

Use Coupon and Cash Back Apps

Apps and websites like RetailMeNot, Coupons.com and Honey provide online and in-store coupons to help you save money on everyday purchases. Additionally, you can look into cash back websites like Rakuten, Ibotta and TopCashback, which offer cash back on eligible purchases in addition to the rewards you may earn from your credit card's rewards program. These websites may provide rewards online, in stores or both.

Purchase Store-Brand Items

Brand-name groceries can inflate your grocery bill, and with some products, you don't necessarily get your money's worth.

You can save money by purchasing store-brand items instead. While you're at it, make sure to create your shopping list before you head to the store, and stick to it. Also consider switching up where you do your shopping, or start buying in bulk, which could be more cost-effective.

Drop Infrequently Used Subscriptions and Services

If you subscribe to mobile apps or services you rarely use, now may be a good time to get rid of them. If you think you might want to use them in the future, most services let you renew your subscription fairly easily.

Evaluate Nonessential Expenses

If you're experiencing economic hardship, it may be time to consider putting a pause on some nonessential purchases. That may include streaming services, cable television, a gym membership if you can work out at home, dining and takeout, and more.

Only you know what's essential for your physical, mental and emotional health, so be honest with yourself and decide whether you can cut some discretionary spending until you can get back on your feet.

Ask for a Break on Debt Payments

If you have to choose between feeding your family and paying your credit card bill, consider reaching out to your credit card company. Card issuers are often prepared to work with customers who are experiencing financial difficulties. By giving you a temporary break on payments, they may help you avoid defaulting on the debt entirely.

You can also reach out to other lenders and even some utility companies to talk about modifying your payments or even reducing your interest rate for a time. Every company is different, so contact your lender or utility company to find out what your options may be.

Avoid Overdoing It

Finally, keep in mind that it's possible you're already doing everything you can to keep down your spending, and looking for new ways to cut may not be doable or even advisable. You know your situation better than anyone else, so budget carefully and know your limits with your efforts to cut back on your spending.

Take Inventory of What You Can Sell

You've likely accumulated various items over time that you've since stopped using. Whether it's old clothes, a kitchen appliance, workout equipment or something else, you may be able to come up with a long list of items you can sell to raise much-needed cash.

After you've taken inventory of the items you can stand to sell, consider the best way to proceed. If you have a lot to sell and have the space, a garage sale may be the best way to unload your belongings. If you have more time, though, or your list isn't very long, selling the items on eBay or Craigslist may be a better approach.

Reduce Your Monthly Bills

Some of your monthly bills, including your debt and insurance payments, are likely necessities that will be harder to cut than discretionary spending. However, you may still have some opportunities to pay less than what you are currently.

  • Insurance: If you have auto, renters, life or homeowners insurance, shop around and compare rates based on your current situation to see if you can get a lower rate. Be careful of cutting too much coverage, however, as that could backfire if you end up needing your policy down the road.
  • Credit cards: Call your credit card company to see if you can negotiate a lower interest rate on your account. You may also be able to get approved for a balance transfer credit card with an introductory 0% APR promotion, which eliminates interest from the equation entirely for a set period of time as long as you at least meet your minimum payments.
  • Phone, internet and cable: You may have a hard time negotiating a lower monthly bill with these services. However, if you do some research and find that you can get a lower monthly rate elsewhere, you might be able to use that information to talk your current company into reducing your bill to keep your account.

Any money you save from these cost-cutting endeavors can be used for other important expenses.

Check for Credit Card Rewards

If you have a credit card that earns you rewards when you make purchases, you may be able to redeem your cash back, points or miles to get some relief during hard times. If you haven't checked your rewards account recently, you may be sitting on a gold mine.

Cash back rewards are the most versatile because you can use cash for just about anything. Alternatively, some points and miles programs let you redeem your rewards for gift cards you can use like cash at popular retailers.

One thing to look out for, though: Some points and miles programs also allow you to redeem your rewards for cash back, but at a reduced value compared with other redemption methods. While some programs, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, give you 1 cent per point in value on cash back redemptions, many others give you as little as 0.5 cents each.

Other Ways to Get Money

Every situation is different, and while some of these ways to make money may work for you, others may not. If you're still in need of some further help, here are some other options you can consider.

Personal Loan

Personal loans can be a great way to get money quickly because your loan funds can be used for almost anything, including to pay off other debt. Speed is also a perk here, as many personal lenders can get you your money within just a couple of days after your application has been approved.

Most of the best personal loans offer repayment terms ranging from one to seven years, depending on the lender and how much you borrow. Some lenders offer short-term personal loans that you repay in less than a year, but these loans often come with sky-high interest rates.

If your credit is less than stellar, however, even long-term traditional personal loans can come with high interest rates. Borrowers with good or excellent credit on the other hand may be able to get approved for a personal loan with a single-digit interest rate.

Lending Circles

Lending circles are a form of alternative lending that can be helpful for people across the credit spectrum. Instead of borrowing money from a lender, you borrow from your "circle," which may include your family members and friends or others in your community.

Lending circle loans typically don't come with interest or fees, which can make them incredibly appealing to people who have few low-cost alternatives. Companies like Mission Asset Fund can help you get started.

0% APR Credit Cards

If you have good credit or better—that typically means a FICO® Score of 670 or higher—you may be able to qualify for a credit card with an introductory 0% APR promotion.

These promotions can last anywhere between six and 20 months, and allow you to charge purchases to the account and pay them off over time without incurring interest charges. This means you can just make the minimum payments without worrying about incurring interest charges every month.

That said, if you have a balance on the account when the promotional period ends, you'll be assessed interest based on the remaining balance.

Cash Advance

If your credit isn't good enough to qualify for a 0% APR credit card, you may be able to use one of your existing credit cards to get a cash advance.

Cash advances aren't ideal for many reasons. With many cards, the cash advance APR is higher than the regular purchase APR. These transactions also come with a fee, and there's no grace period, which means interest starts accruing immediately.

However, compared with short-term personal loans, payday loans and auto title loans, a cash advance can be incredibly affordable.

Work on Your Credit to Leverage It in the Future

The better shape your credit history is in, the easier it will be to use it during financial emergencies to get access to cash when you need it and have no other options. If your credit score needs some work, take some time to improve it so you can be prepared for a future rainy day.

Some tips to help you include:

  • Pay your bills on time every month and get caught up on past-due payments.
  • Work on paying down your credit card balances.
  • Avoid closing old credit cards if possible.
  • Apply for credit only when you need it.
  • Check your credit report for potential fraud and dispute inaccuracies to have them removed or corrected.
  • Get added as an authorized user on a family member's credit card account if it has a positive history.

As you work to improve your credit, Experian's credit monitoring service can help you stay on top of your score. This free platform provides you with access to your FICO® Score powered by Experian data, real-time alerts about new inquiries and accounts, an online dispute tool and more.