Whether you live paycheck to paycheck or you carefully budget your income each month, you never know when an unexpected expense will come up.
Perhaps your cousin announced a last-minute wedding and you have to buy a present. Maybe your car picked up a nail and you need a replacement tire. Or perhaps your spouse contracted a bad case of strep throat and you must cover the extra trip to the doctor.
Although you can pull out your couch cushions or empty your car cup holder in a desperate search for a few spare coins, you likely need more than you can find in those long forgotten corners of your house.
If you could use a little extra cash, try the following techniques to see what works for you.
1. Monetize Your Hobby
Love imitating celebrity voices? Can’t wait to dress up as your favorite Pokémon and dance around the room? Do you Photoshop every picture you have to include Edward Cullen’s face?
Your hobby, however strange or unusual, can be the secret to fast cash. Websites like Fiverr.com allow you to offer your services at a price you set (usually $5). If you prefer to create custom crafts, consider selling them on Etsy or ArtFire. Or if you enjoy photography, you can offer up your stock photos on sites such as iStock or SmugMug.
2. Sell Your Junk Mail
Despite the ever-increasing use of smartphones and the internet, marketers still flood your mailbox with old fashioned coupons, credit card applications, and other advertisements. Most of the time, these unwanted flyers and handouts go straight to the trash.
But did you know that you could sell your junk mail?
The SBK Center is a marketing research company that will exchange your junk mail for Visa prepaid cards, which work like debit cards. All you have to do is sign up at their website, then forward your junk mail using self-addressed, stamped envelopes the company provides. Each piece of mail you send earns you points, which you can redeem for gift cards.
3. Cover Your Car in Advertisements
If you have a full-time job, you may spend a lot of time commuting to and from work each day, and you likely don’t receive payment for it.
Why not use your driving time to earn extra income?
Many companies offer “paid to drive” promotions that involve wrapping cars in advertisements. The more you drive, the more you earn, and the more exposure the company receives in return. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
4. Pawn or Sell Your Stuff
If you have a closet full of clothes you never wear, or a shelf packed with discarded electronics, cut the clutter and sell or pawn these items for cash.
Many resale stores and pawn shops will gladly accept your gently used items, so long as they look good and function well. Some shops will even accept scrap jewelry if it contains gold, silver, or other precious metals.
5. Rent Out Your Parking Spot
People attending school events, watching local football games, or commuting to work all need a place to park. Sometimes they can find a designated spot, while other times they have to drive around town before they can pull into an available space.
If you have an extra parking space, you can rent it out to visitors. Some driveways can rent for as high as $15 or more per day, while others can pull in an extra $200 a month depending on location and use.
Websites like JustPark and ParkingSpotter will allow you to list your space as well as help you find spaces should you need short- or long-term parking.
6. Tweet About Products
Social media has become one of the best ways for advertisers to reach their target audiences. If you have a large following on Twitter, these businesses may pay you to tweet.
Here’s how it works:
- You sign up at a website such as Sponsored Tweets or Ad Dynamo
- You give companies access to your Twitter stream
- Companies email you about a new product or advertising campaign
- You tweet the message to your followers
- The companies pay you for your tweet
Of course, payment depends on how many followers you have and how much influence you have on your audience. But it’s not a bad way to earn a few dollars for something you may already be doing.
7. Try a Collateral Loan
For more immediate and serious emergencies, you might want to try a collateral loan. Unlike other loans, you don’t have to have a stellar credit score, and you don’t need to have a steady job.
You simply bring in a personal item to a pawn and loan shop, and your lender will then give you a loan based on the item’s value. When you earn enough money to pay your loan, you’ll receive your item once again. No hassle. No fuss. And no need to wait for approval.
With any of these tips and techniques, you can quickly acquire the money you need to cover your financial emergency.