On a recent visit to the Yahoo! Answers website, I found a lot of questions that boiled down to the same thing: How can I make money (usually about $100) fast (usually by the end of the week)? Apparently this question is on many people’s minds. So here are a few answers:
My best answer is to hold a yard sale. Gather up everything you no longer need or want, put it in front of your home, and ask people to buy it. Depending on the quality and quantity of your stuff, you should be able to earn about $100 by the end of your sale, but you will also have to part with some of the things you already own. Don’t forget to get your ducks in a row by having enough labels and getting the pricing right – people go to garage sales looking for deals, so you’ll need to organize accordingly.
Auctioning off your things is also an option, of course, but online auction sites can’t guarantee cash in hand by the end of the week (due to mailing and electronic money transfer times). Local auction houses may work if their auctions aren’t scheduled too far in advance. Auctions save you time and effort compared to yard sales, but many auction houses are selective in what they will sell, and even the things you can sell may be sold in lots for less than you would get in a yard sale. Auction houses also charge a commission, so they’re not as good as yard sales for getting the maximum amount of money.
You still have at least one other alternative for selling your things quickly: a pawn shop. With a pawn shop, you have some hope of getting your stuff back, but you still have to generate that cash to repurchase it in another way.
If you have nothing of value to sell (or nothing you’re willing to part with), you can find some discarded stuff to salvage. Gather up aluminum cans and take them to a recycling center or sell some scrap metal to a junkyard. Check local laws and salvage yard policies first. In some places, trash picking is illegal, so you have to know of a good place where plenty of salvageable materials are readily (and legally) available. You also have to know what’s valuable, be willing to work hard, and have something to carry the bulky items you find.
If you want the money quick but don’t have time to earn it, ask your friends or relatives for a loan. This option only works a few times, especially if you don’t have a good track record for paying people back quickly. You also should have a pretty good reason to make the request, something more urgent than a concert by your favorite band or a trip to the liquor store.
For those whose needs are truly urgent (and truly needs), check with local charities and government sources. You may qualify for emergency aid to pay rent or utility bills. Most of these organizations or agencies have stringent requirements, so you have to be willing to swallow your pride and fill out some paperwork.
You could also offer services to your neighbors – lawn mowing, babysitting, dog walking, car washing, etc. – in exchange for cash. Depending on your neighborhood, this option may also require a bit of pride-swallowing, unless you have an established business that offers these services. To be perfectly legitimate, this income-earning method also requires you to pay taxes (and possibly hold some special licenses or permits).
I doubt any of these answers are quite what the Yahoo! askers wanted to hear. Having an urgent need for money is stressful, and few (if any) of the fast ways to make money are ideal. Avoiding situations where you need money fast is yet another great reason to plan ahead and save money whenever you can. Ultimately, the best way to get money for surprise expenses is to earn it before you need it and keep it on hand.
Image courtesy of eperales.