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12 Ways to Make $1,000 As Fast As Realistically Possible

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Studies show that up to 80% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck. So, when unexpected expenses occur, panic soon follows.

If you’re in this situation, know that there are good options that don’t involve turning to destructive high-interest loans.

This post highlights realistic strategies for making $1,000 without taking on debt and six of the most responsible ways to borrow money if it comes down to it.

12 Strategies for Earning $1,000 Fast

When you’re desperately wondering how to make $1,000 fast, here are some realistic strategies.

Strategy #1: Sell What You Already Own

You may have $1,000 lying around the house and not even realize it.

Most people have things they could happily get rid of without thinking twice about it. Maybe you got a china set for your wedding that isn’t your style, or maybe you have stacks of old tech (like video game systems, laptop computers and smartphones) that you’re no longer using.

Items like these are potentially lucrative sources of cash, and selling them (instead of letting them collect dust). Plus, when you need money ASAP, there’s no faster way to get it than by selling something — you can usually have your money in 24 hours or less.

If you need quick cash, here’s where to start:

  • Sell your car: If you live in a metropolitan area, you might be fine without a car. If you live in a more rural area without public transportation, you could sell your current car and buy a cheaper one. This might seem like an extreme measure, but it can be one of the easiest ways to get extra money when you need it immediately. 
  • Sell other higher-end items: Consider selling things like televisions, collectibles, jewelry, furniture, or sports equipment. You can repurchase them (or items of similar value) for the same price later on if you only need the money temporarily. 
  • Yard sale: To sell the rest of your stuff — such as clothing, used kids gear, books, tools, etc. — have a yard or garage sale. If you’re committed, you can set up a yard sale in as little as a day. Have your sale on Saturday, when most people are off work.
  • Thrift store: Another option, best for selling brand-name clothing, is to find a thrift or consignment store near you that will pay in cash.

Generally, the best way to sell items fast is through Facebook Marketplace. If you have more time and an item is rare (like a collectible) or in high demand (such as a cell phone), consider selling it on eBay.

TIP: Avoid pawn shops. They make their money by taking advantage of people in dire situations and typically pay far less than an item is worth.

Strategy #2: Sell a Service as a Freelancer

If you’re brainstorming about how to make $1,000 fast, don’t forget about offering freelance services. Anyone with marketable skills can earn money quickly this way.

Think hard about what you’re good at. Think of any compliments you’ve been given over the years. What do people say that you excel at?

Find your niche and start a freelance service.

Freelancing is a great way to earn extra money fast online. And the best part is that you can make the hours flexible, so it fits in with your lifestyle or current job.

Here are some examples of the top money-making services you can offer:

  • Freelance writing: If you have a way with words, you can make a lot of money quite quickly. Put together a portfolio and look online at job sites for writers, such as Fiverr and Upwork. You can get started immediately. Freelance writing is one of the most lucrative side hustles I’ve tried: in my last year working as a freelance writer, I earned over $100 an hour.
  • Proofreading: If you’re great at spotting errors while reading the newspaper and online articles, you’re a natural proofreader (even if you don’t know it yet). Many freelancing sites, including Fiverr and Upwork, have job opportunities for proofreaders. Check out this article for more info on how to get started.
  • Become a virtual assistant: First and foremost, an excellent virtual assistant is a problem solver. If you have a knack for making someone feel like you’re making their life easier by taking stress off their shoulders, you’ll do well as a VA. This is a great choice for self-starters who can work independently without asking too many questions. Even if you already work full-time, there are many virtual assistant positions open that offer very flexible hours.
  • Babysit: If you love being with children, there’s constant demand for responsible babysitters. To land your first job, consider reaching out to neighbors and friends who already know and trust you. Also, check with your local hospital to see if they offer free first aid or CPR training sessions, which can help you land a job. 

Further reading: How to get your first job as a freelancer on Upwork.

Strategy #3: Paid Research Studies

Paid research studies are a quick way to earn extra money with market research. While the more often mentioned paid online survey sites are legit ways to earn, you’ll often earn under $4/hour.

Paid research studies, on the other hand, connect participants with studies that pay well for their time. A typical study is a one-on-one session, often paying between $50 and $300 per study.

This survey from Respondent pays $300 for 45 minutes. While there are many opportunities like this on the platform, the catch is that you often need to fit a narrow demographic and be one of the first to apply.

You need to both qualify and apply for a study, which often targets a specific demographic.

In our testing of these platforms, the disqualification rate was high, but we still managed to earn over $50/hour with User Interviews and $30 with Respondents, which included the time spent applying for studies.

For more information, read our detailed reviews on User Interviews and Respondent.

Strategy #4: Rent Out Your Stuff

If you have unused or underutilized assets, you can rent them out to generate a steady stream of passive income. While work is required upfront, and you’ll need to own the asset, this can be a way to make well over $1,000 a month.

Here are some popular platforms for renting out various assets:

  1. Airbnb (House or Room): If you have a spare room or an entire property you’re not using, consider listing it on Airbnb. You can earn significant money, especially if you live in a tourist hotspot or a major city. See how one writer for The Ways to Wealth started making money on Airbnb.
  2. Turo (Car): If you have a car that you don’t use frequently, you can rent it out on Turo. This platform allows you to set your own rates and availability. Depending on your vehicle’s make, model, and location, you could earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars monthly.
  3. Neighbor (Storage Space): Do you have extra garage, basement, or shed space? Rent it out on Neighbor, a platform that connects people who need storage space with those who have it. Depending on the size and location of your storage space, you can earn $100- $400 per month. Read our Neighbor review to learn how much you can expect to make.

Strategy #5: Donate Plasma

Donating plasma is a relatively low-effort way to earn extra cash quickly. Plasma is used to create life-saving medicines for people with autoimmune disorders, hemophilia, and other conditions.

To donate, find a reputable plasma donation center near you.

The first visit takes about 2.5 hours for account setup and health screening. Subsequent visits take around 1 hour. You can typically donate up to twice per week.

Potential side effects include fatigue, hunger, dehydration, and bruising.

Pay can vary widely, but based on some research of local centers, here’s what you can expect to earn:

  • Earn $100+ per visit for the first 8 donations within 45 days
  • Pay decreases to $40-60 per visit after that

An article on Business Insider featured a woman and her husband earned $1,500 from plasma donations.

Strategy #6: Leverage the Gig Economy

The gig economy is growing fast and offers many creative ways to make money. It’s a peer-to-peer way of getting goods and services.

Sharing assets like this can be a good deal for both parties involved – one can earn some money for their assets (including their time) and the other gets a reliable service.

  • Drive for Uber Eats. If you have a dependable car and are willing to work weekends delivering food orders as an Uber Eats courier, you can easily make $1,000 in your first month. You’ll get paid per delivery and you keep all your tips.
  • Rent out a room on Airbnb. You don’t have to live in Hawaii to make a killing by renting out a spare room on Airbnb. Even if you live in a rural area, you can do well with this. People come home all the time for visits with their friends and family, and they often need a place to stay. That said, if you do live in a hot vacation destination, you’ll do even better.
  • Ridesharing. Apps like Uber and Lyft offer millions of people a way to make money fast. If you’re looking to get started, search for which app is offering a better sign-up bonus in your particular city. For example, Google “Uber Driver+Bonus.” I’ve seen bonuses get up to $500 after completing a certain number of rides. 
  • Find odd jobs on TaskRabbit. If you’re good at the things that make some people want to tear their hair out, like furniture assembly or mounting televisions, check out the website TaskRabbit or our list of the best odd job apps.

Strategy #7: Ask For More Hours

Need to make $1,000 fast? You might be able to do it within a month at your regular full-time job if you ask for more hours.

For a lot of people, it can make the most sense to start with their regular place of employment when they need extra money. They already have the contacts in place and they’ll get a simple yes or no quickly.

  • Asking for more hours: If you can get overtime, you’ll whittle away that $1,000 goal fast. Even if your boss can’t commit to giving you enough hours for an extra $1,000, you might be able to get half of that. Then, if you add in one other strategy from this list, you’ll be able to make that full amount in no time.
  • Asking for additional projects: Your department might not need any help. That’s when you can ask about any other options, whether it’s in a different department or adding value so your boss can give you a raise. Be creative and open to any ideas suggested by your boss. Ideally, you’ll talk directly to the decision-maker so you’ll get a quick answer.

Strategy #8: Get a Second Job

With a second job, you’ll have a whole other paycheck coming in. If you can find a $20-per-hour job, you’ll need to commit to about 13 hours per week to earn $1,000 in a month (after taxes).

One nice thing about getting a second job instead of asking for more hours at your current workplace is that you’ll get more variety in what you’re doing.

I won’t sugarcoat it: working a second job is hard. You may feel tired and like quitting. When that happens, remind yourself that it’s only short-term. You can get by with a hard schedule for a month or two.

  • Find a FlexJobFlexJobs provides leads on legitimate online jobs for a variety of careers and skill levels. There are more than 50 career categories on FlexJobs. You can browse jobs for free, but there’s a $14.99 monthly fee to gain access to application details. However, if you use the code WEALTH when signing up, you’ll save 30% off your membership (which you can cancel at any time).
  • Delivery jobs: If the idea of delivering food appeals to you, you can sign up for Uber Eats. As I mentioned above, it’s a food delivery service that lets people choose which foods they want from a restaurant and have them delivered, whether they’re at home, at work, at a park or wherever! 
  • Commission-only sales jobs: If you’re great at sales, you’ll be able to find a part-time job with local businesses.

Resource: Freelance food delivery jobs are one of the best and easiest ways to make extra money fast. Here’s a roundup of the best food delivery gigs.

Strategy #9: Sublease Your Apartment or Room

Offering a sublease isn’t for everyone. But if you need money badly, you can get your money in a month or two, depending on what your rent is.

With a sublease, you’ll move in with a friend or family member who can give you free lodging for a while. Then you’ll rent out your apartment to someone else who needs a temporary place to stay.

Note that you need to check your lease before employing this strategy, as subleasing is sometimes forbidden or subject to landlord approval.

For more information, see our guide to Airbnb rental arbitrage.

Strategy #10: Flip Items for a Profit

Flipping items you buy and then resell can be an effective way to make money fast.

From higher-priced items like used cars to furniture and electronics, the key is having industry expertise around pricing and where to find high-quality products at low prices.

The downside is that this usually requires some upfront cash.

If you’re short on cash, consider starting with used furniture or looking for free items on local Facebook Groups. You can repaint and refurbish wooden pieces to resell on platforms like Facebook Marketplace.

For more detailed tips, check out our guide on how to flip money.

Strategy #11: Advertise On Your Car

Allowing companies to advertise your vehicle is a relatively passive way to earn extra income, especially if you drive a lot for work (like rideshare or delivery drivers).

Car advertising can include vinyl decals, partial or full vehicle wraps, or digital car toppers. You’re typically paid a flat monthly rate or per mile driven in the advertiser’s target area.

When we wrote about getting paid to advertise on your car, here’s a summary of what we found:

  • Earn anywhere from $100 to $500 per month depending on the ad size, your location, driving habits, and the advertising company.
  • Bigger ad wraps and driving in major cities tend to pay more.
  • Must meet minimum driving requirements, typically at least 30 miles per day.
  • Payments are inconsistent month-to-month since you only get paid during active ad campaigns.
  • The best opportunities are for rideshare/delivery drivers in larger metro areas.

Top legitimate companies to check out include Wrapify (up to $452/month), Carvertise (up to $300/month), and Nickelytics ($175-200/month on average).

Strategy #12: Broker a Service Online (or Offline)

So many people out there aren’t handy at all. And they’re willing to pay for those hands-on types to do the work for them. People in every city are looking for help with projects, and if it can come from a single contract, that’s even better. It saves them the time and effort of having to hire multiple people.

Let’s say you’re great at putting up siding, but you aren’t wonderful at putting in new windows. Maybe you have a friend who can handle the windows while you focus on what you’re good at. You can offer your services as a package.

Here are two options worth considering:

  • Become a local contractor. A great place to drum up business is by starting with your friends. You might have friends looking for cheaper alternatives for home renovation services than they can find when calling the companies in your area. If the project is too big for you, hire some hard-working friends to help you with it.
  • Become a digital contractor. This approach worked for me as a writer. Although I had a lot of experience blogging, design work was my weakness. So I teamed up with a talented designer. We were able to offer full-service website design, which helped increase my hourly rate. It became a one-stop-shop for people in need of those services.

6 Options for Borrowing $1,000 Responsibly

If you need the money fast, and none of the strategies outlined above seem like a realistic option, then you may need to explore ways to borrow the funds.

If that’s the case, know that there are bad ways and better ways to go about it.

Take the time to try the options below and avoid high-interest debt if at all possible. Things like high-rate credit cards and predatory payday loans can take years to pay off, and can start a downward spiral that leaves you worse off than you are today. 

Option #1: Do a Balance Transfer

We’ve all received those balance transfer offers in the mail. If you haven’t used one before, they’re straightforward and can be a good deal if utilized correctly.

Here’s how it works: You’re offered a low introductory interest rate (sometimes 0%) as an incentive to move your balance from one credit card provider to another.

As such, you can save money by transferring a balance from a card with a high rate (say, 19.99%), or you can sometimes use the offer to pay off another debt (like a car loan). The length of time the promotional rate is valid will vary from offer to offer, but for many it’s six months to a year.

Once the introductory period is over, you’ll begin paying higher interest. That’s why you want to knock out as much of that debt or loan as you can before that happens. And remember, don’t rack up more debt in the meantime if you free up one credit card by transferring a balance. You want less debt, not more.

Option #2: Home Equity Loans

If you have home equity, you can tap into it. Those interest rates are much better than you’ll get with a personal loan.

Home equity loans are best used for things that will increase the value of your home, save you money on interest, or increase your earning ability.

That includes things like making smart home improvements, pursuing a college education, and paying off high-interest debt.

Option #3: Take Out a Personal Loan From a Reputable Company

If you don’t have enough home equity for a loan, personal loans are still a better alternative to payday loans. It’s something that should be used cautiously, though; I wouldn’t take out a personal loan for a vacation, for instance, as you’d be paying for that trip long after it was over.

You’ll want to remember with personal loans that, you’ll get a better interest rate if you have a high credit score. If you don’t, the rates can get up there. Make sure to look at several companies online — and even at your regular bank — before deciding.

Option #4: Get a Loan from a Family Member

This is an option, but it should be handled responsibly and carefully. You don’t want your loan to get in the way of your relationship with your family member. Offer to pay a reasonable amount of interest for the loan.

If you pursue this method, you should take your repayment responsibilities just as seriously as you would if you had taken a loan from a bank.

Option #5: Refinance a Loan

While you’ll need a decent credit score, consider refinancing current loans to save money. While you can do this with a home or auto loan, you can save money by refinancing your student loans as well.

Option #6: Use a Cash Advance App

There are a number of new apps that will provide an advance on your next paycheck, either for a very small fee or for no charge at all. While you should still avoid taking out a cash advance unless you’re in a truly dire financial situation, these are safe payday loan alternatives that come without the shockingly-high interest rates. 

Resource: Our complete guide to the best cash advance apps.

Final Thoughts: How to Make $1,000 Dollars Fast

Is making $1,000 in extra cash easy? Not at all. 

Is it possible? Certainly. 

If you’ve managed to make money quickly — especially if you were in a real bind — let us know by sharing your story in the comments section below!

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R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss, founder of The Ways To Wealth, has been a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ since 2010. Holding a B.A. in finance and having completed the CFP® certification curriculum at The American College, R.J. combines formal education with a deep commitment to providing unbiased financial insights. Recognized as a trusted authority in the financial realm, his expertise is highlighted in major publications like Business Insider, New York Times, and Forbes.

    3 Comments

    1. Most legitimate post on this topic. You should be ranked #1.

    2. Fyi delivery jobs require commercial insurance. If u have an accident while on the job your regular car insurance is not obligated to cover any damages to yours or anyone else’s property. Most personal auto insurance policies state it.

      1. You’re absolutely right! This is an important point if you’re considering working for any of these services. Some of the major players in the field, including UberEats, do offer low-cost insurance options to provide this type of commercial-use coverage. However, that’s not true in all cases. If you’re unsure whether or not you’d be covered in the event of an accident, it’s worth making a call to your insurance provider before getting started.

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