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 eight of the best strategies for making $1,000 without taking on debt, as well six of the most responsible ways to borrow money if it comes down to that.
8 Strategies for Earning $1,000 Fast
When you’re desperately wondering how to make $1,000 fast, here are eight different strategies (and 27 different ideas) to try.
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. 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) is basically free money. Plus, when you need extra 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’re in need of 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.
In general, the best way to sell items fast is through sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. If you have more time and an item is rare (like a collectable) 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: 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.
Strategy #4: 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 Postmates. If you have a dependable car and are willing to work weekends delivering food and other items as a Postmates courier, you can easily make $1,000 in your first month. Another app to consider is DoorDash, which is similar to Postmates but focuses exclusively on food delivery.
- Rent out a room on Airbnb. You don’t have to live in Hawaii to make a killing by loaning 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.
Strategy #5: 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 #6: 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 FlexJob. FlexJobs 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 get a job with Postmates. 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. Whether you’re a telemarketer or you’re showcasing items in a storefront, making a sale will pad your wallet fast.
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 #7: 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.
Strategy #8: Chalk Up a String of Small Wins
Success in personal finance often comes down to small wins.
While small wins may not allow you to make $1,000 in a day, they’re momentum builders.
Saving $20 here. Making $25 there. These are big steps, especially when you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck.
What are some easy things you can do today to start building momentum?
Here are seven ideas to try:
- Get a bank account bonus. Many local banks offer a sign-up bonus for opening a new savings account. To find out which local banks are offering a bonus in your area, check out Fiona, a free banking search engine. You can also read my review of the service here.
- Cash-back credit card rewards. If you’ve accumulated a lot of credit card rewards, cash them in today. While the value is never great when exchanging points for cash, it’s worth it if it helps you stay out of debt.
- Monetize your skills. Fivver allows you to do small tasks in your spare time. Popular options include graphic design, managing social media, data entry, and market research. You’ll be glad to hear that you can earn more than $5 per gig (despite the site’s name), and some of the top workers on Fiverr earn six-figures a year.
- Save big when shopping. Rakuten allows you to earn cash-back for your online purchases. While you may not be planning on buying anything today, they also offer a very generous referral program, giving you $25 for each new person you bring to the service. Try sending out an email or posting on Facebook about Rakuten to friends and family, with your referral link. There’s also a $10 sign-up bonus after you make your first purchase.
- Take online surveys. Online surveys are great for earning a few dollars per day. Make sure to sign up with legit sites like Survey Junkie and Swagbucks. We ranked the best survey sites based on user reviews, and these two came out on top. Both allow you to withdraw cash via PayPal.
- Use InboxDollars: InboxDollars is one of the more popular money making apps. It allows you to get paid to take surveys, watch TV, and more.
- Trim your subscriptions: Trim is an app that helps you automate money-saving tasks like negotiating your cable bill, internet, and phone bill. See our complete Trim review.
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.
In my opinion, 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.
One thing you’ll want to keep in mind with personal loans is 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 making a decision.
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 the relationship you have 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!