Sooner or later, we all need a little bit of extra cash. It could be to deal with an unexpected expense, a rash of bills or planing for a vacation or an upcoming holiday. You could use your credit card, but that has long term consequences. Or you could liquidate some savings or investments, but the long term goal is to increase them, not draw them down.
There are ways to make fast cash without resorting to credit cards or draining your savings, though they will require some time and effort.
Take in a boarder (or roommate)
If you own your home you can take in a boarder. Not only will this provide an additional, ongoing cash flow, but it can also generate quick cash. As a tenant, you’re boarder will pay the rent for their room on the first of the month. Boarder arrangements can vary; some are room and board (food, laundry facilities, etc), while others are just a room rental.
If you rent your home, you may be able to take in a roommate. Though this won’t provide cash to you per se (your landlord will get it), it will reduce your rent payment which is close to the same thing.
Have a garage sale
Most of us have stuff lying around the house doing little more than collecting dust. There could be hundreds of dollars just sitting there doing nothing! That’s cash that’s not in your pocket.
If you haven’t used an item in at least a year you probably don’t need it. Gather up as many of these items as you can, put them in your garage, clean them up, price them, then sell them on a warm spring or fall weekend.
You can probably run a successful garage sale at least once a year and put some cash in your pocket.
Sell your stuff on eBay or Craigslist
High dollar items that didn’t sell at your garage sale, or won’t fetch the price you’re hoping to get in the sale can be sold instead on either eBay or Craigslist.
EBay is best for small, high price items because they’re easy to ship. Craigslist is better for larger, heavier items that will be costly to ship. Craigslist is also a faster way to get your money, since the items are sold face-to-face. The advantage to both is that you can sell your items year round, and not be limited to a sunny weekend.
Take a part-time job—short term
Most people don’t like the idea of part-time jobs because it’s tough to combine them with a full-time job, at least for any length of time. But there are seasonal jobs that you can keep for just long enough to get the cash you need.
There are part-time jobs for nearly every season—ski resorts and furnace repair companies in the winter, tax preparation and yard and garden stores in the spring, pools and hotels in summer, and retail stores for the late year holiday season. Take a job for two or three months, bank the extra income, then go back to your normal routine.
These days, most people have pets and work; there’s no one at home to watch their pets. Some people travel for days at a time and don’t want to put their pets in kennels. Those are income opportunities for you.
All you need is a love for pets and a basic knowledge of how to take care of them. Best of all, your customers will pay you for each job when it’s done, and often up front.
Rent out space in your garage or basement
Do you have basement space or an extra parking space in your garage? You might be able to rent them to someone who needs a place for extra furniture or a car. This is another method that could turn into an ongoing source of cash.
For potential takers, you can take a free ad out on Craigslist, or consider taking out an ad in a neighborhood newspaper.
Collect scrap metal
This is something that my nephew does so I know it can work. Companies are looking for scrap metal—steel, aluminum and especially copper—to recycle into fresh metal. They pay by the pound, so the more you can collect the better you’ll be paid.
Metals prices rise and fall, and it’s more lucrative when prices are high, though copper will usually fetch a fair price in any market.
Do someone else’s dirty work
Everyone has jobs around the house that they don’t want to do—yard work, cleaning basements and garages, fixing cars, painting, and more. If you can do any of these jobs you can sell your services to people who need such work done.
You can check the “ETC” section under the Jobs section of Craigslist to find people advertising for various services. You can also distribute flyers advertising your services, either in your immediate neighborhood, or community wide.
You won’t make a fortune doing any of these, but you can make some quick cash. And if you can do several, you can have extra cash coming in all the time.
What do you do when you need to raise extra cash? Have you ever tried any of these?
Kevin Mercadante is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, OutOfYourRut.com. He has backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two teenage kids and can be followed on Twitter at @OutOfYourRut.