Last updated on December 13th, 2023 at 10:57 pm
Life happens, and when it does you may find yourself unprepared for the expense that might come along with it. And when you say to yourself “I need money now”, I’m guessing you need it within 7 days. While there are many ways to earn money through side hustles, the majority of those won’t get you any money within the next 7 days.
The reasons you might need the extra cash are varied. For example, you might need to pay for a car repair, house emergency, extreme utility bill, or any number of similar events. While it might be challenging, the good news is you have options to get money if you need it immediately, even if you have less than perfect credit.
Here are some ways you can get some money relatively quickly.
I Need Money NOW (as in 7 Days or Less)
There are several websites that offer you the ability to earn money by filling out online surveys. This is profitable for both you and the companies offering the survey, because it provides valuable market research. Here are some of the well-known ones I like for reputation and payout.
Survey Junkie – This is probably the most well-known and easiest ways to get paid filling out surveys. Survey Junkie pays out regularly and has a wide variety of surveys you can qualify for and fill out for extra cash fast.
Opinion Inn – This site has paid out over $3.9 million dollars to its members. You earn money by filling out surveys for your opinions. The minimum redeem limit is $25, but they pay via PayPal once you reach the payout.
Panda Research – All you need to get started is an email. You can earn up to $50 per survey and get additional payouts by reading emails. They pay on the 1st and 15th of the month, so depending on the timing you might be able to earn within 7 days or less. Over $2.2 million dollars has been paid out to date.
Inbox Dollars – You get a $5 bonus just for signing up (which you can do with an Apple or Google account easily), plus you can get paid for filling out surveys, reading emails, shopping (yes, seriously) and even playing games. You’re probably already doing all those things anyway, so why not get paid for it?
Don’t expect to get rich off these sites, as some surveys pay very little. But by combining several surveys together, you can make some money in a hurry from your home or mobile phone.
This is a weird way to earn some extra money in the short term, but it works.
Do some research to find a plasma donation center around you. The good news is that plasma is pretty much always in demand. On the other hand, if you have a fear of needles, then this isn’t for you.
The scheduling of the donation can vary, but by visiting several times per month you can earn an extra few hundred dollars. Over the course of a week, you can pick up close to $100.
Start a Personal Funding Campaign
If you are in a particular hardship that people can relate to, and you have a network of friends on social media or similar contact list you can also set up a funding campaign on a platform like Go Fund Me. Create a campaign, tell your story and send it to your friends, asking them to spread the word. This works if you are trying to pay unexpected medical bills or need emergency care for yourself or loved ones.
Be honest – there is nothing worse than asking people to donate to your cause if you make up a story or exacerbate your financial hardship. You will find that people want to help and are drawn to a worthy cause, but if they are deceived in any way the negative press will far outweigh your current financial hardship.
Start Running or Doing Tasks
There are many websites and task services coming online that pay you for tasks such as shopping that will pay you relatively quickly. These can help bridge a gap and perhaps start a side hustle in the future.
These apps and sites work best when you live near a larger city, but you can still find opportunities in smaller towns and communities. Here are some examples:
Instacart – shop and deliver groceries same day, getting paid up to $10 per order.
Task Rabbit – Mostly manual labor, but you can set your own rates. Deliveries are currently the #1 task, so there would be transportation involved. But the upside is you can earn $35 an hour or more depending on the task.
Uber or Lyft – Well known car or ride-sharing service, both of which are reputable. Competition can be tough, and the hours are not for everybody. But the pay and tips can be good if you are persistent. Be wary of the wear on your vehicle.
Field Agent – There is a 3-to-5-day processing payout, so it just falls within the 7-day window. Pay ranges from $3 to $15 per job, but you will serve as a mystery shopper. So that’s kind of cool.
We Go Look – You will be running virtual errands for people which mostly involve inspecting goods, property, or items on their behalf. Most of the time, the people are in other cities or areas and cannot look for themselves. Currently, most looks pay around $20.
Craigslist Gigs (or Help Wanted)
Craigslist is full of “Gigs Wanted” where people in the area are willing to basically pay you to perform a task or do a job. Some of the jobs tend to be odd, but some pay relatively well. Do a quick search on the Craigslist site that is local to you and look for the Gigs Wanted (Or Help Wanted, or something similar).
When you contact the person, always make sure to be clear on expectations – both yours and theirs. Ask what they want done, and details around the task. Then agree on a payment. Most of the dealings on Craigslist tend to be in cash and in person. If someone wants to pay you via Venmo, PayPal, or another method, then be sure the payment clears before leaving the or house where you are doing the work.
Sell Old Clothes & Household Items
Gently used clothes, household items, lamps, and kitchen appliances can be sold for some quick cash. Try going through the cabinets or your closets and target items that you aren’t going to be using anymore or haven’t used in a while. Name brands typically sell faster and for a higher price.
Electronics are also a fast seller, depending on the brand. Check out Craigslist and Ebay and post your items. Local shipping and pickup is usually faster and more cost effective than shipping. With shipping, you get paid when the item ships, so you generally receive the money quickly. If you do ship, make sure you factor in the cost of shipping in the final price.
You can also see if there a local consignment stores that buy gently used clothing. These stores will give you the upfront cash and you can sell more items at the same time, but the price will be lower than if you tried to sell each item on your own. The advantage is a larger upfront payment.
Cash Advance Loans
While not ideal, you do have options to get your money sooner on your upcoming paycheck. There is no credit check usually required – making them attractive to desperate borrowers who have less than perfect credit. In fact, all that is really needed is a bank account and perhaps an old pay stub. They are sometimes referred to as Payday loans, paycheck loans or simply cash advance loans.
Many of the companies that advertise cash advance loans tend to be a little predatory when it comes to desperate borrowers so you will want to do your research before jumping in. Indeed, many of the physical locations of these companies are around the less affluent areas, around cities and communities that are generally lower income.
What people don’t realize about payday loans in the terms and fees associated because of the immediate money need. Even though interest rates are typically capped by the state in which they are located, you can expect to pay between $17 and upwards of $30 in interest per $100 borrowed. Moreover, the origination and other fees can further tack on additional money.
The convenience of these loans is never worth the cost.
Peer to Peer Lending
Platforms like Upstart, Lending Club, and Prosper make it straightforward to apply for a quick loan that is funded by private investors. If the loan amount is relatively low, it is generally more likely to be funded quickly.
However, if you have poor credit, you can expect to pay a higher interest rate. Still, you can generally expect the money relatively quickly (usually within 7 days) and can use the loan to build your credit.
While not the best option on this list, it is certainly better than a payday loan or a credit card advance.
Credit Card (Do NOT use Cash Advance)
You might be tempted to put the expense on a credit card, but that is a prime example of how credit card debt gets built up. If you aren’t able to pay the card off at the end of the grace period, the interest will start to accrue and compound. Since this is a major expense, it’s best to assume that paying off a credit card isn’t an available option.
Why don’t you want to use the cash advance option on the credit card? There are a few reasons.
First, and most importantly, the interest rate on a cash advance is very high – sometimes as much as 14% MORE than the interest rate on the card for purchases.
Secondly, there is usually a cap or limit on the cash advance amount ($800 is common).
Finally, you need to have a pin to access the cash and proximity to an ATM. Did you set a pin for your card? Do you remember it? Also, you will have to pay ATM fees when accessing the cash. That’s yet another fee on top of everything else you have to pay.
If you have a savings account, now might be the time to use it to at least offset some of the costs of any sort of financing option you are considering. Paying at least a portion of the emergency cost out of savings could help you reduce the loan or financing amount you might have to pay.
Alternatives to Finding Money Within 7 Days
You may find it difficult to make the money you need in just 7 days, especially if you are under pressure because you need the money ASAP. Here are some alternatives to consider.
Setup a Payment Plan
Depending on what you need the quick money for, you can ask whoever is demanding the money for payment terms that are a little more friendly on your budget.
For example, utility companies often have budget payment terms that will spread the cost of the payments over a year or more. Many companies also offer alternative financing through a lender for major costs like an extensive car repair or home improvement.
If your credit prevents you from being approved, you can look into peer-to-peer lending as an alternative. You can also try to defer the repair cost, or even the repair itself, until you are able to secure the funds.
Ask for an Advance
Depending on who you work for, you might also ask for an advance on your paycheck to pay for the expense immediately. Smaller employers are more likely to do this than a larger employer, but it does happen even with larger payroll departments.
You can also offer to work overtime if you are working hourly to help cover the upcoming costs. Employers are more willing to work with you if they see you compensating for your current hardship.
Ask for a Loan from Friends or Relatives
If you can swallow some of your pride you can ask your family or friends for some money to cover the hardship. You will probably owe them a little explanation around why you are asking for the money. And of course, pay them back as soon as you can.
For this to work, I would work out a realistic timeframe in which you will give them their money back and a payment amount if possible. And stick to it religiously. Do not ruin friendships and family relationships by souring on the terms of a loan.
Also, notice I said LOAN, not “ask for money”. You are not asking for a handout or free money from people you know, love and trust. You are asking for financial help.
A Few Longer Term Ideas to Make Money
If you don’t need the money within the next week or even the next month, your options open up a little bit. With some work and perseverance, you can set your sights on a side hustle or even a traditional second job and further build your credit. You might even have enough consistent money left over to start a savings account. Here are a few options you can consider.
Freelance Writing & Proofreading
If you are handy with words, you could in essence sell your services. There are many marketplaces for proofreading and writing such as Fiverr.
Proofreading is the practice of reading over a long document to make sure it makes sense and is free of grammar and spelling errors.
Writing is, well, creating articles or blog posts (most commonly) around a specific topic. If you can creatively express your own thoughts, then perhaps you can try your hand at writing articles for people or businesses who either don’t have time or can’t create their content.
The nice thing about this is you can start small and grow into a side hustle if you want to expand. Sometimes this can be a little competitive, so be aware before you jump in that the market might not be falling over themselves for an opportunity to work with you.
Here’s a tip for you – try to find a niche, perhaps a topic you excel in or have a lot of knowledge about and only proofread or write in that area. This way, you can differentiate yourself and your service from others.
Create a Blog Online
You can put your writing to even better use if you know a lot about a topic or are particularly passionate about one. Starting a blog is straightforward, though it does take a while to make money from it. The most important thing is to produce great content. This is where your writing skills come in handy.
Once you have the site up and visitors start reading your articles, you can begin monetizing the site and adding affiliate links and ads to begin making money. To be realistic, making your blog profitable could take between 6 months and a full year, so it is a long-term goal for sure.
Getting a Second Job
You could always get a traditional second job as well to earn extra money. I wouldn’t classify this as a short-term solution to needing money because it will take a few days to get through the hiring process, and two weeks or more to collect your first paycheck. But a steady second gig will add to your bottom line, and you will make money.
Be careful of the second jobs expenses, however, in terms of burnout and extra costs. For example, if it costs a decent amount of money to get to the second job, then it may not be worth it. By taking on a second job for extra money you are also prone to burnout faster, as this will cut into your leisure and relaxation time. While you feel like you might need to make sacrifices to make extra money, burning out and risking your health is never a good idea.
These are of course just a few of the ideas for longer-term income, most of which do not require any type of credit or credit check. However, the process to earn money is longer than a few days.
We went through a few ideas how you can get some money if you need it right away. Your options are more open if you can have some additional time to get the money, but it is still possible to make anywhere between $40 and a few hundred dollars over the next 7 days.
What do you think? Are there any ways you know to earn extra money when you need it now? Please let me know below!