As we know, life is unpredictable. Whether you’ve suffered a job loss, encountered unexpected expenses or are simply over your budget for this month, there may come a time when you need to make some extra cash—and fast.
If you need cash fast, here are some unique ways to make some money within the next hour.
1. Hunt for change
This one may be obvious, but it works. Check under the couch for loose change. Go through pants pockets for a stray dollar bill. Don’t forget to check under your car seats, too.
2. Sell your clothes
Some second-hand stores will give you cash for clothes on the spot. Check out local second-hand stores in your area or see if national chains like Once Upon A Child or Buffalo Exchange have an outpost near you. If you need cash fast, try to avoid selling consignment, as you’ll have to wait until your item is sold to get money back.
3. Craigslist is a magic genie
Put up anything you don’t want on Craigslist. If you do it right, you can sell your useless possessions within the next hour. That coffee table from Aunt Marie? Gone. You could also get something from the Craigslist freebie section, fix it up and sell it again.
4. Sell scrap metal
Recycling centers need scrap metal. You might receive less than $20 for your haul, but that’s more money than you had an hour ago. Look for copper and aluminum lying around your house.
5. Sell your gold or silver
If you’re ready to part with that old piece of silver or gold jewelry that you never wear, see what it will fetch you at a local jeweler or coin store. The Penny Hoarder advises against selling it at the places that advertise “We Buy Gold,” as they tend to offer bottom-barrel prices. At least give yourself a shot at getting the best price and start elsewhere.
6. Return items to store
If you have unworn pieces of clothing with tags still on them, or you haven’t opened up your new toaster from Christmas—return them and get a refund. Most places have either a 60-day or 90-day return policy for certain items. Doing some research about a store’s return policy before you go will help you understand if you’ll be walking out with cash, store credit or, if the return period’s lapsed, that very same item you wanted to part with.
7. Sell other people’s junk
Here’s one way to meet your neighbors: Ask them if they need to get rid of anything from their house. You could sell their furniture, CDs, DVDs or other items for a certain price, and you can give them a percentage. You’d be surprised by how many items people want to part with if someone else will do the hauling and selling for them.
8. Return soda can deposits
If you live in one of the ten states that lets you return soda cans to certain grocery and convenience stores for cash, rack up your cans and bottles and make five cents on each can. Or ten cents if you live in Michigan.
Fun fact: during my senior year in college, we had giant trash bags full of empty beer cans. At the end of the year, we returned those cans to pay for the cost of beer for our next party. It took months to make $100, but it was better than nothing.
If you aren’t lucky and you live in the other 40 states, don’t be like Kramer and travel to Michigan to redeem them. The travel will cost you more than the money you’ll get in return.
9. Make a bar bet
If you’re near a local bar and feeling wily, try this bar bet: Have someone take out a $20 bill. Crumple it up and place it on the bar. Have that person place their hand about six inches above the money. Place your hand six inches above that person’s hand (or a foot above the money). Then, tell the person that whoever grabs the money first, keeps it.
Even though you’re twice the distance away from the money, you will always win. Here’s the science behind it:
10. Ask for help
If this is a one-time shortfall in your finances, don’t be afraid to ask for help. We all fall on hard times in one way or another, and think about how you’d respond if the roles were reversed. You know you’d want to help a friend or family member out if you could. Just be sure to pay your debts to family and friends back in a timely manner to avoid damaging those relationships.
Local churches, shelters or some governmental programs also have funds earmarked for emergency situations. Look into what may be available in your area to help you cover the difference, depending on what you need the money for.
11. Play guitar in the streets
Take your talent to the streets! If you can play an instrument, carry a tune or juggle like you grew up in the circus, take your talents outside and busk. You’ll have fun meeting new people and performing. Even if you’re not that good, it’s likely people will donate money for your efforts.