One of the scariest moments in an adult’s life is when they don’t have enough money to cover their rent payment. Research conducted by Harvard University shows that a record number of people can’t afford their rent.
If you’re in a situation where you’re a little short on the rent payment, you’re probably wondering: How do people legally come up with extra cash to help pay the rent? If your back is against the wall, take a deep breath and relax.
We’ll dive into all of the different methods that you can use to make extra cash quickly. You can avoid late fees, embarrassing confrontations with your landlord or possibly eviction.
1. Sell Your Gift Cards For Cash
Did you know that you can instantly convert most gift cards into cash using various websites online? Gift Card Granny is a gift card website that provides gift card buyers and sellers with the best deal.
In most instances, you can sell the gift cards online and receive the proceeds via PayPal. Don’t use those Starbucks gift cards for coffee, use them to get cash!
Find the best places to sell your gift cards
Not all gift cards will allow you to get cash through PayPal instantly as they may require additional verification. In this case, you’ll probably need to invest in a stamp and mail off your gift cards. Waiting for the money might not be the best situation if you are trying to get it before the first of the month.
Sometimes, local pawn shops will buy your gift cards but don’t expect to get the same rates that you’ll see from online vendors such as Raise and CardPool. A lot of times, local pawn shops will buy the cards for 50% of its value and sell it to an online gift card retailer (like the ones just mentioned) for an instant profit.
2. Get Cash Today By Donating Plasma
Donating plasma may not sound like a great way to generate extra cash. But, those who donate plasma get a dual benefit. They make easy cash, and they get the satisfaction of helping out the medical community.
Did you know that most new plasma donating patients earn at least $40 in cash during their first visit?
Most physicians say that you can donate twice per week. You’ll probably go through a health evaluation to make sure you’re eligible. Be aware many healthy people feel fatigued after donating.
Before you call up your local plasma donation center, check out Donating Plasma’s FAQ page to ensure that you meet all of the criteria for plasma donation.
3. Reach out to Local Charities
Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. If you truly need help making your rent payment, local organizations might be able to help you get back on your feet.
The United Way offers a free service called 2-1-1 which connects you to local groups that offer rent assistance, utility assistance, and housing assistance. In most areas, you can dial 2-1-1 to confidentially speak to a trained professional. You can also visit 2-1-1 for more information.
4. Call Your Creditors and Evaluate Your Options
In most cases, your housing payment is your largest monthly payment. What if you could decrease your other payment obligations to free up enough money for you to make your rent payment?
If you have a student loan, a credit card or even a utility bill coming up, call the customer service hotline and explain to them your situation. They may or may not be able to help you, but it never hurts to ask. You might be able to negotiate a different payment due date that helps you with your short term cash flow problem.
If you have a vehicle payment that is due, many loans will allow you to skip a payment for a small fee. This fee is usually no more than $50, but if your car payment is hundreds per month, the savings may be enough for you to make that rent payment on time. Just be aware that interest will continue to accrue if you go this route.
5. Sell Your Books Instantly
Yes, you could go through the hassle of posting each of your books in the Amazon Marketplace and waiting for someone to buy them for $0.01. Or you can use a quick and easy service like Bookscouter to search for dozens of companies that will make an offer on your book.
Got an old textbook lying around? Type in your book’s ISBN (the long number above the barcode on the back) and find the best offer for your book.
Pick the best offer and click ‘Sell Now‘. You can finish the transaction once you’re sent to the buyer’s website.
6. Get Paid to Test Apps and Websites ($10 for 20 Minutes)
UserTesting is one of my favorite ways to rapidly generate extra cash. With UserTesting, you’ll get paid to test out applications and websites. In exchange for your feedback, UserTesting will pay you $10 for every testing session that you complete.
Most sessions take 20 minutes to complete, and most tests will require that you have a microphone and a webcam. If you have these prerequisites in place, you can go ahead and begin testing applications and websites for cash.
Unlike other methods, UserTesting does not pay out on demand. UserTesting will send your earnings directly to your PayPal account seven days after you complete the test. If you are more than seven days away from having to make your rent payment, go ahead and get signed up for UserTesting now!
7. Start Driving for Uber
Do you have a car that meets Uber’s guidelines? As soon as you begin driving for Uber, you will be able to get paid instantly after each trip.
Uber is a great way to meet new people in your community. However, there are several downsides to Uber. First, be sure to check your local laws and regulations on Uber. Some communities have banned Uber from operating.
Entire blogs detail crimes related to ridesharing services. You should also look at the long-term personal finance impact of doing Uber. Many economists have suggested that ride-sharing apps could cost you more than it’s worth in the long term.
Uber has been known to offer generous signup bonuses in some cities. In New York City, some Uber drivers have reported $700 sign up bonuses. There is a catch (in fact, there could be several), so it’s best to email [email protected] to get all the details for your city.
The most popular alternative to Uber is Lyft. Some drivers will work for both services at the same time, giving them more opportunities to generate quick cash. Lyft has also been known to give generous sign-up bonuses. For some cities, the signup bonus could be as large as $500.
8. Start Selling Your Stuff Online (eBay, Craigslist, etc.)
Do you own something you could sell to make ends meet? Consider selling that item on eBay or Craigslist.
Craigslist is preferable because you’ll be able to get cash in your hand as soon as the transaction is complete. Also, when you use Craigslist, you won’t have to pay listing fees or transaction fees. Be sure to keep the best practices in dealing on Craigslist in mind and always meet buyers in a safe location such as a police station.
With eBay, you’ll get paid via PayPal. If you have the PayPal debit card, you can make a small purchase at a retailer (perhaps a pack of bubble gum) and run the transaction as a debit. From there, you can request to get cash back, which you can use to put towards your rent payment.
This method will help you save on ATM fees while giving you instant liquidity to the funds you made from selling your item on eBay. Alternatively, you could electronically move the money into your checking account, but this method typically takes up 1 or 2 business days.
9. Perform Odd Jobs for Cash
Think about all the people in your community that may need a helping hand. Perhaps an elderly couple needs help to move into a new home. Check out Craigslist to see if anyone in your community would hire you as a mover. You could easily negotiate an hourly rate between $10 and $20 an hour for your services.
Mowing lawns is a great way to generate some extra cash. If it’s cold outside, you could offer to shovel your neighbor’s driveway when it snows. You could also start your own cleaning business. Put up a free ad on Craigslist to see if locals in your community would hire you to come clean their home or business.
You could be even more creative and put up a listing for car detailing services. If you like animals, you could start a pet sitting or dog walking service and get paid cash daily. If you have IT skills, you could put up an ad saying that you will fix any computer problem for $40 or there will be no charge. Be sure to check out the “Gigs” section on Craigslist as well.
Another way to rapidly find local odd jobs is by using TaskRabbit.
Find Local Day Laborer Opportunities
Some local temp agencies will give you a paycheck at the end of the day when you work with one of their clients. Be advised that you will make less money by going the day laborer route than you would if you did the same job as a freelancer.
Day laboring opportunities usually do not pay very well. You’ll be lucky to make more than $10 an hour. However, these opportunities do exist. To get one, use Google to find all of the local temp agencies in your area. Call them and ask if they have any opportunities available that will result in you getting a check by the end of the day.
10. Scour Freelancing Websites for Projects
If you can write articles, design websites or create digital media quickly, you can probably land a gig on a freelancing website that will help you make money for your rent payment.
When you agree to terms with your client, the money goes into an escrow account. When you complete the project, the money gets released from the escrow account. You pick to have the money directly deposited into your checking account, or you can have the money sent to you via PayPal.
11. Look for Free Meals
Local churches, charities, and community centers will routinely offer free food and other activities to the community.
If you do not have to pay for food, you could save that money and use it towards your rent payment at the end of the month. Feeding America has a directory of food pantries that are available to those in need all around the country.
12. Recycle Aluminum, Junk Metal and Old Computers
Recyclers in your community will pay you cash on the spot when you bring in recyclable materials.
Aluminum cans are the most popular recyclable item, but you’d probably need a few truckloads to pay your rent! Materials such as copper, large batteries and others may be eligible for a cash refund.
Do you have an old computer or do you know someone who is trying to get rid of a bunch of older PCs? Watch this video on how to scrap a PC for recyclable materials.
Call around to your local recyclers and ask for current prices on electronics. Be careful and do your homework because some material could be considered e-waste and you could be charged for dropping it off.
For example, if you show up with a CRT monitor, you’ll likely get charged an e-recycling fee because there is not enough valuable material inside for the recyclers to make a profit. In many cases, they will agree to take e-waste off your hands for free in small quantities so be sure to ask about this as well when you call around.
13. Roll Up All of Your Change
Everyone seems to have some loose change laying around. If you’ve accumulated a small treasure trove of coins, it’s time to go through them and count up what you have.
Be observant when you count your change because you never know what kind of coins you’ll find. For example, you should keep in mind that all dimes, quarters and half dollars that are minted pre-1964 contain 90% silver. You’ll be able to take these to your local coin shop and cash in immediately on its true value which is often 10x the face value.
If you have a large amount of change, do not pay for coin sleeves because most bank tellers will give you these for free. Just call before you go to make sure that they will give them at no charge.
Creative Financing Using Spare Change
If you don’t have any spare change of your own, you might not be out of luck. I once read a blog where a person made a deal with their friend who had accumulated a lot of coins in one of those big Coca Cola bottle piggy banks.
The deal was: if she counted the contents of the entire bottle and wrapped all of the coins, she could get a small loan from her friend interest-free. Once the girls rolled the coins, they counted up over $800 in spare change.
While it’s not a good idea to go in debt to your friends, in this case, it worked out because the friend got paid back. Also, her friend was able to resume putting the loose change back into her big Coca-Cola bottle bank. A win-win situation.
14. How To Sell Your Clothes Quickly
Gone are the days of loading up garbage bags full of your clothes and heading to the consignment shop or used clothes store to get a few pennies on the dollar for all those shirts and skirts you used to love.
With Poshmark you snap a photo of the item you want to sell with your iPhone or Android device and post it to the website for all to see and buy.
With threadUP, you order a clean out bag. Fill it up with like-new women’s and kids’ clothes and ship it off. Earn a little cash or credit.
How Would You Make Rent Money in a Pinch?
Did I leave something obvious off of this list? Maybe you’ve come up with a creative way to generate immediate cash. Use the comments section below to share your stories about how you came up with the rent money in a pinch.
Disclosure: The office cats require lots of treats for looking cute. This post contains affiliate links so we can get the Tempting Tuna!