40+ Smart Ways to Make Quick Money in One Day

By Lauren Bringle
Published on: 08/11/2021

If you’ve ever thought about turning your free time into cold cash, there’s no time like the present to find out how to make money quickly. Adding income from different sources is a great way to get out from under the paycheck-to-paycheck grind and find more financial freedom.

You don’t need a full-time job or even a part-time job to make good money. If you need to make fast cash, picking up side hustles online, setting up passive income and investing are legitimate ways to make quick money in a day.

Other ways to make fast cash might not be quite so safe or savory. For example, payday loans can yield fast money but are not recommended because of their high interest rates and potential for compounding debt. Likewise, taking out a cash advance from your credit card can get you extra money quickly, but it also can negatively affect your credit score and be expensive to pay back.

There are so many legitimate options to make money fast, though. It may be unnecessary for you to resort to risky measures. You’ll almost certainly be able to find a method that suits your needs, time commitment, and resources. There are a ton of ways to make good money in your spare time, and side gigs are more popular than ever.

It’s deeply ingrained in our culture that time is money, but it doesn’t have to be. Making real money doesn’t need to involve punching a time clock for an hourly wage because time isn’t the only resource that’s available to you. You can tap into your creativity, skills, and even things you have lying around the house to make extra income — maybe even a lot of money.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

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Work a gig on the side

You don’t have to work to earn fast money, but you certainly can, and side hustles can allow you to generate extra cash in a hurry.

1. Run errands for people

You can make extra money running errands for people who might need someone to go shopping for them.

Become a full-service shopper through Instacart Shopper to earn money based on the number and types of items you pick up for people, driving distance, and effort involved. Plus you get to keep 100% of your tips. Instacart contractors get paid weekly and can earn $20 an hour.

Instacart operates in about 5,000 cities. Shipt is a similar service, though it’s not as widespread.

2. Drive for a ride-share service

You do need to have an automobile and know how to drive. Uber and Lyft are the best-known ride-sharing companies. But there are costs to consider: You need to pay for gas, and your car will need maintenance more often. Plus, you’ll be putting more miles on your vehicle, so it will decrease in value if you ever want to sell it. But if you’re savvy about what trips you take on, you can pocket an extra $100 a day.[1]

3. Take care of pets

Taking care of pets for people who are going on vacation or out of town on a business trip is another way to earn extra cash. You can also become a dog walker for pet owners who don’t have the time or mobility to get outside with Fido.

You can sign up as a pet-sitter with a site called Rover, which allows pet owners to search for pet sitters and dog walkers in their area — one of which could be you. It also includes house-sitting. You could make $100 or more a week, according to the site.

4. Perform household tasks

Do you have a green thumb, know how to clean houses, or have a knack for odd jobs and basic repairs? Then you have a marketable skill a lot of people are looking for. Care can help you find house-cleaning jobs where you can make $15 to $25 an hour or more.

Indeed lets you upload your résumé so people who want your services can find you.

Thumbtack connects customers with people like you who can do home cleaning, maintenance, and repair work.

5. Babysit

Babysitting is a time-honored way to make extra money. But people don’t have to know a neighbor with a young child or place an ad in the newspaper classifieds to become babysitters anymore. Care and Sittercity can connect you with babysitting jobs, as well as senior care, and nanny opportunities.

You can make good money babysitting, too. As of 2019, the average hourly rate for a babysitter was $16.75 for one child and $19.26 for two.[2] That’s well above the federal minimum wage and many state minimum wages.

6. Deliver takeout food

Delivery services have grown substantially. You don’t have to work at a pizza place to be a delivery driver. Postmates, Uber Eats, and DoorDash offer you ways to make extra money without being tied to a single restaurant or eatery.

7. Help people move

If you’ve ever had to move across town or across the country and priced moving services, you know they can be expensive. Why not be on the other end of that transaction? If you’re not afraid of a little (or a lot of) hard work, this could be a good option. TruckPlease and Dolly are a couple of sites that can help.

8. Wash or detail cars

School clubs and churches have been washing cars to make money for decades. You can do the same thing, and if you’ve got skills at auto detailing you can make yourself stand out. Advertise your services on Craigslist.

9. Dropship items

Dropshipping basically allows you to act as a middleman and take a cut by fulfilling an order. It works like this: Instead of keeping a product in stock, a business makes a sale and then passes the order along to a third party, who ships it to the buyer. Dropshipping sites like Oberlo or SaleHoo can help.

Sell your belongings, online or in person

Do you have stuff lying around the house or stored in your attic/basement that’s good quality or collectible, but which you aren’t using? You can turn those things into cash.

Years ago, you didn’t have many options outside of eBay and Craigslist, but now there are countless different places to put your things up for sale. Many of them are geared toward specific products so you can reach your target sales audience more easily.

10. Sell your clothes

Do you have clothes that are in good condition but you don’t wear anymore? Clothes that someone gave to you and aren’t to your taste or don’t fit and you never returned them? There are sites you can use online to sell them.

Check out ThredUp, Poshmark, and Tradesy for starters. Buyers are looking for deals on clothes that may be in style, but just aren’t your style. Unclutter your closet and make some extra money at the same time.

11. Sell your furniture or appliances

Are you downsizing and need to get rid of that bookcase that won’t fit in your new place? Are you moving from a house to an apartment and no longer need your fridge? You can find buyers online through sites like Craigslist, Letgo, and Facebook Marketplace.

12. Sell your books

Books can be heavy, and they can take up space. If you’re moving and you’ve already read what’s on your shelves, you may not want to lug them around. Even if you’re not moving, if you’ve read them, why not sell them and convert them back into cash? Textbooks can be in high demand if they’re still being used.

Amazon got its start selling books, so it’s an obvious place to check out. Bookscouter can help you sell used books and textbooks for the best price by comparing offers from more than 30 book buyback vendors in one search.

Decluttr allows you to enter the barcode from your book and get an instant price with its free app. Pack your books up and ship them off for free. Then receive next-day payments via PayPal or Direct Deposit.

13. Sell unused electronics

If you’ve upgraded your smartphone or aren’t using your old tablet, selling it can provide a quick source of cash. There are even old-school music lovers out there who still use an iPod.

With Gazelle, you can trade in your old smartphones and other devices for cash. Also sell at ecoATM, which has kiosks across the country inside places like Walmart, Kroger, and shopping malls. Apple GiveBack can give you credit on a trade-in.

14. Sell anything you own

If you’ve got a lot of different things to sell, the old standbys Craigslist and Ebay are great options. One advantage is that because they’re so well-known and contain so many different things, more people know how to use them. So you’ll have more potential customers.

15. Sell the crafts you make

If you make crafts, you’ve got a great place to sell them on Etsy. Jewelry, candles, cosmetics, coasters, tote bags, quilts, custom T-shirts, ceramics, pillows, custom stationery. … The list of things for sale on Etsy goes on and on. Carve out your own niche by setting up an Etsy shop.

16. Cash in unused gift cards

If you’ve ever opened up a present to find a gift card from a retailer you’ll never use, you can turn that into cash and earn as much as 92% back. Cardsell, CardCash, GiftCash, and GiftDeals are a few sites that can turn unused gift cards into cash. Or, if you prefer, some can convert them into gift cards you will use, saving you money that way.

17. Host a yard sale

Yard sales and garage sales still draw crowds, especially in the spring when the weather’s starting to get nice again and people are looking for an excuse to get out of the house. A good deal on something you have in your closet might be just the excuse they need to buy. Set up close to dawn as many early birds hunt for bargains at sunup.

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Make the internet work for you

The work from home phenomenon has been picking up steam as traditional workplaces make the switch while entrepreneurship and contracting grow in popularity. You can find plenty of ways to make money online with side hustles for people who’ll pay you for your time and skills.

18. Work freelance

Freelancing can provide you with quick money for one-off jobs. Freelancers work in writing, graphic design, proofreading, formatting, résumé work, coding, website help, bookkeeping, etc. The beauty of freelancing is that there are almost certainly people out there who can benefit from your skill set. You just need to connect with them.

The percentage of freelance workers in the workforce has been climbing steadily, from 17% in 2014 to 28% in 2019 and 36% in 2020.[3]

Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr, Weworkremotely.com, and Remote.co all connect freelancers with businesses and individuals who need their services.

19. Fill out surveys

Yes, you can get paid to answer survey questions for several different survey sites.

  • Through SurveyJunkie, you can take part in surveys and focus groups in exchange for rewards, or you can get rewards by automatically sharing your digital browsing behaviors.
  • Panda Research uses your demographics to match you with paid surveys and market research opportunities. You can also earn money by reading emails, and you’ll get paid via PayPal twice a month.
  • Swagbucks says it’s paid out more than $569 million and gives out 7,000 gift cards every day.

If you’re the kind of person who likes sharing your opinion, why not make a little money in the process?

20. Tutor or coach students

Maybe you’re good at a subject but don’t have a degree or teaching credential. Or maybe you’re a retired teacher or former educator who just wants to work part-time. If any of these fits you, becoming a tutor is a great option to make money.

You can advertise your services on Craigslist. Or, you can go through a site that’s designed to connect pupils who need help with qualified tutors. Smarthinking is looking for professionals, retirees, grad students, and faculty in more than 150 subject areas to serve as tutors. Other possibilities include Outschool and Tutor.

21. Work as a virtual assistant

If you know how to get organized, you can sell that skill to people who don’t know how. Help clients with emails, customer service online, blogging updates, and social media engagement (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.). You can earn $35 to $50 an hour.

22. Review music

Here’s another way to share your opinion and get paid. At Slice the pie, you get to hear new music before anyone else does. Talk about being on the cutting edge! And you get paid for every review you submit, too. Plus you get bonus payments for referring your friends to write reviews. You can find other music-related opportunities through Musicxray.

23. Participate in research studies

Become part of research studies. You can earn from $50 to $250 per opportunity through Respondent via PayPal. You can take part in Respondent research via phone, video call, or through an online survey at a time of your own choosing.

User Interviews pays $50 to $100 a study for research on topics such as transportation, beauty, music, food, social media, hobbies, and tech.

Participate in clinical studies for medical research through the NIH Clinical Center or ITHS. They accept both healthy volunteers and people with a range of health conditions for studies on everything from joints to allergies, sleep disorders to mental health.

24. Join a focus group

Joining a focus group is similar to taking a survey, but instead of going it alone, your input will be part of a group dynamic. Focusgroups.org lets you earn $50 to $200 for each study you participate in, sometimes up to $1,200.

The site offers hundreds of new studies every month. It’s free to join, and you can participate from home. You can browse more than 150 listings at one time and then apply for a study that interests you.

25. Take and sell photographs

If you’re a photographer, you can sell your photos to image sites and distributors that make them available for a profit. You can earn a percentage of sales for the images purchased through various sites.

Sites include Shutterstock, Foap, Alamy, and AdobeStock. Getty Images, another such site, also supplies news photos to new outlets. A digital camera or high-quality smartphone camera boost your chances of a sale.

26. Watch videos

Just as you can get paid to listen to music, you can get money for watching videos online, too. Inboxdollars gives you a $5 sign-up bonus and gives you cash to watch videos, play games, take surveys, and read emails.

Explore passive income options

Passive income describes money you make from things like rental property, limited partnerships, or other endeavors in which you’re not actively involved.[4] It might be as simple as cutting your expenses. Or it might involve finding ways to monetize aspects of your life you’d never considered making work for you financially.

These ideas might not result in an immediate stack of cash, but they will enable you to start putting money in your pocket right away.

27. Cut your expenses

It goes without saying that cutting your expenses can give you more money to work with. But how do you go about it? If you spend hours going through bank statements and email receipts, that’s time you could be spending elsewhere. Trim is a free automated app you can hook up to your bank account to cancel subscriptions you don’t want.

What’s more, it can even negotiate with Internet and cel-lphone providers like Comcast and Verizon to get you the best rates possible.

28. Get cash back and rewards

Sign up with cashback apps when you shop online at your favorite retailers.

  • Ibotta can give you cash back on groceries wherever you shop. You can also get cash back when you shop for clothing, travel or home needs.
  • Drop lets you earn points you can redeem at places like Amazon, Netflix and Starbucks. You choose five stores where you shop most frequently and rack up points when you buy there.
  • Rakuten Rewards (formerly Ebates) receives commissions from retailers, which it then shares with its members.

These sites won’t give you a ton of extra cash immediately. But they provide a way to make money online that can add up.

29. Receive automatic refunds and price drops

Paribus is a service that refunds you the difference between what you paid for an item and a sale price posted after you made your purchase. So if you paid $25 for a pack of paper towels at Costco and the price drops to $21.50, you get $3.50 back.

Paribus isn’t a scam. It’s owned by Capital One, but you can sign up whether you’re a Capital One customer or not. You do, however, need to provide your email address so Paribus can scan your inbox for purchase confirmations and receipts, etc.

30. Find unclaimed money

Go to the U.S. government website, USA.gov, to find money that belongs to you that you might not know about. You can use this tool to find:

  • Money in your state’s unclaimed property office
  • Pension money from former employers who may have gone out of business or ended their pensions
  • Unpaid wages
  • Money from VA or FHA insurance funds
  • Tax refund money that was never claimed or delivered
  • Unclaimed bankruptcy funds
  • Money from banking and investments

There’s some $58 billion in unclaimed money out there.

31. Monetize your blog

Use your blog for more than just getting your point across. You can sell products on your site by linking to platforms where they’re for sale. Or you can sell directly, by using shopping carts and order forms. Bloggers also can make money by selling advertising to third parties.

Create pins on Pinterest that earn you money through affiliate marketing, which earns you a commission for promoting someone else’s products or services. Once an affiliate accepts you, you get paid a commission whenever someone clicks to purchase through a pin you’ve created and posted on Pinterest.

33. Make and sell an ebook

Have you written a book that’s just sitting there on your hard drive because you’re not sure what to do with it? You don’t need a publisher to sell a book anymore. You don’t even need paper to print it on. You can create and sell an ebook through sites like Amazon’s KDP self-publishing, Payhip and Sellfy. Make quick cash each time you make a sale.

34. Create and sell an online course

You’ve seen YouTube tutorials and master classes online. Who says you can’t do something similar? If you’ve got a skill, why not share it for cash? Create and sell an online course using a site like Teachable or SkillShare.

35. Report your media habits

You’ve heard of Nielsen, the company that publishes the TV ratings that can make or break your favorite shows. Well, it’s a research company that does a lot more than that, and it needs members of the public to help it gather information.

Just download the Nielsen Digital app, which tracks your Internet activity to include its research database. Get paid $50 for doing so.

Share your space

Another resource you may have at your disposal is your space. You may have an extra room in your home, a vacation rental, office or even a vehicle. If you have space and someone wants it, there’s a source of income.

36. Get a roommate

Finding a roommate can help lower your share of the rent or shave money off your mortgage payment. Of course, you’ll want someone you can live with easily and who you can count on to pay each month.

Compatibility is important because it can be difficult to evict someone once they’re in. Services like Roommates, Roommate Match and Roomster can help you vet applicants, confirm identities, and avoid scams.

37. Rent your space for short-term rental

Another rental option is a short-term rental via services like Airbnb and VRBO. You can rent out a room, a condo you have as a second home, or your own home if you’re going away on vacation.

38. Rent out your parking space

If parking is at a premium in your area, you can rent out a parking space. Or if you’re near an event center, there’s another opportunity: If visitors don’t want to pay a premium to park in a lot or parking structure for a game or concert, rent out a space in your driveway.

39. Wrap your car

Car-wrapping companies like Carvertise, Wrapify, Free Car Media, and Nickelytics pay you to put advertising on your vehicle. You allow a company to “wrap” your car in advertising and get paid based on the number of miles you drive. Campaigns typically last for one to 12 months, and you get to approve the ad.

You’ll get paid from $100 to $400 just for driving around with the ad on your car (you can get paid smaller amounts for partial wraps and rear-window ads.

Different companies have different requirements: A clean driving record, a newer-model car, and minimal miles are common musts. If you’re interested, find the one that works best for you.

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Invest in your future today

40. Invest with apps

Collect extra pennies from purchases and invest them through Acorns, an app that helps you build savings income. You can start by saving as little as 50 cents.

41. Maximize your retirement

Minimize hidden investment fees in retirement accounts using Blooom (with three O’s). The site provides you with a free analysis of your 401(k) to weed out hidden investment fees. Bots do the research.

As you can see, there are many ways you can improve your personal finances. Your payout — the amount of money you earn — will depend on what you choose and as with anything else, how marketable it is. The important thing is, you’ve got options. Now you just have to decide what works best for you.


  1. Insider. “I’m a driver for Uber and Lyft - here’s exactly how much I make in one week on the job,” https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-lyft-driver-how-much-money-2019-10. Accessed August 6, 2021.
  2. Urbansitter. “Babysitting by the numbers,” https://blog.urbansitter.com/2019-babysitting-rates/. Accessed July 1, 2021.
  3. National Public Radio. “Jobs In The Pandemic: More Are Freelance And May Stay That Way Forever,” https://www.npr.org/2020/09/16/912744566/jobs-in-the-pandemic-more-are-freelance-and-may-stay-that-way-forever. Accessed July 1, 2021.
  4. Investopedia. “Passive Income,” https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/passiveincome.asp. Accessed July 1, 2021.

About the Author

Lauren Bringle is an Accredited Financial Counselor® with Self Financial – a financial technology company with a mission to help people build credit and savings. See Lauren on Linkedin and Twitter.

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Our goal at Self is to provide readers with current and unbiased information on credit, financial health, and related topics. This content is based on research and other related articles from trusted sources. All content at Self is written by experienced contributors in the finance industry and reviewed by an accredited person(s).

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Written on August 11, 2021
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