I Need Money Desperately! 20+ Legitimate Ways to Get Cash Fast

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Last Updated on May 6, 2021 by Rebecca

Do you need money urgently? Learn how to get cash quickly when you need money desperately and can't wait for payday. 

And for a simple way to make money any time, get paid to take surveys with Survey Junkie!

I need money now and payday can’t come soon enough.

Sound familiar?

If you’ve ever been in a situation where you think to yourself “I need money desperately” you know how stressful it can be. Having an emergency fund you can tap into can help but only 39% of Americans have rainy day savings

So what do you do when bills are piling up or there’s a car repair that needs to be made but you’re short on cash?

Thankfully, there are some legitimate ways to get money quickly when you need it. 

I Need Money Desperately – What Can I Do?

What You'll Learn

Having an urgent need for money can be an overwhelming feeling.

But these ideas for ways to get money fast can help ease your financial stress. Some options may take a little longer than others so read through the whole list to find the best solution for your “I need money desperately” situation.

1. Sell things you no longer need

When you need money desperately, one of the fastest and easiest ways to get it is selling things around the house.

Some of the best things to sell for quick cash include:

  • Electronics, including TVs and DVD players
  • DVDs and CDs
  • Cellphones
  • Gaming systems and games
  • Books
  • Household items

For more ideas, check out this list of 40+ things you can sell to make money right now.

As far as where to sell your items when you need money now, here are some ideas to get you started:


The Decluttr app is great for selling electronics when you need money on short notice. Some of the things you can sell here include:

  • Cellphones and tablets
  • Wearables
  • CDs and DVDs
  • Blu-rays discs and players
  • Video games (including PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo)
  • Gaming consoles

You can also sell other items through Decluttr, including books, handbags, clothing, accessories and even baby items.


If you’ve got old cellphones, chargers and accessories lying around, you could sell them through Gazelle. 

The Gazelle app is great for selling your old iPhone or Galaxy phone for quick cash. You can also sell old tablets here as well. 

Here’s how it works:

  • You tell Gazelle what you have to sell
  • They send you a free shipping label to mail in your devices
  • Once Gazelle receives your devices, they quote you a price on what they’re willing to buy them for
  • If you’re happy with the price, Gazelle pays you cash

And if you don’t like the price, Gazelle will send your devices back to you free of charge. 


The LetGo app is also worth checking out if you need to sell things because you need money right now. 

With LetGo, you can sell almost anything as long as it’s not illegal. Some of the items that sell the best include:

  • Baby gear and clothing
  • Clothing and accessories
  • Home and garden supplies
  • Electronics

2. Sell your car

Selling your car may seem a bit extreme but it could be the best way to get a large sum of cash if you need money desperately.

You could sell your car on any of the places listed earlier for selling clutter, including Facebook.

When selling a car for quick money, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book value first. Then consider how much you’re willing to let it go for at the lowest end.

Car buyers are always hoping to haggle so it’s important to keep that in mind. If you truly need money desperately then it’s possible you could end up selling your car for less than what it’s worth just to make a deal.

You have to be comfortable with making that trade-off, though.

3. Resell free items you find online

One person’s trash is another’s treasure and you could make cash quickly selling the stuff nobody else wants. 

couple worrying about money

For example, I have a friend who used to make extra cash picking up things people were tossing out through curb alerts and reselling them on Craiglist. 

There are lots of ways to find things for free that you can resell if you need money desperately and are short on cash.

For instance, local Facebook bargain groups, yard sales and Craiglist could all be gold mines. Just be careful about where you relist your items. 

If you find something for free in a Facebook group, for example, don’t put it up for sale in that same group. That’s a fast way to bring the wrath of the group’s admins and members on your head and get kicked out. 

4. Sell your unused gift cards

Got old gift cards lying around that you’ll never use?

You can turn them into cash when you need money desperately by reselling them online. 

Some of my favorite sites for selling unwanted gift cards include:

Just be sure to pay attention to any fees you might have to pay to sell your gift cards since those can take a bite out of your earnings. 

5. Sell your photos

If you’re great at taking photos, there are a few ways you can use that skill to make money fast.

First, you could hire yourself out locally as a photographer. 

I know someone who does this in our town. She makes money taking family photos and wedding photos.

You can also sell your photos online for fast cash. Sites like Foap, Shutterstock and 500px let you list your photos for real cash. 

Bonus tip for making money with your photos: Start your own website for selling them

Setting up a photography blog or website could be a great way to make a passive income.

For example, I make $2,000 a month from this blog on autopilot and I only put a few hours into it each week. 

If you’re interested in learning more, be sure to read my ultimate guide to starting a money-making blog

6. Pawn things you don’t need

Pawnshops can be a source of quick cash if you need money now. All you need is something of value you can use as collateral for a loan. 

Here are the basics of pawnshop loans:

  • You take your item(s) to the pawnshop
  • The pawnshop lends you money, based on what they value the items at
  • You have a set period of time to pay the loan back (usually 30 days)
  • If you pay the loan back, you get your stuff back
  • If you don’t pay the loan back, the pawnshop keeps your stuff

Pawnshop loans can be useful if you have jewelry, electronics or even something like a dirt bike that you’re comfortable using as collateral for short-term cash.

Just keep in mind that you risk losing your item if you can’t pay the loan back. 

7. Donate plasma for money

Donating plasma is a quick and easy way to get cash when you need money desperately.

Depending on where you donate, you may be able to make a quick $20 to $50 in one go. You’re allowed to donate plasma twice every seven days, so you could earn up to $400 per month this way.

Donating plasma could be a good option if you need a simple way to get some money quickly. You can check for local plasma donation centers near you online.

8. Earn cashback on shopping

Cashback apps are a simple way to make a few bucks when you need money now. 

make money shopping online

Here’s a really quick overview of how they work:

  • You download the cashback app(s) of your choice
  • Link your checking account and credit cards to the app
  • Shop at partner merchants
  • Earn back a percentage of what you spend as cash

It’s really that simple! And the best part is you can download multiple cashback apps to earn money on virtually everything you buy.

If you’re looking for some of the best cashback apps to try now for easy money, here are my favorite picks!

9. Ask for more hours at work

If you work at a job that pays you hourly, making extra money might be as simple as asking for more hours. 

This may not put money in your pocket right away, since you won’t see the cash until payday. But it’s something to consider if you know you’ve got an expense coming up that you’ll need extra money for. 

10. Borrow from your next paycheck

When you absolutely can’t wait until payday because you need money now and right this second, a payday advance could be a lifesaver. 

Now, I don’t mean a payday advance loan. (I explain why those are a terrible idea a little later on.)

What I mean is one of two things:

  • Asking your employer directly to advance you money out of your paycheck
  • Using an app to get a little bit of cash now to tide you over

Asking your employer for an advance can help you get money when you need it now. But you might not want your job knowing that you’re short on cash. 

If you’re reluctant to ask your boss for an advance, you could always try the Earnin app instead. 

Earnin’s motto is “You worked today, get paid today” and that’s just what the app does. You can get an advance of up to $100 against the money you’ve already earned in your paycheck.

You do have to pay it back since it’s essentially a short-term loan. But you don’t pay fees or interest unless you want to which is a plus when you need money desperately.

⇒Download Earnin and get up to $100 from your next paycheck now

11. Get paid to deliver food

If you’ve got a car, you’ve got an easy way to make cash when you need money now. 

Becoming a delivery driver on the side can help you earn money in your spare time, even if you already work a regular 9 to 5.

If you want to get paid to deliver food, DoorDash is one option. You get paid an hourly rate, plus tips. 

⇒Get paid to become a Dasher with DoorDash

12. Work today get paid today

Work today, get paid today sounds good, right?

There are plenty of ways to make money in a day when you need cash. For example, you could:

  • Hire yourself out as a tasker on TaskRabbit
  • See if anyone you know needs help with yard work
  • Offer to run errands for someone you know for cash
  • Babysit
  • Offer to clean house for friends and family

These are all relatively easy things you can do to make extra money in a day. 

13. Become a pet-sitter or dog walker

If you like pets then you might be able to pick up some extra cash as a pet-sitter or dog walker when you need money desperately.

get paid to walk dogs

This is an easy way to make money on the side for the short-term but you could turn it into a side hustle for regular income. 

If you’re interested in getting paid to play with dogs or mind cats, check out Rover

Rover matches up pet parents with pet-sitters. You can create a profile to advertise your services and connect with people and their pets locally. 

⇒Create a profile with Rover today for free

14. Get paid to grocery shop

Grocery shopping is one of my least favorite chores and I’ve happily used Instacart to save myself the trouble of having to do it. 

If you know your way around your local grocery stores, you could make money as an Instacart shopper.

Instacart shoppers get orders delivered to their phone, shop the order and drop it off. Just like DoorDash, you get paid an hourly rate plus tips.

Since I’ve personally tipped my Instacart shoppers $30-$40, I know that it can be a great way to make quick cash when you need money now. (Assuming you get generous tippers!)

⇒Sign up to become an Instacart shopper and get paid to grocery shop

15. Return purchases you don’t need

If you’ve gone on a recent shopping trip, you could easily get some cash by returning some of your purchases.

For example, if you bought something you really don’t need you could always take it back to the store for cash. 

Just know that every store’s return policy is different. 

You might need to have your original receipt to get a cash refund vs. a gift card, for example. Or you may only have a certain amount of time to make returns so keep that in mind as well.

16. Start a GoFundMe

GoFundMe allows you to set up a fundraiser for just about any purpose, as long as it’s not illegal. 

If you’re in a cash crunch and need money now, you could set up a GoFundMe campaign and ask people to donate. If your request is funded quickly you may be able to get the cash in a matter of days.

GoFundMe does charge a fee to use its platform and create a fundraising campaign. So keep that in mind when setting your funding goal. 

17. Borrow from your retirement account or life insurance

If you have a 401(k) plan at work, an Individual Retirement Account or a cash value life insurance policy, you could tap into any one of them when you need money now.  

With a 401(k) plan, you could take out a loan against your account balance. Hardship withdrawals may also be an option, but these are usually only allowed in dire financial circumstances. 

If you have an IRA, you could withdraw some or all of the money. With cash value life insurance, you can take out a loan against the cash value you’ve accumulated.

Now, are these ideal ways to get cash when you need money desperately?

Not exactly. 

Taking money out of a 401(k) or IRA means you’re taking money from your future retirement. 

You can pay the money back but you’ll still miss out on the interest it could have earned if you’d left it alone. And you may have to pay taxes and penalties if you’re taking money out before age 59 1/2.

With life insurance loans, you don’t necessarily have to pay the money back.

But if you die and there’s still a loan outstanding, the life insurance company takes that amount out of the death benefit. That means less money left behind for your loved ones. 

18. Tap into your home equity

Your home could be a source of cash you can draw on in an emergency if you’ve built up some equity. 

Home equity is the difference between what you owe on your home and what it’s worth. 

So for example, if your home is worth $300,000 and you owe $200,000 on the mortgage you have $100,000 in equity. 

Home equity loans can let you draw against your home’s value and they can come with low interest rates if you have good credit. 

But there’s a big catch (potentially).

If you can’t pay back a home equity loan, you run the risk of losing the property to foreclosure. So you may want to weigh the pros and cons carefully before going through with a home equity loan. 

19. Consider a small personal loan

Personal loans give you a lump sum of money you can use for just about any purpose. 

sell your stuff for money

For example, you could use a personal loan to:

  • Fix a leaky roof
  • Replace your car’s transmission
  • Cover an unexpected doctor visit
  • Pay for emergency surgery for a beloved pet

Even if you don’t have a situation like that, you could still get a personal loan to just pay the bills. 

If you’re interested in personal loans because you need money desperately, do your research. 

Specifically, compare different lenders to see how much you can borrow and what kind of interest rates and fees you might pay.

SuperMoney is a great resource for this. 

You can get rate quotes without harming your credit on personal loans of up to $100,000. 

⇒Check your rates with SuperMoney now

20. Take surveys online

Taking surveys may not make you rich but it’s an easy way to get funds when you need money desperately.

Survey sites pay you to share your opinions, participate in polls, play games, watch videos and more. 

Some of the best survey sites can even pay up to $50 an hour!

If you’re interested in getting paid to take surveys, here are my favorite survey sites to try:

⇒Survey Junkie

⇒InboxDollars (get a $5 bonus now)

⇒Swagbucks (snag a $5 bonus when you sign up)

⇒Opinion Outpost

⇒Reward Survey (get a $30 bonus instantly)

⇒Survey Voices

21. Look for financial assistance locally

When you really need money desperately and time is of the essence, the best place to look for help may be your own backyard. 

For example, you might be able to get financial assistance through:

  • Local churches
  • Local nonprofits and charities
  • State and local government agencies
  • Federal government programs (such as SNAP, WIC or LIHEAP)

Facebook groups can also be a huge help.

For example, I belong to a local “Needs and Seeds” group where I live. People post what they need and other people respond with ways they can help. 

Is it a little awkward to ask for help this way? Maybe. 

But you might be surprised at the response you get and how willing your local community is to lend a hand when you need it. 

22. Ask friends and family for a short-term loan

Borrowing money from people you know can be tricky. 

After all, if you don’t pay the money back for some reason it can lead to a lot of hurt feelings and maybe even wreck the relationship.

But if you’re truly in a tight spot and need money desperately, you may consider appealing to friends and family for a loan. The worst-case scenario is they say no and you have to look elsewhere for the cash you need. 

And if they do agree, be sure to get some type of loan repayment agreement in writing. This way, they have some reassurance that they’ll get their money back.

23. Try some free money hacks

I love free money hacks because you can use them to get money fast when you need it most. 

So what do I mean by free money hacks? 

Basically, anything you can do that gets you free money with little effort on your part. 

Nothing shady, either. Legitimate things that anyone can do to get money for free. 

If you need some ideas, check out this list of 50 ways to get free money now.

24. Negotiate bills and refinance debt

When your bills and debt are weighing you down, there are some things you can do to get some of that money back. 

First, you can negotiate your bills down

This usually means calling up people you pay bills to (i.e. cellphone, utilities, insurance, etc.) and asking for a better deal. 

Now, this can be time-consuming so I recommend letting an app like Billshark do the heavy lifting for you.

Billshark reviews your bills to find expenses you can cut then negotiates with your billers on your behalf. 

Next, look at your debt. Are there ways you can pay it off faster to save money?

An easy option to try is using the Tally app to pay off your credit cards. 

Tally helps you save money and get out of debt faster by reducing the amount of interest you pay. (Read more about how it works in this detailed Tally app review.)

You could also try refinancing some or all of your debt if the interest rates make it difficult to make a dent.

For example, you might refinance student loans. Or you may have a mortgage you want to get a better deal on it. 

Just like with getting a personal loan or a home equity loan, it pays to shop around. 

For example, you can compare refinance rates for student loans or mortgage refinance rates online with SuperMoney. 

25. Start an online side hustle

I couldn’t write a list of ways to make cash when you need money desperately (or any time) without mentioning online side hustles. 

Online side hustles are great because you can make money without leaving home, using skills you already have. 

For example, I started a freelance writing side hustle when my second child was born. And today it’s a six-figure business. 

So I know it can be done. It all comes down to choosing a profitable side hustle to start. 

If you need some ideas, here are some of my favorite ways to make money online:

Get paid to proofread

Online proofreading jobs are a hot commodity right now. 

Proofreaders get paid to read written texts and correct them for errors. 

Sounds easy, right? And online proofreaders can easily make $53,000+ per year.

To get started as an online proofreader, you’ll need a laptop and an eye for detail. It also helps to learn some of the basics of making money as a proofreader. 

And I have an awesome free resource that can help!

It’s a free webinar that covers the basics of proofreading and how to make money. The webinar is run by Caitlin Pyle, who’s built a successful career out of proofreading online.

Get paid to type

If you’re good at typing and detail-oriented, online transcription jobs might be perfect for you. 

Transcriptionists turn audio files into written files. 

You’ll need some special equipment for this side hustle, including a headset and foot pedal

And you may also benefit from learning the basics of transcription if you’re familiar with them. 

There’s a free mini-course you can try from Transcribe Anywhere that’s a good introduction to what it involves. 

If you’re wondering whether online transcription is legit or if it’s right for you, the mini-course can answer some of your questions. 

Get paid to teach

Online learning has become extremely popular these days, for kids and adults alike.

If you have some special knowledge, you could make money teaching courses online. 

For example, if you want to teach kids you might consider becoming an Outschool teacher

Outschool allows anyone with a clean criminal record and a passion for their subject to teach classes online for kids K-12. 

We use Outschool in our homeschooling and we love it! There are so many things you can teach here and it’s a relatively easy way to make $500 a month or more from home. 

⇒Learn more about Outschool here

Offer freelance services

I’ve been a freelancer for years now and it’s one of the best ways to make money online, in my opinion. 

Freelancing is flexible, which is great if you have kids at home. And you can make a ton of money, depending on what you do. 

Some of the ways to make money freelancing include:

  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Blog management
  • Social media management
  • Pinterest management

That’s a short list!

Check out the full rundown of 20+ freelance services you can offer to make money from home.

Start a blog

First, let me say that blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme. So if you truly need money desperately, this instant, it may not be for you. 

For example, I was in my second year of blogging when I started making a consistent income. And I still have a ways to go to reach my target income goal. 

But can you make money blogging?


Can it even become a full-time income?

For sure!

You can make money from ads, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, products, offering a service or any combination of them all!

I love blogging as an online side hustle because it’s creative and it doesn’t take a lot of money to get going.

For example, you can start a blog with Siteground (the host I use) for under $10.

And remember, you can check out my ultimate guide to starting a money-making blog for pro tips.

How Else Can I Get Cash When I Need Money Desperately?

Besides the ideas I’ve already given you, there are some other things you can do to get money quickly when you’re in a financial bind. 

earn more money

But a little disclaimer here: I’d only consider these if you’re truly hanging by a thread financially since they can create more money headaches. 

Credit card cash advance

A credit card cash advance is essentially a short-term loan against your credit limit. 

Credit card cash advances can put money in your hands the same day, which is great. But they can come with a high price tag.

There are two reasons for that. 

One, the credit card can charge a fee for a cash advance. This fee can be 5% or more of the advance amount and it gets added to what you have to pay back.

And two, credit card cash advances typically have much higher APRs than purchases. Since there’s no grace period for cash advances, the interest charges start piling up right away. 

So before you follow through with a cash advance from a credit card, consider how much it might cost you in the long run. 

Payday advance loans

Payday lenders can also put cash in your hands when you need money right now. But again, it can come at a steep price. 

That’s because of how payday loans calculate interest and fees. For example, some payday loans can have an effective APR as high as 391%

Insane, right?

And because you’re borrowing against your future earnings, it’s really easy to fall into a vicious cycle of taking out a new payday loan to pay off the old one.

So before you sign up for a payday loan, take time to read the fine print so you know what you’re getting yourself into. 

Car title loans

If you own a car, you may be able to use your title as collateral for a short-term loan when you need money desperately.  

But just like payday loans, car title loans can end up doing more harm than good.

Not only can they be expensive, but you run the risk of losing your car if you can’t pay the loan back. Since your car is your collateral, the lender can lay claim to it if you default on the loan.

If you want to make money using your car, you’re better off doing something like:

  • Driving for Uber or Lyft
  • Starting a delivery side hustle with DoorDash
  • Getting paid to advertise with a company like Wrapify
  • Renting out your car through a ride-sharing service like Turo

All of these options can help you get extra cash when you need money desperately.

What to Do When You’re Struggling Financially

If you routinely find yourself saying, “I need money desperately!” that’s a sign that you may need to reevaluate your financial situation.

Here are a couple of things to consider if you constantly need money urgently because you’re short ton cash.

Review your budget

Do you know how much you really spend each month? If you said no, you’re not alone.

In fact, 65% of Americans don’t know how much money they spend each month.

If you have a budget but don’t stick to it, or you don’t budget at all, that could be the culprit of your constant need for money.

Making a budget isn’t complicated; it simply means figuring out how much you make versus how much you spend.

I have a guide that explains how to make a budget step by step. You can also get a free budgeting template in the resource library.

Getting your budget together can help you take the first step toward breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle.

Consider how serious the problem is

Sometimes, needing money desperately comes from not being careful enough with your budget.

But other times, you might need money because you don’t have emergency savings or you’re drowning in debt.

If piles of debt are eating away at your ability to save money and get ahead financially, consider whether you may need some professional help managing your money.

A certified credit counselor or debt counselor can take a look at your finances and help find the weak spots. And they can help you develop a plan for getting on track so you never have to say the words “I need money desperately” ever again.

I Need Money Desperately FAQs

Still wondering what you can do if you need money now and don’t know where to turn?

Here are answers to some of your biggest questions about how to get cash fast when you’re in desperate need of money.

How can I get money fast without a loan?

If you don’t want to borrow when you need money desperately, then the fastest way to get cash now is to sell something. 

You can list something on a local bargain group, name your asking price and get cash the same day if it sells. I see people do it all the time where I live. 

After that, some of the best options for getting money fast when you need it are:

  • Hiring yourself out for short tasks, like yard work or helping someone move
  • Asking for help from local charities or church groups
  • Borrowing from friends and family

These are all ways you can get money the same day when you need it urgently. 

How can I get money now for free?

There are lots of free money hacks you can try to get free money. But one of my favorites has to be one I’ve already mentioned: Using cashback apps to shop. 

When you shop with cashback apps, you’re basically getting paid to buy the things you were already planning to purchase. 

Getting 5%, 10% or even 40% back on what you spend can put some serious cash in your pocket with very little effort. 

You can also take advantage of apps that offer a signup bonus just for using them.

Acorns, for example, offers a $5 cash bonus when you sign up. This app makes it easy to invest using your spare change.

The Digit app also offers a cash bonus when you sign up for a new savings account. 

⇒Check out this list of the best apps that pay you money now!

How can I get money immediately? 

If you need money immediately, then again, your best bet may be selling things you can afford to part with. 

When you need money desperately because of a true emergency, you can also look into short-term loans. 

For example, a short-term personal loan could be a good fit. And if you choose an online lender, it’s possible that you could be approved and have your loan funded the same day or the next day. 

Just make sure you understand the loan terms and costs.

Getting money immediately can be a relief if you’re under financial strain but it could come back to bite you later if you’re stuck paying a high APR. 

Where can I borrow money ASAP?

When you need money now and you’re willing to borrow it, you might to friends and family first. 

They could offer you a short-term loan to help cover an unexpected bill or expense.

If you’re going to borrow money from people you know, consider getting it in writing first. And remember that if you fail to repay the money, the relationship could suffer as a result. 

Aside from friends and family, you might try a credit card cash advance, payday loan or auto title loan. But again, those can be more trouble than they’re worth. 

So you might be better off comparing personal loan rates online with a company like SuperMoney.

You can borrow up to $100,000 and checking rates won’t affect your credit scores. 

I need money desperately

Final thoughts on what to do if you need money urgently

Being broke sucks. And it’s especially stressful when have a desperate need for cash right away but payday is still weeks away. Or worse, you’re unemployed and don’t have any money coming in at all.

But don’t panic. These ideas can help you get your hands on money when you need it.

Now, do you have a tip or hack on how to get money now when you’re in a jam?

Head to the comments and tell me about it. And don’t forget to pin and share this post!

Read these posts next for more ideas if you need money now:

30 Proven Ways to Make an Extra $1000 a Month (or More)

60 Profitable Home Business Ideas to Start Now to Make Money

Ultimate How to Start a Side Hustle Guide: Make $1000 a Month (or More!)

25 Creative Ways to Make Money From Home (Without a Job!)

What to Do If You Need Money Now (Desperately)

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