Intelligent Ways to Get Quick Cash In an Emergency

Written By
G. Dautovic
July 06,2023

Unfortunately, for most of us, there is no alternative to living paycheck to paycheck. Not everyone has a habit or extra funds to put aside and save for rainy days. However, once you face unexpected circumstances and your bank account runs dry, the panic inevitably creeps in, and you’ll most certainly wish you'd prepared better on time.

If you're going through some tough times and need fast cash right now, we have gathered several ideas that you might find helpful. The most important thing to remember is not to panic: take stock of your options and try to calmly evaluate the best course of action.

Sell Something You No Longer Use

If you want to earn some funds immediately, selling something is undoubtedly the quickest solution. Taking a look around and finding stuff that you can live without and are ready to exchange for cash is typically the first step.

Depending on what you are planning to sell, you have several options. You can host a garage sale, which can net a decent amount for unused stuff lying around your house but is just one of the quick ways to make money. If you have valuables, for example, jewelry, antique, or historical collectibles, a pawn shop is another option if you are in a hurry. You can also sell unused gift cards or sell electronics you no longer use. 

Online marketplaces will likely provide you with better deals, but this is not the quickest process if you’re in a bind. If you have a couple of days before the due date, do your research on the object you would like to sell. From there, one of the ways to make money online is to sell it at the right place. After all, if you are offering a Batman collectible on a site run by Batman fans, you'll likely get a better price than if you tried to sell it at a fisherman's store. We do hope that the situation never gets dire enough to put Batman on the line, though.

If You Need a Lot, Loan It

There are debts which not even a vintage Batman figurine could cover. For more considerable sums, your best option is a loan. These days, you have many options, from personal loans to loans against your 401(k). Also, many providers offer same-day loans, but your chances of getting one are heavily affected by your credit score.

Ultimately, getting into debt is never a good idea, but sometimes it can't be helped. If you are looking for tips on how to raise money fast, here are some good loan options. There are also some loans that you should avoid at all costs. Let’s break things down so you have a better idea of what to look for.

Personal Loans

Most people rely on personal loans in case of emergencies, and it could be your solution as well. However, this stands true only if you have a stellar credit score and don't haul old debt already. If you have good credit, you will have the luxury of shopping around and finding a good deal - one that might not cost you an arm and a leg in APRs. However, if you need money now, but your credit score is low, and you are already struggling - getting any type of loan is not the best idea.

While many emergency loans are available for bad credit, the interest rate could turn the current trouble into a never-ending emergency. You can still take out a loan if you have bad credit but do your research first. Mainstream lenders cap out at 36% APR, but they typically require a credit check and take some time to process.

On the other hand, many bad credit lenders don't even do a credit check, but this fast money solution can backfire - its APR rates can be as high as 300%. Make sure you read the fine print before you commit to anything.

Payday Alternative Loans

Just like its name suggests, this is an alternative option to your payday loan. Mind you, your regular payday loans typically have triple-digit APRs and are the worst option you could get in case of an emergency.

However, payday alternative loans are a much cheaper option. These are typically offered by credit unions. These small, short-term cash advances, especially if issued by federally chartered credit unions, are one of the best ways to get cash fast. These providers are obliged by law to charge less than 28% APR on these types of loans. While not cheap, it's an okay solution in case of emergency and certainly a much better one compared to some shady no-credit-check offers on the market.

Credit Card Cash Advance

If you can't cover your expenses easily - consider borrowing against your credit card. These cash advances are typically nothing more than a short-term loan, which you will easily get if you have an account in good standing.

Each credit card has a cash advance limit, and it is typically not the same as your full credit limit. So, if you are wondering how to get some quick cash, check your credit card statement to find out how much you could take and whether it will be enough.

The cash advance then gets added to your credit card balance and accrues a different annual percentage rate (APR). Typically, these types of advances carry around 30% interest. Of course, you can always consolidate these credit card debts with a loan down the road.

Borrow Money Against Your 401(k)

As mentioned before, you can also take 401(k) loans if your employer allows it. They come with many strings attached, though. Typically, you can use this option to get money fast once a year, provided that you repay the loan within two months (60 days). Still, you can borrow as much as half of your account balance, up to $50,000. If you don't make payments for 90 days, it will be considered taxable income.

There is also an issue of repaying the loan if you quit or lose your job. You will likely be obliged to pay the loan back quickly after that happens. It is also not a good idea to consider 401(k) loans if you haven't built up another IRA account, as it could severely hamper your retirement funds.

How to Earn Money Fast

Let’s say you dislike loans and want to avoid them at all costs. If the emergency is not that expensive, you could easily earn enough through short-term work to repair your car or fund other similar expenses in a day or two. Also, if you take any of these quick loan solutions we've discussed above, you'll find yourself with more than enough interest rates to cover and might need an extra job anyway. But, which odd jobs pay well?

Drive People or Food Around Your Town

If you have a car, you can put your weekends or evenings to good use to earn some fast cash. You can sign up with some popular solutions, such as Uber and Lyft, and get paid for giving people a ride. If you are not up for chatting with strangers, you can sign up with delivery services such as Postmates and OrderUp. These will pay you to be a delivery driver for takeout and other items.

Babysitting and Dog Sitting

If you like spending time with cute babies or puppies and other fluffy friends, then babysitting or dog sitting overnight are excellent ways to make extra money. You can sign up with some of the most popular websites in the niche, such as and Rover, which will effortlessly match you with parents in need. A babysitters' average hourly wage is $28 an hour, and as a dog sitter, you can earn around $14 per hour. Overnight pet sitting can net anywhere from $20 to $60, depending on the area you’re in.

Airbnb Your Spare Room

If you have a spare room, you can rent it on Airbnb. While often associated with whole vacation homes or apartments - Airbnb also allows extra room (even shared room) listings. Consider listing your spare room if you want to make money and live in a reasonably popular part of town that legally allows short-term rentals. Airbnb has a  3% service fee, and you can expect the payment about 24 hours after the guest checks in.

Sell Your Knowledge or Craft

Online tutoring has been all the rage in the past decade or so. If you have extensive knowledge on a particular topic, there is no reason you shouldn't share it with others. These days, you can become a virtual tutor for students on various topics and earn some quick money while you’re at it.

On the same note, if you are a master of a particular craft or have a creative hobby, you should consider selling your handiwork. You can set up an Etsy business or sell on Facebook, Craigslist, or other online marketplaces for some quick cash.

Better Preparation for Future Emergencies

Unpredicted costs and emergencies can put a serious dent in almost anyone’s budget. If you've found yourself in this type of predicament, don't worry - you're not alone. Around 60% of American households deal with at least one cash emergency per year. According to FEMA, one-third of Americans don't have any savings to fall back on, either. That's a large group of people looking for answers on how to get quick cash and similar questions.

Knowing that you are not alone may be helpful for your morale but won’t actually solve the problem. So, if you are panicking about the current situation, hopefully, our tips from this article can help you out. Still, to avoid getting yourself into the same position again, here are some things that you should consider doing.

Consolidate Your Existing Debt

To reduce the chances of cash emergencies ever happening again, you should consider paying off your debts as soon as possible. Consolidating all your loans under one roof is very much advisable, as it will undoubtedly lower your loan payments. There is no easy way to make money, but getting out of your debt faster and saving all those greens typically spent on paying back interest is a great start.

Reach Out To Your Financial Advisor

If you’re struggling with finances, reaching out to a financial advisor might be a good idea. It is also a good solution if you managed to put some money on the side and are now looking to grow it further. Whether you'll benefit from hiring a financial advisor usually depends on the amount of money you would like them to invest for you. Mostly, it's about your investment goals - and yes, it is one of the safest ways to make money, but in the long run.

Invest in Your Future

With so many automated investing advisors and investment apps available online these days, there is almost no excuse for not investing in your future. Even beginners can effortlessly sail in the world of investing and turn those $2 into something you can rely on for future emergencies. 

Balance Transfer Options

For those that have good credit, researching your balance transfer options is also advisable. Even the simple act of getting a refinancing loan at half of your current interest rate can help out immensely, leaving several hundreds or even thousands of dollars you would have spent on interest in your pockets instead.

It would take you much longer to earn that money online. Once you're confident you can repay the loan within a specific time frame, look for balance transfer cards with a 0% introductory interest rate. It will allow you to repay your debt without worrying about interest rates during the grace period.

Budget Wisely

Balance transfers and investments aside, the best way to avoid getting into a similar situation again is to budget wisely and not spend more than you have. Take your time to re-evaluate your spending habits, outstanding bills, and expenses. Try to find the extra funds you could put away for rainy days. 

Try some of the get money fast recommendations we've covered here. Also, try having a designated spot for saving pennies your couch would otherwise eat, and pay off your student or other outstanding debts as soon as possible to save on interest. There are many ways to find extra funds you can put towards your savings account. 

The Bottom Line

If you find yourself in financial trouble, there are plenty of options to consider. From hosting a garage sale, tutoring students on mathematics, to taking out a personal loan - you have numerous opportunities to make money fast and use it to get through a rough period. Even so, the ideal option would be to never get in financial trouble in the first place. You can do so by following the above tips and making sure to invest any surplus funds you may have wisely or keep them in a fund for rainy days. All in all, there’s a solution for almost every problem, but being prepared goes a long way.


How can I get money immediately?


The quickest way to get funds is to sell something you already have around the house but are not using. Selling clothes that are waiting for you to lose weight, old electronics, or your kid's old toys could prove to be an excellent method to get money fast.

Where can I borrow money ASAP?


Typically, the quickest way to borrow money is to max out your credit cards or take a loan against them. Some personal loans also have same-day approval, but these only work if you have a good credit score. If you need quick money, you should consider selling something or earning some by doing odd jobs that pay per hour.

What is the easiest loan to get?


If you have a good credit score, pretty much every loan is easy to get. The quickest ones are certainly options that offer same-day payouts. However, if you're wondering how to make money fast but have a bad credit score, look up your options for loans. Be aware of the high APR some of these loans carry, and always make sure to read the fine print.

About author

I have always thought of myself as a writer, but I began my career as a data operator with a large fintech firm. This position proved invaluable for learning how banks and other financial institutions operate. Daily correspondence with banking experts gave me insight into the systems and policies that power the economy. When I got the chance to translate my experience into words, I gladly joined the smart, enthusiastic Fortunly team.

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