Help! I need to learn how to make $500 fast!
We’ve all been in a situation when we need extra money ASAP. Maybe there’s an issue with your car, you want some extra cash before you go on vacation, or rent is due, and you’re a little short this month. Whatever the reason is, having an extra $500 can make all the difference.
What’s difficult is finding solutions that pay well and pay quickly. Fortunately, there are more options than you might realize. This list covers 20+ ways to make 500 dollars fast. Most of these will put money in your pocket in about a week or less.
How to Make $500 Fast | 22 Realistic Ideas for 2021
1. Deliver food
You will have to meet a few driver requirements, and these are standard across delivery services:
- Meet the legal age to drive in your city
- Have a reliable vehicle
- Pass a criminal background check
- Have a good driving record (not too many tickets or accidents in the past few years)
A good way to increase your chances of making money fast is by driving for more than one company at a time. It reduces your dead time (the time spent waiting for orders to come in), and many drivers work for two or more services.
Food delivery services don’t pay a flat hourly rate. Instead, you are paid for each order. The apps for these companies show you where each order is and the minimum amount you’ll make for the order before you accept it. You often earn more than the minimum, especially when you factor in tips, which you keep 100% of.
DoorDash pays its drivers weekly via direct deposit, but you can cash your earnings whenever you want with Fast Pay. It costs $1.99 to use Fast Pay, but if you need 500 dollars quickly, it could be worth it.
Instacart is, by far, the most popular grocery delivery service. Shoppers are paid by the size and difficulty of the order, plus how busy the app is. Some of the best hours to drive for Instacart are from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., so if you are available during those hours, delivering for Instacart could be a great way to make $500 fast.
Now, the reality is that it will take anywhere from 3 to 7 days (occasionally longer) between signing up and getting approved to drive. However, the sign-up process is super simple and quick, which is why you’ll want to sign up soon if you’re interested.
2. Sell your stuff online
Want to know how to make $500 fast in the absolute fastest way possible? Of course you do! The answer is to start looking around your house and find things to sell.
I’m sure you have a few things around your house you could easily part with. I can quickly think of a few things in my house I could sell: a stack of DVDs, a deep freezer I don’t use, a leaf blower I don’t need, to name a few.
Facebook Marketplace is a good place for selling your stuff online because it’s free to use, and most of us already have the app on our phones.
There are also a handful of item-specific places and apps for selling:
- Decluttr is for gently used tech, electronics, video games, cameras, and even Lego sets.
- Poshmark, ThredUp, and DePop for clothes, shoes, and accessories. There are also consignment stores, like Plato’s Closet, that buy gently used, on-trend clothing. If you have a decent Instagram following, you can sell clothes and accessories in your stories.
- OfferUp is an online platform for selling things locally, which is free. However, if you are willing to pay a service fee, you can list your items to ship.
Don’t forget about Craigslist, but be safe when you’re meeting strangers to complete sales. And eBay is a great place to sell niche items across a wide audience.
When you’re looking for places to sell your stuff, make sure you check out the fees associated with each platform and how quickly they pay out.
3. Start flea market flipping
Flea market flipping is buying things you find for cheap at a flea market, garage sale, thrift store, etc., and then turning around and selling them for a profit.
The most successful flippers have a good eye for spotting profitable flips, and that can vary based on where you live and the season. For example, if you live in Florida and found a snowblower at a garage sale, that won’t be as valuable as one selling in Iowa in December.
To help you get a sense for what sells and how to start flipping, Melissa and Rob of Flea Market Flipper have a webinar you can sign up for today. These two know are expert flippers, and here are a few things they’ve recently flipped:
- A teak patio set, bought for $100 and flipped for $900
- Vintage CRT gaming TV, found for $0 and sold for $160
- Jagermeister tap machine, bought for $20 and flipped for $360
- Taxidermied coyote, bought for $130 and resold for $685
4. Take online surveys
Taking online surveys is an easy way to make a little extra money. It would be difficult to make $500 in a week from surveys alone, but you can add this money to your total earnings.
Online surveys give companies and brands valuable market research that helps them develop better products and services for their customers. They need real people to answer questions about how they use, interact, and feel about certain products.
Survey Junkie is a top survey site, and they pay $1-$3 on average for each survey you complete. Most users earn around $20/month from the site.
As I said, you’re not earning $500 fast, but it adds up. This is also a mindless way to make extra cash. You can take surveys while laying in bed watching Netflix, sitting in the carpool lane to pick up your kids, at the dentist’s office, and more.
Survey Junkie pays you in points that convert to cash, and you can cash out via PayPal, online bank transfer, or gift cards once you reach 500 points, which equals $5.
Survey Junkie is our favorite platform for online surveys. Still, there are multiple sites I recommend signing up for so you have more survey opportunities: MyPoints, Inbox Dollars, Branded Surveys, and Swagbucks.
5. Earn cash back when you shop
If you’re already out spending money, why not make some of it back? That’s the beauty of cash back sites like Ibotta.
Ibotta pays you cash back on grocery purchases, travel, take out, and spending at major nationwide retailers. Here’s how it works:
- Sign up for a free Ibotta account
- Download the Ibotta app or browse extension
- Find and claim offers
- Earn cash back after you make your purchase
It takes about 48 hours for cash to show up in your Ibotta account, and you can cash out once your balance hits $20. They don’t pay in points, only cash.
Again, you’re not going to make $500 fast from Ibotta alone, but cash back earning can help you reach your $500 goal.
6. Start babysitting
Parents are willing to pay good money for a night out — I speak from experience here, ha! Seriously, though, it’s worth paying for a trustworthy, kind, and fun babysitter.
Babysitters can easily make anywhere from $15-$20/hour, plus an extra $1-$2/hour for each additional child. You’ll earn on the higher end with more experience, and it also depends on where you live. Like, a babysitter in rural Kansas won’t earn as much per hour in Seattle.
One of the major perks about babysitting is that you typically get paid cash immediately.
Referrals go a long way when you’re looking for a family to babysit for, so start by reaching out to those you know. You can list your services on Facebook, Nextdoor, or you can check out Care.com.
Care.com lists babysitting, nannying, long-term care, tutoring jobs, and more. They do charge a fee for listing yourself on the platform, but it could be a good way to get your name out there because families know to look on Care.com.
7. Walk dogs and pet sit
Pet sitters can earn anywhere from $35-$70 per night depending on where you live, and dog walkers can make $15-$25 per walk.
Rover is a platform designed specifically for pet-centric services like dog walking and pet sitting. It’s free to sign up, you set your rates, and list what kind of services you’re willing to offer.
Besides listing your services on Rover, you can put the word out to family and friends and ask them to share your contact info. Nextdoor is a good way to advertise your pet sitting services to people in your neighborhood.
8. Become a Tasker
TaskRabbit is an online platform where people go to find help for things like:
- Mounting a flat-screen TV on the wall
- Assembling IKEA furniture
- Cleaning the gutters
- Running errands
- Plant flowers
Mounting a TV, for example, pays upwards of $94 where I live in St. Louis. Planting flowers pays $43-$78 on average. Imagine how quickly your earnings could add up.
If you’re interested in TaskRabbit, you’ll need to create a profile, list the kinds of tasks you can complete, verify your eligibility for tasks (when necessary), pay a registration fee, and set your schedule and rates.
Once your profile is live, clients can search TaskRabbit for people in their area. You’re paid via direct deposit, which takes about 3 to 5 days after completing the task.
Become a Tasker
TaskRabbit connects you with people looking for help around their house. Tasks include things like moving boxes, planting flowers, lifting furniture upstairs, running errands, and more.Sign up for TaskRabbit
9. Rent out your car
Have a car that you’re not driving as much anymore? Instead of letting it sit in your driveway all day, use it to make some extra cash.
HyreCar is an online platform where you can list your car and rent it to people who make money driving for rideshare or food delivery companies. They offer up to $1,000,000 in insurance coverage if something happens to your car, and you can make anywhere from $30-$60/day.
If you want to know how to make $500 fast, renting out your car is fairly passive. That means you can spend your time and energy making money in other ways.
10. Do one-off gigs
It’s probably been a while since you’ve looked at Craigslist, but it’s still a good place to find quick one-off jobs that pay cash. I did a quick search of the “gig” section in my area and found:
- Weekend Renaissance festival hiring workers
- Stagehand needed for an upcoming music festival
- Someone paying $200 for 5 minutes of work with a cherry picker or boom truck
- Moving help needed for one day, paying $35/hour
Craigslist has gotten a bad rep in the past, so make sure you get all of the details in advance, including when you will get paid. Many of these gigs pay same-day cash, which is great when you want to know how to get 500 dollars fast.
11. Find a part-time job
There are lots of part-time jobs hiring right now for servers, baristas, retailer cashiers, grocery store clerks, and more. These aren’t the highest-paying jobs, but if you need money fast, it’s worth checking out.
Because many of these businesses are in high need of workers, some are hiring on the day you interview.
12. Negotiate for a raise
Here’s one you may have overlooked: if you’re already employed and love your job, ask for a raise.
According to a Marketplace-Edison Research Poll, 37% of men and 36% of women have asked for a raise. Men received the raise they asked for 82% of the time, while women got their raise 74% of the time.
Wage gap aside, that’s telling – you probably have a better chance at that raise than you might expect.
Here are some tips to help you negotiate a raise and get it:
- Do your research. Find out what others in your field are earning to get a sense of what’s a realistic ask.
- Find the right time. Make sure your company is doing well financially, where’s your current standing with them, have you recently received a raise, etc. Some of the best times to ask for a raise are after you’ve completed a big project, a few months before an annual review, or after new responsibility has been added to your plate.
- Practice your pitch. Write down what you’re asking for and why you deserve it, then practice saying it out loud before you go to your boss.
I know it’s scary thinking that your boss might say “no,” but it’s not the end of the world. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be fired, but it might be the push you need to up your job performance or start looking for an even better job.
13. Ditch your unused subscriptions
Subscription services, like beauty boxes or whiskey of the month clubs, are fun to sign-up for. But the cost of them quickly adds up if you’re not paying attention.
Take some time to think about what services you’ve signed up for and consider cancelling some of them. Or you can use the Trim app to do it for you. Yes, there is an app that will find and cancel subscription services.
Trim works by analyzing your bank and credit card transactions — it’s only looking for recurring transactions. Once it finds some, you’ll be notified of how much you’re spending on subscriptions, and you can choose which ones to cancel.
Trim will start the cancellation process for you and keep you notified along the way. If they can’t cancel it for some reason, they will let you know so you can finish it up.
It’s free to use Trim to cancel your subscriptions, and they save users an average of $625.
Cancelling subscription service keeps money in your pocket, which is one way to get to $500.
14. Get a price-drop refund
Have you ever bought something at full price and then see it a few weeks later on sale? I hate when that happens!
Fortunately, Paribus is there to help you claim price drop refunds. Paribus is a free app that you can connect to your email, and it looks for retailers, receipts, dates, and prices. It analyzes and compares that information to current prices and price drop refund rules at major retailers across the U.S.
Paribus starts the refund process for you, and it takes about 3 to 7 days to receive the money back in your account once the retailer confirms an adjustment.
Paribus is owned by Capital One, and they work with major retailers like Home Depot, Target, Nordstrom, Best Buy, and more.
15. Refinance your loans
Interest rates are at record lows right now, meaning it might be a good time to refinance your mortgage or student loans and quickly save hundreds of dollars a month.
Refinancing is when you take out a new loan to pay off an existing one, and the goal is to get a new loan with more favorable terms. Lowering your interest rate by a single percentage point or two can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the course of your loan.
You will need a good to excellent credit score to qualify for the best interest rate, but you also want to pay attention to the fees and terms of your new loan. Sometimes refinancing can cost you more in the long run if you’re not careful.
Refinancing takes about 30 to 45 days to complete, so you’re not going to make $500 in a week, but it’s money you will save/earn in the near future.
For student loan refinancing specifically, if you are a federal student loan borrower, be aware that you will lose federal student loan protections if you refinance. That’s because you’d be replacing a federally backed loan with a private one.
Use Credible to compare refinance rates on your student loans
In just about two minutes, Credible will help you compare rates so you can find the best refinance for your student loans.Check out Credible
16. Open a bank account
When you searched “how to make 500 dollars fast,” I bet you didn’t expect to see “open a bank account” on the list of ideas.
You can make money fast by opening a new bank account because some banks offer cash bonuses for new customers. They all have some kind of requirement you’ll have to fulfill, like setting up direct deposit or depositing a certain amount when you open your account.
Sign-up bonus offers change regularly, so do a quick Google search to find one that suits you. Make sure you can fit the requirements, and there’s no reason you should be charged any fees for opening an account, so watch out for that.
17. Collect and sell scrap metal
Recycling centers will pay people who bring in scrap metal to be recycled, and it keeps that metal out of landfills. Most scrappers find metal sitting out on big trash day, in dumpsters, on Craigslist, and near old job sites.
The types of metal you can get paid for are aluminum, bras, copper, and stainless steel. The price changes regularly, and you’ll be paid based on the current market value.
Most scrappers make $100-$200 a month. Again, not something you can do alone to make $500 fast, but you can add it to your other income sources.
18. Have a garage sale
This is a classic way to make $500 fast! You might make a little less than if you listed everything for sale individually online, but there’s no shipping and less hassle overall.
The most time consuming part is organizing and pricing everything for your sale, but it could be done in a day if you were motivated. Then make sure to advertise your sale by posting signs in your neighborhood, listing on Craigslist, sharing on Facebook, and posting about it on NextDoor.
19. Do yard work
Yard work is a chore that a lot of people either don’t enjoy but don’t have the time for, and that’s why they are willing to pay good money for someone who will take care of it for them.
You can mow yards, weed, do edging, clean gutters, rack, shovel show, trim hedges, plant flowers, weed whack, de-ice sidewalks, powerwash patios, and much more.
One of the best ways to find clients is to list your services on community sites like NextDoor. You could even go door to door and introduce yourself to your neighbors with a flyer that details your services.
You could easily make $500 fast, and it could turn into a steady side hustle if you build up a regular clientele.
20. Clean houses for cash
My first side hustle was cleaning houses, and I made anywhere from $30-$60/hour depending on the size of the job. One of my best clients was a high profile NFL player who paid me $100/hour to clean his house each week.
I started my business by reaching out to people I knew who might be interested and asked them to pass my information along to others. Besides the fact that I was cleaning toilets every day, it was a great way to make quick money.
21. Start freelancing
The freelance industry has been growing in recent years because it affords you so much flexibility. Business owners are more open to freelance workers too because it saves them money in taxes and benefits.
While you are currently interested in learning how to make $500 fast, freelancing can help you earn that $500 and turn into a full-time job if you’re interested.
There are dozens of freelance services you can offer, including:
- Digital marketing
- Virtual assistance
- Graphic design
- Sound design
Those are just a few, and I recommend checking out Fiverr to get an idea of the kind of service you can offer. Fiverr is an online freelancing marketplace where freelancers can connect with clients and get paid.
22. Donate your bodily fluids
How far are you willing to go to learn how to make 500 dollars fast? Would you donate your poop for cash?
You read that correctly, and poop isn’t the only thing you can donate for money. Sperm and plasma are other fluids you can donate to make extra money. There are requirements for donors for all of these, but it might be worth checking out.
- Stool donations: OpenBiome is based in Massachusetts and they pay for stool donations to help people with C. difficile infections.
- Plasma donations: The Red Cross takes plasma donations, but you can search for paying centers online.
- Sperm donations: Check the Sperm Bank Directory for paying sperm donation centers in your area.
The final word on how to make $500 fast
Making $500 fast is within your reach. You might have to get a little creative and hustle a bit, but the opportunity is there.
If you want to make $500 in a week or less, selling stuff is your best bet. But if you want to start a side hustle that helps you avoid situations like this in the future, then freelancing, driving for DoorDash, or shopping for Instacart are all great options.