25 Ways to Make Money Today

By Paul Michael on 18 October 2011 (Updated 23 December 2013) 34 comments

Looking for a little extra cash until payday comes around? Want to make some money to save up for a shiny new thing, a vacation, or maybe just something to put away for a rainy day? Well, I did a quick survey of my friends, family, and some Wise Bread regulars and compiled this list of 25 ways to quickly make money. As in, today.

Some are obviously a little easier than others, some require skill, some are a bit silly, but all of them are within reach for most of us. It just takes a little guts, some pride-swallowing, and a lot of perseverance. Oh, and in some instances, a good sense of humor. (See also: 9 Ways to Earn Extra Cash When Money Is Tight)

1. Sell Some Stuff

Whether it's Craigslist, eBay or a good old fashioned yard sale, there are plenty of avenues for you to explore when it comes to selling stuff. Most of us have a basement or garage filled with things that we just don't use or need anymore. Free up some space and grab some cash. It's quick and easy.

2. Mow Lawns

I'm no fan of mowing my lawn, and it's not exactly a large one either. But I do it because I'd rather not pay someone else to do such a simple task. However, there are plenty of people who will gladly pay someone else to mow. And as lawn mowers are collapsible, you can pop it in the trunk and drive around the neighborhoods, offering your services. I spoke to a guy at work who said he made $100 in a few hours by mowing lawns. He used the cash to buy concert tickets, and he said he got a nice tan and a workout!

3. Hit Up Goodwill

Goodwill, and charity shops just like it, are a treasure trove of hidden gems. If you know what you're looking for, you can pick up items for a few bucks and sell them for ten times that amount. Vintage clothing, CDs, jewelry, memorabilia, and a whole lot more is just sitting there waiting to be discovered. If you have a smartphone and see something that looks like it could be worth something, you can research it right there. It's not unheard of for people to find very rare and valuable items in charity shops.

4. Make Lemonade From Lemons

Literally. The kids may love a lemonade stall, but there's no reason you can't get in on the action when it's hot outside. Lemonade is cheap enough to make, and the profits are worth the time. In the winter, you can swap out lemonade for coffee or hot chocolate. When everyone is out shoveling snow, a hot cup of joe for a buck is a bargain.

5. Have a Bake Sale

Turn your cooking skills into hot profits. There's no doubt that people seem to be doing less home cooking these days. We eat out all the time, and we all miss good home-cooked food, like freshly-baked apple pies or bread. So, if you can cook and you have the ingredients, make something and sell it. (See also: Homemade Bread for Beginners)

6. Become a Street Performer

Can you play the guitar? Do you have mad saxophone skills? Squeeze yourself into a 2-ft. square box? If you have a talent, get paid for it. Street performers can bag some nice cash for doing what they love.

7. Beg

If you really hit the hard times, you can try begging. There are stories of people making a very good living from begging, including one woman who supplemented her income to save for a new kitchen. As the article states, people think beggars are destitute, but that's not always the case. (None of the 20 beggars questioned were actually homeless.)

There's not just street begging either. Cyber begging sites are popping up everywhere, with people asking for donations instantly via PayPal for surgeries, help with bills, and school tuition. If you don't ask, you don't get.

8. Rent Useful Space

If you have a garage that you're not using, or a basement that's doing nothing for you, why not rent out that space to someone else? A few people I know actually rent out the space in their basement as storage and collect money every month. Others have turned their spare bedrooms into rental rooms to help with the monthly mortgage payment. (See also: Refinancing Your Mortgage)

9. Scoop Up Your Change

It's amazing what you can find down the side of the sofa, under the car seat, and in the back of the junk drawer. Collect it all up and cash it in.

10. Return Unopened, Unwanted, or Broken Items

I looked in my basement recently and found a tool I'd bought two months ago for a job I was doing in the house. It turns out I didn't need that tool. I still had the receipt, the store had a 90-day return policy, and I ended up getting a nice chunk of money back. Even if you don't have the receipt, you can get store credit. And if something broke, don't just throw it away. It's possible that you can return the item for being defective and get a full refund.

11. Recycle

We recycle our card, plastic, paper, cans, and bottles in one large recycling bin every few weeks. We don't get a cent for the recyclables, and we had to pay $80 for the bin. But you can actually get money for cans, bottles, and other recyclable items. You just have to put some effort into it.

12. Donate Your Sperm (Umm, Guys)

If you're a man with a clean bill of health, you can go to a sperm bank and make a donation. The process is fairly straightforward and you will be paid upwards of $40 for each donation you make. This bank in California gives you $65 per donation. And let's face it, guys, it's not the worst way to earn some quick cash.

13. Sell Event Tickets

So you bought tickets to a big concert and are having second thoughts. Or, you just can't go. Well, don't dump them, sell them. As long as you obey the law (scalping is illegal in many areas) and sell the tickets at or below face value, you are within your rights.

14. Gamble

OK, so it's not guaranteed money, but if you know the odds and can play a few card games, there are ways to make money quickly and easily. For instance, you can start playing poker online and quickly rack up a nice amount of money, if you know what you're doing.

15. Sign Up for Medical Tests

Take caution with this one; there are plenty of horror stories out there about people who are still suffering side effects from medical tests. But many people have signed up for clinical trials and came out not only unscathed, but flush with cash. In fact, earning up to $250 a day is not unheard of. Find out more at PaidClinicalTrials.org.

16. Walk Dogs

How about doing something that keeps you healthy and earns you instant cash? A lot of people these days don't seem to have the time to walk their dog twice a day (at least) and it's the dog who suffers. For a few bucks, maybe $3, you can take their dog on 20-minute walk. Do it every day, you've got $90 a month and you're probably going to feel better. Do two or three dogs at a time, twice a day, and you can see how it adds up.

17. Dumpster Dive

If you've seen shows like American Pickers, Storage Wars, or even Cash In The Attic, you know that there are gems out there, hidden in the trash. Most of the time, it really is just garbage. But sometimes, people throw out valuables that they believe are worthless. Dumpster diving can really pay off, if you know what you're looking for. (See also: Turning Trash Into Cash)

18. Become a Delivery Service

I was inspired to add this one after I talked to the guy who delivered our fridge. We bought a used one from Craigslist, well under the price it was worth, and found someone on Craigslist who hauls large items. As it turns out, he uses his truck on the weekend for delivery services. At $30-$50 a delivery, he's making more than enough to pay for his gas and truck payment for the month.

19. Donate Plasma

Even your own body contains saleable items. A recent check online found that one person made $260 per month donating plasma!

20. Monetize Your Blog or Website

If you blog regularly or have your own website, you should think about placing ads for extra cash, or finding other ways to make your online presence into a money-spinner.

21. Become an Online Juror

I only recently found out about this one. It turns out that lawyers want to practice, and online juries are a good way for them to put some theories to the test. You can earn $5-$10 per online appearance, with each one lasting no more than 35 minutes. Find out more at ejury.com.

22. Take Paid Surveys

There are several places online to take genuine, paid surveys. Most don't offer very big cash rewards, but it all ads up. Some, like erewards.com, offer points that you can trade for goods and services.

23. Wash Cars

At least one a week in the summer months, I see high-school kids with signs offering car washes. If they can wash cars for a few bucks, so can you. Grab a few friends, turn the radio on, and if you get good you can make $50-$60/hour between you.

24. Go Fishing

Know how to fish? Or hunt? Well, if your hobby can put food on the table, that's as good as cash. If you hunt for food, you can also sell it to friends and family for a profit. Obviously, this isn't for everyone, but if you've already got the skills and the equipment, why not put it to good use?

Editor's Note: Check with your local game and fish department before selling meat or fish to ensure that it is legal in your state.

25. Become a Tutor

If you have knowledge that can be shared, why not do so for extra money? I know several people who tutor children privately for extra money. Others get paid to speak at local colleges or universities. Hey, you paid a lot for your education; your day job doesn't have to be the only reward. (See also: How to Make Money With Online Tutoring)

That's my top 25 list. I'm sure you know of others, so chime in. What's a great way to make money today (that's legal, of course) and what are your experiences in making a quick buck?

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Guest's picture
Guest

Recommending that sport fishermen/hunters sell their harvest could land them in legal hot water. It's against the law in most places to sell sport-caught fish or wild game. That's the difference between sport and commercial fishing/hunting.

Guest's picture
Guest

that is why the author said to check the law first

Guest's picture
ralph

yes its illegal to sell your catch because government wouldnt get their tax dollars if you dont sell commercially.

Guest's picture
Staycee

My husband hunts and fishes. I do not thing you can legally sell the meat you bag to anyone. It also isn't THAT cost effective considering the bait, time, licenses, gas, etc. and when it comes to hunting, you almost always need your own land. But it is good recreation and my children enjoy doing it with their dad!

Guest's picture
Erin

It's deplorable that you suggest getting as a way to make extra cash, and sad that you glorify a woman who paid for her kitchen remodel through begging. That's not being thrifty; it's dishonest and exploitation. She's a con artist, no better than Bernie Madoff. The people who give beggars money want to help someone in real need, and money given to street cons is money taken away from the true needy.

And gambling? Seriously?

Paul Michael's picture

Erin,

First, I'm sorry that you've taken such offense. Let me address each point for you. As I pointed out at the beginning of the article, I asked around friends and family and these were the top 25 answers. At least half of the people I talked to said begging was a legitimate way to make money if you have fallen on hard times. And, I start that section with words to that effect. If you're really, really down on your luck and need money, begging is an option. I put the link to the woman about the kitchen to show that people in far less dire situations are turning to begging, so there is no shame in it. I am not suggesting that if you want a new car you hit the streets to make the payment.
As for gambling, yes, seriously. And why not? People gamble every single day in this country, it's a legal way to make money (some people make handsome careers from professional poker playing) and if you're good enough, it's guaranteed money. I'm not sure why you're so down on it, no one is telling you to take your savings and enter a poker tournament or throw it all on a horse race. The idea behind this list was to give you 25 ideas, you don't have to use any of the advice.

Guest's picture

if you're woman, you can donate eggs. some get paid upwards of $6,500.

Guest's picture
Guest

Donating eggs is nowhere near the same in terms of level of commitment or ease as donating sperm. You have to go through invasive medical procedures, get injected with tons of hormones, go through a lot of pain and suffering, gain tons of weight, etc. It is something very serious and shouldn't be treated so flippantly.

Guest's picture
Guest

Selling lemonade or baked goods requires a permit in some places, even for kids.

Guest's picture
Guest

I wouldn't suggest erewards because it isn't something you can sign up for; you must be invited by a sponsor company.

Guest's picture
Guest

You can't be older than 35 for #12

Guest's picture
beka

the people who subcribe to #12 might consider how they feel about having children they wont have the privilege of knowing. as a greatful mother it would be hard on me but the mother on the recieving end is probably greatful too:)

Guest's picture
FEL

Taking surveys is one of my extra income online. I know their are more ways to make money online and offline. More people today are looking for fast cash but the sad thing about it, it will not replaced our daily job.

Guest's picture
Guest

I tell people to stick with on what they pick to make money. Its not going to happen over night. Here is a link to my page to read more about staying on track. http://earning-money-online.sitemoxie.com

Guest's picture
Michelle

Great article!! Thank you, Paul. This was very informative and all 25 of these options were exactly what you said and what we searched for...quick ways to make money! (People always have an opinion on everything don't they.....**sighs**)

Guest's picture
Guest

When you get paid for something you are NOT donating it, you are SELLING it. Donate means to give freely with no strings attached.

Guest's picture
Guest

Most of that list is useless. You're assuming that people already have money (delivering stuff??? in a car I don't have). This list should have been called "3 ways to make money today if you don't mind going to jail". Where I live, begging is illegal.

Guest's picture
Guest

Well, too bad for you but where I live begging IS legal. And this list is not useless, it's pretty informative.

Guest's picture
Brad

These are great suggestions, but I'd go one step further in saying you can pretty much do anything you're interested in and make a little money at it. All it takes is a bit of passion and a way to create value for someone else.

I like to tinker around with different things. I make lamps out of old cups and teapots, as well as aprons out of old shirts. I can find these things at the thrift store for cheap (or sometimes free), then make them into something else and sell them at a great profit. I make 30 bucks here or 50 bucks there. It's not a get rich quick scheme, but it does make some cash.

Guest's picture

You have some good ideas here like washing cars, walking dogs and becoming a tutor. If you know a second language or other skills, you could easily get paid to tutor.

I don't like the idea of begging or gambling at all. How about recommending starting a home business or affiliate program?

There are many legitimate companies to choose from and many affiliate programs that pay you to direct customers to them.

Here are some things to consider when starting a home business or affiliate program.
http://www.waystoomakemoney.com

Guest's picture
Guest

You can also sell old CDs if you like the cd burn a copy and sell the original.

Guest's picture

To be honest I was expecting to read about some mind blowing innovative ways to earn cash before I went to bed tonight... Lol. But honestly, seeing some of the ideas you've posted hear brung me back down to a practical perspective. You don't have to build a mouse trap that needs batteries, perhaps placing some peanut butter on a regular ol' mouse trap and improve the results as you go... In other words, many of the things that made money in the past can still make money here in the present and more than likely in the far future as well. Well... maybe not #2. If humans start living in floating houses with clouds for front yards we'll have to think of something else. Haha.. Thanks for posting!

Guest's picture
Guest

I'm a kid and I don't think I can do any off that

Guest's picture
Ritchie

As a kid you can mow lawns, walk dogs, wash cars, sell baked goods, lemonade, bottled water (at yard sales). My daughter once bought some large bags of cotton candy, rebagged it in smaller bags and sold them door to door and made a killing! Helps to be cute.

Guest's picture

26. Join affiliate marketing programs online and recommend others to buy from those stores. I'm not rich from doing this however a steady few hundred dollars a month is all I need.

Guest's picture
Guest

Ricarte what programs do you recommend?

Guest's picture
Manisha

Fishing is a great idea, you can catch fish in the river also to sell as pet, here in mauritius we get beautiful different fish that can be sold like example the guppies, red berry fish or ever koi :)

Guest's picture
Guest

These are great for making money this week. Not so good for making money today.

Guest's picture
Darrin

I look at comments in articles like this and just shake my head. Seriously what's wrong with people these days? It's like everyone has ADD and goes completely off topic or just freaks out like a grandma. Anyway, great article. Some of these things will help me as things are getting very frustrating right now. Thanks for sharing. I really had hoped that people would expand on your ideas in the comments and maybe add other ones as well, but I guess you can't expect too much these days.

Guest's picture
Douglas

I thought this was sort of cool that I found just browsing. Be warned, this will not make you rich. This is something to give you that little extra which always helps.

I did not realize until recently that people actually make money dressing as Santa Claus and visiting homes, events, and gatherings. So if you can actually build the clientele through ground marketing just printing some black and white flyers and handing them out in your neighborhood you stand to make a quick 100 bucks.

I am actually thinking about joining this site (www.hellosantallc.com) which seems to help facilitate this sort of activity and increase my efforts. It’s only about 2 dollars to post my photo there and make my quick business seem a little more legitimate.

Just a thought to add these other wonderful tips, Merry Christmas!

Guest's picture
Lori Luce

Thank you for this list. I am racking my brain here trying to think of ways to make some money because something always comes up at Christmas time. My dog is sick as of Dec 2nd and the vet bill was high!! They want you to pay right now. Now I am having trouble getting through the month. This is the first website I came across. It made me feel better thinking there are ways to get out of this hole I am in!! High five Paul!

Guest's picture
Kelvin

Love these ideas! I think in some cities, such as NYC, you need a permit to perform in the subways.

Guest's picture
corrisa

If you know about Fulfillment by Amazon, you can find things that are priced low and sell them on Amazon for a nifty profit.

Another fast way to make money with surveys is to go out and get referrals. The bigger checks in online surveys are by getting referrals - not by taking actual surveys.

If you want to make money that will alter your lifestyle, then you'll have to go forward with a business. An internet-based business is simpler and has less overhead expenses than a traditional one.

Great post!

Corrisa