Sometimes you might find yourself in a tight fix and in desperate need for some quick money. If so, one of these tips might be for you. We're going to look at a number of different ways to make $20 fast – potentially even today. Not all of these tips will be instant, but many of them could get you that $20 you need either today or within a couple of days.
If you constantly find yourself in need of some quick cash – you might need to look at making some changes to your regular finances and budgeting differently – either by spending less overall or earning more. These tips aren't necessarily sustainable, but if you find yourself randomly needing some quick cash as a one off – one of these ideas could be just what you're looking for.
These short-tern solutions to coming up with $20 as quickly as possible are sorted into a few different categories – some of them will be based around selling used items or things you create, while others will be associated with providing a service or using a specific talent. While many of these ideas can be done by anybody – some require a special talent or particular skill. Have a look and see if one of these ideas is for you.
How To Make $20 Fast
Sell some old items to a second-hand store
There are probably a number of second hand stores in your local area. One of the most obvious ways to make some quick cash is to simply take old, unwanted items in to the store and sell them. These stores work best with old video games, CDs, DVDs. You can also sell musical equipment or home entertainment systems like televisions, as well as quality sporting equipment.
One thing to remember with these second-hand stores is that they need to make a profit, so be prepared to be offered an amount that's probably lower than you think the items are worth. But if you're desperate for the cash, they could be the right choice. You might need to sell 20 DVDs to reach your target (or even more), but if you no longer use them – that might seem acceptable.
Some of these stores will also offer buyback schemes where you can loan them an item for some cash and buy it back at a later date. You'll obviously have to pay more to get the item back, and make sure you get it before the agreed date or they'll then be able to sell it to someone else in store. This works better with larger, more expensive items.
Buy from second-hand stores and resell
Selling things you already own is one of the simplest ways to earn. But, that only works if you have things to sell that are worth money. If you don’t, you could consider buying and reselling. The idea here is to look for things that are sold for much less than they are actually worth.
A good way to do this is to focus on one or two types of products. This allows you to learn what is valuable and what you need to look for. One example is books. There is no shortage of books out there but you can make money if you find rare books to sell – like first editions and books that are no longer in print.
You could then resell those books online. If you described them well, it would be fairly easy to find people willing to pay what they’re actually worth. It would only take one or two good finds to earn $20 this way – as long as you’re prepared to do the initial legwork.
Sell something at a busy event
Whether you're trying to sell used items at a yard sale, flea market or local market, there are tons of different events that you could make some quick and easy cash at. There are normally boot sales most weekends, so you should be able to get that $20 (and more) quickly if you live near one.
You'll normally pay a small fee to enter and for the pitch, so you should probably take a few more items to sell rather than just trying to make $20 profit. One trick if you don't really want to sell a load of stuff is to approach existing stall owners with a really great item at an unbeatable price and sell it to them directly rather than opening your own stall. If you can pitch the right item to the right stall owner you should be able to make that $20 reasonably quickly and easily.
You could also try local food markets and other specialist events if you've got a particular talent or specific item to sell that would sell well at them. However, these might require more planning than simply turning up and selling, but they could build a long-term, sustainable income rather than just some quick cash.
Sell a gift card
If you have an unwanted gift card lying around, this can be another quick source of cash. Maybe you got a $20 card for a restaurant that you don’t like or $10 for a store that you don’t even shop at. Many of us keep those cards on the off chance that we’ll use them. But, let’s face it, that’s pretty unlikely.
Thankfully, there are various sites that will pay you for those cards. You won’t get the face value of the card, of course. But, you can still earn a decent percentage. The site Gift Card Granny is a good place to look, as this compares the prices from places that will buy your cards.
I’ve also seen some people sell gift cards on Craigslist and simply by advertising locally. That method can work too, although there is more effort involved.
Trade in your broken phone (or other tech)
Trading in a phone is an easy way to earn some extra cash. But, did you know you can do the same with broken devices too? The site Gazelle is a particularly good option. They focus on reselling old devices and will pay you for many different types of tech.
Gazelle won’t accept every device, so you’ll need to check on their site to see exactly what they will pay for. But, the site is incredibly easy to use and will tell you what you can get for your tech in its current condition. Payment is made via check, PayPal or Amazon Gift Card, so the process is nice and easy.
There are also ecoATMs across the United States that operate in the same way. These accept fewer types of devices and don’t offer as much money as the website. But, they do pay you immediately, which is a bonus.
Cut out an expense
This might sound odd, but one of the simplest ways to earn a quick $20 is to not spend it. Most of us have a few expenses that we don’t really need or ones that can be easily decreased. For example, switching brands at the supermarket can often save you a little money. Watching out for specials is another useful trick and you can always turn to coupons as well.
Try selling door to door
This one is a bit more extreme and only right for the right sort of personality. Things like cleaning products and other similar home items sell well door to door. You'll need to come across as a good salesperson. This option is risky, as you'll annoy some homeowners. You'll also need to make sure you're not breaking any local laws – but if you need that $20 quickly, this might be the option for you.
Providing a service
Perform on the street
If you've got a particular talent, specifically musical or other entertainment related skill like juggling, you could try performing on the street for some quick money. It's actually a fun way to make a lot more money than you might think – many people use it as their main source of income. You could find yourself making that $20 in under an hour in the right location, and if you've got the right talent.
Obviously, your ability to make money doing this will depend on how talented you are. So if you're going to try and sing, you'll need to be good at singing. You'll also obviously need to be confident enough to perform in public. Try and find a busy city-center location with a lot of foot traffic, like a shopping area or somewhere similar. You'll need to make sure you're allowed to perform on the street in that specific location, and also make sure you're not intruding on an existing performer's spot.
Create and sell resumes
If you have basic skills on Word (or a similar program) and the ability to learn as you go, you could easily create and sell resumes. Many of the people who need these don’t have any idea how to make them or even where to begin. The demand is often high too and $20 is a low enough fee to get people interested.
You could promote this work in various ways, such as on Craigslist or in local newspapers. You could even pin up flyers or hand out business cards if you wanted to.
However, if you take this approach, make sure people know what to expect up front. Customers often have unreasonable expectations about what they can get for $20 and it is critical to spell this out. Otherwise, you may have to do an excessive amount of work for your fee.
Be an umpire/referee
Many sports clubs need people to fill various roles, such as being a referee or being involved in the organizational side of things. In most cases, the pay won’t be much but you’re often looking at around $10 to $15 per game. The rates may be higher in some areas, especially if there is significant demand.
If you don’t see any advertisements, you can always approach local sports clubs and simply ask. There are often many more opportunities than you’ll ever see advertised.
Do some DIY for someone
If you know someone who need a quick job done, this could be an easy way to make $20. As around, you'll probably find someone you know who has a quick job that they'd be happy to pay you $20 to do. As opposed to finding regular work doing DIY, if you're just looking for $20 you might not need to look much further than simply asking friends and family.
Whether it's painting a room or clearing out some old junk, you could earn that $20 for an hour or two's work. You may need to bring your own equipment and have some knowledge of DIY (like experience putting up shelves) for this option to really work.
You don't have to just do things indoors, either. You could clear someone's garage or mow their lawn. This last one might need your own equipment or the use of theirs – but it's reasonably easy to do if you need a few bucks quickly.
Make a bit of money online
These days, there are actually a few more ways to make some quick money without even leaving your home – so we're going to look at them.
Sell a game account or in-game credits
If you enjoy playing an online game, you might find there's a demand for in-game accounts or credits. A number of online games have huge markets for in-game credits and other useful items. If you've got a particular talent or interest in a specific game, you could find yourself making money selling items for real money – doing something you enjoy in your spare time that could actually get you that $20.
Sell a few things on Fiverr
Fiverr is an online marketplaces for people selling “gigs” for $5 each. If you've got a particular skills or service that you think people might need, this might be for you. Gigs range from things like quick graphic design jobs, to selling eBooks or other similar items. You'll only need to sell 4 gigs to get your $20, but Fiverr takes a cut, so in reality you'll need to sell 5. You'll also have to market your gigs and wait for orders (and for the money to clear) so this might not be the quickest option for that $20.
Review books on Amazon
There are various ways to make money with book reviews. But, one of the fastest is through Amazon book review companies. These are places that sell book reviews in bulk, often to new authors who are trying to make a mark on Amazon. The process directly goes against Amazon’s terms and conditions, so the companies are a little hard to find. But, one simple approach is to look for users who review a very odd combination of books and contact them.
If you can get involved with one of these companies, books reviews make a nice little side hustle. You’re never earning very much per review and it’s best if you skim the books rather than reading them entirely. Still, the income does add up and you can earn $20 fairly quickly.
Just make sure to weigh up the process first. Amazon doesn’t like paid reviews and is known to shut down accounts of users who are known to do this. You’ll need to decide whether the income is worth the risk.
Complete some online surveys
There are a whole range of online surveys that are available in your specific location, just do a quick search to find some near you. These surveys are normally simple and can be done from the comfort of your own home without expending too much brainpower. You might have to do a few surveys for $20, and you'll also have to wait for your money to clear. One issue with online surveys is that some sites require you to meet limits before you can withdraw, like you have to earn $50 first – so this might not be the quickest option to get your money.
Join an article writing site
Low-quality article writing sites (often called content mills or content farms) are one of the easiest ways to make a quick buck. TextBroker is one such site, while iWriter is another. The general idea is that you’re simply writing content. The work often isn’t terribly involved, although it can get more complex as you go along.
These sites are really good for fast income. For example, TextBroker pays weekly, as long as you have a balance of more than $10. The sites tend to offer consistent work as well. The catch is that the sites don’t typically pay well, often between $0.01 and $0.05 per word.
If you work with this type of site for long enough and improve as you go, there is the chance to increase your earnings and get better assignments. But, even then, the pay rate is never going to be amazing. For most people, the sites are best for short-term income only.
Try some task-related sites
If you’re not a fan of surveys, you could consider task-based sites instead. These will often have you doing relatively simple tasks, over and over again. One example is Amazon Mechanical Turk and there are many others out there too.
Sites like this aren’t particularly fun. The work is often monotonous and you’re not normally earning very much per hour. For example, some data entry sites simply have you filling in CAPTCHAs. That might seem like easy money. But, by the time you’ve filled in CAPTCHAs for an hour, you’ll be well and truly sick of the process.
But, the sites do pay. Many of them have a large amount of work available. If you’re willing to put in the time, then these can be a viable way to make some money on the side.
Get cash back
I know, I know… earning cash back isn’t really the same thing as earning money. But, it’s pretty close if you can do so without changing your spending patterns. There are various programs and apps that work in this way, including Ibotta.
With this app, you earn cash back by purchasing specific items, like $3 for buying SMIRNOFF Vodka at Dollar General. You don’t get any discount at purchase. Instead, you earn credit in the app, which can then be withdrawn via PayPal, Venmo or various gift cards.
You’re not earning a huge amount through the app. Still, those little savings can add up. Based on my purchases, I imagine I could earn $10 a month through the app without trying or somewhere between $20 and $30 if I planned my meals around the current deals.
Recommend a site to a friend
If you enjoy using a particular site, you might find they offer a simple referral program. If you can get one of your friends to sign up with your code or link, you could get a fee for recommending them. This will often be more than $20. Again, you won't get the money instantly so this isn't the quickest option on the list, but it depends how desperately you need that $20.
Making $20 fast isn't that big of a deal. There are plenty of ways, both on the internet and IRL that could help you scoop up the extra dough. Even if you don't have any friends to bum some money from, at the very least you can sell a single item like an old video game or some unwanted junk from your garage.
Though you might be stressed now – think about how stressful it would be to need $2,000 fast! Yes, it's possible to get slapped with an unexpected $2,000 bill. Just last week my dog got in a fight with a cat and lost her eye. Not even joking. That vet bill was over $1,000, and came out of nowhere.
I hope the image doesn't gross you guys out, but I just wanted to show you want an unexpected bill looks like! In a situation like this, you can't let your dog suffer, but what if you have a mortgage to pay? Anyway, I'm a big proponent of saving money for emergencies, so luckily we had enough saved to cover the cost of the vet bill.
Do you have enough saved? If not, consider starting a website to make money. It's what I do, and you can start the same style website in your spare time. Start here!