13 Ways to Earn Money Fast

Everybody needs a quick infusion of cash from time to time. These ideas bring in money fast, and many can also be done at flexible times, so it's easier to arrange child care with a friend or family member for free.

1. Have a garage sale. By using a few easy tricks, like posting fliers at grocery stores and Laundromats, making signs that can be seen from nearby busy streets and displaying your items in a department-store style, you can increase the amount your sale brings in. Find out how to earn more with Garage Sale 101 tips.

2. Sell on eBay. Books, CDs, unused sports or exercise equipment, clothing, novelty items-- people buy all kinds of things. Even if you're selling several small items, the money can add up. Just make sure the buyer, not you, pays the cost of shipping.

3. Put clothes on consignment. This is an especially good way to get rid of clothing like fancy dresses (think old prom gowns and cocktail dresses you'll never wear again), but anything in good condition can be put on consignment. You share the money from the sale with the consignment shop, but it's an easy way to squeeze some money out of clothes that would otherwise just take up closet space.

4. Perform household services. You can earn some money informally by letting friends, family, church members and others in your community know that you're available to clean their houses or apartments, or to take in ironing. If you find you have a knack and stamina for cleaning quickly and thoroughly, you can turn this into a regular, reliable way to earn extra money every month.

5. Have a bake sale. Do you make killera chocolate chip cookies? chocolate chip cookies? Are yummy breakfast burritos your specialty? If so, why not bring in your items once a week to your job and sell them to coworkers and other businesspeople in the vicinity? If you don't have a job, what about a friend's workplace, a community center or a nursing home? Put the word out beforehand and gauge the response as you go, so you don't end up with a lot of leftover food. By talking up your home-baked goodies and arriving at the same time every day or every week, you may find that people start to anticipate your arrival. You can start a cottage industry along the lines of Mary's Monday Cookie Break when you come around to hawk your wares.

6. Sell homegrown fruits and vegetables. You don't have to have a farm to produce delicious, organic produce. By presenting your goods in an appealing way (save the plastic or cardboard produce containers from the grocery store and tie them with a distinctive ribbon or desktop-printed label), you give them niche appeal, and you can sell them much the same way as baked items, listed above.

7. Have a family car wash. Enlist your spouse, your kids and their friends on a Saturday to hold a car wash. Talk to local merchants who have parking lots and ask them to donate the space, or set up an assembly line on your street. By naming the event ("The Annual Jones Family Car Wash") and highlighting an upbeat family goal ("We use this car wash to pay for the kids' extracurricular school activities"), you give people a reason to join your cause.

8. Do gardening services. Mowing lawns is a perennial summer job for kids. If you have a mower, encourage your children to launch a business—or do it yourself. In addition, you can also weed or haul gardening rubbish to the dump (often garbage services won't remove it).

9. Provide man-with-van services. Or, in this case, woman with van (or truck). This service is great for people who need to move a single piece of furniture or for young people who don't have a lot of stuff. If you're able to do moves on your own or with a helper like a friend or spouse, you can position yourself as a mother's helper (a woman living alone might feel more comfortable having another woman moving something into or out of her home). If you don't have a lot of physical strength, your husband and a cousin, uncle or son can do the heavy lifting and you can take care of scheduling and follow-up. A small classified ad in the local paper is an economical way to advertise.

10. Get a paper route. While we often think of paper delivery as a job for a boy on a bike, all kinds of people pick up extra cash this way. Because papers are delivered in the morning, it's possible to complete a route before the regular workday starts, or before your kids are up. (Just make sure you catch up on your sleep by going to bed early at night!)

11. Dog walk and pet sit. Owners are always looking for reliable pet-care services. Plus, if you stay home with your kids during the day, a regular dog-walking gig is a great way to get everyone out of the house for some fresh air and earn extra money. Put the word out at pounds, the ASPCA, the local veterinarian's and dog runs. Be prepared to provide references from anyone you've ever sat for before. Learn how you can also turn pet sitting into a home business.

12. Babysit. To provide regular child care in your home, you'll often need to be accredited and registered with the state. But occasional babysitting in your home or someone else's is more straightforward. You might already babysit for friends for free, but by reaching out in your community you can find parents whom you would feel comfortable charging a reasonable fee.

-- such as those belonging to common churches, PTAs or playgroups. Depending on your schedule, you can position yourself as a last-minute resource, a Saturday sitter while Mom does errands, a date-night sitter and so on.

13. Rent out a room. This option might take longer than some of the others listed here, but it can provide steady income for a set period of time, or even indefinitely. It might require that your kids share a bedroom or that you give up a family room in the house, so everyone in the family should be prepared for the changes. And of course care should be taken to pick carefully to ensure you get a trustworthy boarder. This is an especially good option if you live near a university or technical college. Eighteen- to 22-year-olds will more likely be fine renting a room with kitchen privileges than older people, and you'll be able to rent on a semester basis.
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