Being broke is not a comfortable feeling. I don’t like to think back to the times when I was flat out broke because they were tough. I remember being a single mom in college while renting out a small one bedroom apartment.
There were several months where I felt like I had no money to my name. Sometimes it was a stretch to pay rent and cover basic expenses. Looking back, I know I spent too much time feeling sorry for myself and living in self-pity. I didn’t think there was anything I could do at the time to improve my circumstances other than wish for more money.
Instead of getting down or simply wishing, the best thing you can do is make extra money when you’re broke. If your cash flow is so low, it has nowhere else to go but up.
Here are 7 practical ways to make extra money when you’re broke.
1. Start Selling Stuff
When you’re absolutely broke, you need to act fast in order to make money. You also can’t afford to spend a ton of money by setting up an additional income stream.
One of the best ways to make extra money when you’re broke is to start selling stuff around your home. Odds are, you have items like clothing, electronics, decor, furniture, kitchen supplies, tools, and clothes that you are no longer using.
You can list these items online for sale without even having to leave your house or spend any more money. Consider using sites like Amazon or eBay to sell online or use Craigslist or the Facebook Marketplace to sell locally.
If you have electronics you no longer use like an old phone, gaming console or tablet, consider selling them to online buyback stores like Decluttr.
2. Walk Dogs or Babysit
People always need childcare. If you want to start babysitting, let your friends and family know then tell them to spread the word. See if you can create a profile on Care.com to start connecting with parents who may need your services.
You can offer to babysit during hours that are less common like early in the morning or during events or weekends so parents can enjoy a date night. Most daycares are not open during these times so this will prompt more parents to consider hiring you.
You can also make decent money by walking dogs or becoming a pet sitter. Create a profile on Rover or Wag in order to market your service to pet owners in the area. You can typically earn anywhere from $15 – $30 per walk and $30+ per night if you decide to pet sit while owners are out of town.
3. Donate Blood or Plasma
If you are 18 or older, in good health and don’t mind needles, you can make extra money by donating blood or plasma. Some centers will pay you anywhere from $20 to $25 per week the first time and up to $30 – $45 if you come back again.
Personally, I’ve never donated blood for cash before but I know plenty of people who have. My husband actually did this a few times for extra money in college. For medical reasons, you can only donate plasma up to two times per week.
Still, you can earn around $200 – $400 per month if you do it regularly. Most centers will pay you cash after your donation or give you a prepaid card that they load with your compensation.
4. Offer to Help Someone
Can you provide a service to someone that helps them save time and energy? If so, you can most likely get paid for it. Consider the skills and experience you have. Maybe you can help someone move one weekend or fix a leaky faucet.
Maybe you can offer to watch another parent’s child after school or help an elderly neighbor do some yard work. If you excel are a particular subject, perhaps you can offer to tutor kids in your area.
You can use apps like TaskRabbit to find people who need short tasks taken care of in your area. Just focus on serving other people and you’re bound to come across someone who is willing to pay you something for your help.
5. Write an Article
This is something I definitely did to make more money when I was broke. It was probably the only thing I did but I enjoyed writing and found it pretty easy. Even if you’re not the best writer, you can still make extra money quickly by writing an article online.
Check out sites like Craigslist and Upwork for gigs. I used to find gigs on Craigslist and some of them were recurring. I worked with this one website owner who paid me $25 – $50 to write lifestyle articles and feature stories for his site. I also found another client who paid me to do light research on Canadian real estate and write short 300-word articles on my findings.
I didn’t earn a ton of money from writing at the time, but it was quick money and enough to help me pay a bill or add to my food budget.
6. Take Surveys
When I mention online paid surveys as an earning opportunity, I always like to lead with the fact that taking surveys won’t make you rich or replace your income. I also doubt you’ll make enough to pay your rent or mortgage.
However, it’s a super easy way to make some extra money to help supplement some of your expenses. I recommend signing up for multiple legitimate survey sites (like Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, Pinecone Research, and Opinion Outpost) to maximize your earnings.
Consider taking surveys during your spare time, while commuting or even while watching TV.
7. Earn a Sign on Bonus with Uber or Lyft
Uber and Lyft both offer sign-on bonuses to new drivers who complete a certain number of trips during their first month. You will need a little money to start making money with a rideshare company, but it’s mainly just gas so long as your car is in good condition.
Your sign on bonus could be hundreds of dollars and that’s in addition to whatever you earn from driving. The great thing about Uber and Lyft is that you can get paid weekly so you can essentially cash flow your gas money by deducting some from your weekly earnings so you can keep driving and making more money. You can also cash out your earnings earlier if you need to and only pay a small fee usually around $0.50.
Being broke is not a life sentence. The best thing you can do is find a way to make extra money so you can get back on your feet and improve your cash flow. Set a goal for how much money you want to make, then consider trying one or more of these quick income-generating opportunities.
You don’t have to settle for being broke. Have you considered trying any of these ways of extra money?