Need to raise some cash fast
August 16, 2010 10:33 AM   Subscribe

I need to make US$1000 before the end of the month.

I have something that I need to pay for by the end of the month, and I am a thousand dollars short. Any ideas you may have that would help me bridge this gap would be greatly appreciated.

I work full-time but have somewhat of a flexible schedule, so I have some time I can devote (i.e., short-term part-time job - but what kind of work?). I don't have anything that I could sell, but I do have some cash that I could use to buy something & turn it around for a profit.

Any and all ideas will be greatly appreciated!
posted by vignettist to Work & Money (49 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
where are you? how old are you? what are your skills? what are your limitations?
posted by nadawi at 10:38 AM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Wait tables or tend bar.

In terms of buying and selling things for a profit, I have had a lot of positive experiences buying and selling guitars on Craiglist. But I know guitars well and I know how to do the work on them that will get them to sell for more than what I paid. And I usually don't turn them around for a few months.
posted by The World Famous at 10:39 AM on August 16, 2010


It would be helpful to know where you are, and what skills you might have.

Can you ask for overtime on your job?

Can you charge everything you buy and cash the paychecks?
posted by musofire at 10:40 AM on August 16, 2010


I think that trying to flip something is a Bad Idea. If you have enough cash that you could buy anything flippable, you should put that cash towards the $1000.

Have you considered going to your bank and asking for an unsecured loan? That's a low amount and if your credit stats are ok, it should be pretty manageable.

If you have a credit card, some will allow cash advances. Nasty interest but it depends what you have to pay for.

As far as jobs, at $10/hour, that's 100 hours (not including taxes). That's hard to pick up in a month. Maybe see if your current job has some overtime opportunities, or work you can pick up?

I guess it depends on how important the $1k is. If it's REALLY important, then you probably have more stuff you can sell than you think...
posted by wooh at 10:40 AM on August 16, 2010


Best answer: Can you paint? People are always looking for handy-person skills.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:40 AM on August 16, 2010


You can make some money if you agree to give your body to science on your death.

You can make some money donating to a sperm bank. I think it is possible to donate blood for money, but I'm not sure about that.

Basically you need a second job, but the time frame is too short for paychecks to clear.
posted by musofire at 10:42 AM on August 16, 2010


I'll bet your house is a treasure chest full of consumer electronics you can sell on craigslist.

Have a smartphone? See if your cell-phone contract is up for renewal and if renewing comes with a free phone. Sell the smartphone.
Have a big ole TV? Sell it. You can go without TV for a while.
Got an old monitor in the closet? Hook it up and sell the one you've got.
posted by griphus at 10:43 AM on August 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you are a young woman, you can sell your ova. That's a lot of money (I think $5000?). I don't know what the turnaround is.
posted by musofire at 10:43 AM on August 16, 2010


If you are a young woman, you can sell your ova.

Not in that timeframe. The screening process is ridiculous, and the donor's cycle has to be synched with the recipient's. More here. Maybe if you could get an advance on it, though?

The process for men is significantly easier, and compensated to match.
posted by supercres at 10:48 AM on August 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


You can make some money if you agree to give your body to science on your death.

Wait - what? Where? Money from whom?
posted by The World Famous at 10:49 AM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: Man, you guys are fast! Thank you for the input so far.

To answer all of the questions above;
I'm in L.A., in my 30's. I have a business degree, I write well and read a lot. I am amenable to doing product reviews, etc.

Overtime at my full-time job is not available, I've tried that route.

I'm trying to do this without taking on a loan.

Wooh, the $1K is really important, but I didn't have that many assets worth anything to begin with (I tend to spend my money on experiences rather than material goods), and I've sold everything that was worth anything.

Musofire, I don't have any sperm to sell, and sadly, selling my ova are not an option either. My blood is too medicated (legal drugs) right now.

I like the suggestion regarding handy-work, that I can do. Any other suggestions regarding online work maybe?
posted by vignettist at 10:56 AM on August 16, 2010


Best answer: I think your best bet is a multiple-path approach to raising money, so that if several routes don't pan out, you still have a reasonable chance of having $1000.

First, your biggest risk is time. You want a job now, rather than one that takes several weeks to secure. That probably means a mix of:

1. applying to a bunch of entry-level service jobs: McDonalds, Starbucks, Taco Bell, etc. Tell them you can work nights and weekends.

2. posting to Craigslist offering to do things on short notice: move furniture, haul trash (if you have a truck). You're looking for jobs where the buyer pays promptly, not ones where payment will be 'in six weeks once paperwork is processed by HR.'

3. temp jobs with temp agencies, though your fulltime day job might preclude this.

4. handyman/woman jobs for neighbors. Painting, gardening, small repairs.

And if this is a one-time $1k, rather than a recurring, then line up potential loans including from relatives and friends, or max your credit card. If it's recurring though I don't recommend this in general because the loan will put you further in debt.
posted by zippy at 10:56 AM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sell stuff out of your house. Scan your books and CDs and send to Powells. Sell TV/DVD/electronics.
posted by k8t at 10:56 AM on August 16, 2010


Best answer: Medical testing might be an option despite the drugs you are taking. If your schedule really is flexible, especially if you're free on the weekends, then you could potentially pick up that much in a couple of weeks. It's worth making some phone calls to medical testing centers in your area.
posted by jedicus at 10:59 AM on August 16, 2010


Respectfully: if earning $1000 in the space of 15 days in the hours available to you outside of a full-time job were a trivial task, payday loan companies would not exist, minimum wage would be five times as much as it is, and poverty as we know it would not be a major problem. This is a large sum of money, which you should have no expectation of being able to scrape together based solely on your own verve. Making a few extra bucks as a handy-man or doing freelance work is possible, if you are indeed handy or know people with extra advertising work queued up waiting for someone to pop in and offer to help. In either case, since you don't have a client base, you're going to be advertising on fliers and on Craigslist, and you can reasonably expect to make $15-20 an hour from doing so. Do you have 50-70 hours of free time between now and a two weeks from tomorrow? Do you think you're going to get 25 people to respond to your ads for 2 hours of work apiece, when the job boards are flooded with desperate people willing to undercut you to make rent? If so, great! If not, you need to start calling people you know who can loan you the money, or you need to find luxury items you have that can be easily sold.
posted by Mayor West at 11:06 AM on August 16, 2010 [17 favorites]


The thing about applying for retail jobs is that you may fall into an awkward space in the payday schedule, and may not see your first paycheck until after the end of the month. Today's the 16th, and even if you were able to start a second job tomorrow, there's no guarantee that you'll see a paycheck (and as a part-timer, it won't be $1K) on August 31st.

If you really don't have anything to sell, your best bet is as many one-off craigslist jobs for cash as you can.
posted by rtha at 11:10 AM on August 16, 2010


Best answer: I don't know where you live or the legality, but since you don't have a lot of stuff, maybe you could sublet your apartment to visiting tourists and crash with friends? Again, since it's only two weeks til you need the cash, it's unlikely it'll get you your entire $1,000, but it might work if you live in a major city.
posted by smirkette at 11:10 AM on August 16, 2010


Exam proctoring. I'm not sure how to best go about getting gigs (my mom administered an lactation consultants exam, and needed someone over 16 to be physically present.) but I'd get $100 a day.

Babysitting can be lucrative, as well.
posted by punchtothehead at 11:11 AM on August 16, 2010


You could panhandle. They make pretty good money per diem.
posted by watercarrier at 11:13 AM on August 16, 2010


Sell your car. You'll have to price it lower than you'd want to, cashier's check or cash only, then get a used car for $1000 less than whatever you make. Also, very few people these days just have a couple grand lying around to pick up a used car, but I don't see how else this is going to happen.

I'm trying to do this without taking on a loan.


Why? A grand, if you're working full time and earn anything other than an absolute pittance, could be saved up easily over the course of a year or so ($25 a week, basically!) and paid off relatively quickly. Get a bonus at work? Pay down the debt. Birthday check from grandma? Pay down the debt. Hell, take it out at a bank where you've already got an account and just have them auto-withdraw it from your salary every time you get it direct-deposited in there.
posted by mdonley at 11:13 AM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, also: all your books are off to the used bookshop.
posted by mdonley at 11:15 AM on August 16, 2010


Best answer: Maybe you can find some focus groups to participate in.
posted by jasper411 at 11:17 AM on August 16, 2010


Best answer: Oh, check out research studies at universities in your area-- USC and UCLA would be the biggies. Sleep studies (overnight at least) can be especially lucrative. Search for "clinical study volunteers" or something along those lines. Or check out bulletin boards on campus and in the associated hospitals.
posted by supercres at 11:17 AM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is there a reason this absolutely cannot be put on a credit card? Even a high interest card shouldn't put you out more than, say, 2% per month, and it is WAY WAY easier to come by an extra $1,040 over 8 weeks than to get $1,000 in two weeks. Just the lead time on getting any reasonably paying job(s) set up will probably set you back 2 weeks, and the less pay you're willing to work for, the more actual hours you have to put in - again, difficult in 2 weeks but easier in 8.
posted by rkent at 11:30 AM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ask a thousand people to send you one penny.

I'd do it.
posted by peagood at 11:48 AM on August 16, 2010


Response by poster: Punchtothehead, mdonley, Jasper411, supercres, those are great suggestions too. Thank you.

For the folks who are asking why I wouldn't take out a loan; If it comes to the point where I have to take out a loan or use a credit card to bridge the gap, I'll do what I have to do. But I would really like to figure out a way to earn the money I need before it's due.
posted by vignettist at 11:49 AM on August 16, 2010


Can you purchase some gift cards on a credit card and sell them at 50-80% off to friends/relatives/co-workers?

Or could you purchase something on your credit card and quickly sell it for cash and then pay your credit card bill next month?

Cash advance on the credit card?


When I was poor last summer, I sold so much stuff.
I didn't think I had anything to sell.
I was wrong. I sold my DVDs, CDs, vinyl & books to a used book/media store.
My boyfriend sold some guitars and guitar equipment.
I also sold "lots" of clothing on ebay.

We also sold: an old cell phone, an external hard drive, tools, jewerly, car parts, a dryer, a bicycle, a lawnmower and a television.


As for online work - I can't recommend anything unless you are a pc tech with his/her own tools. And that would probably take a couple of weeks in order for companies to verify and set you up.

Buy anything recently you can return?

Do you live in any sort of area where you can pick up peoples' scrap metal and sell it?

Check Craigslist for random jobs that people need - like moving furniture or setting up a PC. Also check for any upcoming focus groups - they usually pay $75-200 depending on your area and what you're doing.
posted by KogeLiz at 11:56 AM on August 16, 2010


Ask a thousand people to send you one penny.

I'd do it.


That's $10.
posted by Rendus at 11:58 AM on August 16, 2010 [25 favorites]


Oops - sorry! I mean do that, but with the correct math. Thanks for correcting me. I just dashed it off in between doing what I do to make money, which is selling antiques. I personally need to come up with about $86 for something I bought, and am between posts on Craigslist.

I'd still send a penny.

But going back to that, a friend of mine does a penny drive around the holiday's called Jenny's Pennies, where she collects all her friends' pennies to buy toys for kids, and ends up with close to a thousand dollars sometimes. I usually end up with a full coffee can for her, and other coins sneak in that, and my contribution has been as much as 40-60 bucks some years. Could you ask everyone you know to give all their pennies/coins to you (lots of folks have penny jars), and promise that within a certain period of time afterward, you will donate/repay the same amount (maybe with interest) to a charity? Or, you could pay it back to them, but more people will give more money if it eventually goes toward a charity.
posted by peagood at 12:10 PM on August 16, 2010


Drive around a nice area on garbage night. Raid their trash for stuff you can re-sell on Craigslist. Make sure to post great photos of the stuff you're selling. The back parking lot of any donations store (Goodwill, etc) will also be a bit of a treasure trove of stuff they didn't take that you might be able to re-sell.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 12:17 PM on August 16, 2010


Seconding smirkette--get hopping on the craigslist sublets/temporary board. You don't necessarily have to get a tenant for the last two weeks of August--you can arrange a rental for later and require an advance deposit. You just have to be certain that you can cover it later if / when the tenant wants it returned.

Oh, and read your lease and be prepared to CYA in case the sublet/roommate situation goes sour in any way . . .
posted by Orinda at 12:22 PM on August 16, 2010


p.s. If you're near one of the universities, you might have a good target market for by-the-night B&B/self-catering service to international students arriving before the dorms open, parents moving their kids to college who don't want to stay in a hotel after unpacking the van, etc.
posted by Orinda at 12:26 PM on August 16, 2010


I'll actually suggest that panhandling may be the most efficient way to make the money if you are a good actor and look sympathetic. Its completely unethical though. You can probably make well more then $10/hr if you are good.
posted by An algorithmic dog at 12:50 PM on August 16, 2010


Exotic dancing for a weekend. Maybe even just one night, depending on your personality. Hardly matters what you look like if you can express your sexuality onstage and with another person. You make your money giving lap dances. This is how I paid off my credit cards before graduate school. Took ten days to make about 3,000 dollars.
posted by turtlewithoutashell at 12:58 PM on August 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Drive around a nice area on garbage night. Raid their trash for stuff you can re-sell on Craigslist. Make sure to post great photos of the stuff you're selling. The back parking lot of any donations store (Goodwill, etc) will also be a bit of a treasure trove of stuff they didn't take that you might be able to re-sell.

Also, if they don't sell quickly enough, just go to a flea market and unload them. I couldn't get a summer job this summer (well, I did, and then it fell through, so I've been scrambling), so I just sell stuff on the weekends with my mom. When I mentioned this to my friends, it turns out that a few people were cleaning out their garages and basements and just wanted to get rid of stuff. We sold it really cheaply--like way underpriced--but we make a hundred bucks once or twice a week. If you can hack it, it can work really well. It just depends on how much you can get your hands on, and whether your prices are good enough. A lot of people get top dollar for what their selling at the flea market--but it takes a really long time to find that customer who wants it that badly. If want to sell anything quickly--it has to be really cheap.
posted by myelin sheath at 1:00 PM on August 16, 2010


Exotic dancing for a weekend

Honestly, that's not a bad idea, if you really need the money. LA should have lots of places that hold 'open auditions,' which you still get tips for. Or do it for a couple parties.

Unfortunately, I fear that to make $1k in this short of time frame will be difficult to do without hedging on the slightly skeezy/less than impeccably ethical/toeing the legal line side of business.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:06 PM on August 16, 2010


Have lots of body confidence?

A local college/community center may be looking for naked people. Or rather, people willing to become naked for hours at a time as artist models. You'll get paid right away, and there's basically no screening process. Often models will skip out at the last minute. You could offer to be a backup if needed. You'll need a bathrobe, and possibly an extra sheet to bring with you. Other than that, the only requirement is that you're clean, and can sit or stand still for several hours. Having stared at naked strangers for a total of 18 or so credit hours, I can say that no one cares what you look like. If it's a good class they're probably more concerned with avoiding getting yelled at by the professor than how you look.

Your hours would be limited. In a best case scenario you might book 5 night classes a week at 3 hours each. I'd expect pay to be north of $10, but not a whole lot more than $15. You could come pretty close to $1000.
posted by fontophilic at 1:19 PM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


stripping for the weekend used to be a great way to make money before the economic downturn, but now there's an influx of people needing to make quick cash (strippers) and a lack of people with lots of cash to burn (customers). i'm on a work pc so i can't do the googling, but there's been quite a few articles about how hard hit strippers have been in the recession.

you could probably make it as a craigslist escort, but i in no way recommend this for someone without knowledge of safe practices and the like.
posted by nadawi at 1:24 PM on August 16, 2010


Not sure how much it'll pay / the turn around time, but you could try signing up for a bunch of user testing services such as http://www.usertesting.com/betester.aspx.
posted by Phredward at 1:29 PM on August 16, 2010


Sex work, in general (not just stripping), is a way to make fast cash. Adult baby enthusiasts, submissives with house cleaning fetishes, or basically almost any out of the ordinary fetishists would be willing to pay for a number of activities that are not penetrative sexual acts, but are very sexually exciting for them. A female friend of mine made her monthly rent payment with the cash from one foot fetishist.
posted by hworth at 1:48 PM on August 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Response by poster: Hi guys, just so we don't derail too far, let's just say that anything involving nudity or sex work is off the table. But thanks for all the answers so far, you guys are great and I appreciate the variety of ideas here.
posted by vignettist at 1:59 PM on August 16, 2010


You could make a few hundred bucks a month donating plasma.
posted by Ryogen at 3:42 PM on August 16, 2010


Sorry for creating the entree to all the subversive/fringe/love-for-sale stuff. As self-imposed penance, I must come up with 3 wholesome suggestions for you. And here they are:
1) Organize an outdoor movie screening, publicize it like crazy as a fundraiser for your presumably legitimate need -- ask for donations and sell popcorn and beer and non-erotic foot massages
2) Massive traveling bake sale with tons of stuff made by everyone you know -- driving around in your wildly decorated automobile (like the guy in bushwick who sells cotton candy out of an old mail truck painted pink with a bugs bunny stencil on the side -- he's a rich man now)
3) Photograph your home so it looks wonderfully inviting and post the photos on Craig's List and rent it out to traveler's from afar who think it would be cool to stay in someone's real-life L.A. home. (You, of course, will have to sleep on the roof...)
posted by turtlewithoutashell at 5:23 PM on August 16, 2010


I'm not sure I'd publicize that an outdoor movie screening like crazy, since it's likely illegal without a license form the copyright holder.
posted by meta_eli at 5:54 PM on August 16, 2010



1) Organize an outdoor movie screening, publicize it like crazy as a fundraiser for your presumably legitimate need -- ask for donations and sell popcorn and beer and non-erotic foot massages

Don't do this. Getting sued would compound the problem.

2) Massive traveling bake sale with tons of stuff made by everyone you know -- driving around in your wildly decorated automobile (like the guy in bushwick who sells cotton candy out of an old mail truck painted pink with a bugs bunny stencil on the side -- he's a rich man now)

This is almost certainly illegal without permits but you are unlikely to get in too much trouble. Still a bad idea.

3) Photograph your home so it looks wonderfully inviting and post the photos on Craig's List and rent it out to traveler's from afar who think it would be cool to stay in someone's real-life L.A. home. (You, of course, will have to sleep on the roof...)

This could end very badly.
posted by An algorithmic dog at 6:32 PM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


The likelihood of getting sued for screening a film, especially if you choose one that has lapsed into the public domain, is much slimmer than the likelihood that you will encounter harassment from cops and passersby for begging for change. Indeed, in some parts of LA it is illegal to panhandle and in other parts it is up to the discretion of the property owner. So you can listen to old sour Math Dog here and try to get someone to give you something for nothing or you can shift into a higher gear and generate something out of nothing for yourself. Good luck.
posted by turtlewithoutashell at 6:59 PM on August 16, 2010


Just to be the voice of reason here: there is no way to make $1000 in 14 days that doesn't require you giving something up. Either material things or dignity. Go to the bank and take out a personal loan for 6 months, and then work your hustle for 6 months and pay it off easily. It will probably cost you like $70.
posted by gjc at 8:28 PM on August 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you were in the UK (or many other countries besides the US where it's illegal) you could do this via matched betting. However, you're not, so the best ideas I can come up with are:

1. Sell your books - Immediately list all your books on Amazon at prices about a penny less than the competition. Go through your listings every couple of hours to make sure you stay a penny ahead of the competition.

2. Write for Demand Studios at $15 per article. If you get through their application process, spend every spare moment writing articles for them for the next couple of weeks. They pay weekly via Paypal but I'm not sure when their paydays are, making things slightly more difficult.

3. I don't actually know whether this works in the states, but in the UK you can make around £200 or so swiching your mobile phone provider, utility provider, etc. via cashback websites. Unfortunately you probably wouldn't get your money quickly enough this way.
posted by hazyjane at 4:21 AM on August 17, 2010


Sell books at Textbooks.com--they pay for the shipping. It's not huge money, but it adds up.

Scan Craigslist for people looking for handyperson type jobs--and put up one of your own.

Screening a PD movie on what? Your TV? Not worth the trouble.

How about a short term loan, via Prosper.com?
posted by Ideefixe at 3:22 PM on August 17, 2010


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