How To Find Some Extra Cash

A few weeks ago, part of our advice on how to handle these tough financial times was to increase your emergency fund. Obviously this is something that most people would like to do — have more cash in their lives — but how exactly can this be accomplished? MSN has some suggestions on how to find some extra cash:

* Sell something — Household possessions, nonretirement investments, heirlooms.
* Cash out — Certificates of deposit, whole life policies.
* Earn more — A second or third job, a side business.
* Hit up Mom and Dad — Ask for a gift, ask them to pay a medical or tuition bill, ask for a loan.
* Borrow smart — Tap home equity, reverse mortgage, hit up friends or other family, consider a social lending site, talk to your credit union or bank about a personal loan, borrow from your 401(k), margin loans, use a credit card advance, pawn-shop loans.

A good list, but the one thing MSN misses is finding extra cash by cutting back on expenses. Here’s a quick round up of some decent money saving resources from around the web:

* 301 Posts On Saving Money
* Top 10 Ways to Trick Yourself into Saving Money
* 30 Easy Ways to Save Money (and No, you are not doing them all!)
* 75 Painless Money-Saving Tips
* 25 Gadgets That Actually Save Money

Sure, there’s a fair amount of overlap among these, but by reviewing them and the initial ideas from MSN, you’re sure to find at least a few ways to help you create more cash. And these days, more than ever, cash is certainly king.

The best ways to raise cash fast [MSN Money]


(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. homerjay says:

    Don’t forget the most profitable option- selling drugs to high school kids. You can really clean up.

  2. DeleteThisAccount says:

    I stopped my afternoon walk through the park that ends up at starbucks for a cup of regular ol’ coffee. People in the office might start up a pool to pay for my coffee addiction so I’m less of a grump.

    • SybilDisobedience says:

      @AngrySicilian: We’re not hurting too bad yet in my house, but we’ve started to cut down too. Gone is the liquid laundry detergent, replaced by powder at a fraction of the cost. Our annual trip to NYC for Xmastime has become a road trip to Chicago and another to Austin (even with gas prices, it worked out MUCH cheaper, and we got to see more of the country, too). And my kitties are eating plain ol’ dry cat food instead of the pricier canned stuff. I’ve also stopped buying packaged snack foods, replacing them with fruits and vegetables for huge savings (and I’ve lost 13 pounds so far!).

  3. chatterboxwriting says:

    I’ve been using a few of those. Sold some items I never use on Craigslist. Quit my job and started my own business – now that I have 15 clients, I’m feeling a little better about my income. At my job, if the job was gone, so was my income. If one or two clients leave, I can get more, and I still have the other 13 or 14 to keep me afloat. I am also getting into writing e-books and selling them online as digital downloads. I’m just trying to diversify my income sources so I don’t have all my eggs in one basket.

  4. Luckie says:

    These look awful. Hit up Mom and Dad? They’re in the same boat as me only with a mortgage and higher expenses. Earn more with a second or third job? So that I can have a nervous breakdown and exhaust myself physically, leaving me more vulnerable to diseases and the curses of fast food eating, leading to more doctor bills, another expense. Borrow more, possibly from pawn shops? I thought Consumerist was about cleaning up your debt, not increasing it just to have some more cash on hand, especially at exorbitant rates.

    I am really disappointed in this post.

    • thatsnotfab says:

      @Luckie: yeah, not a fan of the “Mom & Dad” suggestion either. After my folks divorced and living expenses went up, they each had to pick up second jobs just to stay afloat and put back into their savings again. I laugh at the thought of asking them for a loan of any sort, ever. Shame on you, MSN.

    • kathyl says:

      @Luckie: Well, I came to say pretty much everything you said, so you’ve saved me the trouble.

      Hitting up one’s parents who are probably experiencing their own version of the crunch seems unbelievably lame. Taking out a second mortgage or an “equity” loan with real estate values falling every day is exactly what I’ve seen most other economists advising AGAINST.

      Borrowing from your 401(k) can also have really undesirable tax ramifications that most people don’t know about until April 15th rolls around and you’re suddenly sad.

      Who wrote the MSN article? These are such wacky recommendations that I wondered for a moment if the first of April had rolled around and I just hadn’t noticed.

  5. 6a says:

    If you supersize that value meal every day at work, that’s $10/month.

    Getting rid of newspaper delivery will save you $10-$15/month.

    Use 10 coupons per week, that should be good for $10-$20/month.

    Trade DVD’s with friends instead of going to Blockbuster, let’s call that $10/month.

    Siphon your neighbor’s gas.

    There, I just paid your cell phone bill without telling you to get rid of it, and got you back and forth to work for a week, to boot :)

  6. se7a7n7 says:

    Just about EVERYONE reading this has $100s – $1,000s in unused merchandise sitting around their house, in their closets and basements. Get that stuff on eBay or Craiglslist.

    Don’t be worried about getting a huge amount, anything is better than having is sit around.

    Don’t be worried about people spending less right now because with this economy, more people are buying 2nd hand merchandise.

    Your old cell phone, your older computer, that guitar that you never learned to play. Sell it NOW while it’s still worth something.

    – Rampant eBayer

  7. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Many of these tips are the equivalent of advising someone to borrow from the mob.

  8. RandomHookup says:

    I was about to suggest prostitution, but that requires having a product that somebody actually wants.

  9. junip says:

    Yah, those tips look really terrible.
    Hit up parents: My parents are in more dire straits financially than I am. I’d lend THEM money if they’d let me.
    Tap home equity: um…housing crisis anyone?
    Reverse Mortgage: horrible, terrible things, and only suited for you if you’re really old, need money, and you aren’t planning on leaving your house to anyone after you die.
    Borrow from your 401k: You should never touch your 401k. Once the money goes in there, think of it as not even being yours anymore. It belongs to your future old self.
    Credit card advance: really? Cash advances are for irresponsible people. The interest rates are ridiculous.

    I liked some of the other posts about saving cash. I have started doing things like:
    make coffee at home and put it in a travel mug instead of buying a $2 cup of coffee every morning
    make lunch to bring to work instead of buying lunch every day
    cook dinner each night and have leftovers every couple of nights
    cancel my netflix subscription
    don’t spend money on anything except food, shelter, utilities and transportation (i.e. no buying extra crap I don’t need like clothes, games, etc.)

    Luckily I have no vices to speak of, so I also don’t spend money on alcohol or cigarettes or anything like that. It’s the little things that help, not going out and hitting up every place you can think of to borrow money from. bleh!

  10. edosan says:

    What about panhandling? Selling pencils out of a tin cup?

  11. alexcassidy says:

    For my fellow smokers (who don’t intend to quit), buy in cartons at a smoke shop instead of pack-at-a-time from 7-11. Saved me like 30-35 bucks a month. =)

  12. Canino says:

    re: 25 Gadgets That Actually Save Money
    I wouldn’t call a scooter, a car, a washing machine, a computer, or a residential wind turbine system a “gadget”, but whatever.

  13. LeoSolaris says:

    I am rather surprised that Consumerist reposted these nuggets of financial “wisdom.”

    Most of these things are for that one really really tight time that you HAVE to come up with cash right then.

  14. dakotad555 says:

    What a load of bull crap. A lot of these suggestions seem more like desperation moves. Why don’t they just add car title loans, payday loans, and Jimmy the loan shark to the list and be done with it?

  15. planetdaddy says:

    Those suggestions suck.

  16. Scoobatz says:

    These suggestions really opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of finding extra cash. I especially like the suggestion about getting a third job. And, if you want even more money, get a fourth job. Really, the sky’s the limit.

  17. Brazell says:

    Sell your investments? “Sell any investments that have gone down,” that would be … all of them at this point and you’d be selling in a bottoming market, the worst time to sell.

    PRINT MONEY! It’s Fast! Affordable! And Free!

  18. micahd says:

    Wow, seriously… Consumerist I expect better from you than suggesting poison reverse mortgages and pawn shop loans.

    The answer to many people’s (maybe not everyone’s) $ problems is to cut their spending, get rid of stupid debt like car loans and realize that you really can live debt free.

    Also, markets go up and down, unless you’re retiring tomorrow (sorry mom and dad) just hang in there, calm down everyone. Hey, if you have a bunch of cash and don’t need it for a while, invest, invest, invest.

  19. micahd says:


    The MSN author’s other articles including: “buy your first home in a year” and “coolest credit card perks”

    it’s people like this who created sub-prime mortgages and gave loans to people who can’t afford them.

  20. chrisjames says:

    That is absurd! This must have been goaded by some Bush Admin. PR loony. Two cash out tips and two advocating increased borrowing. The closest to a good tip is a weak “earn more.” No, guys. No. Don’t try to create even more money out of nothing.

    You’re right about spending less, wrong about it being a good list.

  21. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    yeah, this isn’t the time to borrow money from family, banks or the fast cash place on the corner…. that’s just more money you have to find later.

    i’ve been trying to sell stuff on craigslist. and i have been successful with a few small items, but the furniture i am trying to sell – even priced at *MUST SELL* prices i am not having any luck. sure i’ve had responses, but then i find myself sitting around waiting for an appointment who nevers shows up, never calls or emails back, even to say “it’s just not in the budget right now, oops”

    for the most part i have been successfully ‘finding’ money in my budget by :

    [gasp!] buying a car because the car payments on the new one are less per month that the frequent repair costs on the old one

    skipping the entire deli, frozen convenience food and frozen dessert sections of the grocery store

    switching to instant coffee at home and making use of the free coffee provided at work

    not only taking my lunch to work, but also packing snacks when i am going to be away from home for a few hours so i can avoid stopping for junk food

    make a budget of items i KNOW i will need that aren’t going to be impulse buys. right down to figuring out how many gallons of milk i buy a month and putting that into my head as “if i buy this impulse item now, will i be short on funds for the $20 i know i need to spend on groceries next week?”

    and the big one? moving in with family [sister] so we can both save. which is why i am selling furniture. it’s worth a few hundred a month to put our differences aside

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @catastrophegirl: That’s the situation I was in with my car. I can plan $250 every month, but I can’t plan $1,000 every few months (when my car gets into a mood swing) or the last straw, which was $4,000.

      I make use of the free water at work. It’s always refreshing and keeps me from feeling peckish so I’d be more tempted to go out and get a snack.

  22. oneandone says:

    It turns out that Yes I Am Doing All the 30 things on that list…. I feel cheated. Yes, if I had a serious financial crisis, I could find big cuts to make (cheaper apartment, no more internet at home, etc), but I am still searching in vain for relevant advice on how to trim my daily / monthly expenses. Maybe I should enjoy the realization that I’m living frugally but well… on the other hand, it’s a little worrying seeing how much of the money that comes in ends up going right out.

  23. stinerman says:

    A first job would be nice.