Need to Make $500 Fast? Check These 23 Time-Tested Ideas Will Get You to $500 With Minimal Effort

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Do you know what sucks? Having less money than you want. So let’s make $500 fast. Like, so fast that it would take you longer to remember your PIN at the ATM. 

Although things are starting to look up since the pandemic started, it’s still not as good as we had it before. The US unemployment rate is still 2.8% higher than last year, and that stimulus check will only get you so far.

I’m not saying that you’ll lose your job tomorrow. But in the outrageous chance that you do, how prepared are you?

$500 isn’t enough for your emergency funds, but…

It will buy you a little time to find a different income stream should things turn south. Even $500 can be used for gas to job interviews and groceries for your family.

But you don’t need to prepare for some hypothetical emergency try to make $500 fast. I used to do it just to see if I can.

And the prize? Whatever I want to do with the cash.

This reinforced in me the art of hustle that helped me eventually retire in my 30s. So if buying a bunch of butt-shaped pen holders will do it for you, then sure. Do it to build the habit of making money fast.

Get started on this milestone to being financially independent with these methods:

Option A. Sell your stuff

They say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But if I’m going to guess what happened there, the first man just threw his old stuff away instead of selling them. Or maybe he just had too much junk that it started to look like trash.

Whether you make your trash the most lucrative dumpster diving site or are just a hoarder, you can try these two to transform your crap into cash:

1 – Get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year

I say a year because I don’t want you to get rid of holiday decorations and items because it’s pretty wasteful to buy them every year.

But I promise you, there’s a lot of stuff you barely use around the house. And instead of letting its value depreciate, sell them while they can still fetch a decent price.

I love creating Facebook posts to sell stuff because friends already know where to find you. So they can just pick it up when they go over to your place or when you meet somewhere. Plus, they already trust you so closing the deal would be much easier.

2 – Have someone sell stuff for you

If you don’t want to talk to people and just want the cash, have someone sell them for you.

This way, you only talk to one person instead of receiving late-night messages asking you “How much?” I was confused until I remembered I posted something for sale.

Of course, this would mean that you’d have to pay whoever is doing the selling for you. But in exchange for getting rid of non-essential items in your house and earning from those items, it’s a pretty sweet deal!

Option B. Rent your stuff

You don’t have to let go of your record collection if it would almost be physically painful for you. So instead, you can lease out your profitable assets to get extra cash:

3 – Rent your car

If you’ve been working from home since COVID-19 started, then you can rent out your car to someone who still has to go to work.

And how you do it is totally up to you. For example, you can lease it to a neighbor whose car broke down. Or maybe you have a huge van that you can rent to a family going on vacation.

But if you don’t want the hassle of advertising, you can use Turo to get offers.

Plus, you don’t have to hope for someone’s car to have her car break down just to get some business.

4 – Rent a room in your house

If you get rid of stuff in your house, then you probably have a lot of extra space now… maybe even enough to free up a room. And in many locations, you can easily charge $500/month.

Still, the money’s not the only reason why this suggestion is pure genius:

·         It prevents you from buying new stuff. With someone renting, there’s just literally no room. So if you’re big on impulse buying, this move can easily save you thousands of dollars.

·         You get upfront payment. If you need the money right now, their security deposit lets you augment your funds for whatever it is that you need.

·         You create a steady income stream. The checks would be coming in steadily every month, so you’ll always have extra cash to save or to spend.

Just make sure to screen potential renters. After all, you don’t want to be in the same house as someone who has a bad history with paying their bills. Or worse, someone who likes pineapple on their pizza.

Option C. Get online gigs

The gig economy is the future of employment. But if you want to do it without leaving your home, online gigs are the way to go. And even if you’re going to leave your job for it, there’s still serious money to be made online:

5 – Teach online

You can make money as a tutor even if you only know English.

A lot of non-native speakers are always looking to improve their writing and speaking skills, so all you have to do is find the market that would best benefit from your teaching.

And if you’re wondering if you can really make $500 fast with teaching, people charge $55/hour just to teach English. So with the right certifications and experience, you can easily make that much in just nine hours.

If you speak another language, even better! There’s far less competition for other languages, so your odds of getting a student increase.

6 – Package a service within your expertise for $500

Let’s say you’re a market research analyst. Just say that you’ll look at their existing data to help them determine whether their new product will be a success.

And boom, you have your $500.

This will work with practically any profession, as long as you have something to offer. Heck, this may even be your chance to earn from your hobby.

Let’s say you like doodling stuff on a sketchpad. You can sell them as tattoo designs to people who are just done with the mandala tattoo fad. A lot of people also don’t want to rip designs off of the internet, so there’s a market here. You can always earn money from accepting commissions.

Option D. Learn to negotiate

If you want more, you’ve got to ask for it. Because at the end of the day, the only guarantee to not get what you want is by doing nothing.

And to increase your odds of success, you should actually be good at it. Thanks to my kid, I’m already a master negotiator.

But if you haven’t had the pleasure of having children and the torment of getting them to sleep after they snuck sweets by you, then level up your negotiation skills. They’d come really helpful with these methods:

7 – Talk to your lenders about reducing your credit card debt

If you have substantial credit card debt that you haven’t paid in a while, try talking to your lender about paying a reduced amount. They’ll likely agree, especially if it’s about to fall off your credit report.

And even if it’s not, they’d just be happy to get some of the money back. They’ll still earn from your interest payments anyway. By doing this, you can go with either of these two routes:

·         Settle a discounted balance. Great if you have a lot of cash on hand.

·         Work out a more manageable payment plan. This could mean waiving late fees, suspending interest payments, and lowering your interest rate.

No matter how you decide to approach the negotiation, just don’t forget: get everything in writing. This move can easily save you thousands of dollars, especially on larger debts where waived interest payments have a bigger impact.

8 – Try to get a raise

Don’t talk yourself out of what you deserve. You should ask for a raise unless:

·         You sleep on the job and your performance reviews are crap. (They’ll laugh you out of the room.)

·         They rejected your raise proposal yesterday because of legitimate reasons… like the company is on the brink of collapse.

·         Your boss just signed your raise request. (At least let the ink dry first!)

But before you get to the negotiation table, get a personalized salary survey on Glassdoor. You can’t arbitrarily ask for $100,000 when even the highest-paid person in your position only earns $80,000.

Once you know how much more you want, go for that raise! All it would take is an hour (at most!) of negotiating with your boss.

10 – Negotiate your mortgage rate

I refinanced my mortgage last year and got the interest rate down by 0.55%. This seems unimpressive until I tell people that this decreased costs by $31,500 on my 20-year loan.

And all it took for me to make that happen? Just 15 minutes filling out forms.

If you have a great credit score and have been making your regular payments, they’ll be willing to do it for you. And this is the last chance to do it because mortgage rates are likely to rise this year. So if you don’t want to miss out on the action, you better start filling out those forms.

Option E. Take care of your health

Health is wealth, they say.  But what they didn’t tell you is that you can make actual money by taking better care of yourself:

11 – Bet on yourself to lose weight (HealthyWage)

HealthyWage lets you bet a certain amount per month to lose weight. And the more pounds you bet to lose, the bigger your prize will be.

So if you’re trying to lose weight and do it sustainably, the money can be a great motivator.

But if the only reason you’re doing this is to make $500 fast, then you’re coming at it wrong. I see it as an incentive to push forward.

So really, you’re using the time to better yourself and not just to earn $500.

12 – Eat healthy, home cooked meals

I’m just going to put it out there: restaurant food is five times more expensive than making the same dish from scratch.

So if you find yourself eating out a lot, just know that your $20 plate could’ve cost you $4 instead. And at this rate, you’d reach $500 by day 16.

People usually use the excuse that they’re too busy to cook for themselves. But if you’re not busy reliving cringey moments in your life or winning imaginary arguments in your head, then you have time to cook.

Read more:
How much do you really save when you stop eating out

The trick is prepping your meals in advance and in bulk. I have friends who spend 5 hours per week doing this. So if you take as long and make food enough for a week, you’re practically paying yourself nearly $45/hour to get yourself healthier.

It’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

Option F. Cut your spending

This one’s pretty simple. Just spend less. But if you can’t find room to make cuts, try these out:

13 – Cancel non-necessity subscriptions

You don’t need Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, and all the other streaming subscriptions you swear you’re going to use every day.

I get wanting to watch Pixar movies for nostalgia, but is that really worth $8/month? Not unless pigs fly.

And did you know that all streaming subscriptions in the United States cost $314/month? There’s no way you’d spend that much on cable, so there’s no reason for you to shell out that much for subscriptions.

If you’re paying for these with your credit card, you won’t see how much all these are costing you per month. So really, just cut them all off. You’re too busy hustling to finally afford early retirement anyway.

14 – Chill out in your home

If you’re an introvert who enjoys mindlessly flipping through the channels instead of watching a movie, then you’re already saving a lot of money… as long you don’t order out.

But for extroverts who live to go out and meet new people, maybe pare it down a little bit.

You see, the world outside is full of temptations. You have the bars, overly aggressive salespeople, pricey restaurants, and the mall. And if you’re lured by some shiny new thing and pressured by your colleagues, you’ll find your wallet lighter than me after a huge dump.

So maybe stay at home. Get some reading done, learn to cook, whatever! There are a lot of things that you can do without spending anything.

Option G. See if you have unclaimed cash

Maybe you already have the cash, and all you have to do is get it. You can make $500 fast by doing these two:

15 – Check for unclaimed cash

You don’t even know but you could have unclaimed cash right now. Even if you think you don’t, there’s no harm in trying, right? After all, it only takes 5 minutes to check.

All you need to do is go to and look for your missing money. You have a choice to search only in your state or widen your search to other states too.

Accordingly, 1 in 10 Americans has missing money. So sure, you only have a 10% chance of getting something. But for the possibility of claiming a huge wad of cash, that sure is worth it.

16 – Cash in on your friends’ IOUs

I’m not saying that friendships should be treated as a monetary transaction. But hey, there still should be some give and take. Because if you’re doing all the giving, you better say get “Welcome” stamped on your forehead because you’re a doormat.

So if you’ve been letting a friend carpool with you to work, maybe you don’t need to ask them to pay in cash. Work out an arrangement so they can help you with stuff instead.

For example, if you regularly need a babysitter, they can do it for you instead. The average US rate is $16.50/hour. So at five hours/week, you’re saving $412.50 a month.

If your friend is a little down on luck or just doesn’t want to spend cash, they’d 100% go for this.

It may not be as profitable as the other methods on the list, but you’re probably doing your friend the favor either way. Plus, you can do it with multiple people at the same time. So the amount that you save will add up.

Option H. Get commissions

Don’t want to part with your Pokémon collection? Don’t want anyone touching it because it may lose its value? I feel you.

I can’t relate to that, but you do you. And I suggest you try these to earn money without giving away your stuff:

17 – Help sell digital products

A lot of people have grown digital empires just by becoming an affiliate. And if you’re excited to learn about how to earn millions of dollars as an affiliate marketer, then prepare to be disappointed.

That’s not how we’re going to approach this. You need to make $500 fast, and doing it that way will take a long time and will cost you a lot.

So instead, I suggest you promote products that you’re already using. Maybe make a post on social media about it. Or message friends and family directly, if you genuinely think that they’d be interested.

You can even sweeten the pot by sharing your commission with them. But that’s totally up to you.

18 – Earn when your friends sign up for stuff

Most apps and sites offer referral bonuses for having someone sign up using your link. So why not do that?

For example, Robinhood gives you a free stock every time you refer someone to their platform even if you’ve never traded stocks with them before. And eToro gives you and your friend $50 each once they trade at least $100.

This would easily work too with practically any platform that gives you money for getting people in.

Option I. Take advantage of sign-up bonuses

Companies are always enticing you to use their services and make an offer so good that you just can’t say no. Here are some of them:

19 – Look out for limited-time 0% credit cards

You could cut your interest payments by transferring your balance to a zero-interest credit card.

Why does this matter so much? The average interest rate for this is 17%. So if you have a huge balance, this could easily translate to thousands of dollars in savings.

And to maximize the amount you save, pay as much as you can on your existing balance. If possible, pay all of it. Sure, you’d have to pay a balance transfer fee. But with the thousands of dollars you can save, this is nothing.

Just remember, look at their terms. Check what the rate would be after the zero-interest period lapsed. If you don’t, you may just lose money anyway.

20 – Open a bank account

If you want free money, then use the cash you already have.

A lot of banks offer sign-up bonuses, some of which are as high as $700. Some calculate your bonus based on the amount you deposit.

And if you have substantial savings, dividing them into different accounts will get you a lot of cash easily.

21 – Refinance your student loan

You can get a better rate on your student loan AND get some cash while you’re at it by refinancing. There are a lot of lenders to choose from, so you can rate shop and get the best deal out there.

For example, Splash offers a $500 sign-up bonus for refinanced loans of at least $50,000. But if you don’t owe that much, you can look into other alternatives.

Read my full guide for how to refinance student loans in 15 minutes.

Even if you don’t get $500, at least you lower your monthly payments. And paying less for the same thing will always be great.

Option J. Get the same stuff for less

Do I expect you to make $500 fast with just these two? Not unless you spend an insane amount of money every month.

But hey, who doesn’t love getting some money for doing nothing? You can try these on top of the other methods on the list:

22 – Use cashback apps

I love getting the same stuff at a lower price, but I’m not going to waste my time collecting and stacking coupons just to save a few bucks. Couponing sucks because:

·         You’ll spend lots of time finding coupons. And you don’t have forever to get 5% off a $3 item. You could’ve used the time instead to explore more profitable ventures.

·         You’re not guaranteed to save a substantial amount. You can spend hours looking for the best deal, and cut your spending by $0.

So if you just can’t live with yourself knowing that you could’ve saved an extra dollar but didn’t, I suggest cashback apps instead. Think of it as couponing for the tech-savvy.

But here, you do literally ZERO of the work.

Will you be getting the best deal all the time? Honestly, I don’t give a flying… coupon. An extra $10 doing nothing is always better making it your life’s mission to save a few dollars more.

23 – Switch to a card that offers cashback

On top of cashback apps, you can get even more from cards that offer cash back to maximize your savings.

For example, I spend around $2,000/month on my card. And because they offer 2% cashback, that’s $40/month for purchases that I’m going to make either way.

And in my book, that’s always a huge win.

Make $500 fast with this one simple trick?

No need to complicate stuff. See which methods would generate you the most money in the shortest amount of time possible. That’s why I love bonuses! Because you don’t have to do anything to get it.

But if you want to consistently make $500 every week, you need to create reliable cash sources. And here’s how you do it: monetize, monetize, and monetize.

Just keep doing what has been working for you, and you’re good.

How can I make $500 an hour?

Make $500 fast by refinancing your student loan. It takes just 15 minutes to complete the forms, and you can get as much as $550 as a signup bonus.

How can I make $500 a day online?

Unless you’re a millionaire, building a passive income stream is the most realistic way to make $500 fast. Creating something that can be sold infinitely like shirt designs. But to sustainably make that $500 a day happen, you may have to heavily invest in marketing.

How can I make $500 a week online?

Teaching is a great way to make $500 fast. If you have a high-value skill like web development, you can easily charge $50 to teach how they can solve a particular problem. And all you have to do is book 10 hours of that to make $500.

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