8 ways to make an extra $500 fast

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Woman holding $500 in cash
Image Credit: Dreamstime

Are you in a financial bind and need to learn how to make $500 fast? All it takes is a few extra hours of your time to pad your pocket with some extra cash!

How to make $500 fast

Before we can tell you how to make $500 fast, we first need to define what fast is. For the purposes of this article, we’ve defined “fast” as a timeline of one to two weeks.

We know most people have regular jobs, so this article is intended to get you extra money on top of your salary in a timeframe that mimics the regular paycheck cycle a lot of people are on.

Some of the opportunities you see below pay hourly, while others pay per gig or per action. The idea is to mix and match a few of the ideas that follow to get to $500.

All estimates you see below about potential earnings are before taxes.

Table of contents

  1. Become an Uber or Lyft driver
  2. Deliver restaurant food
  3. Deliver groceries
  4. Help with branding for new businesses
  5. Sell your old media
  6. Sell your used clothes
  7. Put up a room in your home on Airbnb
  8. Donate plasma for pay

1. Become an Uber or Lyft driver

Lyft sticker on car window

Potential earnings: $15 to $16 an hour

Driving for rideshare services like Uber and Lyft is one of the easiest ways to start on the road to making an extra $500 fast. That’s because the barriers to entry are so low for most people.

To get started, you only need to have the following:

  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Carry vehicle insurance on your rise
  • Have one year of driving experience (three years required if you’re less than 23 years old)
  • Have a four-door vehicle that’s less than 10 years old
  • Complete a background screening

2. Deliver restaurant food

UberEats app screenshot

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Potential earnings: $11 to $13 an hour

Going hand-in-hand with the prior tip, you can also pick up food delivery gigs in your spare time. Uber has its own version of this service called Uber Eats, while DoorDash offers a competing option.

Sign up is simple. Just register online with your email, phone number and zip code and complete a background check.

Additional requirements include:

  • Valid driver’s license
  • Proof of insurance
  • You must be 18 or older
  • No major violations in the last seven years
  • No more than three accidents or moving violations in the last three years

Unlike with traditional ridesharing, there aren’t any requirements that your car be 10 years old or newer. So if you’ve followed money expert Clark Howard‘s advice and have an old paid-off vehicle that you bought used, you’re fine to apply for these food delivery jobs.

3. Deliver groceries

Instacart website homepage

Potential earnings: $16 to $22 an hour

Another delivery option you may want to check into when you’re looking at how to make $500 fast is grocery delivery. With apps like Shipt and Instacart, you get the opportunity to set your own schedule.

You can be an on-demand shopper picking up grocery orders and delivering them to people’s homes.

General requirements include:

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  • Be 18+
  • Have a smartphone
  • Need a valid driver’s license
  • Proof of auto insurance
  • Have a reliable vehicle
  • Be able to lift about 40 pounds

4. Help with branding for new businesses

Squadhelp active naming contests

Potential earnings: $100 per winning contest entry

Did you know you can get paid to suggest creative names for new businesses and services? SquadHelp is primarily a contest-type site, so you only get paid if your suggested name wins the contest.

One member of Team Clark registered for the site and submitted several names for contests where an insurance startup was looking to name itself. However, he didn’t win.

In addition to contests, SquadHelp also lets you create catchy domain names that can be sold to businesses looking for memorable business branding.

The best part is you don’t have to be a “branding expert” to participate. Anyone can register and suggest a name. If you have the winning entry in a naming contest, you’ll get a guaranteed $100 minimum — and sometimes more!

We’ve got a full write-up on SquadHelp, including five things to know before you get started on the site, here.

5. Sell your old media

box of old CDs

Potential earnings: $50 for an average sized box of used CDs, DVDs and games

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably moved on to consuming movies, video games and music digitally. That means you probably have a box of old CDs, DVDs and games sitting around the house!

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Turns out it’s very easy to transform that old junk into some useful cash in your life. Using a site like Decluttr, you can simply punch in the barcodes of your old CDs, DVDs and games to get instant price quotes.

Shipping is free with this service and you’ll get fast next-day payments if you choose to sell your old media to them.

But there’s a way to play this strategy even smarter. Once you have your quote and you know how much Decluttr is offering, you might take your haul to a used record store to see if they can beat the Decluttr quote. One growing chain where you can do this is 2nd and Charles, which has multiple locations in 16 states.

If they can’t beat the first quote, you just bring your items back home and ship them off for free to get the money you were originally quoted by Decluttr.

One member of Team Clark recently sold around 10 used Nintendo Wii games. He got a quote of $19 on Decluttr, but was offered $34 in cash for the same games at 2nd and Charles.

6. Sell your used clothes 

Buy Buy Baby maternity clothes

Potential earnings: $50-$60 for an average sized bin of used clothing

Just like with the prior tip, you might get the most bang for your buck by using a dual selling approach when it comes to used clothes.

Beth of Team Clark likes Letgo and Facebook Marketplace as starting points when she has clothes to sell. Both make the process very easy and potentially very profitable.

“Those sites also let you control how much to charge for the item and will likely earn you more money than if you took it [to a physical store],” Beth notes. “Brick and mortars lowball you, in my experience.”

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Editor’s note: We’ve got full instructions and videos that explain how to use both services, here and here.

That said, if you have leftovers you can’t sell on Letgo or Facebook Marketplace, it doesn’t hurt to take them over to a national used clothes chain like Plato’s Closet to see what they’re offering.

7. Put up a room in your home on Airbnb

Airbnb app

Potential earnings: $100/night depending on location

Airbnb is a widely known marketplace where you can list a spare room in your home that’s available for short-term rent to out-of-towners.

What you can earn is based on the going market rate for properties in your area. But in some highly desirable areas, it’s entirely possible to make $100 a night putting a room in your home — or the entire property itself — up for rent.

Before listing, you should do a check for similar properties on Airbnb so you know how to price yours.

But note this: Some homeowner association rules may prohibit you from listing on Airbnb altogether if you live in a condo, apartment or townhome. Check the covenants in your community to be sure.

We’ve got more info you need to know before getting started on Airbnb here.

8. Donate plasma for pay

female doctor holding plasma donation bag

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Potential earnings: Up to $400/month

When you need to know how to make $500 fast, sometimes you need to think outside of the box. Plasma donation is a little-known way to make extra money that came on our radar here at Clark.com.

If you’ve ever given blood, you already basically know what to expect when donating plasma. This process can sometimes take up to 90 minutes, especially during your initial intake session. Future sessions after the first are generally shorter in duration.

In fact, one Clark.com reader actually used plasma donation to finance his cross-country road trip!

While there are a variety of players in this field, some of the national plasma donation chains include Octapharma Plasma, CSL Plasma and BioLife Plasma Services. Most of them advertise widely that new donors can make $400 in a month.

You must be 18 and generally have to weigh 110 pounds or more in order to donate plasma.

Final thought

Learning how to make $500 quickly is easier than you might think. There are multiple opportunities out there. You just need to figure out which ones work for you in your life and do them.

Meanwhile, if you need further ways to put more money in your pocket, check out our article on 20+ easy ways to make extra money.

More money-making articles on Clark.com

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