How to Make $500 Fast (7 Simple Methods to Start Today)

Use one of these seven strategies when you need to make $500 in a short period of time.
Updated Dec. 4, 2023
$500 in a jeans pocket

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There are various ways to get money quickly, and some even provide daily payouts. From taking on a side hustle to selling unwanted items, there are many simple methods to help you reach your financial goals.

Let’s explore seven strategies that can help you figure out how to make $500 fast, so you can get back on track and achieve financial stability.

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7 practical ways to make $500 fast

Finding ways to make money fast can seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can be easier than you think. The key is finding methods that align with your skills and interests. Using methods that easily integrate into your lifestyle also helps. Let’s explore seven different ways you can use to make $500.

1. Complete online surveys

You can also earn money by participating in online surveys that pay money for your opinion or personal experience. However, it’s important to note that some survey providers don’t offer that much money per survey.

Surveys can be convenient to complete while you’re on a bus, in line at the grocery store, or simply on your couch relaxing. This can allow you to earn some extra cash during your spare time. But it may not be worth it to dedicate a lot of time to online surveys since the money you get is generally not that much. 

Some legitimate survey websites that offer varying payouts include:

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Other websites, like Schlesinger Group, will pay you when you join online focus groups and take surveys. These opportunities are harder to qualify for, but they may pay more.

Before using online survey platforms, review their payout structures and prioritize those offering fair compensation. Once you choose a platform, utilize your free time, such as TV watching or downtime in waiting rooms, to complete surveys.

Visit Survey Junkie | Visit InboxDollars | Visit Branded Surveys | Visit Swagbucks

2. Pet sit for other people

Many people need help watching their pets. They may be going out of town or they may just need someone to walk their dog. Others like to have someone check in and play with their pets during the day while they’re at work.

You can post on local message boards, such as NextDoor, to advertise your pet-sitting or dog-walking services in your neighborhood. You can also use websites like Rover or to connect with people who need pet sitters.

Learn how to earn money as a pet sitter or dog walker in our Rover review.

You can also sit or walk multiple pets at once to increase your potential to make more money. However, you should make sure to communicate clearly with your clients and ask them how social their animals are.


3. Drive passengers with Uber or Lyft

Driving passengers with Uber or Lyft is a popular method for making extra money. You may make more money by using more of your time to drive passengers and receive daily payouts, which can help you with quick cash needs.

However, before you begin, keep in mind that Uber and Lyft have requirements for your age, the types of cars you can use, and how old the cars can be. You also need to have proof of insurance and a valid driver’s license. You may also have to wait for a background check before you begin.

In order to maximize earnings, consider market saturation in your area and the best times to work. For example, check flight schedules and be near the airport during peak arrival times or offer rides when people are likely to need transportation at night.

Additionally, be aware of local events such as festivals, sports games, and other activities, as they may offer increased ride demand.

Visit Uber

4. Deliver food or groceries with DoorDash or Instacart

You can make extra money on the side from DoorDash and similar food and grocery delivery apps such as Instacart or Postmates.

You simply need to go through the sign-up process, meet the requirements, such as having a valid driver's license, vehicle, and insurance, and successfully complete the onboarding process. As with some other side gigs, DoorDash and similar apps may require you to pass a background check.

Keep in mind that you may be placed on a waiting list if there are limited openings in your area.

DoorDash pays you a base pay plus any tip the customer left for each order you deliver. You can also maximize your earning potential by agreeing to deliver during peak times or by completing a challenge to deliver a set number of orders during a specific timeframe.

Find out how to make extra money from grocery and food deliveries in our DoorDash review.

Visit InstacartVisit DoorDash

5. Sell items you no longer use

Look around your house or clean out the garage. There’s a good chance you have many items you no longer use. You may be able to get a good sum of money when you sell these items online or through a garage sale.

Before you sell, research Facebook Marketplace or eBay to see how similar items are priced, even if you’re only holding a yard sale. Consider the condition of the items as well. A barely used item is likely to get a higher price than a similar item that’s old or is damaged.

There are several places to sell your items online, including:

  • eBay: A good choice for most general interest items, including collectibles.
  • Craigslist: It can work for selling large items locally since you may not want to ship them.
  • Decluttr: It can be a good marketplace for electronics, such as phones, smart watches, tablets, and more.
  • Poshmark: It’s commonly used for clothing and accessories, especially high-end brands.

Learn some pro tips from a Poshmark seller.

Carefully consider where you’re likely to find buyers for your items. Some sites, like Decluttr, will pay you outright for your items and resell them. Others require you to handle the selling and shipping process.

If you sell something on your own through a platform like eBay or Poshmark, make sure to capture good pictures of it. Provide potential buyers with pictures from several angles to make it easy to see the item's condition. You should also write an accurate description that uses common keywords for your item.

Finally, watch out for scams. Scammers on Facebook Marketplace and other platforms may try to take advantage of you. Be careful and make sure you document your transactions.

6. Rent out extra space in your home

One common method for using extra space in your home is by listing it on Airbnb to make extra money. However, you also have other options to make money from extra spaces in your home.

You can rent out extra space for storage if you have extra room in your garage or attic or a spare room no one is using. Platforms such as Neighbor connect you to people in your area who might need a place to store their stuff.

Find out more in our Neighbor review.

To determine the rental rate for your extra space, research local storage facilities' fees for various unit sizes. Then evaluate the space you have available and determine the amount you want to ask for.

7. Become a freelancer

You can use your existing skills to complete freelance tasks online or in person. You would work on a project-by-project basis instead of a traditional, full-time job to complete tasks such as freelance writing, graphic design, gardening, proofreading, bookkeeping and more.

To become a freelancer, begin by identifying your skills and areas of expertise. Then create a listing online on platforms such as:

These platforms enable you to showcase what you can offer. You can also connect with potential clients through various channels, such as social media, professional networks, and job boards, to gradually build your online business.

Becoming a freelance writer, part-time virtual assistant, or social media manager are all side hustles that may use your existing skills while giving you the flexibility to choose the projects you work on. Freelancing allows you to set your own rates and work from anywhere.

How to avoid sudden money problems

While learning how to make $500 fast is possible, a sudden need for cash can be stressful. There are several things you can do to reduce the chance of needing cash quickly in the future.

Build an emergency fund

Create an emergency fund that can cover sudden or unexpected expenses. Start by working on a plan to build up $500 in an emergency fund and gradually increase the amount you set aside.

Having an emergency fund provides peace of mind knowing that you can cover sudden money needs. It can also keep you from turning to debt when you have an unexpected financial emergency.

Find out what an emergency fund is and how to begin building one today.

Create a budget and stick to it

Following a budget is as important as having an emergency fund. Understand your regular income inflows and spending outflows. Create a budget that matches your needs with your income. Do your best to live within your means.

Once your needs are covered, you can then address your wants. When you have a budget — one that includes regularly putting an amount of money in your emergency fund — you’re less likely to get in a position where you quickly need cash.

Learn more in our comprehensive budgeting guide.

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Find ways to increase your income

Many of the strategies for making $500 fast can also be used to build regular extra income streams. You can also look for additional side hustles and business opportunities to boost your revenue. Some of the best side hustles allow you to take advantage of a skill or hobby you have.

For example, you can start freelancing on the side, create printables, or make artwork to sell on Etsy.

Learn how to start an Etsy shop.

You can also look for ways to earn passive income, such as advertising on your car or creating an online course that you can sell on a platform such as Skillshare. You could also take the time to learn a new, in-demand skill and sell your services, whether that be data entry, carpentry, or bookkeeping. These side hustles can provide you with a continuous stream of income without requiring continuous effort.  

Explore how to get paid to advertise on your car with these companies.

Pay off high-interest debt

Debt with high interest rates can drain your financial resources. Focus your effort on paying any similar debts to minimize the amount spent on interest payments.

Prioritizing repaying debt is crucial to giving you more room in your personal finances and allowing you to save money. With less debt and lower interest payments, you can have peace of mind and greater control over your financial future.

Learn how to pay off debt.


Where can I sell my stuff for free?

There are many places to sell your stuff for free, including Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and Craigslist. Additionally, platforms such as Decluttr will buy items from you to resell them, freeing you from finding buyers and shipping items. Some websites may not charge you a fee to list an item, but keep in mind that some websites may take a percentage of the amount you receive from the sale.

How can I make easy money with my phone?

One of the ways to learn how to make money online with your phone is to use a platform that allows you to take online surveys, such as Survey Junkie or InboxDollars. By sharing your opinions and providing feedback through survey sites, you may earn cash, gift cards, or other rewards for your time. Keep in mind that survey payouts are typically small, so you aren’t likely to make a lot of money.

Does Uber pay daily or weekly?

Uber offers daily payouts using its Instant Pay feature. You can get paid up to five times per day with Uber. The money is sent directly to your debit card that’s connected to your bank account. However, Instant Pay costs $0.85 per payout.

Bottom line

While having an unexpected bill or expense and needing to come up with money quickly can be stressful, there are several legit ways that may help you get the money you need.

You can sell items you no longer use, rent out extra space in your home, complete online surveys, pet sit or take animals on walks, drive passengers with Uber or Lyft, deliver food or groceries with DoorDash, or freelance online or in person. These seven practical ways may help you figure out how to make $500 fast.

Author Details

Miranda Marquit Miranda Marquit has covered personal finance for more than a decade and is a nationally-recognized financial expert and journalist, appearing on CNBC, NPR, Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, FOX Business, and numerous other outlets.

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