It’s not hard to put yourself in the shoes of someone who needs to come up with extra cash quickly. For most of us, it’s something that we experience at least a few times in our lives, and for some people, it’s a recurring theme. Likewise, even under the best of circumstances, we all will encounter unexpected bills, expenses, and cash needs from time to time. Some of these are manageable, and some can break the banque or radically disrupt our finances and so many Canadians are looking for new ways to come up with some extra cash fast.
For a start, a lot of this is born out of the fact that Canadians just aren’t able to save like they used to. Due to a combination of largely stagnant wages (as compared to the rate of inflation), increasing expenses for basics like housing and food, and other economic factors, most people are unable to save a significant portion of their income in traditional savings or investment accounts. When trouble strikes, the need to come up with creative ways to make money is extremely important.
A 2018 BankRate survey shows that 65% of people collectively save 10% or less of their annual income for retirement and general savings/unexpected expenses, a far cry from the 15% that most financial experts recommend. While the study references American data, it’s not that much different in Canada, with the figures only being slightly better according to economic observers and anecdotal reports.
It’s incredibly important for people to have ways and means to come up with extra cash when they need it. But desperation can also lead to disaster. Many people end up getting wrapped up in scams or opportunities of dubious merit. The old adage “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” should be something kept in the forefront of your mind when you are trying to find ways to make money on the side. There are unethical people out there who are willing to take advantage of those who are in a bind and make a bad situation even worse.
We’ve gone to great lengths in this guide to highlight how to make extra money from home legitimately, or by utilizing financial tools, credit, income, and expense changes that will provide you with meaningful extra cash when you need it.
These will hopefully provide you with good information to serve as a starting point for you to find the best options for your own financial situation.
Strategies for Generating Extra Cash
The strategies for generating extra cash generally fall into one of two tracks – either reducing expenditures, so that you realize a positive increase in your cash in hand or increasing your income level.
Most experts agree that you can only get so far with reducing your expenses. However, they also advise that the best approach is often a combination of two or more options, with at least some effort made on “both tracks” to try to tip the balance of your income and expenses in your favor. Increased income is definitely good but making sure your money goes as far as it can, and pays for as much as it can, is ideal. Managing your expenses (both needs and wants) is always a good practice, even absent emergency or unexpected cash needs.
Of course, you can adopt multiple practices or strategies for making extra money fast. Many of the best ideas for how to make money on the side are not replacements for a full-time job, and in fact many require relatively little time or effort investment on a regular basis in order to realize positive financial gains.
You can mix and match the strategies and options that make the most sense for you. Experts do caution against biting off more than you can chew, however. Going from doing nothing to doing everything on this list (or more) is likely not going to result in any kind of sustainable way of generating extra cash and reducing your expenses over the long-term.
Likewise, taking a second job, even part-time, is not always practical – yes, you’ll generate more income, but if you run yourself ragged, get sick, have no time to maintain your home or see your family, that’s not really an overall net gain, is it? You’ll have to use your best judgment as to what makes the most sense for you, and practice moderation to not overdo it.
Ideal Solutions To Come Up With Extra Cash Depends on Your Needs and Skills
Along those same lines, it’s also important to point out that the methods and options to come up with extra cash that are ideal for one person are likely not ideal for the next. Ideal solutions or ideas to make extra money are going to depend greatly on your financial needs, schedule, skills, and abilities.
If you have a full-time job, the amount of time you have to work on “side hustles” is going to be limited. Likewise, people who are single or coupled with no children will probably have lower expenses and more time than those with one or more children to take care of.
It’s fairly easy for some people to increase their income with side business opportunities, provided they have the necessary skills and equipment, whereas those same options would be impossible for others.
Overall, we’ve tried to provide a reasonable cross-section of some of the most popular and legitimate, limited or no-risk ways to either reduce your expenses, generate extra income, or both in this guide.
Hopefully, with this approach, there are several examples that can apply to you, as an individual, regardless of your particular needs and skills. But ultimately, you’ll have to be the best judge of what makes the most sense for you in the context of your work-life balance, living and family situation, the amount and immediacy of your financial needs, and your overall skill sets and options.
Other Factors and Considerations of Coming Up With Extra Cash
In a few cases, there may be additional factors and considerations that can have an impact on the success or failure of your efforts. There are also restrictions that may exist depending on your personal financial, employment, or related situations.
We want to explore these briefly, just as a heads-up or food for thought, before diving into our top 10 list. Some or all of these considerations may not apply to you, whereas others may be affected by multiple items on this list.
We urge you to always carefully consider all the relevant factors and potential risks of any financial decisions, to ensure the best possible outcomes for you and your family.
For various options that may allow you to improve your financial situation, your eligibility, access to certain funds thresholds, and so on may be dependent on your credit report and credit score history.
The better your credit score, the more likely you are to qualify for various loans and other financial instruments. Lower credit scores may limit your options.
Some of the options presented on our list are agnostic to credit scores, or at least do not use credit scores as the basis for eligibility or qualification decisions.
You should always work to maintain the highest credit score possible, by not getting behind on payments and bills, or borrowing more than you can afford to repay.
Business Contracts / Agreements / Non-Competes
Some people who work for various industries and companies may have contracts or clauses in their employment agreements that prevent them from doing certain outside work, especially if it relates in any way to what they do professionally.
Non-compete contracts and restrictions on freelancing may have an impact on your ability to find meaningful ways to make money on the side with a full-time job, at least without risking your current full-time or part-time employment.
It’s best to be aware of any restrictions that may exist before you undertake any kind of side job or income-increasing efforts.
Top 10 Ways to Come Up with Extra Cash
Now that we’ve covered all the basics – strategies, individual needs, and various additional considerations – it’s time to dive in to our top 10 list.
Below, we highlight 10 of the top ways to come up with extra cash. Several methods offer ways to reduce your expenses or better manage your cash flow, while others are focused on side jobs or work-from-home opportunities to improve your income.
Keep in mind all of the foregoing information when considering which of these opportunities or methods might be the best choice for you to generate extra funds and improve your personal financial situation.
As always, do your research and planning before making changes to your expenses, income situation, or finances.
#1 – Trim Recurring Monthly Charges
Under the heading of reducing monthly expenses, one of the easiest ways is to trim or reduce recurring monthly charges that you may no longer need. Many Canadians accumulate monthly subscriptions to various online services, such as Netflix, Hulu, online games, and more.
We also tend to add or grow our traditional bills over time, such as adding additional phones to our wireless plans, increasing our cable package offerings or internet speed, and so on.
By reducing some of these expenses, not eliminating them but trimming out what you no longer need across the board, you can easily accumulate $100 / month or more in savings.
Over the long term, this adds up to big bucks that you can sock aside for a rainy day or use to pay off unexpected bills.
#2 – Cut Coupons
One of the easiest ways for Canadians to reduce expenses on food and other household basics is to cut coupons out of the paper or weekly circulars, and plan your buying based on the deals and coupons that are available.
Shows like Extreme Couponing have shown how much savings is possible with some effort. You don’t need to take it to a level of spending your whole life cutting coupons and strategizing your purchases.
It only takes about an hour a week to check for relevant coupons and making smart buying decisions based on what’s on sale can easily save you 10-20% of your weekly food and home expenses costs.
Depending on how large your family is, and what you normally spend in these areas, this can translate into $150-$200 per month in savings – well worth an hour or so of your time each week.
#3 – Sell Excess Possessions
Have old Beanie Babies sitting in the closet? Old books, even textbooks? Collectibles? Don’t throw them out – sell them online for real cash.
Whether you use Amazon, eBay, or one of the other myriad marketplaces that are available, many Canadians have some things in their home that they don’t really want or need, that can be sold for real, meaningful cash online.
While we can’t all have hidden gems in the attic or garage, even everyday items can turn a pretty penny. And if online selling isn’t your thing, look for flea markets, swap meets, or host a garage sale with your neighbors. This helps reduce clutter in your home and put cash in your pocket.
If you don’t have anything to sell but would like to learn how anyone can make an extra $100 - $1000 on the weekend, watch the following YouTube videos and learn how Gary Vaynerchuk, the CEO of a $150 Million dollar a year advertising agency teaches how you can turn garage sale items into cash:
YouTube Videos of Gary Vaynerchuk in action:
- The CEO of a $150 Million Dollar Revenue Business Goes Garage Sailing | Gary Vaynerchuk Trash Talk #1
- Turning $75 in Pins and Hot Wheels Cars into $1,000 Plus | Gary Vaynerchuk Trash Talk #2
- How to Turn a Bucket of $20 Thomas the Trains Into $175 | Gary Vaynerchuk Trash Talk #3
#4 – Join the Gig Economy with Uber or Lyft
Many people, even those who have full-time jobs, are earning extra money with “side hustles” like driving for Uber or Lyft, being a delivery person for Uber Eats, or other similar options. These companies typically allow you to make your own hours, and work as little or as much as you’d like.
Of course, you do need your own car in most of these situations, and there may be basic training courses you need to take, in addition to having a working smart phone, insurance, and so on.
If you already have all those things and can pull in some extra cash working a couple of hours on weekends or at night, then this can be a great way to improve your finances with minimal effort.
#5 – Freelance
Traditional freelancing jobs are also a great way to earn some extra cash when you need it, or just in general, so you can save for when times are tough.
Online marketplaces for freelancers are numerous, meaning no matter what your skills or expertise may be, there are surely tasks that you can find online that pay decently.
Sites like Freelancer, Fiverr, Upwork, and more offer various types of job listings, with various fees that go to the sites (usually paid by the employer, not the employee). Whether you like writing, data management, graphic design, coding, web design, or really almost anything, there are usually thousands of freelance jobs and projects available at any given time, all of which can be done from the comfort and convenience of your home.
#6 – Take Surveys
If you’re not quite ready for freelancing, you can still earn some extra cash by signing up for online survey panels, or traditional market research panels near you. Whether they are physical market research companies, or online opportunities, many companies such as Survey Junkie offer multiple regular surveys available every day, with varying levels of rewards.
Some of these companies pay in cash, while others offer merchant gift cards. Depending on what you qualify for, and how active you are, you can generate $50 or more per month with less than a half hour a day of work.
#7 – Part-Time Jobs
A full-fledged part-time job may be warranted if you really need to increase your income (and have already exhausted efforts to get a raise or more work hours at work). Simple, relatively low-overhead part-time jobs are often readily available on major job sites such as Monster, Indeed, and even Craigslist.
Just be sure if you are signing up for a part-time job through an online service like Craigslist that you fully vet the company before you provide any personal information – you don’t want to get entangled in a scam.
Even traditional part-time jobs, such as retail or fast food, may be a good solution – a few hours a night, or one weekend day – and can make a big difference in your bottom line.
#8 – Drop Services You Don’t Need
While everyone can benefit from trimming their monthly expenses, as we suggested in Tip #1 to this guide, some people can benefit greatly from dropping services entirely.
For example, more and more Canadians are foregoing any kind of landline phone service, even as part of a cable company bundle, as they rely on their wireless carriers and smart phones for voice calls.
Others are ditching cable or satellite TV, and instead turning to alternatives like YouTube Live, Plex, Netflix, Hulu, or a combination of services. Some people have found that it’s far more cost-effective to buy a lawn mower and mow their lawns themselves than to pay a landscaping service to visit every week.
While we don’t suggest making any moves that you feel deprive yourself or your family of basic necessities, there are often far more cost-effective solutions out there if you just spend some time researching and looking.
#9 – Draw on Your Talents and Hobbies
A great way to make money fast is to monetize one or more of your talents or hobbies. People who enjoy photography can easily parlay that into making extra money on the side by taking professional photos for weddings, parties, special events, and even corporate functions.
Developing an online presence, Instagram page, and listings on local for-hire sites like Craigslist or traditional advertising platforms is fairly easy. Likewise, if you’re musically inclined, you can turn that hobby or interest into a money-making opportunity. People are always looking for bands, DJs, instrumentalists, singers, and so on for weddings, parties, and events. And there’s always playing at a mall or on a street corner for tips.
Other talents and hobbies can be monetized as well – the possibilities really are endless in this day and age. Arts and crafts enthusiasts can make money selling things via Etsy and similar platforms. Those who are big on cooking can start a catering business, or just become a YouTube chef and enjoy ad revenues from videos.
Do something you find fun and already do as a hobby and make money from it!
#10 – Earn Rewards, Cash in Points, Use Gift Cards
When we’re in need of fast cash, one treasure trove that often can help is existing rewards, bonus, points, and similar programs, offered through credit or debit cards, bank accounts, and similar.
Converting accumulated reward points into cash, Visa or MasterCard gift cards, and so on usually takes just a few clicks, and costs nothing. You’ve earned rewards, and when you need cash in a pinch, redeeming those rewards may be just what you need to get back on track. Similarly, many banks, credit unions, and even retailers and merchants offer loyalty rewards programs, providing points that can be redeemed for merchant gift cards.
If these don’t help your financial situation, you can always exchange them for cash on one of the various online sites designed for that purpose. In essence, you sell the gift card to an online broker, and they give you cash in return – less than the face value of the card, of course, but still quite high in terms of value (often 80% or more of face value).
All of these sources of bits of extra income can add up to quite a substantial amount of money, especially if you rarely redeem them. A hoard of cash may be waiting for you to bail you out of trouble and get you back on the road to sound finances.
If All Else Fails…
If you are really in a bind and haven’t had much luck with the other options on the list, you may want to consider taking out a payday advance loan to get cash fast and pay your bills.
Payday advance loans provide funds that you repay, with interest, at your next pay period. This can help you manage cash flow, pay off higher-interest debt such as credit cards, and otherwise make ends meet when you have unexpected expenses or sub-optimal income.
While pairing down your overall expenses or supplementing your income with one or more of the options on this list is ideal, we realize that it’s not always practical for everyone, and that some people, no matter how hard they try, may need some financial help from time to time.
Newer payday lenders operate entirely online and have much more generous requirements in terms of what qualifies as income – they often accept social assistance programs, pension checks, and other government benefits as part of the monthly income requirement to qualify for a loan.
They also offer convenience and lower interest rates when compared to traditional payday lenders.
One such online lender is iCASH, a Canadians licensed lender who provides short term loan services and has no minimum credit score threshold for application.
Users can get emergency loans by completing a quick loan application online, get approved and have the funds in as little as an hour.
When you need cash fast, with a minimum hassle iCASH is your best choice.