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20 Ways to Help You Out When You Desperately Need Money

20 Ways to Help You Out When You Desperately Need Money

We’ve all been there. You’re between pay checks, running low on cash and then disaster strikes and you need money–now. Or you get paid on Friday and find yourself broke on Monday. You have too much integrity or are too scared to rob a bank…but the thought has crossed your mind.

Don’t fret! I am here to help.

20 safe and legitimate ways to get money fast

Below is a list 20 perfectly legal and legitimate ways to get your hands on some cash in a pinch. Some of the ways are more suitable for some than others but the list will provide you with options and more importantly get you to generate your own creative ideas on how to increase your cash flow.

Keep in mind that these are short term solutions. The real solution to your money problems is proper money management and planning (a.k.a. budgeting). Learning to live below your means, delaying gratification, eliminating debt and reducing your dependency on credit are the keys to financial freedom.

If you need money today…

1. Pawn or sell something

If you’re REALLY in a pinch, you may need to pawn or sell that prized possession you’ve got stashed away. Your desperate situation may call for you to have to part with that old comic book collection, your grandmother’s antique pearls or china or that coin collection you’ve had since childhood. I do advise that you think long and hard before making this decision. Once it’s gone–it will be incredibly difficult to get it back and your desperation will ensure that you probably won’t get what the item is actually worth.

Another option is to dig through your closets, and basement for stuff that may still have some value such as an old DVD or video game collection, your 10-year-old’s baby clothes, a toddler bicycle, that espresso machine ( or juicer) that you only used once.

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There are tons of apps[1] that let you snap a picture of your stuff and post it online immediately.

2. Sell an old cell phone

Almost everyone has an old smartphone lying around that still works. You decided to upgrade from that perfectly functional phone because it was the chic thing to do. Now the old phone is just laying around collecting dust. Sell it! If you need money today check out the website ecoATM. This site allows you to safely sell and recycle your old phone. They also pay cash for old tablets, iPods and MP3 players.

3. Sell your clothes at a local consignment shop

If you have quality designer clothes or furniture you no longer want or need go ahead and sell it outright to a consignment or thrift shop. A lot of consignment shops will buy your items outright eliminating the consignment fee and the wait for your items to sell. You won’t get top dollar this way but you will walk away with some cash in hand.

4. Borrow from a friend or family member

This is the one method most of us want to avoid. However, you can receive the money the same day using apps such as PayPal. Keep in mind that borrowing from a loved one takes humility and sincerity. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT borrow from friends or family if you have no intentions of repaying the loan or if you know you cannot meet the terms of repayment[2]. This is the quickest way to ruin a relationship. Proceed with caution.

5. Sell your plasma

You can get paid for your plasma. Most donation centers will pay you anywhere from $25-$50 for it. The best part about selling plasma is that most places will allow you to sell it up two times per week.

**Quick note: There is a difference between selling your plasma and donating blood. You do not get paid for blood donations so make sure you distinguish between the two and are clear with your request.

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6. Get A Cash Advance

This is a bad idea! I do not recommend this unless there is a life and death situation and you have a plan for quick repayment. Some credit cards offer the opportunity to take out cash against your credit limit. Please understand that the terms of repayment are going to be MUCH different than the terms for regular credit card purchases. Between the fees for accessing the money and the jacked up interest rate, it is not unusual for you to end up spending $1,000 for an $800 cash advance. It’s simply not worth it.

If you need money in 7 to 10 days…

7. Sell your clothes online

Selling your clothes is one of the easiest and quickest ways to make money fast. The clothing resell industry has become very trendy and is reportedly a $16 billion dollar industry[3]. There are hundreds of online apps, websites and avenues to get your clothes sold. Some apps and websites even pay the shipping costs for you.

8. Sell your junk online

Websites such as Craig’s List, Amazon, Ebay, and the list goes on, are great and cheap ways for you to sell your junk. You can resell ANYTHING these days. If you bought it, chances are there is someone out there who will pay you for it. These sites take time as you have to ship items, items have to be verified and then you are paid. Payment on these websites usually take seven to ten business days.

9. Sell your unused gift cards

Sites such as Cardpool, Raise and Cardcash will al low you to resell your unused gift cards for slightly less than face value. You can get you money in as little as two days and even quicker for e gift cards. It’s a quick, easy and painless process.

10. Become an Uber/Lyft Driver

If you have some extra time on your hands–just a few hours a week would do it–and live in or near a populous area, driving for Uber/Lyft is a very lucrative way to make money fast. It is also a great long-term side hustle. Uber drivers can make as much as some full-time jobs if they work in the right area. You could earn $100 mark in as little as five hours per week.

11. Sell your sports/concert tickets

Got season tickets or concert tickets? Sell them. In some cases you may not get face value for the tickets but you can recoup a good portion of your money. For really popular events–such as play off games or marquee performances–you can make well above the ticket face value. If you’re that desperate for money, missing a concert or the big game isn’t that big a deal.

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12. Do odd jobs

Babysitting, pet sitting, house sitting, cutting grass, house cleaning, walking dogs and other odd jobs around the neighborhood are great ways to get some quick cash in your pocket.

13. Inbox Dollars and Swagbucks

Inbox Dollars and Swagbucks are websites that pays you cash (very small amounts of cash) to perform various tasks such as watching videos, commenting on ads, taking surveys, shopping and the list goes on and on. You will not get rich using these website, but you can earn a couple extra bucks by spending a few minutes (or hours) online. The websites requires you to bank $30 before you are paid.

If you need money in 30 days…

14. Negotiate with your creditors

If you need money to pay bills or debts, call your creditors and try to negotiate. Explain your situation and request an extension or make arrangements to pay a portion of what you owe. Most creditors will work with you. Their primary goal is to get their money. They are willing to wait a few days or take a portion of the payment in lieu of you not paying them at all.

15. Get a part time job

Look, I get it. You are already overworked, under paid and stretched thin as it is. But a part-time job isn’t forever. It’s only temporary. If you can work long enough to avert the crisis and then establish an emergency fund, you won’t find yourself in this predicament again. You may have to deliver pizzas in the evenings or work retail on weekends but anything worth having requires work. We live in the age of the side-hustle and in the era of multiple streams of income. This is one bandwagon worth joining. The more you do now, the less you have to do later.

16. Become a Secret Shopper

Secret shopping is the perfect side hustle for those who love to shop, stay-at-home moms and anyone who loves good customer service. Mystery or secret shoppers are independent contractors posing as “shoppers”. You are paid to visit your local stores and shops as a regular customer and report back on various aspects of your experience. A word of caution! This industry is full of scams. Be sure to check out the company reviews online or stick with companies that are tried and true[4].

17. Garage/Yard Sale

There is nothing like a good ‘ole fashion yard sale to generate additional pocket money. I’m talking about the kind where you search every nook and cranny of your house and completely de-clutter and purge all of the items that are not absolutely necessary for you to live.

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When planning the sale, make sure you advertise in your local area and also blast it on social media. A great thing about these sales is that anything that does not sell at the physical location of the event can be sold online. A great place to sell leftover items is on the Facebook Yard sale page.

18. Conventional Loan

This is an option–just not a good one. By taking out a loan, you are compounding your money problems in lieu of fixing them. However, if you feel you must take out a loan, experts suggest visiting your local credit union. Many local credit unions are getting into the short-term loan game and offer rates far superior to pay-day and other short-term loans. You do have to be a member of your credit union in good standing. Credit unions offering short-term loans work with those with poor credit and offer better rates, terms and conditions than other short-term lenders.

19. Become a Virtual Assistant or Bookkeeper

Virtual assistants provide a wide range of services to individuals, organizations or companies, but they do it virtually in lieu going into an office. It’s an excellent work from home opportunity and one of the most cost-effective ways of making money online. Rates for providing virtual services online could range from $10 an hour for simple data entry tasks to hundreds of dollars an hour if you have a highly specialized skill or expertise. You can work for a company online such as Upwork, Elance or Problogger or you can work as an independent contractor.

20. Rent out a room or become an Airbnb host

Got extra space? Rent it out. Getting a roommate is a great way to cut cost and save money fast. As with anything, make sure you do your research and due diligence when it comes choosing a roommate. If you live in or near a high tourist area, working with a service such as Airbnb is a great way to get a steady stream of qualified guests. They vet your potential guests for you and provide you with referrals.

Everyone needs some cash from time to time. The ways listed above are fairly quick and easily accessible ways to get a hold of some extra cash. The best way to avoid these money crisis is by living modestly and well below your means, saving for emergencies and following a budget.

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Denise Hill

Denise shares about psychology and communication tips on Lifehack.

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1 We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why? 2 13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away 3 How to Reprogram Your Brain Like a Computer And Hack Your Habits 4 14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress 5 11 Things You Can Do to Increase Employee Productivity

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

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