Need a Quick Buck? It’s Easier Than You Think

We’ve all been in a jam for cash or dying for the iPad 2 or that new bag. If only we could magically be hand-delivered an extra a hundred—or five hundred dollars—overnight and be able to afford all the material things we crave and still have leftover money to eat as well. Unfortunately, being young in a time where there are no jobs means we have to get creative about making ends meet and paying off debt.

While saving and budgeting are always options, they only provide for a more long-term result. And sometimes there’s something you need to have right now.

We’re lucky we have online tools and services that make quick commerce and moneymaking a task that is only limited to your imagination.

For the sake of safety and convenience, I’ve compiled a list that puts aside selling body parts or gambling at the casino, to make some quick money using the Internet, some moxie and a little work.

Put it on Craigslist

If you haven’t yet used Craigslist, for finding apartments or buying miscellaneous goods, then get out of that hole you’ve been living in. The online classifieds site took the world by storm in 2006 and has broken down the impasses for people to sell their goods and find jobs that were normally in the paid-for classified sections of newspapers. And for the cash-strapped 20-something out there, Craigslist should be a godsend.

If you have a unique talent, advertise what you’re good at as freelance or as a side job.

Craigslist is a great place to work ads, since its free, and find quick employment, though the trade off is you’re opening yourself up to spammers and competing with hundreds of other applicants.

If you have unused, yet still valuable, items lying around your apartment, sell them on Craigslist. Etsy, eBay, and Bonanza,  are other sites with e-commerce channels that allow users to sell and trade their wares.  It’s a quick way to “trade in” what you don’t need and get fast cash for what you want.

Sell your free time

An easy, stay-at-home way to make fast cash is through online focus groups or surveys.  Sseveral companies, such as Find Focus Groups, GreenBook, or Amazon Mechanical Turks offer money for your time online and all you have to do is sit in front of your computer for a few hours – as if you don’t do that already.

If you’re feeling a little neighborly you can always try out Taskrabbit.  The social marketplace matches tasks with “runners” who then complete those tasks. Examples include collecting kids from school, walking a dog or painting a house. All you have to do is bid on those tasks with a price you think is fair.

So far, Taskrabbit exists only in Boston and San Francisco, but it’s gearing up to expand. “We’re really empowering people to sell their free time and their special skills and services,” saID Taskrabbit CEO and founder Leah Busque after the company raised $5 million for a nationwide expansion.

Going for broke

You can always return unused items to retailers – especially that $300 new laptop bag that begged you to purchase it. Most stores have a return policy, and if you’re still feeling unsure about a recent purchase, this is a good way to make that money back and give up feeling buyer’s remorse.

For what its worth, saving, budgeting and working hard should always be the go-to options. But, in these unforgiving economic times, sometimes you just need a little extra.

What do you think? Have you ever gotten cash quickly in a creative way? Tell us in the comments!

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