Timothy is a writer and video content creator. He enjoys helping others learn to improve their lives and shape better futures.
Being unemployed sucks! Your bills keep piling up. You have the same expenses as always, but now there is no money coming in to cover them. You spend your days alternating between looking for a job, laying on the couch depressed, and desperately trying to find a way to bring in some extra income.
The good news is that there are ways out there to bring in some quick cash while you are looking for a job. And yes, they are all legal. They take a little time, energy, and sacrifice, but using these methods to earn a few extra dollars could be the difference between staying afloat until your next steady paycheck, or losing it all.
Listed below are 10 quick ways to make money while you are unemployed.
1. Sell Unwanted and Unused Items From Around Your House
We all have tons of junk just sitting around our houses that is doing nothing for us but giving us more to dust. But just because it's useless to you doesn't mean someone else might not be willing to pay good money for it.
One of the easiest ways to make some quick money while you are unemployed is to sell things you own but are no longer using. You can use such online outlets as eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, Decluttr, or any of the other myriad selling platforms now available.
You can also go the old-fashioned route and have a garage or yard sale, take your unwanted items to a thrift or consignment shop, or see what you can get for them at your local pawn shop. (Yes, surprisingly, pawn shops are still a thing).
It doesn't matter where or how you sell all the stuff that's been taking up space around your home. You just need to get it sold so that you can use the money to pay some bills and put food in the fridge.
2. Pick Up Side Work or Odd Jobs on Craigslist
When you are between jobs, sometimes you have to swallow your pride and do what needs to be done to make ends meet. One not-so-glamorous method of making quick money is to pick up side work using websites like Craigslist.com.
Craigslist is one of the largest classified websites in the world, with millions of posts being listed every day. Many of these posts are from people needing assistance with odd jobs around their house or at their business.
You might be able to earn a few extra dollars raking a yard, pruning trees, helping someone move, painting an office, pressure washing a driveway, pet sitting a snake, etc. You never really know what you are going to find on Craigslist!
Be sure to negotiate a reasonable price for the work you are being asked to do. And don't hesitate to turn down any gigs that seem unsafe, shady, or illegal. Yeah, you need money, but not at the cost of your health or your freedom.
3. Work Day Labor for a Few Days
You can't beat "work today, get paid today." And while day labor might have a serious stigma attached to it, you can't be picky about where your money comes from when you have bills to pay.
Snagging a day labor job involves going down to your local day labor staffing office and filling out your paperwork. Don't worry, there is no interview, pretty much anyone can work day labor. Once you have filled out the paperwork and are in the system, the next step is to show up every morning when you feel like working and wait around to see if you get sent out on a job.
This is the part of the whole day labor process that most people have an issue with. Normally day labor offices open up at around 5 a.m. so that's when you need to show up to get the good jobs. But you can end up sitting at the office, not getting paid, for hours until a job becomes available for you. Or you could sit there all day and not get an assignment.
Day labor jobs aren't guaranteed work, but when you do get work it's usually just for that day and you get paid when you return to the office. Day labor gigs are great if you need quick money today or in the next couple of days. But don't expect to get a lot of money. Most day labor places pay around $8.50-$10 an hour.
4. Work For A Temp Agency
Temporary agencies have gotten a bad name in recent years, but they are still one of the best ways to make some quick money while you are looking for a steady paycheck.
Temporary agencies are in the business of supplying companies that need workers with people that need work. So it's almost a no-brainer to turn to them when you are looking for a job. A temp gig can range anywhere from one day to several months. And many of the longer contracts have the potential to turn into full-time jobs with the employer if they like your work.
So not only can a temp job help you to make some quick money between jobs, but it might also end up solving your employment issues for good.
Do a Google search for all the temp agencies in your area and then take a day and go apply to all of them. Some of them might interview you right on the spot, others will schedule your interview for sometime in the near future. Interviews with temporary agencies are usually pretty painless; they really just want to get a feel for your work ethic and what types of jobs you are interested in.
Once you are signed on with a temp agency, make sure to keep in contact with them on a regular basis. You want them to know that you are serious about getting sent out to work. When the agency does send you out to jobs make sure you turn all your paperwork is filled out correctly and on time. This will ensure that you get paid exactly what you are owed and as quickly as possible.
The amount of money you can expect to make varies depending on the job you are given, but you can expect to average anywhere from $10-$15 an hour.
5. Mow Lawns, Wash Cars, Babysit, or Odd Jobs
We've all had to do work for ourselves around our own homes, and now that you need some quick cash, you can use that experience to work for others around theirs. You are bound to know someone in your neighborhood, at your church, or on your Facebook friends list who needs some odd jobs done and will be willing to pay you to do them.
Unlike tip #2 where we talked about using classified sites like Craigslist to find jobs, this tip will require that you do all the heavy lifting yourself. You are going to have to go out and let people know that you are for hire and ready to work.
The popularity of social media has actually made doing this much easier than it was in the past. Now instead of having to put out flyers and actually talk to people, you can send out a simple Facebook post or tweet to let friends and family know that you need to make a few extra bucks.
Once again, you may have to swallow your pride, since no one wants their whole friend list to know they are struggling financially. But you might be surprised at how many people you know who would be willing to help out. Or who have odd jobs they are willing to pay someone to do but didn't know who to call.
Who knows, if you find enough work, and do a good enough job, some of the work might turn into repeat business. You might even be able to start an odd job side business that you can continue to use to bring in additional revenue even after you find another job.
6. Pick Up a Mobile Gig
These days there is no end to the list of mobile or app-based jobs that you do to make some extra money. Some of the more popular ones are Uber, Lyft, Postmates, TaskRabbit, Instacart, DoorDash, and AmazonFlex. But there are literally thousands of other gig apps that you can get started making money with— and all you need is a smartphone!
Be sure to take time and do your research on all the mobile gig opportunities that are available in your area. Just because Uber is very popular doesn't mean it is necessarily the right job for you. You might find that you like delivering groceries or doing small tasks for people more than being a taxi service. Find the gig that works best for you and your schedule and then go for it!
The good news is that since you don't have a job at the moment, you will be able to dedicate pretty much your whole day to learning and earning. There are people who earn more with their gig app jobs than they did in their former 9 to 5 careers. You might find that you prefer this type of work and it might even turn into your full-time employment.
7. Start Thrifting and Reselling
If there are some thrift stores in your area, then a great way to make some quick cash while you are looking for a job is to buy unique, underpriced items and sell them for a profit online. You can use the same websites and apps that you used to sell your unwanted possessions (see tip #1). These include eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Etsy, Craigslist, Poshmark, and many more.
You don't even have to know that much about the items you want to buy and resell. You can use the same apps that you are going to sell on as a research guide to find out what items are selling and for how much.
For example, eBay has a feature that allows you to search for any item on the website and see what it sold for recently. This will help you decide whether you want to buy it from the thrift store and resell it.
You don't just have to buy an item to resell from thrift stores and consignment shops either. You can also pick up inventory from yard sales, estate sales, and even from the clearance aisle of your favorite retailers.
You might get so good at reselling, and be making so much money, that you decide to keep doing it as a side hustle once you find a full-time job. Or you can join the ranks of countless other entrepreneurs who do retail arbitrage and reselling full time as their only source of income.
8. Make Videos and Write Articles Online
There is a myriad of ways to make money online these days, but by far the easiest methods to get started are by making videos or writing articles. You can literally sign up for a YouTube channel and be making and uploading videos within minutes.
These days smartphone cameras are so sophisticated that you don't even need to purchase any additional equipment to get started. You can use your phone until your channel gets bigger and you feel the need to buy a better one.
Writing articles online is a method of making money that is overlooked by lots of people, but it is still a great way to earn extra income. And it requires almost no additional overhead. Chances are you already have a desktop computer or laptop. That and an internet connection are all you need to get started writing online.
Making money off the articles you write and videos you create will take a little longer than some of the other tips in this article. The good news, however, is that once you have created your content and uploaded it to the world wide web, it is there forever and can keep making you money for years to come.
This means that you can still be profiting off the work you put in while you were unemployed long after you have landed another 9 to 5 day job.
The article you are reading now was written for an online article writing platform called HubPages. HubPages makes it easy to get your content online and monetized. It's also one of the only article websites that has stood the test of time online. Be sure to check out HubPages if you are interested in making money writing articles in your spare time.
9. Swagbucks and Other Online Survey/Game Sites
Do you know those online survey websites that people are always trying to get you to sign up for? Well, some of them are actually real. And they pay actual money! If you are really bored you can earn a few pennies each day taking surveys, playing games, watching videos, and performing other small tasks online.
You won't get rich with any of these programs, but they do provide a break from the boredom of not having a job. And since you probably spend a good portion of your day playing games and watching videos anyway, why not make a few dollars doing it?
One of the undisputed leaders in this field is a website called Swagbucks. It has been faithfully paying its users for years now. If you want to give one of these websites a go, then Swagbucks is probably your best bet.
10. There's Always Work-From-Home Jobs
If you are willing to sift through all the scams and fake job listings, you can make some OK money doing work-from-home jobs. The trick is to find a reputable source who can point you in the right direction to the real work at home jobs. Most of these jobs will be some form of data entry or call center work, but you can make some decent money.
In most cases, you will need a landline phone, a computer, and a solid internet connection. But most people already have these anyway, so there should be very little expense to get started.
It may take a few days of research to find a work-at-home job that works for you, but being unemployed you have the time. And it's totally worth it to find a job that you can do in the comfort of your own home. Not to mention some of these jobs pay weekly or even daily through services like PayPal, so you can get your earnings quickly.
Stay Focused and Stay Positive
Being unemployed can really get you down. But you don't have to let it keep you down. And you definitely don't have to let it keep you broke. Even while you are looking for a steady job, you can be earning income to help pay the bills if you follow the tips mentioned in this article!
Timothy Ward (author) from Bozeman, Montana on October 22, 2019:
@Larry Slawson Thanks! Good to know you aren't still unemployed!
Larry Slawson from North Carolina on October 21, 2019:
Great tips. I have definitely done a few of these while unemployed in the past. Thank you for sharing!
Liz Westwood from UK on October 21, 2019:
This is a very useful article with some great tips. Agency work is an option, but in the UK we need to beware of how much of a cut they take out of wages if you get a permanent job through them.