At some point in your life, you may be in need of a way to make cash quickly. Fortunately, there are more ways than ever to earn money quickly these days, many of which don’t require a college degree or a specific skill. We have a few guides that go over the best ways to start making money in a short amount of time already, and these posts are a good place to start your research:
At this point, you may be wondering how you can turn fast cash into a long-term source of income. After all, you are going to need money for the rest of your life — not just today or next week!
The reality is, you can absolutely turn money earned quickly into a steady paycheck you can count on, but you do have to be consistent and creative.
Broad Strategies to Turn Small Sums of Money into Significant Income
The money-making opportunities we suggest below and in the other guides are not rocket science by any means. They are mostly gigs you can pick up based on your personality and skill set, and some of them pay more than others.
To turn gigs into long-term income streams, however, you really only need to do the following:
- Pick 3-5 side hustles you can manage all at once. Some income streams are more reliable than others, yet you can create a steady source of income if you learn to juggle a few gigs at once. With several ongoing hustles, you will never have to worry about gaps in your work when you’re not in high demand.
- Treat your gigs like a real “job.” Also make sure you treat your gigs like a real job, meaning you schedule a set time to work on them every week. You may even want to settle on specific working hours, like 9 to 3 while the kids are in school. During your working hours, you should always be focusing on one of the money-making opportunities you’ve chosen to focus on.
- Plant seeds to help create passive income later on. Some gigs are only a one-off thing, yet you can also put in work now that can create passive income streams later on. A few of the money-making strategies we suggest below can lead to passive income if you work hard and never give up.
- Invest in yourself. Sometimes taking an online course can help you learn marketable skills you can immediately sell online. Don’t be afraid to learn something new and invest in yourself, and keep in mind that advanced skills make it easier to earn money over time.
- Invest for the long haul. Typically, investing smartly and with a long time horizon is one of the best ways to grow your wealth. Consider the best online brokerage firms if you want to put your money to work, and to earn more passive income in your sleep. You can also consider other long-term investment options like peer-to-peer lending or investing in real estate through a platform like Fundrise.com.
7 Specific Ideas for Turning One-time Cash into a Lasting Income Stream
Most of us know about the most popular side hustles that are out there today, but finding ways to turn smaller sums of hustle money into long-term income isn’t always easy. After all, side hustles tend to be short-term, and many of them are only one-time deals to begin with.
If you’re hoping to turn one-time cash into something that lasts, the following scenarios explain some of the best ways to do exactly that:
#1: Drive for Lyft, Collect a $1,000, and Invest It
If you sign up to drive for Lyft with a specific referral code, you can earn a signup bonus of $1,000 when you give at least 125 rides in your first 30 days. And remember, this bonus is offered on top of the income you’re earning for each ride to begin with.
Imagine for a moment you took this bonus and invested it through a real estate investing hub like Fundrise.com, which has offered historical returns between 8.7 percent and 12.4 percent since its inception. If you invested your $1,000, earned 8.7 percent for 20 years, and left the account alone, you would have $5,303.85 during that time.
Have a little extra money to invest each month? If you added another $50 to your account each month for the entire timeline, you would have $34,985.54 by the time 20 years had passed.
#2: Take a Survey, Open a Micro-Investing App, and Invest in Dividend Stocks
Maybe you would rather side hustle at home instead of driving people around. In this case, online surveys through websites like InboxDollars and Swagbucks could be a better fit.
You could sign up for InboxDollars to earn a $5 bonus and take a survey to earn $20 within a short amount of time. From there, you could open an account with a free investing app like Robinhood. If you invested the $25 in dividend stocks and earned a return of 8 percent when accounting for returns and dividends, you would have $36.73 after five years. But if you kept doing surveys each month and were able to invest an additional $25 per month during that timeline, you would wind up with $1,796.71 after five years.
#3: Earn a Checking Bonus and Open a High-Yield Savings Account
Tons of banks let you earn a bonus of a few hundred dollars when you open a new account. The best bank signup bonuses don’t require a lot of work, and keep in mind that you can pursue more than one at a time.
Let’s say you sign up for the Chase Premier Checking bonus, which is worth $300. From there, you could open a high-yield savings account that doesn’t charge any fees. CIT Bank and Discover Savings are good options in this category.
While interest rates are embarrassingly low right now, they won’t be that way forever. And regardless, your checking bonus can grow over time while providing you with some rainy day money that will be there when you need it.
#4: Use Trim to Reduce Your Bills, then Pay Down Your Student Loans
The Trim app claims to work as “an assistant that” saves you money. Once you download Trim, the app promises to analyze your spending to help you find ways to save more money. From there, the company will negotiate your cable bill, internet bill, phone bill, or even medical bills. Trim will also cancel old subscriptions you forgot about and don’t use, leading to more savings.
Imagine you downloaded Trim and were able to save $200 per month across all of your bills. In the meantime, you just starting paying $10,000 in student loans on a ten-year repayment plan with a 5% APR.
Your normal monthly payment on a ten-year repayment plan would be $106.07 if you stayed the course, and you would ultimately pay over $2,700 in interest before your loans were paid off. However, if you funneled an extra $200 in savings from Trim toward your student loans each month, you could pay off your student loans in 35 months (less than 3 years!) and you would only pay $772 in interest over that time.
#5: Use Your Stimulus Check to Buy a Bike, Start Delivering for Postmates
Maybe you haven’t spent your $1,200 stimulus check, or perhaps you have some of it set aside. Either way, you could use your stimulus money to buy a bike, after which you could start delivering food for Postmates.
According to estimates from Indeed.com, the average Postmates food delivery person earns $17.88 per hour, and remember, delivering on a bike won’t require you to pay for gas or upkeep on a car.
If you worked 20 hours per week at this rate, you would earn $357.60 per week or $18,595.20 working only part-time.
#6: Search for Old Money, Buy an Online Course with Your Savings, and Ask Your Boss for a Raise
Have you ever heard of people finding “unclaimed money?” There are state websites that can help you find money that is owed to you, and they seem to help all kinds of people find cash they didn’t even know about.
Using the resources on USA.gov/unclaimed-money, for example, you can search for:
- Unclaimed property in states where you have lived
- Checks for unclaimed funds from bank failures, or unclaimed deposits
- Unclaimed or undelivered tax refunds
- Unclaimed back wages or life insurance funds
- Plenty more
Imagine you found $500 in unclaimed bank accounts or an old tax refund you forgot about. What could you do with that money?
One idea is earning a certification for your job that can help you qualify for higher pay or better benefits. If you work in information technology (IT), for example, you could earn a certification in a specific software program that applies to your job.
Whatever career you’re working in, certificate programs found online can frequently cost as little as a few hundred dollars. Once you finished the training, you could set up a meeting and ask your boss for a raise. If you were successful, you could turn “found money” you didn’t even know about into a lifetime of higher earnings.
#7: Sell Your Stuff and Invest in the New You
Finally, don’t forget to look around at the stuff you already have but don’t really need. This could include fancy clothes you bought during a different period of your life, workout equipment that has been collecting dust for years, computer equipment you no longer need, or anything else you have that is worth your time to sell.
Take a few days to gather everything you have that you’re willing to part with right away. From there, look for ways to market and sell your items for free, whether that includes a website like OfferUp, a local Facebook page for your neighborhood or town, craigslist.org, or any other platform you like to use.
Sell as much stuff as you can as quickly as you can, and see how much money you can earn. Most people can easily scrounge up at least a few hundred bucks worth of unwanted items, but it’s possible you could have a lot more.
Once you have your earnings in hand, invest in yourself in a way that can pay dividends for years to come. Pay for a year of community college, buy a nice suit so you feel comfortable interviewing for a job you’ve always wanted, or buy a computer and start learning online skills that can lead to a virtual career or side hustle. The options are endless, but it all starts with you dropping things you don’t need from your life.
The Bottom Line
Turning fast cash into steady income isn’t overly difficult, but it does require some work. You need to figure out which gigs you want to focus on, as well as the hours and days you want to focus on your new “job.”
If you put in the time and you’re dedicated to making money, you shouldn’t have a problem creating a steady source of income you can count on.