How To Make Money in One Hour (Without Breaking the Law)

Usa dollars in hands


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Usa dollars in hands

Fast Cash

With more than half of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, most people could use a little extra cash. So whether your landlord is breathing down your neck or you’re interested in a temporary side hustle, we racked our brains, scoured the internet, and came up with 11 (legal) ways to make money in one hour. Rather than focusing on long-term strategies to make a passive income or work from home, we honed in on easy methods to make extra money fast.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to three fiduciary financial advisors in your area in five minutes.

Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you're ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Gold and Silver Pawn Shop
Young man fixing a leak under the bathroom sink
Shot of an unrecognizable businessman working on his laptop in the office
Delmaine Donson/istockphoto

Participate in Focus Groups, Experiments, and Surveys

Whether in marketing or the sciences, researchers need guinea pigs for their experiments. Survey sites like Survey Junkie pay a pittance (a dollar or two an hour) but are easy to sign up for online. For clinical and market research, Craigslist’s volunteer and gigs section might yield a few leads, though users should exercise caution.

Related: The Best At-Home Side Hustles, According to Frugal Redditors

Doctor in a blood bank holding  bag  with white cells

Donate Plasma

Although it ranks as one of the most unpleasant ways to make quick money in one day, donating plasma can get you $20 to $75 in cash. Redditors who’ve donated report that it can be an unpleasant experience — you’ll lose blood and develop a large bruise — but it has the added bonus of saving lives.

For more money-making ideas, please sign up for our free newsletters.

Focus on the card with a 15% discount. Lots of discount discount cards.
Irina Tiumentseva/istockphoto

Sell Your Gift Cards

Be honest: Will you ever use that $15 Cold Stone gift card that’s been stuck in your wallet for three years? If the answer is no, then you might as well sell your balance for cash on a site like CardCash or Raise. While you won’t earn 100% of the gift card’s value, some sites pay upwards of 90%.

Two business coworkers, partners negotiating on project, deal

Ask for a Salary Advance

While it could put strain on your relationship with your boss, you can ask for a salary advance if you’re in dire financial need. If your employer agrees, you will receive a portion or the entirety of your paycheck before your usual payday. Indeed recommends that you write a detailed, tactful request letter.

Mother and daughter meet for lunch
SDI Productions/istockphoto
DoorDash Delivery Worker

Do Gig Work

Uber, Grubhub, TaskRabbit — pick your poison. Gig work requires few (if any) credentials, and it’s an easy solution for quick cash. That said, it often takes more than a day for companies to screen your profile, so you won’t necessarily be able to make money in an hour.

Delivering Groceries To Senior Man

Help a Neighbor

Offer to look after a neighbor’s kids, pet sit, go grocery shopping, or mow their lawn. Unlike some shady craigslist gig, neighbors are (generally) more trustworthy, especially if you’re already friends.

African woman using a cellphone in an office alone
Delmaine Donson/istockphoto

Download Rewards Apps

If you want to make money in a day but can’t leave the house, consider earning money via a rewards app. Many — like Rakuten and Drop — reward you for shopping at partners’ sites. It should go without saying, but avoid this method if you’re truly strapped for cash.