Make $20 Instantly: 17 Practical Ideas for When You Need Money Right Now
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Need some extra cash but don’t know where to look? Thankfully, there are many ways you can make an extra $20 in little to no time. Whether it’s earning some extra cash to save more money or whether you need $20 to pay for a weekend event with your friends, we’ve got options for you.
While these options may not be the best if you’re looking for sustained income (see these side hustle ideas instead), they can be great when you need some quick cash. Below is a list of ways to make $20 instantly and without any experience or prior knowledge.
How to Make $20 Instantly
Here are a number of different ways you can make quick cash. Choose the free money-making ideas that work best for you, or even better, combine a few different ideas to earn money.
1. Swagbucks ($10 signup bonus)
Swagbucks allows anyone to earn extra money online for completing simple tasks that you already spend hours doing on your phone! Ways to make money on Swagbucks include:
- Watching videos
- Completing online surveys
- Playing games
- Shopping at partnered Swagbucks retailers for cashback offers
- Purchasing gift cards at your favorite stores and getting cashback
- Using exclusive coupon codes on Swagbucks to claim free discounts
- And other related online activities
When completing tasks, you get paid “Swagbucks”, or SB, which can then be redeemed for your choice of cash or gift cards.
So, how do you earn money instantly with Swagbucks? Aside from completing the above tasks which in many cases take only a few minutes a day to complete, you get a free $10 bonus just for setting up your account! That’s free money!
Swagbucks offers a convenient way to earn some extra income whenever you need it.
Sign up for a Swagbucks account and make money (and other rewards) with simple tasks like online surveys. Sign up today for a $5 bonus!
- Get paid for taking short surveys
- Earn money by watching videos
- Play games for cash and prizes
- Make money by installing apps
- Get paid in PayPal cash or gift cards
2. MyPoints ($10 signup bonus)
MyPoints is a cashback program that focuses mainly on shopping at your favorite retailers through your MyPoints dashboard. Once you set up a free account, you can log into MyPoints and browse the current deals going on and search among their many partner retailers to shop at.
When you click on a retailer such as Kohl’s, for example, you’re taken to the website and any purchases you make earn a percentage cashback in your MyPoints account, allowing you to save money! It’s literally free money!
MyPoints members can receive up to 40% off just by shopping through their MyPoints login. While MyPoints focuses on shopping online and partner retailer deals, they also give you the option to get paid extra money for taking short surveys and other small tasks, very similar to Swagbucks.
Once you build up enough points, you can redeem your rewards for gift cards or cash sent to you PayPal account. What’s more, if you set up your free account with MyPoints today through our partner link, you’ll receive $10 just for signing up!
Overall, the income potential with MyPoints is a little more limited than Swagbucks, but it’s still a great program to make money. We recommend signing up for both so you can maximize the number of offers that are available to you.
Earn cash back from purchases at thousands of online retailers and earn rewards for simple tasks like taking online surveys, watching videos, and printing coupons. Sign up for MyPoints now for a $10 bonus!
- Earn a $10 Amazon gift card with your first purchase
- Lots of ways to earn points for PayPal cash or gift cards
- MyPoints has awarded over $236 million since 1996
- Easy side hustle for your spare time
3. InboxDollars ($5 signup bonus)
InboxDollars is another top website that allows its users to make money online just for completing everyday activities.
How does it work? InboxDollars partners with brands that pay them to get input from consumers. InboxDollars then pays you to complete these activities online. You make money online by completing activities such as:
- Taking surveys
- Watching videos and TV
- Playing games
- Redeeming free coupons for food and grocery stores
- Shopping at InboxDollars partner retailers
Perhaps the biggest difference between InboxDollars and other cashback programs is that they will pay you in real cash rewards, not points that convert into cash. This gives you a better idea of exactly how much money you can make per activity you complete. There’s no mystery about how much money your points are worth.
To aid you in making that extra $20 instantly, you can redeem $5 for free just for signing up to InboxDollars.
Again, just like Swagbucks and MyPoints, you’ll find some unique offers at InboxDollars to earn money. By having an account at all three sites, more opportunities will be available to you.
Earn cash easily whenever you have a few minutes to spare. It's a simple side hustle that anyone can do. Plus, you'll get a $5 bonus when you sign up today.
- Get paid to take online surveys
- Watch videos and earn cash
- Make money by playing games
- Complete special offers for the highest payouts
- Get paid in cash
Need more than $20? You may be interested in these articles:
4. Rakuten Insight
Unlike the three sites we’ve already mentioned, Rakuten Insight doesn’t offer a signup bonus. However, it’s totally free to create your account, and once you’ve signed up, you can start making money with paid online surveys right away.
Rakuten Insight is one of the best options for anyone looking to make extra cash in their spare time. There are lots of surveys available, and the amount you earn will vary from one survey to the next. Start by completing the current offers with the highest payout if you’re wondering how to make $20 right now.
While there are a lot of different websites and apps for making money with surveys, each one is a little bit different than the others. Swagbucks, MyPoints, and InboxDollars all provide many different ways to earn money, but Rakuten Insight focuses exclusively on surveys.
This will limit your income potential from the site, but if you’re looking to make money from online surveys, you’ll definitely want to try Rakuten Insight. It’s one of the best survey sites available.
→ Sign up for Rakuten Insight here.
5. Survey Junkie
Survey Junkie is an online platform that lets businesses connect with their customers and their potential market by posting surveys. Survey Junkie will pay you money to take these surveys so businesses can discover better products, services, and processes for their company.
As you build up rewards after taking surveys, you can earn cash by redeeming money through PayPal, or select your favorite companies to receive gift cards from.
If you’re looking to make an extra $20 quickly, it only takes a few minutes of time per day to start building up rewards that can be redeemed for money when you need it.
Like Rakuten Insight, Survey Junkie focuses specifically on surveys, without providing other ways to make money. If you’re interested in making money with surveys, you’ll definitely want o sign up for Survey Junkie.
Survey Junkie is one of the best websites for making money by taking online surveys. Earn your choice of cash of gift cards in your spare time.
Public.com is a leading investment app that offers commission-free trades of stocks and funds. It’s extremely beginner-friendly because (in addition to commission-free trades) they have no account minimums and you can buy fractional shares. You don’t need hundreds or thousands of dollars to invest in your favorite company thanks to fractional shares.
Currently, Public.com is offering new users a free slice of stock worth up to $300 for signing up*. To qualify for the free bonus, you’ll need to create your account and fund it with any amount of money. You’ll get a free slice of stock worth at least $3, but it could be worth as much as $300.
Aside from the bonus, Public.com is also an excellent option because it features a clean, user-friendly interface, and it also offers a wide array of social features. The social features are great for connecting with friends or other investors. You can participate in discussions, follow other investors, and learn more about investing.
The clean user interface makes Public.com an excellent choice for beginners and experienced investors alike.
Public.com offers fractional shares so anyone can start investing. You'll love the social aspect that makes it possible to connect with other investors. Get a free stock slice worth up to $300 when you open an account through our link.
- Commission-free trades of stocks and ETFs
- Buy and sell 27 different cryptocurrencies
- Fractional shares
- Easy to use and beginner-friendly
- Connect with a supportive community of investors
- "Themes" help you to find investments that interest you
Webull is another commission-free trading app that offers a signup bonus you won’t want to miss. Their offer changes every now and then, but currently, they’re offering new users up to 12 free stocks that could be worth up to a total of $36,000!
You’ll get 2 free stocks worth up to $3,000 each just for creating your account. Get up to 10 more free stocks when you deposit any amount. It’s one of the best signup bonus offers you’ll find anywhere.
Webull is also an excellent app even without the signup bonus. Like Public.com, Webull charges no commissions on stock and ETF trades. They also have no account minimums and you can buy and sell fractional shares.
While some apps, like Public.com, take a simplified approach to the user interface, Webull takes a different approach. Webull offers more tools for advanced research and analysis than most free trading apps. That’s great for users who want to do detailed analysis, but it also makes the app slightly less intuitive and beginner-friendly.
Webull is a free investing app that provides advanced reporting tools and allows you to make free trades of stocks, ETFs, and options. Right now Webull is offering up to 12 free stocks when you signup through our link (use the button below) and deposit any amount.
- Commission-free trades of stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrency
- Buy fractional shares for any amount
- Extended trading hours
- Advanced reporting tools
- IRAs now available
- 24/7 customer service
Robinhood was a pioneer when it comes to commission-free trading and fractional shares. Thanks to Robinhood, it no longer takes a lot of money to open an account and doesn’t take a ton of time to begin investing. Many competitors have jumped onboard by offering free trades as a result of Robinhood setting the trend.
Robinhood is a modern investing app that lets anyone with $5 invest in the stock market. If you want to own just $5 of Amazon, you can buy a fractional share.
Not only will investing in the stock market help you build wealth and make more money on a passive basis, but when you set up a Robinhood account you will receive a free share of stock. You have a chance at winning a share of Facebook or other popular companies. All you have to do is follow our partner link here to set up your Robinhood account and claim your free share of stock.
Robinhood offers commission-free trades of stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrency. There are no account minimums and you can buy fractional shares for as little as $1. Right now you can get a free stock just for creating an account through the button below.
- Commission-free trades
- No account minimums
- Buy fractional shares for as little as $1
- User-friendly platform
- Invest in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum
9. M1 Finance ($10 signup bonus)
M1 Finance is another finance app that helps anyone begin investing in the stock market automatically. The app lets you set up a free account and put your investments on autopilot by building your own portfolio, or “pie” as they call it, and setting up recurring transfers (optional).
Furthermore, M1 Finance also provides you access to a basic checking account called M1 Spend. It has the potential to earn interest on unused cash and everyday purchases when subscribing to an M1 Spend Plus account.
We’ve partnered with M1 Finance to provide you with a free $10 bonus just for setting up your M1 Finance account. Follow this link to take advantage of our exclusive M1 Finance sign-up bonus. You can get halfway towards your goal of making $20 instantly just by creating an account and making an initial deposit.
M1 Finance makes it easy to manage your investments. Choose from a wide variety of professionally-created "pies" (portfolio allocations) or create your own. Contribute to your account and M1 Finance automatically invests based on your selections.
- Free alternative to robo advisors
- Automated investing
- Easily view and manage your portfolio
- Ideal for long-term investors
- Commission-free trades
10. Empower ($20 signup bonus)
Empower is free software that allows you to get a visual overview of your total financial scenario in one location. It allows you to see both numeric and graphical analyses of your money, your current returns, and growth rates, as well as to help analyze your budget and spending habits.
Other features include things like a retirement planner to help calculate your progress towards retirement savings, a net worth tracker to see a visual of how your wealth grows over time, and a customized investment checkup to ensure you’re properly invested.
If you wish to pay for premium services, you can use Empower’s wealth managers and get added investment and financial planning assistance (this is not required in order to use the free software).
So, how do you make an extra $20 with Empower? VitalDollar readers get a 20 dollar sign up bonus just for setting up your free Empower account and linking at least one financial account to the service (you must sign up through this referral link). You can link a bank account, credit card, brokerage account, or all of the above.
Once completed, you’ll get a digital gift certificate for $20 at Amazon! It takes just a few minutes, provides you with one of the easiest ways to get $20 instantly, and gives you access to really useful software. Now that’s free money!
Even if Empower didn’t give you a free $20 credit when you sign up, it would still be an awesome tool as a financial dashboard.
11. Rakuten ($30 signup bonus)
What was formerly known as Ebates, is now called Rakuten. Rakuten allows you to get up to 40% cashback at over 2,500 stores and websites. Stores will pay Rakuten to advertise their products to its members. When you log into your account, Rakuten customers get access to exclusive details and cashback options sent to your account once you make a purchase at a partnered retailer.
Some popular stores on Rakuten include eBay, Kohl’s Groupon, Target, Nike, and thousands more. A convenient feature of Rakuten is that they have a very user-friendly app that allows you to do everything right from any smart device.
When you build up your cashback on Rakuten, you will get a payout sent to your PayPal account (or receive a check by mail) once every quarter.
Another way to aid you in making $20 instantly is to sign up for a free Rakuten account here today, and you will get a free $30 bonus once you’ve made your first purchase.
Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is one of the most popular cashback apps and you can easily save money at thousands of stores and websites with a free account. You can even get a $10 bonus just for signing up and making your first purchase!
- Get up to 40% cashback at over 3,500 stores
- Easy cashback on many of the purchases you would be making anyway
- Get paid by PayPal or check
- Rakuten will automatically find coupon codes for you
- Super easy to use
Did you ever wonder if you could make money online by playing games? This is exactly what Mistplay allows you to do. Mistplay is an Android app that pays you to play your favorite mobile device games. Through their app you can:
- Discover new games that are tailored to your unique style and likes
- Earn units for each game you play
- Turn in your units for gift cards such as Visa cards, Amazon gift cards, and many more
The more games that you play, the more rewards you have the potential to earn. You can even chat with your friends through Mistplay to stay competitive and help each other out. As you play more games you earn badges for completion of new competitions which give you more units to earn more money!
If you’re looking to make $20 as fast as possible without having to really work, then Mistplay is an easy way to get paid for having fun, literally.
13. Sell Something You Don’t Need
Perhaps one of the best and easiest ways to make $20 instantly is by selling stuff you don’t need. Ideas of what you can sell range from unwanted books to old clothes and even children’s toys. We’ve all got things that we can get rid off, and there are plenty of people looking to buy used stuff.
How and where do you sell your stuff? Websites like Amazon and eBay are great starting points to list items to sell and make money. Other ways to sell unwanted stuff are through selling apps like Facebook, Offer Up, or other social media apps.
Almost everyone has something they could sell. Maybe you have stuff piled up in your basement or garage waiting for a yard sale. You could list it online today to get rid of it now and get paid.
To learn more about how to sell your unwanted items for some extra money, take a look at “30 Ways To Sell Your Stuff When You Need Money.”
14. Sell Unwanted Gift Cards
Have you ever received gift cards to stores that you don’t shop at that often, or maybe you just forgot about it? What if there was a way that you could sell your unwanted gift cards for money? Thankfully, this isn’t an unusual need, so companies like Raise.com allow you to sell your gift cards for extra income!
Raise.com is a marketplace much like Amazon, but specifically for people to buy and sell their unwanted or unused gift cards. All you have to do is set up a seller account with Raise.com and list your gift cards for sale. The great thing is you can even set the selling price! Once you make a sale, you will receive your money via direct deposit, PayPal, or check by mail.
Cardpool.com is a bit different in that you can enter your gift card and the respective balance to get an instant quote from Cardpool with the ability to earn up to 88% cashback on your unused gift cards.
If you have some unused gift cards just sitting around, this is an idea to make $20 instantly that you might want to consider.
15. Rent Out Storage Space
Do you have unused space in your garage, basement, attack, or even your driveway? You can monetize that space by renting it out to others who need extra space. Neighbor is an app that lets you rent out unused space to those in need. If you have a driveway with an extra parking stall, you can rent that space out to someone who needs a place to park their car for the winter (for example).
Perhaps a family in the neighborhood needs a place to put their boxes while they are moving. Thanks to Neighbor, you can rent out your extra storage space in your shed to help them out while making some extra cash on the side.
This is one of the best side hustle opportunities because you can start making money very quickly and because it generates passive income. There’s not much that you’ll be responsible for, other than making sure renters have access to the space.
Neighbor handles all of the details like marketing and promotion, as well as collection of payments.
Neighbor makes it easy to earn extra cash by renting out storage space in your basement, attic, garage, or even a shed. Make extra money each month without needing to spend time on a side hustle.
- Earn thousands of dollars per year
- Very little time or effort required
- Neighbor markets your space to people in your local area
- Set your own rates
- Neighbor handles all the payments for you
16. Refer a Friend
Chances are you’ve purchased a product or service because a friend or family member told you how awesome that product or service was in the first place.
Some brands will pay you cash rewards to refer your friends and family to use their product or service. To figure out whether a company gives you the option to make money for referrals, simply search the company website for “referral programs.”
Take a look at this article If you want to learn more about how to make money through referral programs.
Any easy way to cash in on these offers is to partner up with a friend who also wants some easy money. You refer the friend to certain offers and let your friend refer you to other others.
17. Donate Plasma
Plasma is always needed, especially nowadays when so much sickness and disease are widespread. You can make an easy $20 or more just by spending about an hour a week donating plasma at your local plasma donation center.
Some plasma donation centers even provide you a large bonus upfront for your first visit, allowing you to often times double the amount of money you would normally make for donating.
In order to be able to make money donating plasma, you need to make sure you meet the following guidelines (source):
- You need to be at least 18 years old
- You should weigh at least 110 pounds
- You must pass a medical examination
- You must complete a medical history screening
- You must test non-reactive for transmissible viruses
- Have an overall healthy diet
If you need some quick cash, donating plasma is an excellent option. It can also serve as an ongoing side hustle since you can donate up to twice per week. As a regular donor, it’s possible to make up to $300 – $400 of extra cash each month.
See this article about how to get paid to donate plasma.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the best options for making money quickly include taking advantage of signup bonus offers, selling things you don’t need, donating plasma, and finding missing money. Selling something on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist is generally the best way to get some fast cash, but the other options can also work.
Chances are, you’ve got some things you no longer use that you could sell. Selling your unwanted stuff is pretty easy with the help of Facebook Marketplace and Criagslist. List a few items with an attractive price and you may be able to get it sold and have cash in your hand within a few hours.
All of the options covered in this article can help you to make some easy money quickly. When you need to make $20 instantly, you can turn to one of these methods, or maybe a combination of a few methods.
Stocks & alternative investments, plus social community
Up to $300 in free stock
Advanced tools for active traders
Up to 15 free stocks
Invest in stocks, ETFs, options, and crypto
Up to 12 free stocks
Passively invest in real estate with as little as $10