What Would You Do If You Really Needed Money?

I asked myself and Kyle this question last week when I was thinking of contingency plans in case Kyle is unemployed for a while between graduation and starting a postdoc.  I’m not about earning the maximum possible amount of money all the time – if I was, I wouldn’t be pursuing a PhD! – so there are plenty of money-making activities that I could do but am not at the moment because I’m satisfied with our income from our stipends.


woman with money fanI’m thinking of a short-term needing-money situation while I’m still employed full-time.  The best option if you’re unemployed is to put most of your efforts into getting another full-time job (or ramping up a self-employment venture if that’s your thing).  I think that I would avoid actually getting a part-time job or entering into new contracting relationships because I would drop back to just my one job after a few months.


If I needed money quickly, I would pursue one or more of:

  • babysitting
  • scientific paper editing
  • clinical studies
  • pimping out this blog (that’s right, ads everywhere and sponsored/product promoting posts every week!)
  • publishing an ebook(s)
  • selling some things we no longer use (gift cards!)
  • credit card signup bonuses


Kyle only had one answer and it was a smart one – take on programming projects.  He has mad skills in that sort of thing that he hasn’t really use for commercial purposes yet but I think it would be fun for him.  I think he could also finish up the apps he has in the works and try to market those.


I think this is a useful exercise so that 1) if you’re struck with a need for money you have some go-to ideas or 2) you can ponder whether you want to add one or more of these activities to your current routine.  If I were thinking about more long-term income streams to add I would consider more contract writing jobs and tutoring.


What would you do if you needed money fast?  How is that different from what you would pursue for an indefinite period of time?  Have you ever needed to earn some extra to make ends meet?


photo from Free Digital Photos


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22 Responses to "What Would You Do If You Really Needed Money?"

  1. This is a very good question. It is hard to answer and not just say get another part-time job. In my case, I would build websites for people and offer up technical help. Maybe something I should look into anyway.
    Free Money Minute recently posted..The 51st Employee is Fired!

    1. Emily says:

      How fast do you think you could get clients for that sort of thing?

  2. CashRebel says:

    It sounds like you guys would definitely be able to scrounge together enough money to make it from side gigs for a few years. Having that technical experience (scientific editing or programming) is so key. I’m not sure what I’d do. I’ve tried energy auditing a few times, and I’m able to make some money, but nothing nearly as profitable as full time employment.
    CashRebel recently posted..Could You Make It On Minimum Wage In Chicago?

    1. Emily says:

      I wouldn’t go on like this for years!! I’m thinking 3 months maximum. It would be hard for me to keep up with all my current responsibilities if I had to add in some side hustles. It’s best to go for jobs for which you have a unique and valuable skill, like you mentioned, instead of trying to do something anyone could do. It’s good that you tried out energy auditing, even if you decided that it wasn’t a good use of time.

  3. Pauline says:

    I would look for day jobs on craigslist, help someone move or go around the neighborhood and offer to mow lawns. Looking for a temp job or work at McD would be second option but it would take a month to receive a first paycheck.
    Pauline recently posted..Friday recap, a new site and politeness

    1. Emily says:

      Good point about having to wait for a paycheck for a W-2-type job! Better to be a contractor than an employee for really fast money.

  4. eemusings says:

    Fast money huh? I guess I’d look at online opportunities – freelancing and pimping my blog as you put it 🙂
    eemusings recently posted..Random Asian travel observations to date

    1. Emily says:

      I have never freelanced so I don’t know how long that would take to get started. I know I receive frequent emails about advertising on the blog, though, so that seems easy to access!

  5. Good question. I never thought too much about what I would do if I needed money fast. Depending on the situation I could do a whole number of things. If I needed the money extremely fast, I would sell off some stuff around the house that I didn’t need. If I had a little more time I would focus on increasing customer traffic within our business.
    Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries recently posted..Appraisals and Balloon Loans

    1. Emily says:

      It’s an issue worthy of some thought. Same-week money would definitely be selling things but over a month or so I think some things could be done on the blog.

  6. Really short term? I’d probably sell something. Longer than that, or if I needed a higher return, I’d try and pick up tutoring gigs at the university or local ritzy private schools.
    Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..The Logistics of Bike Commuting And Staying Professional

    1. Emily says:

      What subject would you tutor? I’ve done chemistry, physics, calculus, and writing in the past but I think SAT/GRE would be more fun.

  7. Newlyweds on a budget says:

    When I knew my husband would be in school for four months with no income, I picked up babysitting to make more money. In a real tough situation , I know that we could always move in with our parents (our lease is month to month) but I feel like we’re as secure in our jobs as you can get in this type of economy, so I’m not too worried.

    1. Emily says:

      We would take on a roommate if we knew the situation would last more than a couple months. When you were babysitting did you have a few regular clients or did you work with a variety of people?

  8. Sara says:

    If I were a Kyle-like person and wanted to do something I hadn’t done commercially before, I would start with a nonprofit, nonpaying client (and work a PT job). That nonprof experience, especially for consultant-like projects is really invaluable, and I think people tend to discount the connectedness of non-profits to the for-profit world. It’s a great way to get your name out there.

    1. Emily says:

      That’s a good suggestion – and one perhaps worth pursuing even if we didn’t need money.

  9. I’m already doing some of the things I would do if I needed money. I staff write, ghost write, babysit, etc. If I needed more, I’d pick up some painting jobs with my dads company.
    Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter recently posted..Friday Links – Garden Edition

    1. Emily says:

      That sounds like a great plan. Why did you get into all these side hustles – was it to fill your time or did you need more income?

  10. Emily that is a very good exercise to go through, especially if you haven’t had a need to go through it in a while. I bill out about 50 hours each week and have a good list of stable clients. I could add another 10 hours and still maintain our gardens, etc. That wouldn’t replace my husband’s income, but it could help us get out of a bind or help pay for an emergency expense.
    Betsy / CollegeMom recently posted..Carnival of Financial Planning 5/22 Edition

    1. Emily says:

      Sounds like you have a great plan already!

  11. If things ever got totally crazy and I needed money, I would consider selling the blog. Even though its my baby, you know the time will come sooner or later. It could potentially be worth thousands of dollars, and you could always start a new one that would be just as good – because its your voice.
    My Money Design recently posted..My Affiliate Marketing Ideas for Targeting the Right Audience

    1. Emily says:

      Do you know how to figure out how much your blog is worth? I hate to think of parting with EPF!

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