How to Get More Cash

If your unemployment benefits have ended or you just need a little extra money, follow these six tips.

It just got a little tougher for the unemployed. They won't be able to apply now for federal unemployment benefits or the subsidy to help pay for COBRA health-insurance premiums unless the Senate passes new legislation to extend the application deadline, which was February 28.

Richard Sammon, senior associate editor of The Kiplinger Letter, says odds are good that Congress will extend the deadline for applying for these benefits. If there is a gap in benefits, it likely will be short. See What to Do When Your COBRA Subsidy Ends, which Kim Lankford wrote last year when Congress let the subsidy lapse before extending it.

For those losing unemployment benefits, Kiplinger's does expect job growth by late spring. In the meantime, here are several tips to help you generate more cash.

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Ways to get cash fast

1. Withdraw from your Roth IRA. You can withdraw your contributions to a Roth IRA (but not your earnings) tax-free and penalty-free at any time.

2. Tap your life insurance. If you have whole life insurance, you can borrow up to the full cash value. You don't have to repay the loan (but the death benefit will be reduced by an equal amount).

3. Get a peer-to-peer loan. Social lending networks and let creditworthy borrowers apply for loans from other individuals. Both sites let you borrow an unsecured loan between $1,000 and $25,000.

See Need Cash? Where to Find It Fast for nine more ideas.

Ways to earn more money

1. Sell stuff online. You can unload everything from furniture and furnishings to collectibles and clothing on eBay or Craigslist. Sell your old, unwanted books on Amazon. buys com­puters, cell phones, GPS devices and other electronics. The key to selling your wares on the Web is to research similar merchandise that has been sold recently through the site and price competitively.

2. Share your knowledge. Some parents are willing to pay big bucks to see Junior and Janie succeed. So if you speak a second language, such as Spanish or French, or have great math, science or writing skills, you might be able to earn extra cash tutoring kids –- even college students -- for $20 to $30 an hour.

3. Start a dog-walking business. Working folks will $15 to $30 an hour for you to take Rover or Scruffy on a daily stroll while they’re at the office. If you don’t want to brave the elements, you might consider pet sitting for people while they’re on vacation. Advertise your services in veterinarians’ offices and on Craigslist.

For more ideas, see 11 Ways to Get Extra Cash.

Cameron Huddleston
Former Online Editor,

Award-winning journalist, speaker, family finance expert, and author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk.

Cameron Huddleston wrote the daily "Kip Tips" column for She joined Kiplinger in 2001 after graduating from American University with an MA in economic journalism.