Does your bank account need a lifeline?
Coronavirus cases are back on the rise, leaving many Americans stuck bearing the financial burden of the pandemic.
That makes now a good time to let your finances heal and rebuild some income — just in case your budget takes a financial hit in the uncertain future.
Here are 13 ways — from money making to money saving — to boost your income so you can shore up your finances this weekend.
1. Stop overspending on debt
High-interest debt from credit cards and personal loans can be a major drain on your bank balance, especially if you’re making only the minimum payments each month.
If you want to break free from your debt ASAP, your best bet is to take out a debt consolidation loan. You’ll trade in all of your current debts — credit cards, loans, everything — for a single monthly payment at a lower interest rate.
You can borrow money with no collateral at rates as low as 5.95%. Depending on how much interest you’re paying on your current debts, consolidating them could save you thousands of dollars and help you become debt-free years sooner.
2. Win up to $225 in Apple or Ford stock
You’ll get one full share of a stock worth up to $225 when you open an account with this famous investment app.
The app makes investing easy and accessible for anyone by charging no fees through its easy-to-use platform.
Opt for ready-made funds designed to meet your investment goals, or choose individual stocks yourself — you’ll pay zero commissions on trades (that’s investor-speak for “this is a good deal”).
When you sign up for a free account, you’ll get a free share of stock chosen at random from the most popular companies on the brokerage. The luckiest 1% get a share worth between $50 and $200. Most users get a share worth between $2.50 and $10 — and that’s $10 closer to your $1 million!
3. Save every time you shop online
If you do most of your shopping online — and nowadays, who doesn’t — you likely go to the same website again and again. You know which one.
But Amazon doesn’t always have the best prices, and nobody has time to price-check every store.
So, just download a free browser extension that will automatically find you deals and coupon codes every time you shop online.
You can also set price-drop alerts for your favorite products, so if they go on sale, you’ll be the first to know. Installation takes just a moment and could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
4. Slash the cost of your car insurance
If you've got a car and aren't shopping around for cheaper insurance every six months, you could be throwing away more than $1,100 a year, according to one analysis.
Comparing rates from multiple insurance companies may sound like a lot of work, but some websites do the shopping around for you and can find you a better deal in three minutes.
Just answer a few quick questions, and you'll be presented with the best quotes out of hundreds of car insurers, ensuring you find the lowest price available for the coverage you currently have.
5. Get paid $10 for saving your spare change
This is as easy as saving money can possibly get: This roboadvisor app lets you invest spare change while you shop.
Here’s how it works: Say you buy a coffee for $2.25. Swipe your card, and the app automatically rounds up the purchase to $3, and sticks the leftover $0.75 into your investment portfolio. Like a super-charged piggy bank.
You don’t have to think about stocks or pick lint off of the change in your pocket. Just connect any debit and credit cards you use to your account, and the app automates everything for you. Plus, when you sign up through this link, the service adds a $10 bonus to your account as soon as you make your first investment. That’s like filling up your whole coffee punch card!
6. Turn your hobby into a lucrative side gig
Everybody's got a hobby: What's yours? You could use it to score some side gigs and supplement your income.
The world’s largest online marketplace for digital services makes it super easy to get paid for doing what you love, whether you enjoy drawing, writing or even voice acting.
It’s sort of like using a dating site — you just create a profile describing what you bring to the table, and people will find you based on what they’re looking for.
Once you start completing gigs and racking up positive reviews, you can bump up the price of your services and make even more money.
7. Refinance to a cheaper student loan
Payments on federal student loans have been on a long pause, but if you have debt from a private student loan, you’ve been on the hook for your regular monthly minimum all along.
The good news is that right now interest rates on private student loans are incredibly low — as low as 1.89% in some cases — and refinancing your loan can save you a bundle.
Refinancing lets you pay off your current debt with a new loan that has a lower interest rate. Your monthly payment will go down, and you’ll have more money to spend on other things.
You can find quotes from multiple lenders in just minutes, so you can shop around and make sure you’re getting the best rate possible.
8. Switch to a high-deductible health plan and HSA
If you’re relatively healthy and your medical expenses generally don't go beyond physicals and screenings, a high-deductible health plan could save you money.
Your deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance covers the rest. The higher the deductible, the lower your premiums will be.
Also note that switching to one of these health plans will make you eligible for a health savings account (HSA), a tax-advantaged account for medical expenses. The funds in the account grow tax-free, and as long as the money is used for eligible health costs, it can be withdrawn tax-free.
To shop for a high-deductible health insurance plan, use a free online service that will help you find the right policy at the lowest rate.
9. Eliminate your housing costs with a live-in flip
What are you doing with all that pandemic downtime? If you have the skills, why not try a live-in flip?
You could buy a fixer-upper with an ultra-low mortgage rate, move in and renovate the place, then flip it for a profit that rivals a year's worth of mortgage payments.
The timing is key. You can pay a lower long-term capital gains tax on your profits — rather than the higher tax for short-term gains — as long as you live in the home for at least one year.
Mortgage rates are still near historic lows, meaning you may never pay less for a home loan. Try gathering and comparing at least five mortgage offers to find the best rate.
Of course, flipping isn't only for houses. Today you can make money buying and reselling all sorts of things, including furniture, appliances and photography gear.
10. Dump private mortgage insurance
If you have a plain-vanilla conventional mortgage and made less than a 20% down payment, you’re likely familiar with private mortgage insurance.
PMI protects the lender in case you default on your home loan — and it could be costing you up to $2,000 a year. So, how do you ditch this?
If you can manage making payments that will get you down to 80% of the original mortgage balance, you can request to have PMI removed. You also might refinance to a new home loan that’s below 80% of the home’s value.
Even if you can't junk the PMI, you can refinance and cut your monthly payment by hundreds of dollars, thanks to today's spectacularly low mortgage rates.
11. Stop paying so much for home insurance
If your homeowners insurance bill seems steep, you might be able to cut it down to size by shopping around online for a better rate.
Just go online and compare quotes from hundreds of insurers for free, in only two minutes.
Answer a few basic questions, and you’ll instantly see the best deals available in your area.
You could save close to $1,000 a year on your homeowners policy by comparing rates, while still keeping the same level of coverage you currently have.
12. Get paid when businesses behave badly
When companies do the wrong thing, they get taken to court — and sometimes their customers get compensated.
Check ClassAction.com to see if you qualify for reimbursement over products or services you purchased in the past that were falsely advertised, defective or that you were overcharged for.
Recent settlements have involved companies including Apple, Tesla, Juul and others. Many class-action claims can be completed online in a few minutes, though it may take up to a year to receive your rebate.
The criteria for eligibility will vary depending on the lawsuit, but in some cases you may not even need a receipt to get reimbursed. If proof of purchase is required and you can’t find your receipt, remember to check your bank and credit card statements.
13. Scoop up forgotten funds
You know where all your money is, right?
Actually, people move on and forget all about money in old accounts all the time. It's so common that Americans currently have more than $40 billion in unclaimed funds waiting for them.
Is a chunk of that yours? Search MissingMoney.com, which will show if you left any money in an old checking or savings account, or if you’re entitled to unclaimed life insurance policies from relatives who have passed away. (You'll want to be much more careful when you buy your own life insurance policy.)
You also should check with the IRS to see if there are any tax refunds you're missing. You can amend your previous tax returns for up to three years if you were eligible for a refund but neglected to claim it.
This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.