If You Rely on Tips, Make These 6 Moves

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When you rely on tips to pay the bills, managing your money can be tricky. It’s hard to know exactly how much cash you’ll be taking home after each shift, which makes planning and budgeting seriously tough.

Not to mention the fact that the service industry took a huge hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Add in rising costs of living and bad tippers, and it can all feel a bit overwhelming.

But don’t fret — if you rely on tips, here are some things you can do right now.

1. Make Sure You Have a Budget

When you rely on tips, your take-home pay might be wildly different from shift to shift, week to week.

This can make planning tough. The first step is to start tracking your income. Contributing writer and bartender Jeff Morrison suggests tracking your income after every shift for 10 weeks to find your average weekly pay.

“Pick the lower of the averages and base your budget on that figure,” says Morrison. “Just to be safe.”

Then pick a budgeting method. We like the 50/20/30 method because it makes things super easy, and it offers a lot of flexibility.

Here’s how it works:

  • 50% of your income goes toward essentials.
  • 20% goes toward financial goals.
  • 30% goes toward personal spending.

Once you get the hang of it, you can tweak the ratios to fit your specific situation.

2. Let This App Pay You up to $83 When You Win Solitaire Games

When your budget is unpredictable, extra money is always helpful. We like this free iPhone app called Solitaire Cash that lets you play for real money. You could get paid up to $83 per win.

No, it’s not one of those spammy gaming apps. There really isn’t a catch. Most of the games are free, but cash players can join higher-stakes tournaments for bigger cash prizes. But there’s no pressure — there aren’t even any annoying ads.

With each game, you’ll play Solitaire against at least five other players, who all get the same deck. So winning is totally a matter of your skill. The three players who solve the deck fastest can win real money — anywhere from $1 to $83.

On the App Store, it’s rated 4.7 out of 5 stars and has over a million downloads.

Just download the free app and start playing your first game immediately.

3. Get Paid Up to $40/Month — Just for Sharing Your Opinion

It’s no secret that the service industry has taken some hits. If you rely on tips, you might need a little extra cash more than ever. We found a super low-effort side gig you can do in your free time while you’re just lounging on the couch.

A site called Survey Junkie could pay you up to $40 a month just for filling out surveys. Seriously.

There are a bunch of paid survey sites out there, but this is one of the best we’ve found.

They’ll ask you questions about things like, what kind of laundry detergent do you use? Or, Do you prefer Pepsi or Coke? You get points for answering, and many people accumulate enough points to request a check within a few hours. Completing just three surveys a day can earn you as much as $40 a month.

More than 10 million people already use Survey Junkie, and it has 4.5/5 stars on TrustPilot.

See how much extra cash you could earn by visiting Survey Junkie and clicking the “Join Now” button. It’s free.

4. Immediately Set Aside 10 to 15% of What You Make Each Shift

Here’s another bartender tip from Morrison. Doing this helps with taxes; set aside even more, if you can.

Most people who rely on tips have a pretty low base pay rate, which means they’re often stuck with a large tax bill every year. Start planning and saving for it now so you don’t find yourself in a bind later.

5. Get a Higher Yield than a High-Yield Savings Account with a Treasury Account

Want to do more with your savings? Yeah, us too.

Well, a company called Public could help you earn a 5.40% yield* on your money — that’s 13 times faster than a regular savings account!**

Instead of stashing your money in a savings account, Public offers a Treasury account that allows you to invest in treasury bills. Treasuries basically work like a loan that you give the government, which pays you back later, plus interest. And being backed by the U.S. government makes them one of the safest*** ways to invest your money.

Unlike traditional savings or high-yield savings accounts, you don’t have to pay state or local taxes*** on income you earn from Treasury bills. So, depending on where you live, more of your savings may go back into your pocket.

Once you’ve signed up and created your account, you can easily transfer money by linking a bank account. From there, you can enroll in a Treasury account and start investing for as little as $100. After your Treasury bills mature, Public will automatically reinvest to create a compounding effect. You can also sell your Treasury bills at any time*.

It only takes a few minutes to enroll in a Treasury account with Public to start earning more on your savings.

This is a paid endorsement for Public.com.


6. Cancel Your Car Insurance

Working for tips, you don’t really have the luxury of working from home. And for a lot of people, that means driving to work. When was the last time you compared car insurance rates?

If it’s been more than six months since your last car insurance quote, chances are you’re seriously overpaying.

And if you look through a digital marketplace called SmartFinancial, you could be getting rates as low as $22 a month — and saving yourself more than $700 a year.

It takes one minute to get quotes from multiple insurers, so you can see all the best rates side-by-side. Yep — in just one minute you could save yourself $715 this year. That’s some major cash back in your pocket.

So if you haven’t checked car insurance rates in a while, see how much you can save with a new policy.

*Cash tournaments aren’t available in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee or Vermont.

* Yield is an annualized 26-week T-bill rate (as of 11/21/2023) when held to maturity. Rate assumes holding T-bill until maturity (26-weeks). T-bills liquidated prior to maturity may result in a loss of interest or principal. Rate is gross of fees and is annualized. Fee schedule at public.com/disclosures/fee-schedule.T-bills are purchased in increments of $100 par value at a discount; any remaining balance after purchase is held in cash. All investing involves risk of loss. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Risks. US members only.

** Traditional savings rate sourced from Bankrate as of 10/3/23. “Best” high-yield savings accounts are compared to the average APY (annual percentage yield) as compiled by NerdWallet.com as of 10/11/23. Public is not responsible for the accuracy, timeliness, or completeness of information on third-party websites. Nor Public Holdings or its affiliates are a bank and Public does not offer savings accounts. Securities on Public.com are not FDIC insured. You should contact your bank for current and complete information about available account types, including applicable interest rates. Risks.

*** T-bills are subject to price change and availability – yield is subject to change. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Investments in T-bills involve a variety of risks, including credit risk, interest rate risk, and liquidity risk. As a general rule, the price of a T- bills moves inversely to changes in interest rates. Although T-bills are considered safer than many other financial instruments, you could lose all or a part of your investment.Investment income on T-bills is taxed federally by the Internal Revenue Service. Income earned from T-bills is not subject to state tax, and is not subject to local income taxes. Jiko U.S. Treasuries Risk Disclosures for further details.

Investment services and the Brokerage Accounts for treasury securities are offered by Jiko Securities, Inc. (“JSI”) member FINRA and SIPC.

Securities investments: Not FDIC Insured; No Bank Guarantee; May Lose Value. Banking services and the Bank Account are provided by Jiko Bank, a division of Mid-Central National Bank. Available to US members only. Full disclosures at public.com/#disclosures- treasuries