21 Quick Ways You Haven’t Tried Yet to Make and Save Money

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Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder


We’ve all done a million different things to make money, right?

Personally, I’ve written articles, bagged groceries, cooked cheeseburgers, donated plasma and walked dogs to earn cash. And when it comes to saving money… well, I’ve had to fool myself into saving any money instead of just spending it all.

If you need money at the moment, have you done everything you can to make and save a bit more cash? Everything? Really? Are you sure?

Because I’ve rounded up some quick ways that I’m betting you haven’t tried yet.

Simple Moves to Make When You Need Money

Here are a few tricks to try next time you need money.

1. Scratch Off Free Lottery Tickets

There’s something so satisfying about those gas station scratch-off tickets, but it’s better to avoid them because, well, that’s not Penny Hoarding.

Instead, try scratching for free using an app called LucktasticEach day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $1 to $10,000. You can also earn tokens, enter contests and play games.

The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free. For more info, check out our full review.

2. Turn Your Down Time Into a Money-Making Opportunity

I-say review
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Don't have time for a second job or side gig? Consider taking advantage of time you're just hanging on the couch.

Surveys aren’t the best way to make money fast. But there’s a certain appeal to clicking a few buttons and earning money when you’d otherwise be doing nothing. Here’s our recommendation: Sign up for these legitimate survey sites all at once. Chances are, you’ll qualify for at least one or two surveys on each site a month, and the rewards will add up.

  • MyPoints: This platform lets you earn gift cards for taking polls, answering surveys and other things you do online — a great way to cash in on long lines or an endless commute. You’ll earn a $5 bonus when you complete your first five surveys.
  • Opinion Outpost: What sets this apart from other survey sites is it gives away $40,000 every year. It has a quarterly drawing for a $10,000 cash prize — and for every survey you complete, you’ll get one entry into the sweepstakes!

Want an even more passive way to earn income? A number of companies will actually pay you for downloading apps on your smartphone or computer —  this is a great way to boost your passive income!

One we love is called MobileXpression. After you’ve installed this app on your smartphone for one week, you get to play an instant rewards game for a prize (everyone wins something). We've seen users win a $25 Amazon gift card, but some of the other prizes include iPads and Samsung TVs.

The app collects data and helps companies better understand web and mobile usage — such as what times of day people browse, how long they stay on websites and use apps, and what types of sites and apps are popular (or not).

Try it out for iPhone or Android.

3. Stop Deleting Your Emails

Woman on her laptop while a girl and dog sleep next to her on the couch.
DGLimages/Getty Images

It turns out deleting your emails could be costing you money. Intrigued?

One of our secret weapons is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It's free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.

Plus, if your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Paribus will help you get compensated.

4. Reduce the Interest on Your Credit Card Debt

A blue credit card being cut in half.
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Have you ever considered consolidating your debt? It could substantially lower payments you’re already making and help you save more money each month.

A lot of us are being crushed by credit card interest rates north of 20%. If you’re in that boat, consolidation and refinancing might be worth a look.

A good resource is online lending platform Upstart, which can help you find a loan without relying on only your conventional credit score.

Unlike traditional underwriting models that use only the common FICO scoring model, Upstart’s technology looks at factors like your education and employment history to determine your creditworthiness.

It can help you borrow up to $50,000, potentially with better terms (e.g. lower interest or lower monthly payments) than traditional lenders. If managing many different bills and credit lines is a hassle, you can also use an Upstart loan to streamline all of your loans into one.

5. Get Paid to Watch Cool Videos

A woman's crossed legs are shown on a couch, and a laptop is positioned on her lap.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Yup, Swagbucks pays you to watch videos! You won’t earn a lot (up to 150 rewards points per day), but the videos are in all sorts of categories — entertainment, home, travel — so you’re likely to find something that appeals to you.

Or, try this trick: Just turn off the sound on your computer, open a new tab, and keep the videos going in the background while you work.

You can also download the Swagbucks TV app, which plays videos back-to-back on your phone. Again, just plug in your phone, make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi and set it aside to play videos — and earn rewards — while you do something else.

You could earn up to $90 a month watching videos through Swagbucks!

6. Earn up to $350 Opening a New Bank Account

Hands counting change into a piggy bank.
kwanchaichaiudom/Getty Images

Visit this Chase Total Checking® page* to apply online, or enter your email address to get a unique coupon to take with you to open your account at any Chase branch.

This coupon expires on Oct. 15, 2018, so you’ll need to complete the application before then.

  • Get a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit.
  • Get a $150 bonus when you open a new Chase Savings(SM) account, deposit a total of $10,000 or more in new money within 20 days, and maintain a $10,000 balance for 90 days. You’re not required to open the savings account to earn the $200 Chase checking bonus.
  • This offer is available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

 7. Get a Free Assistant to Negotiate Your Bills

Two people lying on a bedroom floor looking at bills.
mediaphotos/Getty Images

On the phone with your cell phone or internet provider, trying to haggle a lower monthly bill?

Go ahead and hang up. (We know you’re probably listening to crappy music while sitting on hold, anyway.)

Download TrueBill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions and refund your bank fees.

After downloading the app, create an account and link your bank account and/or credit cards. Turn on the bill negotiation and outage protection features. Boom. TrueBill is already searching for potential refunds — it might get you a refund even when you didn’t know an outage occurred.

On average, Truebill customers get $12 in credits off their cable bills each month.

The app will also remind you of all those sneaky subscriptions you’ve signed up for through the years, so you can cancel what you don’t use and reclaim your monthly budget.

Signing up and using the service is free, though there are some paid premium services that are totally optional — but could totally be worth it.

8. Start Investing for the Future

A woman checks out the Stash app on her iPhone.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

It’s no brilliant secret that investing can be a smart way to make money.

Sometimes, though, it feels restricted to a few wealthy elite.

But Stash is different. This app lets you start investing with as little as $5 and for just a $1 monthly fee for balances under $5,000.

Stash curates investments from professional fund managers and investors and lets you choose where to put your money.

But it leaves the complicated investment terms out of it. You just choose from a set of simple portfolios reflecting your beliefs, interests and goals.

Bonus: Right now, The Penny Hoarder is teaming up with Stash to fund your first investment — so you’ll get a $5 bonus when you enter the code PENNYH

9. Get Help Paying off Medical Debt 

Close up view of two people holding hands beneath palm trees
Tina Russell / The Penny Hoarder

Got a big tax bill? Medical expenses? Moving to a new state?

Wondering how to pay for it? Well, it’s probably way easier than you think to apply for a personal loan — just make sure you know you can repay it.

A good resource is consumer financial technology platform Even Financial, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.

Even searches the top online lenders to match you with a personalized loan offer in less than 60 seconds. Its platform can help you borrow up to $100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.

10. Earn Rewards for Paying Your Bills On Time 

Your mom probably gave you an allowance for washing the dishes and sweeping the floor when you were a kid. Now all you get for doing it is a kitchen that’s clean for, like, 15 minutes.

As an adult, you don’t typically get rewards for doing things that are expected of you… until now.

This app kind of rules them all: MoneyLion, a free all-in-one app for managing your personal finances.

MoneyLion offers rewards to help you develop healthy financial habits and will literally pay you for logging onto the app.

You can earn points in the rewards program by paying bills on time, connecting your bank account or downloading the mobile app.

You can redeem those points for gift cards to retailers like Amazon, Apple and Walmart.

If credit cards aren’t your thing, MoneyLion is like having a rewards credit card without the temptation to overspend.

The app also connects with all your bank, credit card, student loan and other financial accounts. Based on your income and spending patterns, it offers personalized advice to help you save money, reduce your debt and improve your credit.

11. Declutter Your Space

A woman gets piles of clothes ready to sell.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Start taking a good hard look at your belongings. What do you actually need

  • Clothes: If you have clothes you haven’t worn in the last year, why do you hang onto them? Try selling them to folks in your area through the online marketplace Letgo. It takes about five minute to list an item, and it’s free.
  • Technology: Begin with your overcrowded entertainment center, likely full of outdated music and movies. Consider selling these items to Decluttr. It’ll buy your old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, video games, and even cell phones and tablets. Shipping is free, and Decluttr pays you within 24 hours of retrieval.
  • Books: Bookshelf collecting dust? Through Amazon Trade-In, you can trade in your used textbooks, plus other items, like electronics, in exchange for an Amazon gift card.

12. Help Small Business Owners

A man's hand is shown holding a pen over a notebook. His laptop sits in the corner next to food items, and he is sitting at a green wooden table.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Does earning $60 an hour sound appealing? How about the freedom to work from home while helping others succeed?

Those are the perks of working as a bookkeeper, says Ben Robinson, a certified public accountant and business owner who teaches others to become virtual bookkeepers.

And no, you don’t have to have a CPA to be successful in this business. In fact, all you really need are decent computer skills and a passion for helping business owners tackle real-world problems.

It’s a great opportunity for moms who want to work part time, millennials who are just out of college and anyone who wants to bring in real money while working from home.

We talked to Robinson about what it takes to become a virtual bookkeeper, as well as tips and advice for making this career track work for you. You can read the full interview here, or check out his website for more information.

13. Start Saving More

A pile on money rests on a table in a man's home.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Saving money is tough. So what if you could do it in a way where you wouldn't even notice?

Digit makes that possible.

This innovative app automates saving for you. Simply link it to your checking account, and its algorithms will determine small (and safe!) amounts of money to withdraw into a separate, FDIC-insured savings account.

Bonus: Penny Hoarders will get an extra $5 just for signing up! Additionally, savers will receive a 1% bonus every three months.

Using this set-it-and-forget-it strategy, one Penny Hoarder saved $4,300 without noticing — read his Digit review.

If you need that money sooner than expected, you’ll always have access to it within one business day.

Digit is free to use for the first 30 days, then it’s $2.99 per month afterward.

14. Play the Slots — and Earn More Interest Than at Your Bank

need money apps
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Are you more of the “sit at home and play video games” type of person but you’re making yourself read this because you’re determined to get this adulting thing down?

The folks who created Long Game have you covered with a game that’s fun and helps you achieve your financial goals.  

As you save and accomplish missions you’ll earn coins to play mini games for cash prizes! We’re talking the classics, like slot machines, scratch-offs and spin-to-win wheels.

Penny Hoarder Carson Kohler uses Long Game to save money. Every two weeks, it sneaks $5 out of her bank account and rewards her with coins.

In two months, she’s saved $35.70, just by playing games on her phone. Plus, her winnings amount to a gain of about 2% — way higher than interest on any other savings account she has.

Once you link your bank account, you’ll earn 300 points, so you can start playing while you wait for payday.

15. Avoid Credit Card Interest — But Still Earn Rewards

Next time you’re at the checkout counter to make a purchase, you could use either a credit card or a debit card. Either choice has pros and cons.

Many credit cards offer perks like cash back or travel rewards, but they also make it easy to rack up debt. If you don’t pay off your balance every month, you’ll wind up paying a lot of interest. And if you miss a payment, there are late fees.

Debit cards don’t usually offer cool rewards, but they won’t get you mired in debt either. It’s pay-as-you-go spending. The debit card is linked to your checking account, and you can’t spend money you don’t have.

Wouldn’t it be great to combine the best of both worlds? Now you can.

A new app called Debitize basically turns your credit card into a debit card, for free. With it, you can connect any credit card to a checking account.

Whenever you swipe your credit card, Debitize pulls the same amount of cash from your bank account. It stores the cash for you until it’s time to pay your credit card bill. Then it pays that bill for you a week before the due date.

The best of both worlds: You can build credit and get those sweet credit card perks, and also prevent yourself from running up unmanageable debt.

16. Use Your Money in a Way That Makes You Happy

Family of four flying a kite at the beach.
Cecilie_Arcurs/Getty Images

They say money can’t buy happiness. And sure, that’s true. Even we can concede that.

But shouldn’t you get the most happiness you can from your money?

There are plenty of apps on the market that will try to help you, but they might leave you feeling frustrated and hopeless at the end of the month. It’s tough giving up every bit of happiness to stick to the budget a robot created for you.

That’s where Joy can help. It’s a free iPhone app that’ll help you save and spend money in a way that doesn’t compromise your happiness.

It will help you figure out the art of giving and taking. For example, if cutting out that morning latte is going to cause you to pull your hair out by noon, don’t do it. Joy’s personalized money coach will help you find ways to save elsewhere.

Hey, no judgements here. Without coffee, we’d lose our minds by 10 a.m.

17. Rent out the RV You Thought You’d Use More

An RV is parked before a beautiful scenic landscape.
tataks/Getty Images

RV owners: When’s the last time you hit the open road?

If you’re not living in your rig full time, rent it out through an online peer-to-peer rental marketplace, like RVshare or Outdoorsy. Think of it like Airbnb… but for RVs.

We chatted with one California couple who rented out their 2008 Thor Sonoma through RVShare. Just last year, they banked an extra $7,338, allowing them to pay it off — with some to spare.

To see how much you could earn by renting your RV out, snag a free estimate in just a few minutes. Then snap photos of your RV, upload your insurance and boom — you could be making money.

18. Set Your Savings and Investing to Autopilot

PeopleImages/Getty Images

Siphoning a chunk of your paycheck into a seperate savings account isn’t the easiest personal finance move, especially if you’re already crunched on funds. Plus, unexpected expenses always pop up; it never fails.

This is where setting your savings to autopilot can save you — and your money.

Lots of apps on the market allow you to create a set-it-and-forget-it savings plan. One we can recommend is Rize.

Rize is a pay-what-you-want, 256-bit-encrypted (bank-level security) web app that’ll help get your savings on track. You’ll create a goal and set a deadline. Goals and deadlines always help kick your booty into gear, right?

These could be short-term goals, like saving for a weekend road trip or meeting your monthly student loan payment. You’ll even earn 1.65% interest on your balance. (For some context, that’s 19 times higher than the national average for savings accounts.)

If you have a longer-term goal, have Rize invest the money for you and help you maximize returns. It asks you to contribute at least $2 a month for that service and will take a 0.25% fee of assets invested (comparatively low for investor fees).

Like with any savings plan, you might need time to figure out what you can realistically set aside, but you can easily tweak your settings in Rize.

19. Protect Your Identity

If you want to keep your finances secure and orderly, don’t be afraid to use plastic. Just protect your information.

Credit Sesame helps you avoid identity theft by keeping a watchful eye your finances.

Credit Sesame’s free identity theft protection will alert you to important changes in your credit report (like someone trying to apply for credit in your name), and it offers $50,000 in identity theft insurance.

Isn’t that better than counting on Jim at the grocery store to keep his prying eyes off your personal info?

20. Boost Your Savings by Defeating Your Enemies

Woman in glasses looks at her phone.
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Blast is a savings app for Android made by gamers for gamers. It allows you to save, earn and win cash for playing games.

It works with every game in the Google Play Store, as well as top PC games, including Counter Strike Global Offensive.

The app is free, with no hidden fees.

While you play, the app works in the background and transfers small sums from your checking account into a high-yield Blast savings account based on “triggers” you set — things like the number of opponents you defeat or enemy bases you destroy. You can earn extra cash by completing “missions” that allow you to test new games or take familiar games to the next level.

Your Blast savings account earns 1% interest, is FDIC-insured and is secured by bank-level encryption. You can withdraw your money anytime or just let your savings grow.

21. Search for Unclaimed Money

Money in a Jar
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

State treasuries throughout the U.S. have more than $43 billion in unclaimed funds, according to The New York Times. Just sitting around! Waiting for you to come play lost and found.

Take matters into your own hands and see if you have any unclaimed money floating around.

Check with the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. Click your state on the map, and it’ll redirect you to your state’s appropriate search site. (Beware: There are several look-a-like sites out there. Be sure you’re searching legitimate ones.)

Penny Hoarder reader Kelli Howell heeded our advice, performed a quick search, and found unclaimed money in her husband’s name — about $56 from a “matured insurance policy.

Kelli immediately searched her other family members’ names. Her husband was the only who had any money to claim. And, sure, it’s $56, but that’s not bad for an unexpected check, right? We’ll take it!

*Fine print from Chase:

Checking offer is not available to existing Chase checking customers, those with fiduciary accounts, or those whose accounts have been closed within 90 days or closed with a negative balance. To receive the $200 checking bonus: 1) Open a new Chase Total Checking account, which is subject to approval; 2) Deposit $25 or more at account opening; AND 3) Have your direct deposit made to this account within 60 days of account opening.  Your direct deposit needs to be an electronic deposit of your paycheck, pension or government benefits (such as Social Security) from your employer or the government. After you have completed all the above requirements, we’ll deposit the bonus in your new account within 10 business days. You can only receive one new checking account-related bonus per calendar year. Bonus is considered interest and will be reported on IRS Form 1099-INT.

Account Closing: If your checking account is closed within six months after opening, we will deduct the bonus amount at closing.

Editorial Disclosure

This content is not provided by the bank advertiser. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the bank advertiser. This site may be compensated through the bank advertiser Affiliate Pro.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He’ll never have enough money.

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