20 Quick Ways You Haven’t Tried Yet to Make and Save Money
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. Lower Your Your Car Insurance Rate
You’re probably overpaying for car insurance. And how would you know, really?
Have you shopped around lately? Have you compared rates from the 20 largest auto insurers that do business in your area? That sounds kind of difficult and time-consuming, doesn’t it?
Fortunately, a service called Gabi will do it for you, and you don’t even have to fill out any forms. Simply link your insurance account and provide your driver’s license number, and Gabi will go to work.
Once you link your insurance account to Gabi, it will:
- Scan your existing insurance plan.
- Analyze what coverage you have.
- Compare the major insurers’ rates for that same coverage.
- Help you switch on the spot if it finds you a better rate.
Gabi says it finds an average savings of $720 per year for its customers.
It is a true apples-to-apples comparison at the same coverage levels and deductibles you currently have. Once you sign up, you never have to shop again. Gabi’s software has your policy on file and keeps on monitoring for savings as your life changes.
2. Get Help Paying off Medical Debt
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 online marketplace Credible, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.
It’s best for borrowers who have good credit scores (think: around 640 or higher), and it lets you quickly compare rates without visiting a bunch of sites.
Rates start at 5.99%, and you can check yours by entering a loan amount here ($500 to $40,000) and comparing your personalized options in under 90 seconds.
3. 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 Lucktastic. Each 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.
4. Turn Your Down Time Into a Money-Making Opportunity
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.
- Swagbucks is definitely a reader favorite, probably because of the wide variety of ways to make money beyond taking surveys. Plus, you get a $5 bonus when you sign up and earn 2,500 SB within your first 60 days.
- 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.
- InboxDollars offer daily surveys, but it also lets you actually get paid to watch TV online. The site hosts a ton of stuff to watch, including cooking, entertainment, news and health shows. The shows are sponsored by brands that need to get them in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Every time you watch one, InboxDollars will credit your account with a little bit of cash.
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).
5. Stop Deleting Your Emails
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.
Paribus compensates us when you sign up using the links we provide.
6. Save on Your Cell Phone Bill With a Discount Carrier
Your phone buzzes. It’s your cell phone provider, which might text you more often than some of your friends.
“90% of your data plan has been used,” it kindly informs you. “We’ll add 1GB of shared data to your plan for $15.”
How nice. Just go ahead and add that to my already-enormous cell phone bill.
If you’re sick of of paying your cell phone carrier hundreds of dollars each month, look beyond the so-called Big Four and into the discount carrier Twigby.
That’s what Zak Wilson did. He’d been paying Verizon Wireless about $180 a month for two lines. So he tried Twigby. For both phones, he’s now paying $60 a month.
Plus, new customers get 25% off the first 6 months of service.
7. Help Small Business Owners
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.
8. Get a Free Assistant to Negotiate Your Bills
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 says it helps customers save more than $700 a year by lowering their bills, canceling necessary subscriptions and getting refunds.
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.
9. Start Saving More
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.
10. See if You Can’t Cut Back on Your Monthly Bills
It’s important to make sure you’re getting a good deal on any product or service you use, and this is a lot easier than you might think.
Hop on Squeeze, a website that allows you to compare rates for mortgages, auto loans, student loans, renters insurance, and mobile and internet plans (among others) for free.
Say you want to compare internet prices. Based on your location, the site aggregates all your options and shows you companies alongside price points and download speeds.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
11. Get Your Paycheck 2 Days Earlier
Want to get a jump on payday? Let Chime be your secret weapon.
Unlike most financial institutions, this online bank account doesn’t wait until your pay date to give you access to your money. As soon as it receives notification of a direct deposit from your employer, it immediately posts those funds to your account.
That means you’ll get your paycheck early — like Samuel Demeny, who recently switched to Chime. He uses direct deposit. His company technically pays everyone on Fridays, but Chime gets him access to that cash two days earlier than his co-workers.
“The fact that I’m paid on Wednesday versus Friday… helps me budget before the weekend even starts,” Demeny told The Penny Hoarder.
Not everyone is guaranteed the two-day head start Demeny has. That depends on your employer and its financial institution. We talked to another Chime account holder, Lee Best, who gets his paycheck one day ahead of his co-workers — on Wednesday instead of Thursday.
Plus, Chime offers some other unique features other banks haven’t caught on to yet, such as:
- It doesn’t charge overdraft fees, monthly maintenance fees, foreign transaction fees or minimum balance fees.
- You can open an easy-to-access, connected savings account. It allows you to automate your savings with features like the round-up tool, which will round up your transactions to the nearest dollar and dump the change into savings.
- It has a “Pay Friends” feature, so you don’t have to mess with cash, math or other apps to split the bill.
- Chime customers have access to thousands of fee-free MoneyPass ATMs around the country and mobile check deposit.
Who doesn’t want to get paid early?
Opening an account with Chime is free and only takes about five minutes.
12. Declutter Your Space
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.
13. Play the Slots — and Bank $5 for Your Savings Account
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 coins, so you can start playing while you wait for payday.
14. Share Your Space
Have a spare room? Might as well try to earn some money by listing it on Airbnb.
If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.
A few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one. We talked to Terence Michael, an Airbnb superhost based in Los Angeles.
Here are some of his tips:
- Break out the labelmaker. “I have the entire house loaded with labels,” since Michael. “They look nice; they’re modern. This helps people feel less helpless.
- Be a good host, and stock your place with the toiletries you’d expect at a hotel — toilet paper, soap and towels. Here’s a little hack from Michael: “I order on Amazon and have it delivered when people are there.”
- Be kind to your neighbors. “I say, ‘I’m not going to put anyone here who I think won’t be good for you,’” Michael explains. “And I turn a lot of big groups away, especially in Nashville. I don’t want anyone going to the cops or the city.”
(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)
15. Boost Your Savings by Defeating Your Enemies
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.
16. Set Your Savings and Investing to Autopilot
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.
17. Rent out the RV You Thought You’d Use More
RV owners: When’s the last time you hit the open road?
If you’re attached to your motorhome but don’t use it as much as you’d like, why not turn it into a money-making machine?
Rent it out through an online peer-to-peer rental marketplace, like Outdoorsy. Think of it like Airbnb… but for RVs.
In addition to the nice stream of passive income, other perks to renting your RV out through the marketplace include:
- Free 24/7 rental roadside assistance, so you don’t have to worry about a renter calling you up for a tow.
- $1 million in insurance, covering both you the owner and the renter.
- DMV checks on all potential renters.
To see how much you could earn each month by renting your camper 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. 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.
19. Reduce the Interest on Your Credit Card Debt
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 (though it does require a 620 credit score).
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.
20. Do Odd Jobs
TaskRabbit helps you connect with people in your area who need help getting things done — anything from picking up dry cleaning to calling customer service and tolerating the hold music.
Keep an eye out for virtual tasks, which are mostly centered around personal assistance, administrative work or research help. You can do those an earn money without even walking out your door.
Rest assured you won’t be getting paid pennies to solve someone’s Excel woes. Check out these tips from users who make more than $2,000 a week through the app.
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He’ll never have enough money.