7 Quick Steps To Take Before The Next Stimulus Check Arrives

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The pandemic has us feeling uneasy in more ways than one.

The future feels uncertain, and we’re all waiting to see how things will pan out.

But, instead of waiting to see if Congress will pass another stimulus bill, there are a few simple, unexpected ways you can be proactive — to take steps to invest your spare cash, pay off your debt, lower your bills and secure your future.

1. Cancel Your Car Insurance

When was the last time you shopped around for car insurance? Was it more than six months ago?

If so, you’re probably overpaying — by hundreds of dollars. Yep. Experts say you should compare rates twice a year to get the best deal.

Twice a year? Yeah, we don’t want to do that either.

A service called Gabi does all the shopping for you to find cheaper insurance — with the same coverage and deductibles you already have. And it saves customers an average of $825 a year.

You don’t have to fill out any forms. Just link your existing insurance account and enter your driver’s licence, and it will start looking for cheaper coverage.

Plus, after you sign up, Gabi will keep looking for savings. No more shopping.

2. See if You Can Get More Money From This Company

a woman logs into her bank account on her cell phone.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Here’s the deal: If you’re not using Aspiration’s debit card, you’re missing out on extra cash. And who doesn’t want extra cash?

Yep. A debit card called Aspiration gives you up to a 5% back every time you swipe.

Need to buy groceries? Extra cash.

Need to fill up the tank? Bam. Even more extra cash.

You were going to buy these things anyway — why not get this extra money in the process?

Enter your email address here and see how much money you could earn with the Aspiration Spend and Save account.

3. Invest in Real Estate (Even if You’re Not a Millionaire)

The stock market can be a scary place. Stock prices shoot up and down like a roller coaster ride, and who knows when the whole thing might crash?

It would be nice to diversify and invest some of your money in real estate, but don’t you have to be wealthy to do that?

Now you can invest like the 1% does, and all you need to get started is $500. A company called DiversyFund will invest your money in private real estate — specifically, in apartment buildings it co-owns with its investors — and you only need $500.

You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolio through their online dashboard — like a 54-unit apartment complex in Salt Lake City, Utah, or a 30-unit waterfront property in Stuart, Florida. And you don’t have to experience the headaches that come with being a landlord — DiversyFund does all the heavy lifting for you.

Real estate has historically been very stable compared to the stock market. Over the long term, investing in the stock market will earn you an average annual return of 7%, adjusted for inflation, according to a number of studies. DiversyFund can’t guarantee how its investments will perform in the future — no one can — but historically, real estate has outperformed the stock market for the past 30 years. 

So you don’t need a fortune to invest in real estate. All you need to get started is $500. Sign up here to start investing today.

4. Give Your Family $1M

money management steps policygenius
Johnny Greig/Getty Images

Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone? How they’ll pay the bills? Send the kids through school? Now’s a good time to start planning for the future by looking into a term life insurance policy.

You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But your application can take minutes — and you could leave your family up to $1 million with a company called Bestow.

Rates start at just $16 a month. The peace of mind of knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.

If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without a medical exam or even getting up from the couch, get a free quote from Bestow.

5. Add up to 300 Points to Your Credit Score

cash back apps
anyaberkut/Getty Images

Good news for us “normal” folk: Your credit score has nothing to do with your income. Yes, having more money might mean you don’t have to take out loans or buy groceries on credit. But, in reality, you and me could have the same credit score as, say, a certain someone who owns Amazon. Heck, ours could be even better.

So if you’re looking to get your credit score back on track — or even if it is on track and you want to bump it up — try using a free website called Credit Sesame.

Within two minutes, you’ll get access to your credit score, any debt-carrying accounts and a handful of personalized tips to improve your score. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).

James Cooper, of Atlanta, used Credit Sesame to raise his credit score nearly 300 points in six months.* “They showed me the ins and outs — how to dot the I’s and cross the T’s,” he said.

Getting your free credit score takes less than two minutes.

6. Add $225 to Your Bank Account Every Month

What if we told you a research company would pay you to watch cooking videos on your computer?

It’s too good to be true, right?

But we’re serious. InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch someone bake brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.

All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward.

No, InboxDollars won’t replace your full-time job, but it’s something easy you can do while you’re already on the couch tonight wasting time on your phone. It’s possible to earn up to $225 per month watching these videos.

It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.

It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately get a $5 bonus to get you started.

7. Make up to $15/Hour to Pick up Milk for Your Neighbors

Not everyone can get to the grocery store these days, but that’s where you can help — and get paid.With an app called Postmates, you could get paid to pick up a few extra groceries for them.

Even better than getting paid to grocery shop? If you need the money, like, now, you can cash out instantly after each delivery.

Holly Gaston, of San Francisco, California, has tried plenty of side gigs. With Postmates, she made an average of $15 an hour. Plus, she said it was much more enjoyable than any of her previous side gigs.

Signing up shouldn’t take you more than about three minutes.