9 Urgent Ways to Hoard Cash and Lower Bills During the Pandemic

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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 feeling completely powerless, 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

If you need to free up some extra room in your budget, one of the easiest places to start is to cut back on your monthly bills — like your current car insurance.

In most places, it’s straight up illegal not to have it, so you’ve probably accepted that you’re going to pay through the nose for it. But you don’t have to.

A free website called Savvy will help you find the best rates — in just 30 seconds. In fact, it saves people an average of $826/year.

All you have to do is connect your current insurance, then Savvy will search hundreds of insurers for a better price on the same coverage. It’ll even help you cancel your old policy and get you a refund from your current insurer. Best yet: This is totally free.

If you find a better deal, you can switch right away and don’t have to wait for your next renewal or even your next payment.

2. Take Money Out of Your Checking Account

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 10% back every time you swipe. How much does your current bank offer you?

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? Do yourself a favor and deposit $100 into an Aspiration account today so you can start taking advantage.

To get started, enter your email address here, and link your bank account to see how much extra cash you can get with your free Aspiration account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”

3. Find Out if You’re Overpaying for Homeowners Insurance

If you’re a homeowner, you probably have home insurance, but you hardly ever think about it. That’s good — it means you haven’t needed to use it. But it also means you don’t know if you’re being overcharged for it. 

It’s easy to find out, though. To see if you’re overpaying for your policy, check out  a website called SmartFinancial. It’s a digital marketplace where you can get quotes and compare rates to make sure you’re getting the best price. 

Homeowners can save hundreds of dollars when they switch home insurance companies this way. It takes just two minutes to get quotes from multiple insurers, so you can see all your options side-by-side. Get started here.

4. Get Paid up to $600/Week to Drop off Starbucks

Your city is filled with two things: Starbucks, and people who want Starbucks.

An app called Doordash will pay you to pick up and deliver an extra latte when you’re already out and getting your caffeine fix. And it’s not just coffee. You can deliver from Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, Five Guys and hundreds of other restaurants in your area.

With Doordash, you set your own hours and work as much or little as you want, meaning how much you make is up to you.

You’ll earn money for each delivery, plus tips. Jose Neri, from California, reports earning $500 to $600 a week working just lunches and dinners.

The best part? No passengers — that grande, no-whip macchiato will be the only thing to hear your beautiful singing voice.

If you sign up for Doordash now, it’s possible to get your first paycheck this week.

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

Take a look at some of the world’s wealthiest people. What do they have in common? Many invest in large private real estate deals. And here’s the thing: There’s no reason you can’t, too — for as little as $10.

A company called Fundrise lets you get started in the world of real estate by giving you access to a low-cost, diversified portfolio of private real estate. The best part? You don’t have to be the landlord. Fundrise does all the heavy lifting.

Fundrise’s Starter Portfolio has a minimum of only $10 and is geared toward first-time real estate investors. Your money will be invested in the company’s Flagship Fund, which already owns more than $250 million worth of real estate around the country, from apartment complexes to the red-hot housing rental market to larger last-mile e-commerce logistics centers.

Want to invest more? Fundrise offers a variety of account levels and features to fit every type of investor’s needs. Once invested, you can track your performance on Fundrise’s website and mobile app, and watch as properties are acquired, improved and operated. As tenants pay their rent, you could earn money through quarterly dividend payments, and over time, you could earn money off the potential appreciation of the property. Since 2014, Fundrise investors have earned roughly $100 million in dividends alone.

So if you want to get started in the world of real-estate investing, it takes just a few minutes to sign up and create an account with Fundrise.

*Past performance is not indicative of future results. The publicly filed offering circulars of the issuers sponsored by Rise Companies Corp., not all of which may be currently qualified by the Securities and Exchange Commission, may be found at www.fundrise.com/oc.

6. Ask This Company to Pay Your Credit Cards

No, like… the whole bill. All of it.

While you’re stressing out over your debt, your credit card company is getting rich off those insane interest rates. But a website called AmOne wants to help.

Here’s how it works: AmOne can match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.

AmOne won’t make you stand in line or call your bank, either. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could help you pay off your debt years faster.

7. Add $225 to Your Bank Account During Quarantine

A woman's legs are shown dangling off a green suede couch. Her legs are crossed, and she holds an Apply laptop on her lap.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

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 a 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.

8. Cut Your Cell Phone Bill to as Little as $5

When you’re trying to come up with rent, every dollar counts. If you’re looking for bills to cut back on, we suggest looking at your cell phone provider.

How long have you been with your current company? Probably a while, right? Which means you’re probably paying way too much.

But we found a discount wireless company called Tello Mobile that offers plans starting at just $5 a month. How much are you paying now? Exactly. Imagine cutting that to just $5.

Tello recently switched to a nationwide GSM network, which means improved 4G LTE/5G coverage, faster data speed and a more stable network. It lets you choose a wireless plan based on how many minutes and how much data you want, and you can even use Tello’s coverage tool to see how strong its network is where you live. More than 7,000 customers have given it an excellent rating on Trustpilot.

Plus, Tello is super flexible. It lets you choose the plan that makes sense for you. Plans are priced based on how much data and how many minutes you want. For example, a family of four can get 2GB of data each, plus unlimited talk and text for just $56 a month total. Free hotspot and unlimited texts are included in every plan. Plus, there are no early termination or activation fees, no contracts or phone-exclusive plans and no tricks of any kind.

It’s easy to get started and see how much you could save. Tello makes it simple to switch and even keep your phone number. No need to even leave the house — you can do everything online. You can bring your own GSM phone or buy a new one through them. See how much you could save.

9. Get up to $500 in Free Stocks

Yes, the stock market certainly is scary right now. Stock prices shoot up and down like a roller coaster ride, and it’s all just so unpredictable. But, what if you could get stock for free?

A company called Robinhood is doing just that by giving free shares of companies like Microsoft and Facebook.

Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because you can start investing with just $1. Plus, they don’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits.

To get your free stock, download the app and fund your account with at least a few bucks (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $5 to $500 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.