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. Stop Wasting Money on Homeowner’s Insurance

You’re probably wasting money right now. And it’s probably on something you’d never expect — your homeowners insurance policy.

This isn’t something you actively think about — you just know you’re required to have it.

The problem is, you’re paying too much. Luckily, an insurance company called Policygenius makes it easy to find out how much you’re overpaying.

Policygenius has policies starting at just $25/month. And just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean you’re skimping on coverage. Policygenius will make sure you have what you need.

Just answer a few questions about your home to get started.

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)

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.

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.