When Money is Tight, These 9 Resources Will Help Nearly Everyone

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When you log into your bank account, how do your savings look? Probably not as good as you’d like. It always seems like an uphill battle to build (and keep) a decent amount in savings.

But what if your car breaks down, or you have a sudden medical bill?

We’re not judging — we don’t roll like that. We’re here to help. We just don’t want you to have to sell those Elvis-Presley-signed velvet pants you inherited just to pay some lousy plumbing bill. Those pants are sweet.

Try these tips to get the ball rolling, and start building up your savings so you can breathe a little easier.

1. Ask for Some Help — You Deserve It

If you’re really in a bind, start with 2-1-1, a confidential service offered through United Way that’ll help you find the resources you need to find affordable housing, make rent or pay utilities. It’s there for people like you.

To use the service, head to 211.org and enter your location. It’ll show you services in your community and give you a number to call. It’s a clearinghouse for help with food, housing, utilities and employment. If you’ve never asked for help before, that means you don’t know what kind of help is out there.

You can also look into applying for a grant. Take, for example, Modest Needs grants, which are designed for workers just about the poverty line who are ineligible for most other forms of social assistance.

2. Let This App Pay You up to $83 When You Win Solitaire Games

Lots of us already play Solitaire on our phones for fun or just to pass the time. Want to see if you can win money at it?

There’s a free iPhone app called Solitaire Cash that lets you play for real money. You could get paid up to $83 per win.

You might be thinking: There’s got to be a catch. This is definitely one of those spammy apps, right?

Wrong. There really isn’t a catch. Sure, you can pay to play in some higher-stakes tournaments, but there’s no pressure. And, in fact, there aren’t even any annoying ads.

With each game, you’ll battle it out against at least five other players. Everyone gets the same deck, so winning is totally a matter of skill. The top three players who solve the deck fastest can win real money — anywhere from $1 to $83.

Over on the App Store, it has over a million downloads and more than 15,000 ratings, averaging 4.7 stars (out of 5).To get started, just download the free app and start playing your first game immediately.

3. Get Paid up to $80/Month — Just for Sharing Your Opinion

Taking surveys might not sound like the best way to make money, but if you’re just vegging out on the couch — or pretending to be interested in your partner’s new favorite show — why not click a couple buttons? It could earn you up to $80 a month. Seriously.

There are a bunch of paid survey sites out there, but one of the best we’ve found is Survey Junkie.

They’ll ask you questions about things like, what kind of laundry detergent you use, or if you prefer Pepsi or Coke. You get points for answering, and many people accumulate enough points to request a check within a few hours.

More than 10 million people already use Survey Junkie, and it has 4.5/5 stars on TrustPilot.

Give it a try by visiting Survey Junkie and clicking the “Join Now” button. It’s free.

4. See if You Can Get Free 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 free money. And who doesn’t want free money?

Yep. A debit card called Aspiration gives you up to a 10% kickback every time you swipe.

Need to buy groceries? Free money.

Need to fill up the tank? Bam. Free money again.

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

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

5. Get a Free $105 for Playing Games

We all have our favorite ways to kill time. A good book, a good conversation, a hockey game.

Here’s another good time-killer: Playing games on your iPhone. And what if you could play for money? Real money?There’s a free iPhone and iPad app called Bubble Cash that lets Canadians play for money. You can get paid up to $105 ($83 USD) per win.

You might be wondering if there’s a catch. But there’s really not. Bubble Cash is free to download and is completely skill-based. And it’s quite popular. It has more than a million downloads and averages a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on the Canadian App Store.

Players have won hundreds of thousands in prize money so far.

To get started, just download the free app and start playing your first game immediately.

6. Cancel Your Car Insurance

When was the last time you compared car insurance rates? Chances are you’re seriously overpaying with your current policy.

If it’s been more than six months since your last car insurance quote, you should look again.

And if you look through a digital marketplace called SmartFinancial, you could be getting rates as low as $22 a month — and saving yourself more than $700 a year.

It takes one minute to get quotes from multiple insurers, so you can see all the best rates side-by-side. Yep — in just one minute you could save yourself $715 this year. That’s some major cash back in your pocket.

So if you haven’t checked car insurance rates in a while, see how much you can save with a new policy.

7. Borrow up to $4,000 From This Company

You need cash ASAP, but you know better than to go with a payday loan1with outrageous interest rates. Luckily, a company called Opploans offers a more affordable alternative, letting you borrow $500 to $4,0002 when bad credit is holding you back.

The loans available through OppLoans4 come with half the annual percentage rate (APR) of a payday loan — between 59% and 199%, though this caps out at 160% in most states5. Compare that to the 400% you could get with a payday loan1.

Loan terms available through OppLoans are up to 18 months6 (not two weeks), meaning lower payments and more time for you to repay than a payday loan.

Loans offered through OppLoans also build credit history7 by reporting your payments to all three major credit bureaus (unless you live in Texas).

With OppLoans, it takes minutes to see if you qualify4. Most customers receive a final decision same-day4.

Just enter some basic information — your address, phone number, employer, income and bank account info. Applying won’t hurt your FICO score3, and, if approved, you’ll get the money as soon as the next business day, in most cases2.

8. Get Paid $225/Month to Watch Cooking Videos

If we told you that you could get paid to watch videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh.

It’s too good to be true, right?

But we’re serious. A website called 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 possible to earn up to $225 a month.

It’s already paid its users more than $50 million.

Enter your email address here and you’ll immediately get a $5 bonus to get you started.

9. Get Free Gift Cards Just for Paying Your Rent on Time

Paying rent is a drag. It’s your biggest bill of the month, and it’s unavoidable. Even worse, besides a place to live, you don’t get anything else out of it. Unlike hotel rooms or plane tickets, there are no perks for paying rent — not until now.

A new, free app called Piñata will reward you for paying your rent on time. It rewards you with gift cards, cash, and exclusive deals and member perks. Plus, you can have your rent payment reported to the credit bureaus and get a credit boost for the biggest bill you’re paying every month. Between all the deals, discounts and rewards, you could save up to $4,500 a year.

The app is available to all renters in the U.S., whether or not their landlords or property managers are participating.

On rent day, Piñata will ping your phone and ask if you’ve paid rent. When you say yes, you earn “Piñata cash” that you can redeem for gift cards or even cash. If you sign up now, you’ll get a welcome gift, including $30 to spend at local businesses. It’s about time you started getting rewarded for paying rent.

 

1 According to the Consumer Federation America, a non-profit consumer advocacy group, payday loans range in size from $100 to $1,000, depending on state legal maximums, and carry an average annual percentage rate (APR) of 400%. The maximum APR for a loan offered through and serviced by OppLoans is 199% and loan sizes range from $500 to $4,000.

2 Subject to credit approval and verification. Actual approved loan amount and terms are dependent on standard underwriting guidelines and credit policies. 

3 Applicants’ credit scores are obtained from Clarity Services, Inc., a credit reporting agency, which shows up as a soft pull on your credit report and is only visible to you.

4 Applications submitted through the OppLoans website may be originated by one of several lenders, including: Opportunity Financial LLC, a licensed lender in certain states; or one of OppLoans’ lending partners. All loans originated by a lending partner will be serviced by OppLoans. 

5 Rates and terms vary by state. This is an expensive form of credit and you should determine whether our product(s) meets your financial needs.

6 Installment loan amounts typically range from $500 to $4,000. APR ranges from 59% to 199%. Installment loan lengths range from 6 to 24 months. Example: A $2,000 installment loan repayable in 9 monthly payments would have an APR of 160% and monthly payments of $395.58. OppLoans does not offer credit products in all states. Please refer to “Rates and Terms” at www.opploans.com for additional details.

7 OppLoans reports customer payment history to the three major credit bureaus. On-time payments may improve credit score. Credit reporting not available for Texas customers.