Commercial Break? You Can Make These Money Moves Before the Show’s Back On

Man lying on his sofa with his dog and typing on his smart phone
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Honest Abe


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It’s a “Wheel of Fortune” commercial break.

You know what that means: It’s time to immediately ignore the TV, dig your phone out of the couch cushions and start aimlessly scrolling.

Unless that adorable Subaru commercial comes on; then you’ll stop and watch.

Otherwise, it’s scrolling. It might even be how you landed on this article. So, kudos to you.

Want to improve your finances throughout the next few commercial breaks?

Believe it or not, that’s totally possible with these simple money tips.

Pat Sajak just sent us to the first commercial break, so, quick, let’s do this thing.

1. Take a Peek at Your Credit Score

Your credit reports are basically the Holy Grail of your finances — and your life.

Financially, they can influence many of your big life decisions, like buying a house or a car. These decisions can become a whole lot more difficult if your credit reports have an error.

This is easy to prevent, though, especially if you just check in on your credit reports (you’ve got three major ones) every so often.

One option is to use a free app like CreditWise® from Capital One®. There, you’ll get a free TransUnion® credit report, which you can review for signs of error, theft or fraud. It’ll even give you personalized suggestions to help you improve your credit score.

OK, back to “Wheel of Fortune.” Can I buy a vowel?

2. Open an Investing Account

Dang it. That contestant definitely shouldn’t have bought a vowel. Instead, he should have invested the money.

With a micro-investing app like Acorns, this seemingly overwhelming personal-finance move becomes super simple.

Just sign up for an account and you’ll get a free $10 to start investing. It’ll walk you through the process and even explain some tricky concepts in a way that’ll leave you with enough brainpower to solve the next “Wheel of Fortune” puzzle.

3. Earn Money Back on Your Dinner

If you’re like me, your commercial-break scroll sessions are usually done with one hand on the phone and the other eating that evening’s couchside meal.

While you’re at it, grab your receipt from your latest grocery haul. (And, if you’re even more like me, it was earlier that evening. Meal-planning is my weakness.) Now download Ibotta, check off the items you bought and earn cash back.

Here are some deals available right now:

  • $2 back on Listerine
  • $2 back on Nutella
  • $3 back on Bud Light
  • 25 cents back on any variety of potatoes

Plus, when you claim your first cash-back offer, you’ll bank a $10 bonus.

Stay tuned for more.

4. Negotiate Your Cable and/or Internet Bill

You’re laughing, aren’t you? No way your cable provider will even take you off hold during a commercial break.

Well, there’s no need to pick up the phone. Install Trim, a little Facebook messenger bot that’ll negotiate your cable or internet bills down for you. It works with Comcast, Time Warner, Charter and other major providers.

You can sign up simply with Facebook, then upload a PDF of your most recent bill, and Trim’s AI-powered system gets to work — freeing you up to get back to Facebook for some quick lurking. Just until the show’s back on.

Oh, and if at first Trim doesn’t succeed, it’ll keep negotiating until it can save you some money. (If it saves you any money, it takes 25% of the savings tab.)

Vanna, I’ll buy a vowel now!

5. Score Cash Back on Your Latest Online Orders

At this point in the show — you know, toward the end, when you’re really invested and you’re on the edge of your seat waiting to see the final puzzle — the commercials become more and more frequent. Ugh.

But that’s OK today, because now you can find out if Amazon, Walmart or other retailers owe you any money on your recent orders.

Earny is another adorable bot. Connect your inbox, and he’ll take a look at your recent virtual receipts then search for price drops. If Earny spots one, he’ll claim the difference on your behalf, and you’ll find the amount back on your card.

Back to you, Vanna.

6. List Your Unwanted Belongings For Sale

This one might require you to leave the couch, but stick with me.

If you have a lot of stuff sitting around — clothes, appliances, you name it — but want to embrace that minimalist lifestyle, try listing some items on an app like Letgo.

It’s super easy. Download the app, sign up with Facebook or an email address, then take a photo of your product.

Shoes? Great. Once you capture the best angle, post it for the price you want — or mark it negotiable. You’re free to add more details or photos, but, in all, it takes about two minutes.

Have a bunch of movies or CDs collecting dust on a shelf? You’re probably staring at some right now next to the TV.

Well Decluttr will pay you for them!

Decluttr buys your old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and video games, plus hardware like cell phones, tablets, game consoles and iPods.

Just download the app and start scanning the barcodes on your media to get immediate quotes. It’s completely free to use, there are no listing or seller fees, payment is super fast and there is even free shipping.

Plus, enter PENNY10 at checkout to get an extra 10% for your trade-ins!

And if you didn’t have time to list those old golf clubs? No worries. “Jeopardy” is up next! What are “money tips” for 500?

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Yes, she actually watches “Wheel of Fortune.” You could even say she gets wheely into it.

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