Saving money is a mind game. You just have to understand how to play it, and saving won’t be as impossible as you might think.
Rule of thumb is 20% of your after-tax income should be going to your savings and/or debt repayment. But having a chunk of money moved out of your checking account can be intimidating. After all, you have bills to pay.
So we found other ways to play the savings mind game. Follow these 9 clever ways and you could save up to $6,000 a year. Now that’s a nice savings cushion.
1. Snap a Pic of Your Grocery Receipt. Get Cash Back.
This year is the year that you’re going to cook at home more. You’re pumped to eat healthier and save more money on food. You can do it!
And with more trips to the grocery store, make sure you’re not missing out on free money.
So before you go to the store, search for your items in the Ibotta app. After your visit, take a photo of your receipt to get cash back.
On average, active Ibotta users get back up $240 a year. What would you do with that extra money?
Welcome Bonus: Up to $20
Average savings a month: $20
What it could add up to in a year: $240
Additional Referral Earnings: $5 per referral
2. Stop Losing Money on Recurring Subs and Budget Better
Autopay can be both a blessing and a curse.
No more late payments, woohoo!
Wait, I’ve been paying for a service that I signed up as a free trial? Ouch.
And you wouldn’t be alone. 84% of people forget they have some sort of recurring subscription.
You’ll see all your current subs at a glance and then you can decide which to cancel, which the app does for you. Even that pesky gym membership that’s typically so hard to get out of.
Truebill (iOS or Android) also has a killer budgeting feature: it pulls your historical spending, organizes it, and allows you to clearly see your spending so you can set a target budget with context. (Aka you can see where you’re wasting money on).
Already spending 74% of your dining budget and it’s not even mid-month? Time to cut back and the app will even alert you.
It’s simple but actionable money management that anyone can follow and it’s free to use!
Average savings a month: $60
What it could add up to in a year: $720
Bonus: School Competitors in Solitaire and Ca$h In
Solitaire Cube (iOS only) is like regular Solitaire, except you get to play for real cash!
Is there a catch? Yes but not really. I tried playing for free when I first started but I realized it would take me forever to get the tickets I need to play for real cash. I gave up and deposited $25 last week and I’ve already won $120.
The game matches you with players of the same skill level, so you have a solid chance of winning. If you’re a good Solitaire player, you could win some serious cash, like Katie Nguyen who took home $380,984 last year as one of the Top 10 Solitaire Cube
So if you think you can handle playing some Solitaire to win some legit cash, definitely download this game for free.
Not available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, FL, LA, ME, MD, MT, SC, SD, TN, IN
3. Get Paid to Take Popular Surveys, Watch Videos, and Even Read Emails With This Site (Up to $200 a Month)
If you’re looking for an easy way to snag a little extra cash by being online, look no further. Inbox Dollars has a wide array of ways to make some money on the side.
Founded in 2000, Inbox Dollars has been around and paying customers for their opinions for over 19 years and counting! They are one of the most trusted survey sites with fun, multiple ways to earn extra cash that sets them apart from the others.
You can stick to sharing your opinion and take surveys, but you can also watch videos, play games, and even read email for some extra cash. Who wouldn’t want to watch movie trailers for money?
They also offer cash back for online shopping and coupon cash rewards to use at the grocery store too!
So if you’re looking for some extra cash and enjoy a wide array of options to earn, Inbox Dollars is a great platform to make a little side money. It’s free to sign up, so give it a try today!
Welcome Bonus: $5
Potential earnings a month: Up to $200
What it could add up to in a year: $2,400
Additional Referral Earnings: 10% of your referral’s earnings
4. Get a Personal Loan Fast Even if You Have Bad Credit
Your credit score is important but sometimes, unfortunate circumstances happen to good people. It’s not always a fair representation of your financial history to be judged by 3 digits.
Even if you have a poor credit score you could still get a personal loan for your short-term financial needs.
OppLoans can help.
Submitting an application doesn’t affect your FICO credit score and you’ll be able to get the best personal loan that you may need for car repairs, medical, family, rent, major purchase, etc.
Here’s who can qualify:
- Residents of AL, AR, AZ, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, KY, KS, LA, ME, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, ND, NE, NV, NM, OH, OK, OR, RI, SD, TN, TX, UT, SC, WA, WI, WY, VA
- Have a minimum monthly income of $1,500 for the states listed above except AL is $3,500, and GA & ID is $3,000
- Employed at your current job for at least 3 months
- 18+ years old (19 if from AL or NE) and cannot be an active duty service member
- A traditional bank account in your name that’s been open for at least 90 days
- You get your paychecks via direct deposit
Qualified borrowers will be able to borrow up to $4,000 depending on their state.
And when monthly payments are made back on the loan, OppLoans will notify the 3 credit bureaus to build up your payment history!
*OppLoans APR ranges from 59%-199% depending on your state of residence (Rates and Terms here). Credit reporting not available for Texas residents.
5. Just Saving $50 Per Paycheck + Quarterly Bonus = $1,325.67
The secret is to trick your brain that you’re not saving. I’ll explain.
When you’re actively trying to save, your brain goes into full defense mode and makes all sorts of excuses not to. Also, it’s painful to see large chunks of money leave your checking account.
So don’t think about saving, but let Digit do the actual work for you in the background.
When you simply connect your bank account, Digit does the rest in analyzing every day what you can afford to save based off your income, spending, and bills.
It’ll save small amounts for you that adds up in your credit card pay off goal. Then, once a month, Digit will automatically make an extra payment to your credit card company with what’s been saved in your goal so you don’t have to worry about it!
Go ahead and continue on with life while Digit helps you take care of the debt.
Is there a catch? Digit is free for the first 100 days (plenty of time for you to try it out) and if you dig it, it’s only $5 a month after.
Bonus: You’ll get a 1% savings bonus every 3 months you’re successfully saving.
Average savings in a month (varies): $144 or more
What it could add up to in a year: $1,728 or more
Quarterly bonus: 1% on your total savings amount
Additional Referral Earnings: $5 per referral
6. Make More of Your Money with This Fee-Free Banking App
Traditional banks seem to take every opportunity they can to squeeze more money out of you. With everything from a monthly service fee to various hidden fees nibbling away at your account balance.
Enter Varo which was founded to provide a fee-free banking service. That’s right, Varo has no monthly service fees, no foreign transaction fees, and no ATM withdrawal fees.
On top of having no fees, Varo lets you make more money on your money. Varo provides a high-yield savings account that offers a 2.80% Annual Percentage Yield (APY). To put this into perspective, the average APY of the 5 biggest national banks is 0.02%.
Varo has a few sweet extra features that are the icing on the cake:
- Get your paycheck up to 2 days earlier
- No minimum balance requirement
- Over 55,000+ AllPoint® ATMs worldwide to use your Varo Visa® debit card
- Offers personal loans to pre-qualified customers who want to consolidate debt
- Varo will send any paper check to anyone in the U.S. on your behalf
- Varo Personal Forecast tracks your spending to manage your cash flow
- “Save the Change” rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and saves the difference to your Varo savings account
If you’re sick of being charged banking fees and want to make more out of your money, check out Varo. It takes less than 5 minutes to learn more and apply for free.
7. Avoid Getting Dinged by Hidden Bank Fees
Common bank fees.
You’re aware of them, you try to avoid them, but you still get hit from time to time.
The worst are overdraft fees (especially when they come in bunches at around $33 per bounce) and out-of-network ATM fees (which are at a record average high of $4.68**).
There are no monthly account service fees, no foreign transaction fees, and fee-free withdrawals at 55,000+ Allpoint® ATMs worldwide. Also, Varo doesn’t allow overdrafts—so no fees there either! You can conveniently use the Varo Visa® debit card anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted — and the Zero Liability‡ guarantees you won’t be responsible for any unauthorized charges made.
When you open your no account fees bank account, you can open a high yield savings account in a few taps. Start earning 2.12% Annual Percentage Yield (APY)* on your savings and then move up to 2.80% APY* based on qualifying activity (scroll through the play store description for rate details). To put this in perspective, the national average APY is only 0.09%!***
In addition, get your paycheck up to 2 days earlier with direct deposit^.
8. Don’t Get Gouged at 29% APR on Your Credit Card. You Could Get a Low 4.99% APR Instead
If you don’t want to go into your next decade of life with debt looming over you, consider a debt consolidation. In the long run, you’ll save money from not having to continuously pay high-interest.
Debt consolidation just means you’re borrowing money at a low-interest rate and using that money to pay off the outstanding balances from your high-interest credit cards.
If it sounds foreign to you, don’t stress. You can keep your research simple and annoyance-free with Fiona, which is basically a marketplace of consolidation and refinancing options.
It’s free to use and takes only three easy steps to sign up.
Fiona will search all the top online lenders to get you the best personal loan anywhere between $1,000 and $100,0000. And loan lengths can last 24-48 months depending on the lender.
Not only will they help with debt consolidation, but they can also help with any big moment in your life that you may need a personal loan for like Home Improvement, Wedding, Medical bills and more.
9. Just Save Your Emails to Get Money Back (Average Savings $240 a Year)
If you never delete emails like me (unless it’s spam) and shop online, then you’ll always have a chance at getting some money back.
A free tool called Paribus gets you money back on select online purchases even after you’ve bought them.
Price changes happen all the time after checkout. And now you can get a refund of the price difference back at online stores that Paribus monitors! (For example, Target, Kohl’s, GAP, Best Buy, Walmart and more.)
They do this by checking your inbox for email receipts. (Don’t worry, they don’t open any other email and their tech logic only identifies emails that are receipts.) Once they’ve found a receipt that has at least a $3 price drop, they’ll alert you then contact the retailer on your behalf to get the money or tell you how to get the refund back.
Also? If your guaranteed shipment is late from Amazon Prime or Walmart, they’ll help you get compensated! Perfect for the upcoming holiday season when gifts in hand are important.
Your savings mileage will vary but Paribus is 100% free to use and all the savings are yours to keep. Your pair of shoes dropped $7? You get $7 back.
Average savings in a month: $20
What it could add up to in a year: $240
*Paribus compensates us when you sign up for Paribus using the links we provided.
*OppLoans APR ranges from 59%-199% depending on the state.
**Average ATM fee source: Bankrate
***0.09% national average APY: FDIC for the week of Feb 11, 2019 https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/resources/rates/#one