19 Money Moves That People Who Make Less Than $60,000/Year Should Do

Disclosure: We’re letting you know that this post contains sponsored links which The Smart Wallet receives compensation for, which may impact their order of appearance because talking about money should always be an honest discussion.

Let’s face it, everyone can use a little help on their finances.  Regardless of what gets shared on your friend’s and family’s social media, no one knows the whole picture but themselves. Some may even be afraid to admit it.

It doesn’t have to get overwhelming though! When you’re ready to buckle down and tackle your finances, we can help.

Especially if you’re currently making less than $60,000 a year.

After taxes, that salary goes down quick but just start small with the money moves below to get back in control.

1. Affordable Car Insurance Exists - Here’s How You Could Save $610 This Year

You’re sharing the same roads with a lot of different people. Distracted people, oblivious people, road-rage people, etc. It’s best to cover yourself with insurance when everyone is operating a giant motor vehicle.

That’s why car insurance exists and is mandatory. You might be overpaying on your current insurance premium since it can be a hassle finding another provider.

However, you can search for quotes easily on EverQuote. They help match you among dozens of regional agencies and insurance carriers to filter the best matches to save on your car insurance.

It takes about 4 minutes to fill out the form and you’ll see a list of matches that show potential online quotes, email, and potential phone quotes.

EverQuote can save drivers $610 a year on average* compared to their current insurance premiums. Once you see your list of potential matches, choose the online ones you want or wait for more information via email or phone.

It’s a pretty simple process, so try it out to see how much you could be saving on the road!

2. Fun Times in 3 Minute Increments – A Classic Game for $

3 minutes.

Make as many 21s as you can within that time or until you run out of moves.

That’s the basic gist of 21 Blitz, a modern take on a classic game where you’re no longer just playing against the dealer but with actual people around the world.

It’s fast-paced and it basically does all of the math for you. This game is great for killing time and earning cash all at once.

You can play for free against real people for prizes or switch over to cash games to win…well, cash! Cash game winners can win up to $7,000 or more in the mini-tournament.

Cash tournaments not available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, FL, LA, ME, MD, MT, SC, SD, TN, IN.

3. 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:

  1. 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
  2. Have a minimum monthly income of $1,500 for the states listed above except AL is $3,500, and GA & ID is $3,000
  3. Employed at your current job for at least 3 months
  4. 18+ years old (19 if from AL or NE) and cannot be an active duty service member
  5. A traditional bank account in your name that’s been open for at least 90 days
  6. 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!

4. Budgeting Made Easy With This App, Even if You Don’t Know How

First things first, if you have trouble budgeting, you’re not alone as most people actually don’t know how to. When you understand how much money comes in and how much goes out, it’ll all start making sense.

Truebill easily helps you budget, even if you’re clueless. Their simple to follow budgeting 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).

Truebill’s five-star reviews come from people formerly bad at budgeting. Nicole M. said Truebill “tracks spending and makes you accountable for every place your dollar is going. Shows you how a ‘few bucks’ here and there can really add up over time. Also gives you clues on how to save based on your spending. It’s like having a personal accountant tracking my money.”

Truebill will also alert you if you’re getting a little too spend-happy in your budgeted categories so you know when to curb it. Another user, Krystyna D. said, “This app is a lifesaver for budgeting. It lists your transactions in a minimalist and customizable way, has a spending graph that compares your current spending based on last month, and has a really great budgeting feature. I’ve been using the app for just about 7 months and they’ve done nothing but make a really great improvement to the service. I’ve tried some of the other services and they’re all cluttered and give you too much info without making what you want to see accessible.”

It’s simple but actionable budgeting that anyone can follow and it’s free to use! Join the many users today and control your spending with Truebill!

5. You Gotta Eat! Get Up to $240 Cash Back in Grocery Savings

Drobot Dean

Did you know that it’s 325% more expensive to eat out versus eating at home*? Maybe it’s time to make more trips to the grocery store instead.

You’ll be aware of all the ingredients in your meal,  in addition, you’ll get paid just for shopping!

It’s simple. All you have to do is take a picture of your grocery receipt and Ibotta will pay you cash.

Here’s how it works:

Before you go to the store, search for your shopping list items in the Ibotta app. After your store visit, take a photo of your receipt to get cash back.

Ibotta is free to download and you’ll also get up to $20 in Welcome Bonuses when you sign up! They’ve already given out $186 million dollars cash back to savers in 2019 alone.

Some offers we found:

  • 25 cents back on any item
  • $3 back on various shaving razors
  • $2 back on KIND Protein Bars
  • 25 cents – $4 back on ice cream
  • $2 back on Herbal Essence Haircare

Popular stores are Walmart and Target, but Ibotta also works at restaurants, online shopping sites, and even at the bar. On average, active Ibotta users save up to $240 a year or more but the highest saver got $13,000 in cash back this 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

6. School Competitors in Solitaire and Ca$h In

When you want to take a 5-minute break, check out Solitaire Cube, which is like regular Solitaire, except you get to play for real cash.

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 players! Even casual players like Amanda, a stay-at-home mom won a 55″ TV, $6,000 and more!

So if you think you can handle playing some Solitaire Cube to win legit cash, definitely download this game for free. 

Cash tournaments aren’t available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, FL, LA, ME, MD, MT, SC, SD, TN, IN.

7. Don’t Get Gouged at 29% APR on Your Credit Card. You Could Get a Low 3.84% 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 with Fiona, the fastest, easiest, most comprehensive way to search for loans from the top providers.

It’s free to use and the application takes less than 60 seconds to complete. Fiona will search all the top online lenders to get you the best personal loan anywhere between $1,000 and $100,0000. You’ll find rates as low as 3.84% APR and loan terms from 24-84 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.

8. Get the Big Picture – Then Work on Fixing Your Score

Drobot Dean

It’s smart to keep an eye on your credit score to make sure it doesn’t fall too much due to unpaid bills. Did you know that a low credit score could affect your ability to actually rent an apartment or even get a car? Yea, let’s try to prevent that from happening.

Credit Sesame is a free credit monitoring service that helps you improve and maintain your score.

You’ll get an easy-to-read view of your total debt plus everything that is contributing to your current score like credit usage, credit age, inquiries, and payment history. It also comes with personal recommendations to help increase your score.

Credit Sesame alerted me immediately when my score decreased because of a credit card and I was able to fix it right away. It’s free to use so this is definitely a must-have in everyone’s life.

9. Save Thousands on Car Repairs With This Top 10 Ranked Extended Car Warranty

When the honeymoon phase and the too-short dealership car warranty quickly wears off after 3-4 years, that’s when you know that expensive car repairs will hit you soon.

The older the car, the more maintenance it needs, so when stuff starts breaking post-warranty protect yourself with an extended car warranty.

This only makes sense for those planning on keeping their car around for a while but you can save yourself thousands of dollars on car repairs when you search for an extended warranty on Complete Car Warranty and get a free quote.

All you need to do is fill in your vehicle’s make, model, and mileage to get quotes on extended warranties that cover unlimited repair claims and gets accepted at all dealers and mechanics.

Also? Consumers Advocate ranked them as Top 10 for 2019 Car Warranties!

Get peace of mind and save yourself costly repairs by getting an extended warranty. You’ll also save up to 60% by going direct too.

10. Never Wait 2 Weeks for Your Paycheck Again - Here’s How

“People should have their money once they earn it. That’s how businesses work. When you buy something, you have to pay at once. But when you work, you wait two weeks for your own pay.”

If you agree with this statement, then you’re on the same page with Ram Palaniappan, the CEO, and Founder of Earnin, an app that’ll fast forward your paycheck to today.

In order words, if you worked today, you get paid today with Earnin.

Not everyone is eligible, but most are. If you have the following, you’re golden:

  • Direct deposits from your employer into a checking account
  • A regular pay schedule (like weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly etc)
  • A fixed work location OR an online timekeeping system at work

That’s it. And after you connect your bank and employment info, you’ll get immediate access to your earnings.

You then choose what portion of your paycheck you want to Cash Out. Then, when your normal paycheck arrives via direct deposit, Earnin will just debit the amount you had previously cashed out. Simple!

It’s like having an advance payday loan but without the fees or interest. There is no charge to use Earnin as the app runs on tips by the community. Pay what you wish!

Even if you have a side gig of on-demand jobs, like Uber, Grubhub, Instacart etc, Earnin will work!

11. Make 1.92% Interest On Your Money with Fee-Free Banking

Traditional banks may2 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 banking services without the hidden fees.

Yep, 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 starts at 1.92% Annual Percentage Yield (APY)1 that can move up to 2.80% APY1 based on qualifying activity. To put this into perspective, the average APY of the 5 biggest national banks is 0.09%.*

Varo has a few sweet extra features too:

  • 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
  • “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.

12. Get Paid to Take Popular Surveys, Watch Videos, and Even Read Emails With This Site

Priscilla Du Preez

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!

13. Pay Less on Student Loans. Get More Out of Life.

If you feel bogged down by student loans, you’re not alone. 44.7 million Americans have student loan debt, making the total student loan debt in the United States above $1.47 trillion dollars(*). However, there are options to ease that financial burden.

One way is to refinance your student loans (whether they’re federal, private, or ParentPLUS), consolidating that debt at a lower interest rate.

Credible’s made that part easy. Their loan marketplace helps you find prequalified rates from multiple lenders in just 2 minutes.

They can help you find options to lower your interest rate, reduce your monthly payment, or both! To see your options, just fill out a quick information sheet and compare your prequalified rates – without impacting your credit score. You can even get your finalized offer in as little as one business day.

There are no prepayment penalties, loan application fees, or origination fees through Credible’s lending partners, and the marketplace is free to use!

14. Earn Money Back for Your Food Delivery, Concert Tickets, and More (Here’s $10 to Start)

If you’re not looking for every opportunity to earn cash back, don’t worry, we got you. Even on stuff that you might not think you can get cash back on!

Take, for instance, food delivery. It’s convenient, you don’t have to leave the house, everyone can order from different places, and you don’t have to deal with waitstaff and the crowds.

With Rakuten (previously called Ebates), you can get cash back at Grubhub, Postmates, and Domino’s, which adds up when you’re ordering delivery at least once a week.

And entertainment? You can get cash back on popular sites like Ticketmaster, Stubhub, Fandango, and SeatGeek for all your concerts, movies, and sporting events. Plus, get cash back on your Lyft rides to and from the events so you’re basically getting free cash in your pocket!

Rakuten is also giving our readers a $10 welcome bonus to anyone that signs up to be a member.

Membership is free and you also can earn up to 40% cash back at over 2,500+ stores including Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s, and Sephora. Plus, you’ll find coupons, free shipping codes, awesome sales, and cash back at over 10,000 restaurants. So… why aren’t you a free member yet?

15. Find Out Why 1 Million People Start Their Day With This

While in college and preparing for the business world, Alex Lieberman and Austin Rief realized their classmates all felt the same way: traditional business news was dry, dense and boring. Their fellow millennials wanted to keep up with what was happening but didn’t have a news source that spoke to them.

That’s why they started Morning Brew – the free daily email that delivers the latest news from Wall Street to Silicon Valley. Written in a conversational tone and sprinkled with punchy humor, it makes reading the news actually enjoyable.

From Elon Musk’s latest move to the stock market’s highs and lows, Morning Brew covers the top news shaping the business world. With a touch of culture and lifestyle stories, you’ll get up-to-speed on what you need to know in just five minutes.

Find out why over 1 million people start their day with Morning Brew — sign up for free here.

16. Play Games, Save Money, Win Cash. Saving is Actually Fun Now.

Look, we know saving money is boring, but it’s just one of those non-negotiables in life. 63% of Americans don’t even have enough to cover a $500 emergency. Yikes.

That’s why Long Game Savings is actually making saving fun by just playing free games on their app. Games are light and easy-to-play (think lotteries, scratchers, slots, and more) and you can win daily cash prizes up to $1M (yes, million) and crypto!

When you set up a savings account, you access the games. The more money you save, the more you can play and now, their new debit card lets you earn more rewards just by spending normally. It has a RoundUp feature that lets your purchases be rounded up to the nearest dollar with the change going towards your savings. So every time you’re buying a meal, getting stuff at Target, etc, you’re contributing to your savings and earning interest!

Long Game Savings is completely free-to-use as banks pay them, not you. There’s no way to lose money, but plenty of ways to earn and win! Plus you can withdraw your money at any time.

17. Buy Stuff Normally = Get Gift Cards You Actually Want

If you have room for 1 more app on your phone, then it needs to be this. Actually, delete another app to make room for this one. It’s that good.

It’s called Drop, a free app that’s rewarding their 3 million+ members for everyday activities – like shopping at brands such as Sephora, Walmart, Uber, Groupon, The Gap, Old Navy, and tons more.

Download Drop and you’ll get points back on all those purchases. Points translate to gift cards so the more you collect through shopping, surveys, and games in the app, the more gift cards you can redeem!

Earning points is simple. Just open Drop, select the brand’s offer and continue the checkout flow through the app like normal. That’s it! Drop will take care of the rest and add the points to your account once your transaction clears.

There’s literally no downside to using this free app to get more gift cards. Use it on top of your loyalty points and credit card points for even more rewards!

BONUS OFFER: Use promo code SMARTWALLET to unlock 5,000 points ($5) automatically when you link your first card on Drop!

18. Invest with as Little as $5 From Your Phone

Office Manager Sarah investing with $5 / Daniel Giunta /*Photo for illustrative purposes only

If you feel a little clueless whenever there’s talk about investment portfolios, you’re not alone. It can sound overly complicated.

However, there’s an app that’s like an easy gateway to investing.

It’s called Stash, an investment app that only takes $5 to start and you’ll also get a $5 bonus after funding your first investment!

They curate from over 250 investments which include stocks and Exchange Traded Funds. You’ll get to choose where to put your money based on things like your personal beliefs, interests, and goals. Their newest feature, Stock-Back™ rewards* lets you invest in brands you spend on with the Stash debit card.* Purchased something at Amazon? Earn Amazon stock rewards. It’s like cash back but with stock!

Finally, investing is no longer for the elite 1% with Stash helping to make it so easy for the rest of us.

19. Get $50 to Start Investing in Women and Deal with the Gender Pay Gap

You already know that women make less than men.

20% less actually(*)

So while women are almost half the workforce, earn more college and graduate degrees than men, there is still a gender pay gap to this day.

Also? Women’s salaries tend to peak earlier than men and their earnings drop significantly after having a child.(*) Men don’t.

That’s why it’s even more important to save for retirement, especially if you’re female. With females living at least 5 years longer than men(*), we have a very unique set of obstacles to overcome with our financials and to make sure we have enough money when we most need it.

That’s why Ellevest exists. It’s an investment service created by and designed for women.

Men are welcome to join as well but it’s the first company to take on the gender pay gap, different lifetime earnings, and longevity into account when constructing a portfolio.

It’s great for women that are just beginning to invest, want a more hands-off approach or those interested in goal-based investing (like Home, Retirement, Emergency Fund etc).

So while fewer women tend to invest vs men, studies show that when they do, they outperform men because they don’t overtrade, don’t panic in down markets, or pay too much in fees.(*)

When you start with Ellevest, you’ll choose some goals and then rank them in importance. You’ll then fill in some details on your current financial standings and then their system will analyze what you’ll need to achieve your goals. All the while, taking into account your current savings contributions, inflations, salary growth projects and other variables unique to females.

With a $0 minimum** and low fees, you could be taking control of your retirement in a few minutes when you set up a customized investment plan. Review first then commit later. Your future mature you will be thanking you.

Bonus: For a limited time, The Smart Wallet readers get $50 to start investing towards their first funded goal with no minimum balance!

We’re excited to be working with Ellevest to start this conversation about women and money. We will receive compensation if you become an Ellevest client.*


*EverQuote’s individual savings, if any, and premiums will vary by customer. Savings amount based on countrywide survey of users from Nov 2018 to Apr 2019 who reported old and new premiums.

*OppLoans APR ranges from 59%-199% depending on the state.

*325% more expensive eating out vs home source: Investment Zen

*0.09% national average APY: FDIC for the week of Feb 11, 2019- https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/resources/rates/#one

1 – Varo Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is accurate as of December 1, 2019. This rate is variable and may change. No minimum balance required to open account. Balance in Savings must be at least $0.01 to earn interest.

^Early access to direct deposit funds depends on timing of payer’s submission of deposits. We generally post such deposits on the day they are received which may be up to 2 days earlier than the payer’s scheduled payment date.

*Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.

*Stash Stock-Back™ rewards is not sponsored or endorsed by Green Dot Bank, Green Dot Corporation, Visa U.S.A., or any of their respective affiliates, and none of the foregoing has any responsibility to fulfill any stock rewards earned through this program.

*Debit Account Services provided by Green Dot Bank and Stash Visa Debit card issued by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Visa is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association. Account opening of the debit account is subject to Green Dot Bank approval. Green Dot Bank operates under the following registered trade names: GoBank, Green Dot Bank and Bonneville Bank. All of the registered trade names are used by, and refer to a single FDIC-insured bank, Green Dot Bank. Deposits under any of these trade names are deposits with Green Dot Bank and are aggregated for deposit insurance coverage. Your debit account is insured to the regulatory limits by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Green Dot is a registered trademark of Green Dot Corporation. ©2019 Green Dot Bank. All rights reserved. Investment products and services are not offered by Green Dot Bank and are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value.

*Ellevest: Information was obtained from third party sources, which we believe to be reliable but not guaranteed for accuracy or completeness. The information provided should not be relied upon as investment advice or recommendations, does not constitute a solicitation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered specific legal, investment or tax advice. The information provided does not take into account the specific objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific person. Investing entails risk including the possible loss of principal and there is no assurance that the investment will provide positive performance over any period of time.

**Account Requirements
Ellevest Digital doesn’t require you to maintain a minimum account balance. However, there are portfolio specific minimums (ranging from $1 to approximately $240). You may not receive the entire recommended portfolio until your account balance meets the respective portfolio minimum.

Rebalancing and Ongoing Management
Ellevest will not rebalance a portfolio until it meets the respective account balance minimum necessary to generate the required shares. This minimum is a function of portfolio allocation and the share price of individual holdings, which will vary.

Some of the sponsored links that appear on this page are from companies that offer investment advisory services. They compensate us; for details on our compensation arrangements, please click here.

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