Money Moves That People Who Make Less Than $52,000/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.

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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 $52,000 a year.

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

1. Scan the Stuff You Buy & Get Free Rewards

The exclusive Nielsen Panel program is opening up again for more participants! This is your opportunity to make your consumer voice heard! (And get paid for it!)

When you become a panelist, just use the app to scan the barcodes of items you purchase, provide a few additional transaction details, and you’ll earn points for:

  • Gift Cards
  • Tablets
  • Electronic Equipment
  • Flat Screen TVs
  • and much more from their gift catalog!

Plus, all panelists are automatically entered into weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual drawings to win extra points and gift cards – even a quarterly sweepstakes to win $5,000!

The more you share your shopping habits (scan barcodes), the more rewards you can get. You can also answer surveys and share information about your overall shopping trip.

“Scanning my purchases is fun! I also enjoy taking the surveys. Earning points is fast and easy and they have a great selection of rewards.” – Jennifer B.

It’s a fun way to earn more rewards on items you’ve already purchased and at no extra cost to you.

Register now to see if you’re eligible to be a Nielsen Panelist. Eligibility will be based on your location. If you don’t get accepted this time, don’t worry! They’re always expanding locations, so check back again.

2. Don’t Go Shopping Without This Free Money-Making App

Do you shop at brands like UberEats, Amazon, Tim Hortons, and Starbucks? You’re missing out on free gift cards for those purchases if you’re not using Drop as you shop online and in-stores at brands like these.

Drop, is a 100% free app that lets you earn reward points back on your normal shopping! All you have to remember is: Start with Drop before you shop. From there, it’s as simple as “Tap, Shop, Earn, Redeem.”

  1. Tap on the brand’s offer on Drop
  2. Shop through the brand’s app/website as you normally would. Drop will direct you there!
  3. Earn points back on your purchase.
  4. Redeem your points for a gift card of your choice – whenever and wherever you want!

Plus, when you link the debit/credit cards that you use most, you’ll get access to exclusive deals (like earning points back on every Postmates order) where purchases will automatically get tracked. You’ll even get personalized recommendations based on your shopping preferences.

And use Drop on top of your loyalty and credit card points to stack rewards!

The bottom line is: Not using this app would be like going to an all-inclusive resort, not knowing about all the free food/drinks/activities, and just staying in your room and eating crackers the whole time. No one wants that!

BONUS OFFER: Use promo code SMARTWALLET to unlock 10,000 points ($10!!) automatically when you earn your first 1,000 points.

For a limited time, sign up for an RBC Royal Bank card through Drop, and when you link that card to the app, you’ll earn an extra 3% in Drop points on everyday spending at participating brands (e.g. Petro Canada, Sobeys, Safeway, Doordash, and more) for 3 months!

3. Get Paid To Share Your Opinion Anytime

Samantha Gades

Your opinion is valuable. So valuable you deserve to earn extra cash for sharing it.

You can do it with Survey Junkie. They pay cash to members who participate in surveys about their shopping habits, cell phone usage, and more. Basic stuff.

Completing a survey earns you 20 to 100 points. Each point is worth one cent, and when you hit 1,000 points (or $10) you can cash out.

Redeem via:

  • Online gift cards
  • Paypal cash
  • Bank transfer

Signing up for Survey Junkie only takes a few minutes and you’ll earn your first 100 ($1 value!) points just by creating an account, filling out an intro questionnaire, and verifying your email address. Easy.

After that, you’re free to dive into surveys. They have surveys with various durations (5 to 20 minutes) to complete and new ones pop up constantly so you’ll never be bored! Fill one out when you’re waiting for someone or have time to kill.

Survey Junkie won’t get you rich quick (no survey sites ever do), but it’s an easy way to make some extra cash by doing nothing other than giving your opinions.

4. This Paid Survey Panel Gives Out 7,000 Gift Cards Daily

There are a lot of survey programs out there, but none as popular as Swagbucks, a free rewards program where you can earn cash for your time and opinion. Members can earn an average of $50 a month!

You get rewarded for doing surveys, searching the web, reading articles, watching videos, and playing fun games but the one activity that earns you the most points is completing surveys. (Don’t skip out on those!)

Points can then be redeemed for free gift cards, cash, and sweepstakes entries. All just by completing fun activities and giving your opinions.

New members can get a free $5 just for signing up, so join the other 10 million members already part of Swagbucks and start earning free rewards!

5. Over 750,000 People Use this App to Easily Invest

Investing sounds complicated but it doesn’t have to be. And you don’t have to be rich either to play the investment game. That’s why Moka is a popular choice for anyone new to investing since they make it so easy.

For every purchase you make, Moka automatically rounds it up to the nearest dollar and then saves & invests the difference into your Moka account.

Just connect Moka to your credit/debit card and it’ll save automatically. Set it and forget it.

Since roundups are less than $1 and basically spare change, you’ll barely notice the impact initially but over time it’ll grow to make a big difference.

Moka will continue to round up and save for you, while at the same time, investing those savings so that your portfolio can grow.

It only costs $3/month no matter how much money you have in the account. Moka is already taking care of over $200 million for their clients and their monthly cost is absolutely cheaper than an investment advisor.

6. Automatically Get Free Cash Back for the Stuff You’re Already Buying

Home project supplies, pizza, gas, shoes, and more. Just normal purchases you don’t think twice on.

But if you could automatically get cash back on those normal purchases, why not? Ampli makes this possible.

It’s a 100% free to use cash back app powered by RBC where you can get free money back from over 50+ participating retailers like The Home Depot, Petro-Canada, Rexall, Michaels, adidas, Boston Pizza, West Jet, and much more.

Just simply link your credit or debit card(s), shop normally on brand websites or in-store, and Ampli will drop cash back in your account! There’s no need to select offers or go through Ampli to make a purchase. After setting up your card(s), there are no extra steps, just shop normally and it’ll auto-detect your eligible transactions.

Cash out easily at $15 through free Interac e-Transfer. Members also earn entries into the monthly “Dreamstakes” contests where people have won up to $50,000!

So download Ampli for free now. You’d be throwing away free money if you don’t use it!

7. Easily Earn Cash for Your Opinions and Feedback

Extra fun money is always welcome to have on hand. And if you’re looking for an easy way to earn, just share your opinions online with Branded Surveys.

You just have to complete a profile so their survey matching system can provide you with eligible surveys to fill out. When surveys are finished, you’ll earn points to redeem for Paypal cash and gift cards like Amazon, Esso, Tim Horton’s, Roots, and more!

The estimated completion time for each survey is always visible so you know what to expect. You’ll also get daily poll opportunities to earn even more points. There’s no limit to how many surveys you can do, and you can refer friends for even extra rewards.

Sign up now and get a $1 welcome bonus!

8. 56% of Canadians Never Check Their Credit Score Even Though It’s Free

When was the last time you checked your credit score?

Since a low credit score could affect your ability to actually rent an apartment, get a car, and even a new job, you should be checking at least on a monthly basis.

It’s easy with Borrowell, where you can get a free Equifax credit score and report in 3 minutes. You’ll also get credit monitoring to track any errors, be alerted of potential fraud, and personal tips to improve your credit!

All Borrowell credit checks will not affect your credit score so you can comfortably check monthly to make sure the most important 3 digit number in your life is moving up.

9. Spin to Win - Earn Coins to Build Adventurous Villages (And Raid Others)

Note: You can’t make any money off this game but we’re adding it in just because it’s fun and a good way to distract yourself when you want to.

Coin Master is a free casual game that’s amassed over 81 million downloads and has earned the rep of being one of the most interactive games on the market.

Spin to earn coins, chances to raid other villages, and build up your own village to move to the next level. There are over 200 uniquely themed villages to build including Steampunk Land, LA Dreams, Magical Forest, Hell’s Village, and more. Pets can also be raised to help you get more coins.

When you need a little break from the real world, head into Coin Master to play for free!