At the beginning of each year it’s New Year, new you, right? But how long does that last?
Yea I made my usual lose weight, save more money, and travel more resolutions, but let’s face it, these “goals” aren’t going to come true without a solid plan.
And to save more money? Well, it’ll be easier if you have more money to begin with, right? So we’ll focus on that and lay it all out – Here’s our list of stupid simple ways to make extra cash for the rest of the year.
1. Never Pay Overdraft or Hidden Fees Again*
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).
Good news is that it can be completely avoidable by setting up No-Fee Overdraft with Varo.
There are no monthly account service fees, no foreign transaction fees, and fee-free withdrawals at 55,000+ Allpoint® ATMs worldwide. Also, Varo lets you overdraft up to $50 without charging any overdraft fees! 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 Varo bank account, you can open a high yield savings account too. Start earning 1.92% Annual Percentage Yield (APY)* on your savings and then move up to 2.80% APY* based on qualifying activity. 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.^
This is the new way to bank and it takes less than 5 minutes to learn more and apply for free.
2. You Gotta Eat - Get Up to $240 Cash Back/Year in Grocery Purchases
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.
And it’ll feel like you’re getting paid just for shopping!
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.
Some offers we found:
- 25 cents back on any item
- $3 – $5 back on various wine
- $2 back on KIND Protein Bars
- 25 cents – $4 back on ice cream
- $2 back on Herbal Essence Haircare
Popular stores are Walmart, Target, Kroger, and Trader Joe’s 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
3. Medical Emergencies Happen - Here’s How To Afford the Unexpected
True story: My cousin was on a cruise to Canada, and while coming down the stairs, she missed a step and tumbled down. She later found out that she broke several bones in her left foot, and was unable to go to work for 3 weeks because of a massive cast.
Unfortunately, accidents like this can happen and it could be disastrous to your wallet and potentially your career.
Sure, you can always prepare by having a savings account devoted to “what if” moments, but if you find yourself in a tight spot, there are options that can help, like Opploans.
Even if you have a poor credit score you could still get a personal loan for short-term financial needs such as 6 to 24 months. Definitely useful for unexpected situations.
Submitting an application doesn’t affect your FICO credit score, so check if there’s a short-term personal loan that you may need for a medical emergency, major purchases, life events and more.
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 eligibility. And when monthly payments are made back on the loan, Opploans will notify the 3 credit bureaus to build up your payment history and in turn, build your credit history!
4. Free Gift Cards Just for Going Shopping? Yes, please.
Go on your normal grocery shopping trips. Scan your receipt after. Get points towards gift cards. No extra fuss. No digital coupons to pre-select or specific stores to go to.
It’s perfect for the lazy but smart saver.
Scan receipts from supermarkets, neighborhood corner shops, wholesale clubs, drugstores, convenience stores, and even liquor stores. Unlike other apps, you’re not restricted to specific stores. As long as your receipt has any of the thousands of participating products, you’ll earn points to redeem for gift cards.
You can start redeeming points for rewards with as little as 3,000 points ($3). Grab a 2,000 points bonus ($2!) when you enter this referral code: REWARD before you scan your first receipt on your iOS or Android.
5. Up To 40% Cash Back Automatically? Sign Us Up!
Saving money and getting cash back on purchases always sounds like a great idea – until you completely forget to take the steps to get the savings. There are SO many ways to save money while shopping, who can remember if it’s not automatic?
Rakuten (iOS or Android), previously called Ebates, can help you get cash back on everyday shopping as well as apparel, beauty, restaurants, and more, automatically. With Rakuten, you don’t even have to upload your receipts after your purchases. They’ll send you simple push notifications when your favorite stores increase their cash back deals or have a good sale.
Offering simple one-tap savings with no points or fees helps ensure that you get the most out of your purchases. So, before buying anything, hop into the iOS or Android app to see if you can get up to 40% cash back at over 2,500 stores.
They also have an amazing referral program where you can earn $25 for each eligible friend. New members get a $10 bonus too!
6. 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.*
7. Sky High-Interest Rates On Multiple Credit Cards? Consolidate to a Lower APR!
Mayday mayday, your financial situation is calling for help.
Especially if you have multiple credit cards with sky high-interest rates, and you’re falling behind on payments. You’re not alone, considering 47% of credit card accounts are carrying a balance at least one month over,* but why exist as one of many? Those interest fees will rack up and increase your balance.
Consider credit card debt consolidation! By borrowing money at a lower interest rate to pay off the outstanding balances from your credit cards, you can consolidate your multiple payments and high-interest rates into one!
Fiona makes it simple by matching you with a personalized low-interest loan to help pay off all your credit card balances. With their industry-leading matching technology, you can choose from a comprehensive range of top providers. It’s free to use and takes less than 60 seconds. Loans range from $1,000 to $100,0000 with rates as low as 3.84% APR. Loan terms are 24-84 months depending on the lender.
Fiona can also help with personal loans on home improvement, weddings, or other big purchases. You can even get a personal loan for unexpected emergency medical bills, so you can ease that anxiety that’s been building up!
8. Be Prepared: Get $1 Million in Life Insurance for as Little as $8/Month
When you hear “life insurance” the first 2 things that might come to mind are death and finances. Ultimately it’s “I love you” money to your family after you’ve passed away, which should be talked about during these crazy times.
For most people, life insurance is logical but the long process could be deterring. Some life insurance companies can take up to 2.5 months for the approval process to complete, including paperwork and a comprehensive medical exam which may be inconvenient.
But one company is trying to change all that. Bestow’s mission is to offer affordable term life insurance in under 5 minutes without you having to talk to anyone. No exam needed either.
You can get up to $1 million in coverage and they offer 2 years, 10 years and 20 years term options.
All of Bestow’s policies are issued by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®, who’s been around for over 100 years and holds an A+ (Superior) rating with A.M. Best, a global credit rating agency for insurance companies.
In plain English terms, it means your policy is provided by a dependable insurance giant who has been serving customers for many years.
So if you’re between the ages of 21-54, here’s what they’ll ask:
- Your basic information (Name, Email, Address, SSN, etc)
- Some Life questions (medical history, hobbies, lifestyle)
- Beneficiaries (who would receive the money after insured’s death)
- Policy and payment details (If approved, you choose the monthly payment and enter credit card info)
Each policy has a “free look” period (usually 30 days) which means you can cancel if it’s not right for you and get a full refund.
And you can easily cancel your policy at any time.
Life insurance talk isn’t fun but Bestow is attempting to make it as easy as possible for people to get covered quickly. Go ahead and see what your rates are in just under 5 minutes. It’s the biggest “I love you” you can give to your loved ones.
*Bestow is currently not available in New York
9. iPhone Users Can School Competitors in Solitaire and Ca$h In
Solitaire Cube 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 Cube to win some legit cash, definitely download this game for free.
Cash tournaments not available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, FL, LA, ME, MT, SC, SD, TN, IN
10. Earn Up To $40,000 (!) A Year By Renting Out Your RV On the Most Trusted Platform
If you own an RV, you know this better than anyone else: it stays dormant almost all year. And it’s true, 80% of RVs go unused for 300 out of the 365 days.
While it’s great to have one ready for road-trip purposes, there are more productive (and profitable) ways to handle the sleeping beast.
With RVshare you can earn up to $40,000 a year by renting out your RV when you’re not using it. List for free on their marketplace and people looking to rent can connect with you. It’s kind of like an Airbnb but for RVs.
The marketplace is completely free to use, so you don’t have to worry about getting hit with a fee while your listing is active. RVshare only makes money when you do, so after your listing is booked they’ll take a small portion to keep the site up and running.
Your RV is protected. There’s nationwide (plus Canada) insurance for both parties along with 24/7 roadside assistance to ensure your RV is taken care of while on the road.
You could also list your RV as a stationary rental, meaning it can stay on your property. This works best if your RV is parked near potential travel destinations. (Sorry, HI residents are ineligible to list!)
So take that dormant RV and start turning it into cash! Since it’s free to list, just add your make and model and RVshare will show you how much you can earn this year.
11. 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 on iOS or Android 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 (iOS or Android) 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 10,000 points ($10!!) automatically when you earn your first 1,000 points.
12. 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 (iOS or Android) 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 (iOS or Android) 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.
13. Get Paid to Take Popular Surveys, Watch Videos, and Even Read Emails With This Site
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!
14. Bet on Yourself to Get Healthier and Get Paid
There’s nothing like money motivation right? Especially for fitness.
You might be extra inspired because there’s a health and wellness company that will pay you to lose weight. Seriously!
It’s called Healthywage.
They have a ton of testimonial/pictures on their site along with legit places reviewing them from CNN, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.
So if you need some money motivation to lose weight, here’s how it works:
1. Start with the HealthyWage calculator (Read more)
2. Decide on a weight goal & amount of time to achieve it
3. Bet on yourself ranging from $20-$150 a month
4. Achieve your goal and you could win up to $10,000 depending on your HealthyWager!
5. If you don’t achieve your goal, the money goes to support HealthyWage, including prizes for others who achieve their goals
15. iPhone Only: This Isn't Your Grandma’s Bingo - Play Anywhere for Cash
Classic bingo is a game based on both luck and skill since it takes strategy to beat the odds of the house and the players around you.
However, you can ditch the bingo hall and giant stamps in favor of Blackout Blitz on iPhones, a fast-paced and competitive bingo game that you can play anywhere on your phone. And even against your friends.
2 minutes. That’s all you need per game where you play against another person around the world. Everyone sees the same card and balls so by daubing (tapping the number) fast and correctly, you’ll get bonus boosts for more points! Tap the incorrect number and points will get docked so don’t get sloppy!
This easy-to-learn game is awesome for killing time and earning cash all at once, anywhere.
You can play for free on your iPhone against real people for prizes or switch over to cash games to win…cash! Cash game winners can win up to $1,000 or more in mini-tournaments.
Cash tournaments not available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, FL, LA, MT, SC, SD, and TN.
16. Affordable Car Insurance Exists - Check Every Year and Save an Average $479
So let’s be real. When was the last time you checked auto insurance quotes? People who shop around every 6 months or every year, tend to pay a lot less than those who stick with their current provider.
And it doesn’t have to be complicated either. Instead of individually requesting quotes from companies (which can get messy and take forever), just answer a few questions on CarInsurance.net and they’ll match you among dozens of regional agencies and insurance carriers to save on your car insurance.
It literally takes a few minutes answering quick questions like how many drivers you want to insure, if you’ve had any accidents the past 3 years, what your vehicle year/make/model is and other simple one-tap questions. On average, you can save $479 with CarInsurance.net!
Since it’s such an easy and free process, try it out to see how much you could be saving on the road.
17. Get Paid To Share Your Opinion Anytime
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.
- 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.
18. Make 1.61% 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 1.61% 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.
19. Extremely Passive Earnings - Just Leave This App On & Get Paid
Because it gives you points on location, go ahead and enable location services. Then when you do have to leave the house, just turn the app on before you go take a walk, go for a grocery run, or just to check up on family members from a safe social distance.
After testing it we think it’s a great app that rewards you for doing almost nothing. If you’re still skeptical, know this:
- You don’t have to complete offers
- You don’t have to watch ads
- You don’t have to buy anything
- You don’t have to do anything but leave the app running
We snagged a $5 Amazon gift card via email after leaving the app on and forgetting about it. You can also choose VISA gift cards, MasterCard gift cards or sweepstakes entries.
TIP: When you’re a new member, it’ll ask you if you want to keep the app running in the background. Just tap “Yes” to continue getting paid!
*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.
**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
^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.
*OppLoans APR ranges from 59%-199% depending on your state of residence (Rates and Terms here). Credit reporting not available for Texas residents.
*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.
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.
*47% of credit card accounts carry a balance: CNBC
*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 March 31, 2020. 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.
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.