13 strategies to boost your income, starting this weekend

Laveta Brigham

13 strategies to boost your income, starting this weekend We’re guessing you could use at least a little more money right about now. Right? Maybe you’re struggling to make ends meet as the latest, ugliest wave of the coronavirus brings new lockdowns and business closures. Or maybe you could use […]

13 strategies to boost your income, starting this weekend
13 strategies to boost your income, starting this weekend

We’re guessing you could use at least a little more money right about now. Right?

Maybe you’re struggling to make ends meet as the latest, ugliest wave of the coronavirus brings new lockdowns and business closures. Or maybe you could use more cash for online shopping as you hide out from the pandemic at home.

If you’ve got money problems or just have your eye on a brand new smartphone, you might give your bank account a boost starting this weekend.

We’ve checked out a bunch of money-making ideas and have put together this roster of 13 honest-to-gosh ways to increase your income. You could easily get something going before Monday rolls around.

1. Turn your old playthings into a payday

Sao Paulo / Brazil - June 29 2019: Closeup of old toys including superheroes (Huck, Superman, Spiderman, Robin, Batgirl) and cartoon characters (Hello Kitty, Minion, and Disney ones).
Jo Galvao / Shutterstock

Got a box full of your old toys, gathering dust in your attic — or your mom’s? Well, maybe the time has finally come to say goodbye and list that stuff online, because it may be worth more than you’d think.

Toys from the 1970s and ’80s could be worth hundreds of dollars, maybe even thousands, if you kept them in good condition.

Selling things on eBay is relatively simple, but if you’ve never done it before, check out this handy guide on how to get started.

2. Start investing — and get free stock

If you’ve never played the stock market before, you might think that owning shares in a well-known company is out of reach right now.

But one popular stock trading app will let you invest in companies like Google and Tesla for as little as $1 — and when they profit, so can you.

You also can buy fractional shares — little pieces of stocks, options, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and cryptocurrencies. Best of all, there are no fees and no commissions.

And when you sign up, you’ll have one free share added to your account — and there’s a chance it’ll be from Facebook, Visa or Microsoft.

3. Save every time you shop online

The hands of a woman online shopping on her smartphone and computer.
Waraporn Wattanakul / Shutterstock

If you’re like many people and are doing much of your shopping online these days, you likely go to the same website again and again. You know which one.

But Amazon doesn’t always have the best prices, and nobody has time to price-check every store.

But you can just install a free browser extension that will automatically find you deals and coupon codes every time you shop online.

You also can set price-drop alerts for your favorite products, so if they go on sale you’ll be the first to know. The download takes just a moment and could save you hundreds of dollars each year.

4. Collect your unclaimed money

This happens all the time: People move on and forget all about money they’ve left behind in old accounts. It’s so common that Americans currently have more than $40 billion in unclaimed funds waiting for them.

Is a chunk of that yours? Search MissingMoney.com, which will show if you left any money in an old checking or savings account, or if you’re entitled to unclaimed life insurance policies from relatives who have passed away. (You’ll want to be a lot more careful when you buy your own life insurance policy).

You also should check with the IRS to see if there are any tax refunds you’re missing.

You can amend your previous tax returns for up to three years if you were eligible for a refund but neglected to claim it.

5. Make your debt less expensive

Young stressed Caucasian couple facing financials troubles, sitting at kitchen table with papers, calculator and laptop computer and reading document from bank, looking frustrated and unhappy
WAYHOME studio / Shutterstock

High-interest debt from credit cards and personal loans can be a major drain on your bank balance, especially if you’re able to make only the minimum payments each month amid the pandemic.

If you want to break free from your debt ASAP, your best bet is to shop around for a debt consolidation loan. You’ll trade in all of your current debts — credit cards, loans, everything — for a single monthly payment at a lower interest rate.

You can borrow up to $100,000 with no collateral at rates as low as 5.95%.

Depending on how much interest you’re paying on your current debts, consolidating them could save you thousands of dollars and help you become debt-free years earlier.

6. Put the brakes on your car insurance bills

If you own a car and aren’t shopping around for cheaper insurance every six months, you could be throwing away more than $1,100 a year, according to one estimate

Comparing rates from multiple insurance companies may sound like a lot of work, but there are websites that do the shopping around for you and can find you a better deal in three minutes.

Just answer a few quick questions, and you’ll soon be sorting through quotes from hundreds of car insurers to find you the lowest price available for the coverage you currently have.

It’s totally free, so even if you’re just curious it’s worth checking out — just to see how much you could save.

7. Find a better rate on your homeowners insurance

Rear view of a couple relaxing on a sofa at home and looking outside a green background through the window of the living room
Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock

If your home insurance bill seems steep, you might be able to cut it down to size by shopping around online for a better rate.

Just compare quotes from hundreds of insurers for free, in only a couple of minutes.

Answer a few basic questions, and you’ll instantly see the best deals available in your area.

You could save close to $1,000 a year on your homeowners policy, while still keeping the same level of coverage you currently have.

8. Get paid when businesses behave badly

When companies do the wrong thing, they get taken to court — and sometimes their customers receive some compensation.

Check ClassAction.com to see if you qualify for reimbursement over products or services you purchased in the past that were falsely advertised, defective, or that you were overcharged for.

Recent settlements have involved companies including Apple, Tesla, Juul and others. Many class action claims can be completed online in a few minutes, though it may take up to a year to receive your rebate.

The criteria for eligibility will vary depending on the lawsuit, but in some cases you may not even need a receipt to get reimbursed. If proof of purchase is required and you can’t find your receipt, remember to check your bank and credit card statements.

9. Grow your spare change

Growing plants on coins stacked on green blurred backgrounds and natural light with financial ideas.
Arthon.Meekodong / Shutterstock

Another easy way to start investing in the stock market is by putting your spare change to work.

There’s an app that offers micro-investing accounts starting at just a few bucks a month. The “round-up” feature lets you invest the spare change that’s left over whenever you make a purchase.

So if you buy a coffee for $3.65, 35 cents will get added to your account. It may not seem like much, but over time that spare change can really add up.

10. Shrink your student loan debt

Payments on federal student loans are paused through the end of 2020, but if you’ve got debt from a private student loan you’re still on the hook for your regular monthly minimum.

The good news is that right now interest rates on private student loans are at all-time lows — as low as 1% in some cases — and refinancing your loan can save you a bundle.

Refinancing lets you pay off your current debt with a new loan that has a lower interest rate. Your monthly payment will go down, and you’ll have more money to spend on other things.

You can find quotes from multiple lenders in just minutes, so you can shop around and make sure you’re getting the best rate possible that could save you thousands in interest.

11. Cut your clutter and get paid

stack of books, library, cd, headphones, wooden table and bookcase
Xanya69 / Shutterstock

Mess creates stress, and if you’re already worried about money, you don’t need piles of clutter adding to your anxiety. But trying to sell your old electronics, books, and movies online can be a chore, and you might make only a fraction of what your items are worth.

We conducted a test of the top services online and found that Decluttr pays up to 33% more than other buyback programs, plus it was super easy to use.

Just type in the specs of your old gadgets or use the Decluttr app to scan the barcodes on your books, video games and DVDs, and you’ll get a quote instantly. Then all you have to do is put your stuff in a box, stick on the free shipping label, and drop it off at the nearest UPS store.

As soon as Decluttr gets your castoffs, you’ll be paid the next day via PayPal or direct deposit.

12. Use artificial intelligence to find a better job

The job market is tough right now, and if your hunt for work is coming up short it might be time to expand your search to positions that fall outside your field.

One free online job board uses artificial intelligence to match you with the best jobs from more than 8 million postings, based on your skills, education and experience.

It also provides valuable information on over 35,000 job titles, including the credentials required and the criteria that recruiters look for in a top candidate.

By broadening your search, you may be able to find a career you didn’t even know you were qualified for.

13. Make money from that hobby you love

Professional photographer taking picture in city
Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock

Everybody’s got a hobby. What’s yours? You could use it to score some side gigs and supplement your income.

When you use an online marketplace for digital freelance service, you can find someone eager to pay you for doing what you love.

It’s sort of like using a dating site — you just create a profile describing what you bring to the table, and people will find you based on what they’re looking for.

Once you start completing gigs and racking up positive reviews, you can bump up the price of your services and make even more money.

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