Got money woes? You can start doing something about that this weekend.
You may be among the many Americans who are in a financial squeeze from 2020’s tough economy. Major layoff announcements are growing, millions are exhausting their unemployment benefits, food banks are busier — and who knows if you’ll ever get another stimulus check?
Face it: You could use some extra money in your pocket, and that’s whether you’re struggling to make rent or just saving up for the latest-model smartphone.
But we’ve found several ways you might easily add to your income and effectively give yourself a raise, even in hard times like these. Here are 13 money-making strategies to try before Monday.
1. Get a payday from your old playthings
Got a closet full of collectibles? Well, maybe the time has finally come to say goodbye and list them online — because they might be worth even more than you think.
For example, some of your toys from the 1970s and ’80s could be worth hundreds of dollars — maybe even thousands — if you’ve kept them in good condition.
Selling stuff on eBay is relatively simple, but if you’ve never done it before, check out this handy guide on how to get started.
2. Put the brakes on overpaying for car insurance
If you’ve got 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.
3. 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 much 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.
4. Save every time you shop online
If you do most of your shopping online — and these days who doesn’t? — you likely go to the same website again and again. You know the one.
But Amazon doesn’t always have the best prices, and nobody has time to price-check every store.
So, just download 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. Installation takes just a moment and could save you hundreds of dollars each year.
5. Find a better rate on your homeowners insurance
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 go online and compare quotes from hundreds of insurers for free, in only two 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 by comparing rates, while still keeping the same level of coverage you currently have.
6. Cut the cost of your debt
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 sooner.
7. Play the market with free stock
If you’ve never played the stock market before, you might think that owning stock in a well-known company is out of reach right now.
But one popular stock trading app will let you buy pieces of companies like Google and Tesla for as little as $1 — and when they profit, so can you.
You also can invest in fractional shares 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.
8. Get paid if businesses behaved badly
When companies do the wrong thing, they get taken to court — and sometimes their customers get compensated.
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. Invest your spare change
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. Turn your clutter into cash
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.
11. Shrink your student loan debt
Payments on federal student loans have been 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.
12. Use artificial intelligence to find a better job
The job market is tough right now, and if your job hunt 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 your hobby your new side gig
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.
Who knows? You might even find that you’re able to support yourself on your freelance income — and never have to go back to a real job again.