1. Stop spending so much on debt

Worried man counting home finances sitting on floor in living room
baranq / Shutterstock

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

If you want to break free from your debt ASAP, your best bet is to take out 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.

A service called Credible will show you quotes from all the lenders in your area willing to give you a loan, which makes it easy for you to shop around and find the best 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 with Credible could save you thousands of dollars and help you become debt-free years sooner.

2. Avoid overpaying for homeowners insurance

happy couple relaxing in bed and holding hands at morning
LightField Studios / Shutterstock

If your homeowners 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.

3. Save every time you shop online

Happy young couple doing shopping on internet
ESB Professional / Shutterstock

If you do most of your shopping online — and nowadays, who doesn’t? — 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.

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.

4. Slash the cost of your car insurance

Young woman driving a car in the city. Portrait of a beautiful woman in a car, looking out of the window and smiling. Travel and vacations concepts
William Perugini / Shutterstock

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, to see how much you could save.

5. Play the market with free stock

Portrait photo of young Asian business woman feeling happy after receiving product order confirmation from customer by e-mail.
Cat Box / Shutterstock

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 an app called Robinhood will let you buy pieces of companies like Google and Tesla for as little as $1 — and when they profit, so can you.

Robinhood allows you to 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, Robinhood will add one free share to your account — and there’s a chance it’ll be from Facebook, Apple or Microsoft.

6. Scoop up your forgotten funds

magnifying glass lies on  american dollars on white
In Green / Shutterstock

You know where all your money is, right?

Actually, people move on and forget all about money in old accounts all the time. 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.

7. Get a payday from your old playthings

Princess Leia Organa, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker & Obi Wan 'Ben' Kanobi form Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope - Hasbro Black Series 6 inch figures
Willrow Hood / Shutterstock

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.

8. Refinance to a cheaper student loan

man looking at computer screen, stressed
fizkes / Shutterstock

So far this year, President Joe Biden has forgiven $2.3 billion in student loans, affecting more than 113,000 borrowers.

If you have not qualified for loan forgiveness so far, consider saving money by refinancing your loan.

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.

9. Make money with your digital spare change

American coins in loose change and in paper rolls prepared for currency exchange at the bank.
Marlon Lopez MMG1 Design / Shutterstock

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

Acorns offers micro-investing accounts that start at just a few dollars 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 be added to your account. It may not seem like much, but over time that spare change can really add up.

And if you sign up using this special link, Acorns will add $10 to your account as soon as you make your first investment.

10. Tell a robot to give you a budget

antique Vintage retro robot tin toy
freedomnaruk / Shutterstock

If you don’t have the time or patience to keep a budget, a number of free apps out there can handle the tricky parts for you.

Truebill is a handy option because it will track and categorize your monthly expenses and show you your cash, credit and investment balances in one place.

The app also will check to make sure you’re not wasting money on any subscriptions you may have forgotten about, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars a year.

And if you feel like you’re paying too much for your monthly bills, Truebill can negotiate a better rate on them for you, for a small fee.

11. Grab no-cost housing with a live-in flip

couple in home doing renovations, thinking about changes to home, with ladder and paint in the foreground
Evgeny Atamanenko/ Shutterstock

What are you doing with all that pandemic downtime? If you have the skills, why not try a live-in flip. You could buy a fixer-upper with an ultra-low mortgage rate, move in and renovate the place, then flip it for a profit that rivals a year's worth of mortgage payments.

You can pay a lower long-term capital gains tax on your profits — rather than the higher tax for short-term gains — as long as you live in the home for at least one year.

Mortgage rates are hovering near record lows today, meaning you may never pay less for a home loan. Try gathering and comparing at least five mortgage offers to find the best rate.

12. Use artificial intelligence to find a better job

Businessman or job seeker review his resume on his desk before send to finding a new job with pen, necktie, glasses and digital tablet.
Neomaster / Shutterstock

We know the job market is tough right now, so if your job hunt is coming up short it might be time to expand your search to positions that fall outside your field.

ZipRecruiter is a free online job board that 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 using ZipRecruiter, you may be able to find a career you didn’t even know you were qualified for.

13. Dump private mortgage insurance, if you're a homeowner

Front door of a home
David Papazian / Shutterstock

If you have plain-vanilla conventional mortgage and made less than a 20% down payment, you’re likely familiar with private mortgage insurance.

PMI protects the lender in case you default on your home loan — and it could be costing you up to $2,000 a year. So, how do you ditch this?

If you can manage making payments that will get you down to 80% of the original mortgage balance, you can request to have PMI removed. You also might refinance to a new home loan that’s below 80% of the home’s value.

Even if you can't junk the PMI, you can refinance and cut your monthly payment by hundreds of dollars, thanks to today's spectacularly low mortgage rates.

14. Turn your clutter into cash

Vinyl record with copy space in front of a collection of albums (dummy titles), vintage process
Delpixel / 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.

15. Switch to a high-deductible health plan and HSA

Middle eastern male pharmacist wearing protective hygienic mask to prevent infection selling medications to woman patient to prescription and making drug recommendations in modern pharmacy
worawit_j / Shutterstock

If you’re relatively healthy and your medical expenses generally don't go beyond physicals and screenings, a high-deductible health plan could save you money.

Your deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance covers the rest, and the higher the deductible, the lower your premiums will be.

Also note that switching to one of these health plans will make you eligible for a health savings account (HSA), a tax-advantaged account just for medical-related expenses. Money can go in directly from your pay before taxes are taken out, or you can make contributions on your own that are tax-deductible.

The funds in the account grow tax-free, and as long as the money is used for eligible health costs, it can be withdrawn tax-free.

If you need help finding a high-deductible health insurance plan, you might search using a free online service that will help you find the right policy at the lowest rates.

16. Get paid if businesses behaved badly

A law book with a gavel - Class action
Zerbor / Shutterstock

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.

17. Burn calories while you earn

Pizza Delivery Man Ringing The Door Bell With A Large Red Bag In His Hand
Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

Food delivery has become a booming industry during the pandemic, and putting in a few hours a week as a delivery person is a great way to make some quick cash without having to make a big commitment.

DoorDash is a delivery service that allows you to choose your own schedule and work whenever you want. You can earn up to $30 an hour and make deliveries anywhere, whether it’s close to home or in a neighborhood you’re just visiting.

You don’t even need to have a car to become a DoorDasher — you can use a bike and get in your cardio workout for the day while you earn.

All you need to get started is a smartphone and a car or bike. The sign-up process takes only a few minutes, and once you’re approved you can start making deliveries right away.

18. Turn your hobby or skill into a lucrative side gig

Close up portrait of beautiful and authentic young female artist or painter create art piece. Detailed work for personal creative project. Tattoo artist draws artwork
BublikHaus / Shutterstock

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

The world’s largest online marketplace for digital services makes it super easy to get paid 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 alone — and never have to go back to an office again.

About the Author

Ethan Rotberg

Ethan Rotberg


Ethan Rotberg is a staff reporter at MoneyWise. His background includes nearly 15 years as a writer, editor, designer and communications professional. He loves storytelling, from feature writing to narrative podcasts. His work has appeared in the Toronto Star, CPA Canada and Metro, among others.

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