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1. Check if you have unclaimed money lying around

It’s possible that you have unclaimed money just sitting in an old account — seriously, it happens a lot. In fact, Americans currently have more than $40 billion in unclaimed funds.

The best place to start your search is 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 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.

How to get a free $20 to invest in your future

An app called Acorns automatically rounds up purchases made on your credit or debit card to the nearest dollar and places the excess "change" into a smart investment portfolio. Acorns offers a $20 welcome bonus, immediately from your first investment.

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2. Turn your hobby into a side gig

Young woman in glasses using laptop
DimaBerlin / Shutterstock

Have a hobby or special skill? You might be able to use it to score some side gigs and supplement your income.

There are several sites online that make it super easy to get paid for doing what you love.

One example is Fiverr, the world’s largest online marketplace for digital services. 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 freelance income alone — and never have to go back to an office again.

3. Look for a lower car insurance rate

If you own a car and you’re not shopping around for a lower insurance rate every six months, you could be throwing away up to $1,127 a year.

Comparing rates from multiple insurance companies may sound like a lot of work, but sites like SmartFinancial make it easy to find a better rate for the coverage you need.

This 2 Minute Move Could Knock $500/Year off Your Car Insurance in 2024

Saving money on car insurance with BestMoney is a simple way to reduce your expenses. You’ll often get the same, or even better, insurance for less than what you’re paying right now.

There’s no reason not to at least try this free service. Check out BestMoney today, and take a turn in the right direction.

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4. Make money online doing the things you already do

You may have heard of companies that pay you cash to fill out surveys. In most cases, the pennies you’ll earn aren’t worth the effort you’ll put in. However, we found one called Swagbucks that’s actually worth your time — and it’s not just surveys.

You also can earn money and gift cards for doing stuff like watching videos and playing games on your phone, or just shopping online at Amazon or Walmart.

In only a few weeks, a Swagbucks user named Elizabeth earned enough rewards to cover the materials for her husband’s EMT training program.

“I was able to get enough Amazon gift cards to purchase [his] blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, first responder pants, and a penlight… and I spent nothing out of pocket,” she says.

There’s no minimum time commitment, so you can make money at your own pace whenever you’ve got a free minute. And, Swagbucks is available for your phone, tablet and computer, so you can earn rewards anytime, anywhere.

5. Trade in your debt for a better deal

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 with the help of a free service called Credible.

With 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.

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.

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.

6. Get paid when businesses behave badly

Not all lawyers are bad — some are even working to get you free money through class-action lawsuits.

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.

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.

Many class action claims can be completed online in a few minutes, though it may take up to a year to receive your rebate.

7. Open a bank account that pays you for spending

Cash-back cards are a great way to get a bit of money back every time you buy gas or get groceries, but they often come with hefty annual fees.

Instead, look for free bank accounts that reward you for making everyday purchases. For instance, a Spend & Save account from Aspiration is free, and you can earn up to 10% cash back on every purchase you make.

You'll basically earn free money, just for doing your regular shopping.

8. Shave some money off your student loans

While millions of Americans anxiously await an update on student loan debt cancelation, it doesn't apply to everyone with student loan debt. If you are paying on 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 with Credible 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.

Credible will find you quotes from multiple lenders in just minutes, so you can shop around and make sure you’re getting the best rate possible.

With the right refi, you could pay off your student debt much more quickly, and save thousands in interest.

9. Use AI 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.

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.

ZipRecruiter 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.

10. Pay less for everything online

If you do most of your shopping online — and these days who doesn’t? — you likely have some go-to websites (cough Amazon cough) that you always use.

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

Capital One Shopping is a free browser extension for Chrome 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.

Taking a moment to install Capital One Shopping could save you hundreds of dollars each year.

More: Capital One Shopping vs. Honey: Which saves you more?

11. Burn calories while you earn

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.

12. Set up a budget in minutes

Do you need your butt kicked to get your budget in shape?

Rocket Money is an app that helps you to manage your money and become moe aware of your spending habits. It also makes it super easy to stay on top of all your bills ensuring you never pay a late fee again.

It’s like having a financial planner in your hands. Best of all, it’s free to use.

13. Turn your trash into cash

Got a closet full of collectibles? Well, maybe the time has finally come to take the plunge and list them online — and 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 — or possibly 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 our handy guide.

14. 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 there’s an app called Robinhood that 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, Visa or Microsoft.

15. Invest your spare change and get $10 free

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 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.

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

More: The best investment apps

16. Find a better deal on your homeowners insurance

If your homeowners insurance bill is higher than you’d like, you might be able to trim it down by shopping around online for a better rate.

SmartFinancial will let you compare quotes from hundreds of insurers for free, in only two minutes. Just 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.

17. Go viral on YouTube

Do you love being in front of the camera? You might be able to make money on YouTube.

If your content goes viral, you could potentially make serious cash — some of the highest-paid YouTubers are raking in over $20 million a year.

It’s hard to know what type of content will take off, so be mindful that you could end up sinking hours into a video that only a handful of people will watch, and that will net you $0 in profit.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out our guide on how to make money on YouTube.

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About the Author

Shane Murphy

Shane Murphy

Reporter

Shane is a reporter for MoneyWise. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language & Literature from Western University and is a graduate of the Algonquin College Scriptwriting program.

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Disclaimer

The content provided on Moneywise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.