Wednesday, February 26, 2020

10 Ways to Bootstrap Your Project When You’re Out of Money

Operating everything out of one account can make your finances muddy and contribute undue stress to your money management.

1. Open a Separate Banking Account

To simplify, open an account dedicated to saving, and put your money to work. After you open your account, use it to split your income:

  • Automatically deposit a portion of your income into your spending account, and use that to cover basic expenses like rent and bills, plus fun stuff; like eating out, shopping or going on vacation.
  • Deposit what’s left into your savings to keep it out of sight and let it grow. You’ll earn APY as long you deposit just $1 a month. We recommend squirreling more when you can, but we like that you won’t lose the perk when you can’t.

2. Share Your Opinions for Extra Cash

Online surveys aren’t our favorite way to make money, but if you’re just vegging out on the couch – why not click a couple buttons and earn a few bucks? One option – MyPoints. You can earn gift cards for taking polls and filling out surveys. Once you complete your first five surveys, you’ll earn a $5 bonus.

3. Earn $150 for Opening a Credit Card (Plus Cash Back When You Use It)

Might as well take free money where you can get it. A credit card sign-up bonus is one clever place to get it. You just have to be sure you don’t get too carried away with those purchases — and that the card is paid off at the end of each billing period.

4. Find out if You’re Paying Too Much for Car Insurance

There’s no getting around car insurance, unfortunately. But one way you could save money is by shopping and comparing rates twice a year. Not only can a lot of circumstances in your life and your car (mileage, age) change in that time, but insurance companies may be changing their pricing as well, and you want to be sure you’re getting the right coverage, service and of course pricing to suit your changing needs.

Car insurance rates keep increasing, with the average person paying $1,470 a year for coverage. The takeaway? Compare rates regularly. The Zebra, an online car insurance search engine that offers “insurance in black and white,” compares your options from 204 providers in less than 60 seconds.

5. Find Some Hidden Cash

If you’re like most of us, you’re probably paying for more subscriptions than you realize. To clear them up, download Truebill, an app that’ll help you identify and cancel unwanted subscriptions. The average Truebill user has $270 in subscriptions per month, the company reports. Some of them you want. Some of them you don’t even remember signing up for.

Simply connect your bank account to Truebill (it uses bank-level security), and it will review your recurring payments. Find any subscriptions you don’t need anymore, and click to cancel them through the app. The more accounts you connect, the more likely you are to find those sneaky subscriptions.

Truebill users cancel an average of $60 per month in unwanted subscriptions. That’s a savings of $720 per year. Just imagine what you could do with that extra money.

Truebill can also help you lower your monthly bills, such as cable and internet, and find potential refunds if you experience an outage. It’s free to submit your bill; Truebill just keeps 40% of your savings for the first year.

A premium subscription on a pay-what-is-fair model from $3 to $14 a month gets you access to concierges who will automatically manage subscriptions and get refunds for bank fees.

6. Maximize Your Tax Refund 

You probably know Credit Karma as the website to get your free credit score and find other financial products, and now it’s reinventing how you do your taxes. Its new Credit Karma Tax preparation lets you do your taxes with professional help for free.

From the time you sign up to the time you file, doing your taxes with Credit Karma is completely free. Have a lot of deductions? No problem. Need to talk to a professional to figure things out? Credit Karma can help you out. Want your max refund? It’s guaranteed.

You can even import your taxes from last year to get a head start with its Jumpstart feature. Don’t blow half of your return on a CPA. Try Credit Karma Tax preparation. It’s completely free, guaranteed accurate and lets you keep your whole refund.

7. Don’t Pay Full Price When You Shop

If you’re not earning cash back when you shop, you’re basically missing out on free money. We know it sounds strange, but Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts.

Here’s how it works: Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes. Plus, you’ll get a $10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.

8. Help Small Business Owners

Does earning $60 an hour sound appealing? How about the freedom to work from home while helping others succeed? Those are the perks of working as a bookkeeper, says Ben Robinson, a certified public accountant and business owner who teaches others to become virtual bookkeepers.

And no, you don’t have to have a CPA to be successful in this business. In fact, all you really need are decent computer skills and a passion for helping business owners tackle real-world problems.

9. Start a Flexible Side Gig

Need a fun, flexible way to earn money while also meeting lots of new people? Try driving with Uber.

Demand for ridesharing has been growing like crazy, and it shows no signs of slowing down. To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later. Best of all, you can work days, nights or weekends — it’s up to you!

10. List Your Expensive Space on Airbnb

Have a spare room (or couch)? Might as well try to earn some money by listing it on Airbnb. If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.

If you’ve exhausted all your options, call a local resource line for help. Start with 2-1-1, a confidential service offered through United Way that’ll help you find the resources you need to find affordable housing, make rent or pay utilities. To use the service, head to and enter your location. It’ll show you services in your community and give you a number to call.

You can also look into applying for a grant. Take, for example, Modest Needs grants, which are designed for workers just about the poverty line who are ineligible for most other methods of social assistance.

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