As we begin 2013 New Years resolutions are being made everywhere. On top of most lists are “save more money” or “make more money”. I’m a big believer in doing more with less so here’s some great tips on how you can save and make more money with very little effort. A lot of these suggestions in my list aren’t going to buy you a new Bently, but add them up over a year or even a lifetime and you start seeing all the extra money you may be leaving on the table.
1. Earn Free Gift Cards on Swagbucks.com
Swagbucks is an awesome little site I discovered a while back that allows you to earn free gift cards for doing things online. The gift cards are from major retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon. I personally like the option to get Amazon gift cards as I make the majority of my online purchases on Amazon.
The way it works is Swagbucks rewards you with Swag Bucks for doing online tasks such as taking surveys, shopping online, watching videos, playing games, searching the web, etc.. The Swag Bucks can then be redeemed for gift cards or other rewards. If you’re online a lot (like myself) than it’s pretty easy to start earning rewards. I have a few friends that have payed for their Christmas presents entirely with Swagbucks gift cards. You can check it out over here: Swagbucks
You can check out my more in-depth review over here: Swagbucks Review
2. Earn Extra Cash By Taking Surveys
If you have extra time and want to earn some extra money they’re quite a few online companies that pay you for taking surveys. Now these surveys will vary on size, topic, and payment and you have to qualify to take the surveys. Surveys pay out from $1 to $25 depending on the length. To maximize your earnings sign up for several of these.
Here are a couple of my personal favorites:
My Survey - Very easy surveys with quick payments. One of my favorites
Only Cash Surveys – Many short surveys that pay $2
3. Shop and Earn Program
I’ve heard of about Shop and Earn programs a while ago, but just recently decided to sign-up and try it out. I’m disappointed in the fact I waited so long to join because it’s basically free money. Shop and Earn programs allow you to earn a percentage of cash back from your online purchases. The amount varies from merchant to merchant. All you have to do is sign up to a Shop and Earn program and start shopping! I have used both Swagbucks and Ebates before and they both work well. Best to sign up for both so you get the best coverage of stores and the best percentage back.
Swagbucks – Check out the double cash back deals where they double the amount you get back. One of the few sites with Amazon cash back.
Ebates – The original shopping cash back site and still one of the best.
You really start saving when you combine multiple ways to save. For example you want to buy a new TV at Walmat. Save 4% at Swagbucks plus save 2% using a rewards earning credit card. That’s 6%. Not huge but it adds up!
4. Sell Old Electronics on Gazelle
Gazelle allows you to turn your old cell phones, ipods, ipads or other electronics into cash. Its pretty easy, you find your gadget, answer a few questions, ship it in (free if its over $1), get paid via check or PayPal. I looked up my old iPhone 3Gs and found out that I can get $37. Use this link and get an extra $10 for any trade ins worth over $25. Gazelle
5. Find a High Interest Saving Account with Minimal Fees
Everyone has a basic savings account and most don’t care to look at the interest rates they are getting because it’s pretty minimal (savings interest rates are usually in the range of .2 – 1 percent) , but another extra dollar here and an extra dollar there really starts to add up.
The savings accounts with the highest yields are usually online, so if you can deal with online banking you have a quite a few choices. Here a are a few reputable ones you can look into:
Ing Direct – .75% Interest Rate
CIT Bank – 1% Interest Rate
Ally Bank – .95%
6. Call to have your current interest rates lowered on Credit Cards
Ask and you will be given. Call your current credit card companies and just ask if they can lower the interest rate. They won’t always do it, but they will grant your request for a lower interest more often than you think.
7. Transfer CC Balances to 0% Interest Rate Credit Cards
This option can be both a blessing and a curse. I only recommend doing this if you are 100% positive you won’t using your credit cards on purchases you can’t pay back right away. If you have the will power to say no to Credit Card use then this is a great option.
This will make paying off your credit card debt a lot faster since you aren’t accumulating interest, but like I said it can also backfire on you if you keep using your high interest rate credit cards.
8. Rent Out Your Home on Air BnB when you’re out of town
I have a friend who makes upwards of $50,000 a year renting out his home in Amsterdam when he’s travelling. You can especially earn a lot if your home is in an area that is highly visited by tourist.
The reason I love this is because you get to charge hotel rates for renting out your home. And if you aren’t even going to be at home, then I see free money!
Worried about people damaging your home? Air BnB has you covered with their 1 million dollar insurance policy. Plus the fact that when you rent through Air BnB you have to give a lot of personal information, makes it highly unlikely someone will damage your home.
9. Use Coupons
Most stores nowadays will adjust their prices to compensate for coupons so if you aren’t using coupons you are actually losing money in the long runs. It’s easy to find coupons though because of the internet.
When you are about to make a purchase simply do a quick Google search on whatever the product is + coupon.
Here a couple of popular coupon sites you can get your coupons:
10. Use Store Loyalty Cards and Debit Cards
Last but not least is utilize store loyalty cards and debit cards. You don’t need to get a card for every single store but just the few that you visit very regularly.
Stores will usually give you rewards in cash back or gift certificates based on the amount you spend. If you are going to buy from those stores anyways might as well get extra rewards.
Many stores now also provide a free debit card which basically just connects onto your bank account. This also doubles as a reward card but the rewards are usually a lot better than if you just had a loyalty card.
Here are a few rewards I get for linking my debit card to a stores loyalty card:
Nordstrom – Gives you a free $100 in Alterations a year plus send you Gift Certificates based on your spending
Arco – Arco waves the .35 fee they charge when you pay using a debit or credit card at their gas stations
I visit both those business very often so it’s pretty much a no brainer for me to sign up for their card. Both are also very easy to sign up for, I just filled out a quick form in the store and they mailed me my card.