You were already stressed about money — then a worldwide pandemic hit. You may have lost your job or had your hours or salary reduced. Your bills have probably skyrocketed from all this time at home, too.
To say you’re overwhelmed by the lack of extra zeros in your bank account is an understatement.
And what would happen if your bathtub started to leak, or you have a sudden medical bill?
That’s why we’re here to help. We don’t want you to have to sell things you love (or need) just to pay a handyman or keep your lights on.
Instead, try these tips to get the ball rolling, and start building up your savings so you can breathe a little easier.
1. Hire a Financial Advisor — For Free
Trying to figure out your finances during the COVID-19 pandemic makes an already stressful situation so much worse. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and not know where to start (or maybe not even start at all).
That’s why having a professional on your side can be the best way to get back on track — but honestly, they can be pretty expensive to hire.
Thankfully, many financial experts are offering their services for free right now. Yes, totally free.
2. Get Paid Every Time You Buy Toilet Paper
Grocery shopping was never exactly pleasant. But these days, it’s a downright struggle. Fighting crowds, keeping six feet of space — just buying toilet paper is a feat. Shouldn’t you have something to show for it?
A free app called Fetch Rewards will reward you with gift cards just for buying toilet paper and more than 250 other items at the grocery store.
Here’s how it works: After you’ve downloaded the app, just take a picture of your receipt showing you purchased an item from one of the brands listed in Fetch. For your efforts, you’ll earn gift cards to places like Amazon or Walmart.
You can download the free Fetch Rewards app here to start getting free gift cards. Over a million people already have, so they must be onto something…
3. Add $225 to Your Wallet Just for Watching the News
It’s been a historic year in news, and we’re all constantly refreshing for the latest updates. You probably know more than one news-junkie who fancies themselves an expert in respiratory illness or a political mastermind.
And research companies want to pay you to keep watching. You could add up to $225 a month to your pocket by signing up for a free account with Swagbucks. It’ll present you with short news clips to choose from every day, then ask you a few questions about them.
You just have to answer honestly, and Swagbucks will continue to pay you every month. This might sound too good to be true, but it’s already paid its users more than $429 million. We talked to one user in Pennsylvania, 52-year-old Carolinda Hendrickson, who earned $1,200 in a year.
It takes about one minute to sign up, and start getting paid to watch the news.
4. See if You Can Get Money From This Company
Here’s the deal: If you’re not using Aspiration’s debit card, you’re missing out on extra cash. And who doesn’t want extra cash right now?
Yep. A debit card called Aspiration gives you up to a 5 percent back every time you swipe.
Need to buy groceries? Extra cash.
Need to fill up the tank? Bam. Even more extra cash.
You were going to buy these things anyway — why not get this extra money in the process?
And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
Enter your email address here, and link your bank account to see how much extra cash you can get with your free Aspiration account.
5. Ditch Your Car Insurance
How often are you even using your car right now? Regardless, there’s one thing we’re nearly certain of — you’re overpaying on car insurance.
That being said, shopping for car insurance is a pain which is why we like using a free service like Gabi. In just a few minutes you can see if any other companies are offering a cheaper rate with the same coverage and deductibles you already have.
You don’t have to fill out any forms. Just link your existing insurance account and enter your driver’s license, and it will start looking for cheaper coverage.
They save customers an average of $825 a year. Plus, after you sign up, Gabi will keep looking for savings and alert you if there’s ever a way to reduce that monthly bill even further.
6. Ask This Website to Pay Your Credit Card Bills This Month
If you have credit card debt, you know. The anxiety, the interest rates, the fear you’re never going to escape…
And the truth is, your credit card company doesn’t really care. It’s just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates. But a website called AmOne wants to help.
If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.
The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.99% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.
AmOne won’t make you stand in line or call your bank, either. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could help you pay off your debt years faster.
7. Try Your Luck With Free Scratch-Off Tickets
Hitting a big jackpot could solve a lot of your problems right now. The scratch-offs at the grocery store check-out seem to be calling your name. But while your heart is reaching out to try your luck, your mind knows you’re stronger than that!
So don’t waste your hard-earned money on those risky tickets. Instead, try playing for free using an app called Lucktastic. Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $1 to $2,500, in cash or gift cards to popular retailers.
We talked to single dad Oneil Campbell, from Boston, who was shocked when he won a $5,000 Lucktastic prize.
The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free. It’s not guaranteed money, but at least Lucktastic is free to play. And hey, somebody’s gotta win.
“I didn’t see that one coming,” Campbell says with a laugh. “I really didn’t. This is something good that happened to me at the right time — when I can really use it.”
8. Ask for Some Help
If you need help immediately, 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. 2-1-1 was created to help people when they need it — and more people need it now than ever before.
To use the service, head to 211.org and enter your location. It’ll show you services in your community and give you a number to call. It’s a clearinghouse for help with food, housing, utilities and employment. If you’ve never asked for help before, that means you don’t know what kind of help is out there.
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 forms of social assistance.
Woman’s World has partnered with The Penny Hoarder to bring you expert money saving tips like these.