People are always looking for ways to make a quick buck, and there’s no shame in that. Those quick bucks can add up over time to real savings that help fund college tuition, installment loan payments, or even a vacation. As much as we say we are going to get a new job, get a raise, stop spending so much money, or begin that “get rich quick” scheme, these things either take time or are easier said than done. Perhaps instead it’s better to get rich slowly by saving a little money whenever possible and taking care to not spend it. Thankfully, in this technology-driven age, all the traditional ways of making some extra money have been kicked into convenience overdrive. If you’re willing to embrace the future of saving, here are a few simple ways to get started.
“Saving money is easier than ever with online tools and apps.”
Every facet of our lives has been dramatically changed by our increasingly connected culture, with everything available at the touch of a screen. Why should banking be any different? Saving some extra money is now as easy as finding the right bank account.
- Make the switch: Financial information website Bankrate allows you to search interest rates1 on a variety of financial services and products, including traditional savings accounts. Using their tool, you’ll see there are more than a few banks that offer interest rates of 1 percent per year. That’s 100 times more than what you’ll find at a big-name bank. The banks offering these higher rates are typically online only, which means they aren’t accessible via a traditional brick-and-mortar branch location. If going to a bank in-person isn’t important to you, consider checking one of these accounts out.
- Use apps: There are many mobile applications designed to help you visualize your budget to assist with savings. Popular choices include YNAB and Mint, which offer intuitive budget tools and an easy way to see where your money is going. If you want an app to actually save money for you, take a look at Acorns. This app can automatically round up debit card purchases and invest this change into a portfolio of investments that may accrue interest.
- Search and destroy (and save): As easy as it may be to save money with online tools, it seems even easier to spend it. Monthly subscription services are becoming more common, particularly because 5 or 10 dollars per month seems like nothing in the grand scheme of things. Just like always, though, this adds up quickly. Forbes contributor Emma Johnson interviewed one couple throwing away more than $400 per month2 on subscription services they hardly used. If you want to break your subscription addiction, there’s an app for that; Trubebill and Trim will sort through your expenses and find the subscriptions that are costing you, and may even automatically cancel them for you. These services also charge small, recurring fees, so it might just be better to take a couple hours to accomplish this task yourself. You can then decide which subscriptions are worth the money, and you get a better picture of your finances in the process.
Sell and save
Recent studies have shown that Americans are all drowning in stuff they don’t need. According to a 2015 homeowner study, as many as 25 percent of people with car garages in their home can’t park even one car inside them3 because there is too much junk in the way. Getting rid of unneeded items has many benefits, including sizeable savings.
- Amazon Trade-In: Amazon has become the global hotspot for buying things, but it’s also trying to become a destination for average people looking to sell their stuff. While it’s possible to open your own online storefront through Amazon, this isn’t entirely feasible if you’re just looking to offload some books you’ll never read again. Amazon’s Trade-In feature makes this extremely easy. Just plugging in the specifics of the item you’d like to sell will allow Amazon to make an instant offer on the product and provide a shipping label for free. In exchange, Amazon will send you a gift card equal to the value of your stuff. It’s possible for you to make more money doing it the old-fashioned way, like a yard sale or book store, but it may be harder.
- The old-fashioned way: Bookstores, yard sales, flea markets, consignment – all of these are reliable ways to sell off unneeded stuff like clothes, books, and other assorted “junk” that’s just taking up space. Remember that you will almost never get back the price you paid for these items. In most cases, you would be extremely lucky to recoup even half of the original price. Prioritize higher-value items, but don’t hesitate to purge for the sake of freeing up space. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of selling items, there’s always donating.
Selling the miscellaneous items you don’t need in your home may seem tedious or a waste of time considering the small reward you’ll get, but the value of decluttering can be a reward in and of itself. Many studies, including one from Princeton, have shown that clutter makes people less focused4 and more easily frustrated. Excessive clutter makes it harder to clean up around the house, find things, and stay organized. If you can get rid of some of the things you no longer use or need, this may have a measurable impact on your well-being. That’s something you can’t put a price on.
Take advantage of the benefits of using digital tools to clean up your finances and save. While digitally cleaning up, physically declutter your home of unneeded items to gain some extra money, or at the very least gain some self-satisfaction.
The views expressed by the articles and sites linked in this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions and policies of Cash Central or Community Choice Financial®.
1Goldberg, Matthew. (2023, Jun 9). Retrieved from: https://www.bankrate.com/banking/money-market/rates/?ic_id=home_smart-spending_bank-rates_globalnav#jumptoproduct1
2Johnson, Emma. (2015, Sept 4). Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/emmajohnson/2015/09/04/this-couple-wasted-7500-on-unused-subscriptions-in-18-months/#5e2eda0c49df
4Khan, Sameer. (2015, Jun 3). Retrieved from: https://paw.princeton.edu/article/psychology-your-attention-please