What would you do with an extra $100*? Maybe you would go to a concert or treat friends to a round of drinks? I would probably spend it on food. Whatever you would choose we can all agree that a crisp $100-bill would be nice. Probably not life changing, but nice.
With this in mind peruse the list of tricks for earning, finding and saving extra money below.
These tips will not make you rich. If you are looking for a way to meaningfully boost your income check out Laura Shin’s definitive guide to earning more money. I’ve borrowed a few ideas from my rock star colleague, but focused more on low friction acts: tools for saving that can be set up in minutes and then largely ignored. Ways to get paid for simple tasks that can often be completed anytime, anywhere. And options for capitalizing on the stuff you’ve already got–that don’t involve chauffeuring anyone around or letting strangers borrowing your apartment.
Thanks to the power of compounding some of the ideas here can add up to large sums over time–but you’ll need many years to see the results. Instead this list is designed to encourage good habits and maybe give you the extra cash to treat yourself to a little luxury you couldn’t otherwise fit into your budget.
*Results not guaranteed. You may end up with $100 or $25 or $200. Don’t shoot the messenger
1. Switch to a high-yield savings account. Today the national average APY (annual percentage yield) paid by savings and money market accounts is 0.11%, or a penny for every $1,000 you’ve squirreled away. A number of online banks pay closer to 1% and sometimes more. (Bankrate.com helpfully lists current rates.) If you have substantial cash savings or want to optimize every penny consider MaxMyInterest, a startup that moves money among your accounts to get you the highest rate each month.
2. Acorns. Connect debit or credit cards to round each purchase to the nearest dollar. Acorns invests these extra pennies into a portfolio of ETFs. Poof–you’re an investor.
4. Cut subscriptions. One couple, profiled by FORBES contributor Emma Johnson, found they were spending $416 a month on unused subscriptions and memberships. This is perhaps extreme, but many people have a few recurring expenses they could do away with. Find yours and cancel them. Services including Truebill and Trim will do it for you.
5. Claim your employer match. Offered a 401(k) through work? Use it. Does your employer also offer a match? Invest enough to get it.
6. Auto-escalate your savings. Many big 401(k) providers allow you to pre-set annual boosts to your savings rate.
7. Digit. A couple times each weekDigit sucks a few dollars from your checking account and puts it into a Digit account, which you access via text message. Digit monitors cash flow to determine how much you can afford to save.
8. Take a 52 week money challenge. Week 1: save $1. Week 2: $2. Week 3: $3. By the end you’ll have $1,378.
9. Claim unclaimed money. States sometimes take possession of assets that are deemed unclaimed. The idea is to protect property of the deceased for rightful heirs. But states have been known to make mistakes–search MissingMoney.com for assets you may have forgotten about.
10. Find and sell unused gift cards. Deep in the recesses of our wallets, drawers and cars we have all found unused gift cards. Rather than waiting to stumble upon these treasures, seek them out and use them. Don’t need anything that gift card can buy you? Sell it. Gift Card Granny aggregates offers from around the web for buying and selling gift cards at a discount.
11. Get a credit card for the points or cash back. Do not get a credit card if you see it as a way to buy things you can’t afford. Do get a credit card if you want to leverage the purchases you would be making anyway. Make the most of your rewards by applying them to your statement balance. Cards issued by your bank may offer bonus cash back if you deposit into your checking or savings account. Click here, here and here for tips finding the best card for you. UseCredit Karma to check your credit score before making any moves.
12. Wallaby. The Wallaby app tells you which of your credit cards offers the best cash back or points deal for retailer you are buying from. You can also tell it to warn if you’ve used too much of your credit limit for the month.
13. Complain. A few months ago I ordered Indian food via delivery siteCaviar. The food arrived cold and 40 minutes late. I complained. They refund my entire order.
14. Compare prices. Use apps like ShopSavvy and RedLaser to scan the bar code on an item you want to buy and find out if there are better deals nearby.GasBuddy shows current gas prices in your area side by side. Through its phone app, Walmart offers Savings Catcher for customers to scan their Walmart receipts. If a local competitor has a lower advertised price Walmart sends the customer a gift card.
15. Collect rebates. Browse through Ebates when you buy something online. Get cash back. You can also add an Ebates button to your Chrome browser.Ibotta, another app, simplifies collecting on rebates for items bought in a store.
16. Upromise. Register your credit and debit cards with Upromise, shop through Upromise.com or apply for a Upromise MasterCard to get cash back toward college.
17. Amazon Trade-In. Amazon will send you a gift card in exchange for used books, electronics and DVDs. Trade-In even suggests items you’ve purchased on Amazon to sell.
18. eBayEBAY +0.00% Original? No. Effective? Yes. FORBES contributor Laura Shin suggests, “Make sure it’s a valuable item and not just your old junk. Take good photos, write a compelling description and price accordingly.” Keep in mind that eBay charges selling fees, invoicing sellers monthly. Use thiscalculator to estimate fees.
19. Sell old electronics. Another great tip from Laura: “Instead of recycling these items, see if they can fetch a price. Try stores like Gazelle, Next Worth andUSell.”
20. Cosign old clothes. Order a “clean out kit” from thredUP, fill it with lightly-used clothing you no longer want. They sell what they can (women and children only), pay you a percent of the sale price and recycle what they can’t sell. For luxury goods, consider The Real Real, which pays 70% of the sale price for good by select designers. You’ll probably earn more on eBay than via consignment, but eBay takes more work.
21. Sell old books. Many used book stores will pay a small fee for your used books, even a modest stack of them.
22. Mechanical Turk. People post digital “Human Intelligence Tasks” to thisAmazon site and pay workers a small fee to complete them. Tasks can take as little as a minute to complete, though some take much longer, and sometimes pay just a penny, though many pay more.
23. Switch to Bing. Microsoft will pay you credits to use its search engine. Credits can be redeemed for gift cards, airline mile and other discounts.
24. Recycle wine corks.Yemm & Hart, a Missouri based company that makes product from recycled materials, buys wine corks to make tiles. Ok, you need to drink a lot of wine to make any money at this–they pay just half a penny per cork and require more than 1,300 of them–but this seems like a good thing to know. There is also a modest cork market on eBay.