2020 Destroyed Your Personal Cash Flow. Here’s How to Rescue It

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If you’re like most of us, 2020 did a number on your cash flow.

What is cash flow, you ask? We’re so glad you asked! Cash flow refers to the money that’s constantly moving into and out of your bank account.

Your paychecks (assuming you have work) flow in, and your payments (for food, housing and everything else) flow out.

For many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has torn a hole in our finances, mucking everything up. Whatever has your cash flow bottled up, we’ve got six suggestions for improving it, one step at a time.

1. Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company

Credit card debt will destroy your cash flow. 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 3.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.

AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $50,000 online. You do need to give AmOne a real phone number in order to qualify, but don’t worry — they won’t spam you with phone calls.

2. Get Paid Every Time You Buy Groceries

Grocery shopping was never exactly pleasant. But these days, it’s a downright struggle — wondering about your personal safety, maintaining six feet of distance from other customers, etc. 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. Make Sure You’re Not Overpaying

Here’s another way to improve your cash flow: Stop overpaying for things.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert when you’re shopping online at Target and are about to overpay? That’s what this free service does.

Just add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including Walmart, eBay and others to see if your item is available for cheaper. Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price-drop alerts and even see the item’s price history.

Let’s say you’re shopping for a new TV, and you assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop up letting you know if that exact TV is available elsewhere for cheaper. If there are any available coupon codes, they’ll also automatically be applied to your order.

In the last year, this has saved people $160 million.

You can get started in just a few clicks to see if you’re overpaying online.

In this illustration, a car drives on a road that's between mountains and water.

4. Knock $540/Year From Your Car Insurance in Minutes

Speaking of overpaying for things, when’s the last time you checked car insurance prices?

You should shop your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money. Let’s be real, though. It’s probably not the first thing you think about when you wake up. But it doesn’t have to be.

A website called Insure makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options — and even discounts in your area.

Using Insure, people have saved an average of $540 a year.

Yup. That could be $500 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.

5. Add $225 to Your Wallet Just for Watching the News

This is a historic time for news, and we’re all constantly refreshing for the latest news updates. You probably know more than one news-junkie who fancies themselves an expert in respiratory illness or a political mastermind.

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 InboxDollars. They’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 InboxDollars will continue to pay you every month. This might sound too good to be true, but it’s already paid its users more than $56 million.

It takes about one minute to sign up, and start getting paid to watch the news.

6. See if You Can Get More 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% 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?

Enter your email address here, and link your bank account to see how much extra cash you can get with your free Aspiration account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”

In summary: Take these six steps and watch your cash flow improve.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

What Is Apartment Debt on a Credit Report

Plans can change unexpectedly. Changes in employment, relationship status, or finances may prompt you to rethink your living situation. Some changes may even lead you to move out of your apartment without paying rent for the final month or two on the lease. And just like that, apartment debt is created. Like all forms of […]

The post What Is Apartment Debt on a Credit Report appeared first on Apartment Life.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

The Best Car Insurance Companies of 2021

To help you understand what makes a top-rated car insurance company, it’s important to first find out how much coverage you need. This guide will help you understand what makes a top-rated car insurance company, how much coverage you need and ways to save money when getting a car insurance quote. Don’t worry; our top […]

The post The Best Car Insurance Companies of 2021 appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

Source: thesimpledollar.com

How to Build Financial Resilience in An Economic Downturn

Do you remember all those soothing economic numbers that were floating around as recently as February? You know – the record low unemployment rate of 3.5%, and the record high stock market, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing at almost 30,000?

It seems like ages ago, doesn’t it?

The coronavirus happened and changed it all – in just three months. The stock market fell by a third before recovering somewhat in April 2020, while unemployment exploded. It reached 14.7% by the end of April, with Goldman Sachs predicting it may go as high as 25% – a level not seen since the Great Depression.

(Source: Trading Economics from data supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Since economic downturns are actually really normal events, the best strategy is to build financial resilience. There’s nothing we can do to stop a crisis from happening, but we can and should get our own financial houses in order to minimize the impact.

The following 7 strategies will help you do just that.

1. Take Any Financial Shocks Off the Table

One of the factors that characterizes economic downturns is financial shocks. One of the best ways to build financial resilience is to prepare for them.

Start by reviewing your insurance policies. If need be, increase the amount of car insurance you have. It should be enough to protect your assets if you’re involved in an accident that’s determined to be your fault. If you do have adequate coverage, get some auto insurance quotes to see if you can lower your premiums.

This is also an excellent time to purchase a private life insurance policy. If you’ve been relying on life insurance from your employer, that may go away if you lose your job. Check out options for low cost life insurance and get a policy today.

And in case of an emergency, you may need a line of credit that can be accessed on short notice. Check with your bank or credit union to see if you can get an unsecured line of credit. Alternatively, you can apply for a personal loan, or even a low interest credit card.

You won’t want to access any lines of credit now, since staying out of debt may be critical to your financial wellbeing. But you’ll want to have open lines of credit available when an emergency hits. Lenders have already started tightening up restrictions for making lines available a few months from now.

2. Cut Costs Wherever You Can

Since income often becomes uncertain during economic downturns, cutting costs is one of the best ways to be prepared in advance.

I’ve come up with 85 ways you can save money in your own household budget. By selecting and implementing just a few you may be able to cut hundreds of dollars out of your budget.

And speaking of budgets, you should have one if you don’t already. Millions of people function without budgets, at least until an economic downturn hits. But sometimes all you need is the right budgeting software to get you moving in the right direction.

Budgeting will show you exactly where your money is going and help you identify which expenses you can cut or eliminate. That will not only reduce your expenses, but it’ll also make extra money available to pay down debt or build up savings.

3. Pay Down Debt Ahead of Time

One of the biggest expenses in many household budgets are debt payments. Whether it’s car loans, student loans, or credit cards, debt payments can take a big chunk out of your budget. If that’s true, begin to pay down debt now and work toward paying off as much as you can.

You may need to implement some aggressive debt payoff strategies. If so, that’s best done sooner than later. If you lose your job, any payment you can eliminate or reduce will improve your resilience.

If you have student loans, look into refinancing them while you’re still employed. Shop around for lenders that specialize in student loan refinances. Since these loans are often large, refinancing them has the potential to get you large savings from a lower payment.

If you have credit card debt, take advantage of 0% introductory APR offers with balance transfer credit cards. Getting a break on interest for 12 to 18 months can help you pay down your credit card balances a lot faster, since the payments you would allocate toward interest can be made toward principal.

4. Pad Your Emergency Fund

One of the very best ways to build financial resilience into your life is by loading up your emergency fund. Even if you already have one in place, now is an excellent time to begin increasing the balance.

During economic expansions, having between one- and three-month’s living expenses in your emergency fund may be sufficient. But in an economic downturn, you may need to expand that to six months or longer.

Sure, you may get unemployment benefits if you lose your job. But that probably won’t come close to replacing your current income. Just as important, emergencies have a way of popping up during times of economic turbulence. The more money you have sitting in your emergency fund, the better you’ll be able to weather it all.

If you’ve got your emergency fund sitting in a local bank or credit union, you’re probably earning interest of something only just above zero. You can and should fix that problem.

There are high-yield online savings accounts paying interest rates as high as 2%. That may not sound like a lot of money, but it’s more than 20 times the 0.06% being paid at average banks and credit unions. You owe it to yourself to earn as much interest on your emergency savings as you can get.

5. Establish an Advanced Savings Strategy

While an emergency fund will protect you against short-term expenses and income disruptions, now is also an outstanding time to begin building savings for longer-term needs.

One such need could be a run of unemployment that exceeds the amount of money you have in your emergency fund. By having a second-tier level of savings, you’ll have funds available if your emergency fund is exhausted.

You may also want to begin building savings for goals like paying off your car loan or having extra money available to cover the out-of-pocket costs not covered by your health insurance plan. Still another possibility is that you may need to start a business if you lose your job and find yourself unable to get a new one.

For medium term savings goals, you’ll want to put your money where it’ll be just out of immediate reach (so you won’t grab it for short-term needs), but where you’ll also earn even higher returns.

You can do that by investing in peer-to-peer lending platforms, like LendingClub. There you’ll have an opportunity to earn double-digit returns on your investment, with relatively low risk. Investigate other ways you can earn high interest on short-term investments so you’ll have funds available for whatever the future may hold.

6. Invest in Yourself

Most people don’t think of investing in themselves as an investment. But when you consider that your income is probably your single biggest asset, it’s one of the very best investments you can make.

The most obvious way to invest in yourself is to improve or acquire any skills or certifications that may help you in your job or your career. You may be one skill or one credential short of your next promotion. And even if you aren’t promoted, that skill or credential could be the one that lands you your next job.

You may also want to consider acquiring any skills you need to create a second income (more on that in the next section), or even in preparation for the launch your own business.

You can often take courses at local community colleges to acquire very specific skills. And some certifications require only the completion of a correspondence or online program to earn. The results can add thousands of dollars per year to your income – and just as important – make you more valuable to your employer. That will matter because during an economic downturn the people who are laid off first are the ones with the least value to the employer. By improving your skill set and qualifications, you’ll make yourself much less expendable.

There are also plenty of ways to invest in yourself that can help you make additional money outside your job. Think about what it is you would like to do, or what you have an interest in, and begin studying ways to earn money from it. Sometimes just acquiring a single skill will enable you to convert a hobby into an income source.

Speaking of which…

7. Build a Passive Income Stream or Side Hustle

One of the very best ways to build financial resilience for an economic downturn – or even during good times – is by creating additional sources of income.

One of the very best sources of additional income can be had by building passive income streams. There are actually dozens of ways to create passive income, it’s just a matter of choosing the one that’ll work best for you. For example, I’ve managed to create seven different income sources, some of which are passive. The great thing about passive income streams is that they give you the ability to earn money while you’re busy doing other things.

Still another option, and one you should definitely consider, is creating a side hustle. Not only will this generate an additional source of revenue that will add resilience to your finances, but it could represent the beginning of what will eventually become a full-time business if you lose your primary job.

One of the best ways to build a side hustle is by making money online. I’m doing that with this blog, but there are plenty of other ways you can make it happen. You owe it to yourself to investigate the opportunities. One of the big advantages of making money online is that you won’t have any geographic restrictions. If you have to relocate, maybe to take another job, your online business will come with you.

Don’t be intimidated by the idea of creating a side hustle. According to a recent article on Fortune, nearly half of Americans under 35 currently have a side hustle. You could be one of them – all it takes is an idea and a commitment.

The Bottom Line

No one knows exactly how the coronavirus recession will play out. But that’s the case with every economic downturn we’ve ever had. Recessions can’t be avoided, and neither can the financial dislocation they bring. But by building financial resilience into your life, you can minimize and even eliminate the worst a recession can throw at you.

Reevaluate every area of your finances – your insurance coverage, expenses, savings, and income – and look for ways to improve each.

Even if you think it’s too late for you to prepare for this recession, now is an excellent time to get ready for the next one. After all, it’s already on your mind, so you have all the motivation you’ll need.

And don’t underestimate your ability to protect yourself during this recession. The worst course of action is inaction. You may not be able to get your finances exactly where they need to be right now, but you may surprise yourself at how much you can improve your situation in just a few months. That will matter too, because it’s likely we’ll still be in this recession even then.

It’s never too late – or too early – to build financial resilience in an economic downturn. Today isn’t too soon to get started.

The post How to Build Financial Resilience in An Economic Downturn appeared first on Good Financial Cents®.

Source: goodfinancialcents.com

17 Realistic Ways To Make $100 Per Day

There are a lot of ways to make $100 per day with a side hustle or online business. Here are some of the most realistic ways to make legit money online.

The post 17 Realistic Ways To Make $100 Per Day appeared first on Bible Money Matters and was written by Marc. Copyright © Bible Money Matters – please visit biblemoneymatters.com for more great content.

Source: biblemoneymatters.com

Employment Resources: Five Steps for Finding a New Job

A woman reads various employment resources and books at a large white desk in front of a window.

The Congressional Budget Office believes the unemployment rate will hit 16% during the summer of 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus. With so many people on the hunt for a new job, landing an interview and getting hired is going to prove difficult for many. But the truth is that getting a new job isn’t always easy even in the best of times, which is why using all possible employment resources is important.

Follow these five steps to leverage employment resources to help make your job hunt success more likely.

1. Set Yourself Apart with New Skills

If you find yourself unemployed for any reason—especially during an economic downturn such as the one related to the COVID-19 pandemic—you might not be able to find a job right away. It’s a good idea to turn to unemployment benefits if you qualify to help you cover expenses while you hunt for a new job.

Then, consider finding ways to make yourself
more attractive to potential employers. During times when the unemployment
numbers are particularly high, you can bet that your resume is going to be
competing with many others. If you’re able to demonstrate a skill that others
don’t have, you can set yourself apart during the application process.

Consider using your time during unemployment to learn skills that complement your existing ones—especially if other people with similar education and experience backgrounds might not have those skills. One way you can do this is to sign up for online courses through a service like Coursera. You can add skills such as data analytics, coding languages, spreadsheet use, or business analytics to your resume.

Learn New Skills with Coursera

2. Add Your Skills to a Well-Rounded, Engaging Resume

Once you have those new skills, you need to find the best way to work them into your resume. If you’re looking for a job at the same time everyone else is, your resume must be high-quality and engaging to capture the attention of hiring managers. But it also has to have all the right words and phrases to get past applicant screening software. That’s technology many employers use to filters out resumes that don’t meet the job qualifications.

Balancing all of that within a short document that must also convey your education, experience and passion for the job can be daunting. Many people turn to online templates to help them create a resume. But that tactic can leave your document looking exactly like everyone else’s. Instead, you might consider using a resume service such as Monster.com to ensure your resume is as powerful as possible.

Improve Your Resume with Monster

3. Upload Your Resume to a Job Site

Armed with new skills and a killer resume, you next need to put yourself out into the job market in effective ways. Consider uploading your resume to a site such as ZipRecruiter. ZipRecruiter lets you search for job openings by region, niche or keyword. You can apply directly for open positions, but you can also upload your professionally written resume so recruiters and headhunters can find you.

Find a New Job on ZipRecruiter

4. Use Networking Resources

Letting people know that you’re looking for a job is a critical step in finding out about as many options as possible. Uploading your resume on ZipRecruiter is a great step, but don’t forget to let friends and family know you’re looking. Sign up for LinkedIn and post on your other social networks that you’re on the job hunt. You never know when someone in your circle will know about a job that hasn’t been posted yet.

5. Don’t Give Up

Getting a new job can be hard, especially if you really want to hold out for something that you’re passionate about or works with your lifestyle. If you’re looking for a job during the COVID-19 pandemic, consider some ways to make money while you’re waiting for the right position to open up. And even in good economic times, don’t expect a job to fall into your lap the second you put your resume out there. Modern hiring processes are complex, and it can take time even if a company is interested in your resume.

Find Your Next Job

Whether you’re a new grad just entering the job market, a seasoned vet looking to make a change, or someone who has lost their job due to economic issues, hunting for work can be stressful. Make sure that you’re using all the employment resources available to you as you work to find a new job.

And if you’re dealing with financial struggles related to COVID-19, check out our coronavirus resources to learn more about assistance options that might be available to you while you’re looking for employment.

The post Employment Resources: Five Steps for Finding a New Job appeared first on Credit.com.

Source: credit.com

How to Save Money on Food This Year

How to Save Money on Food This Year is a post originally published on: Everything Finance – Everything Finance – Its all about Money!

With the winter months comes less fresh fruits and veggies to choose from. And with that, food costs usually go up. But just because we don’t have as many great fresh options available to us, doesn’t mean that feeding our family has to be expensive. In fact, I have found a few great ways to help save money on food this winter. The foods are not only budget-friendly but delicious and nutritious too!

Use Everything You Have

The first trick when it comes to trying to save money on food costs is to use everything you have. What I mean is to make sure you reduce food waste by getting creative with leftover items. This doesn’t have to mean eating leftovers for multiple nights in a row. Because we all know that the kids will riot when that happens!

But, you can get creative with the leftovers and create a completely different dish. A good example of this is when I made a huge pot of coconut rice in my Multi Use Express Crock-pot. I freaking love this thing because it makes my life so much simpler! I used the rice originally to go with a pumpkin curry that I made. But I usually make a lot of rice at once, so we had a lot of leftovers. I knew the kids didn’t want the same meal again the next night. Instead, I made a casserole out of the rice with black beans, pinto beans, spices, salsa, cheese, and sour cream. It was a huge hit!

Another Example

Another great way I regularly do this is with pasta sauce. The kids love pasta night, but not all of us eat pasta sauce on our noodles. So, we don’t use a full jar of pasta. Instead of letting it stay in the fridge and go bad if we don’t use it fast enough, I use it as a sauce base for my cassava pizza crusts. That way I can use up the entire jar within the standard 7-day time frame and I don’t have to spend the extra money on pizza sauce.

No matter how you look at it, just get creative with your leftover items and it will definitely help feed your family for less this winter. And save you a ton of time also!

Great Staple Foods

One of the best ways to help save money on food costs, not only in the winter but all year round is to keep staple foods on hand. Staple foods may not be the same items for everybody, depending on the foods you prefer to eat or grew up with. But, overall, these foods have a very little cost associated with them and can be stretched pretty far. Plus they fill you and your family up, so you won’t be as inclined to eat other foods on top of your meal.

Staples I Keep On Hand

Some of the best staple foods I have found, that I continually keep on hand are:

  • Rice – various types, but preferably whole grain since the fiber helps fill you up and slow down insulin uptake.
  • Beans – dried are the cheapest and go the furthest, but sometimes you can find a great deal on the canned no sodium added versions also.
  • Potatoes – Russet potatoes are great for baked potato night, and the smaller versions work great for oven potatoes or mashed potatoes.
  • Pasta – this is one of the cheapest foods for the amount you get and can be used so many different ways.
  • Vegetable broth – this works great in soups, making rice, flavoring casseroles, etc.
  • Canned tomatoes – fire-roasted tomatoes usually have the most flavor, if you can find them.
  • Coconut water – this is a regular go-to for making rice because it adds so much flavor and keeps the rice tender.
  • Oats – we use Gluten-Free oats to make overnight oats or oat balls for breakfasts for the kids and they stay full for a long time!

If you can keep even a few of these on hand, it will help make your winter budget stretch a lot further.

Soups and Chili

Winter is the best time for warm, hearty soups and chili. And I love making them almost as much as I love eating them. Most of the time the rest of the family feels the same way. But it’s hard to please everyone all the time, so I try to keep a few options in the freezer.

Ultimately, one of the easiest, and sometimes the most flavorful option is a vegetable soup. I call mine the Kitchen Sink Vegetable Soup because it has everything in it but the kitchen sink. This soup is very simple to make in that you can throw whatever vegetables you have at your disposal in it. I usually add one of my cans of fire-roasted tomatoes and a quart box of low sodium vegetable broth. Don’t forget to add whatever spices strike your fancy to top it off. Then just heat it on a slow simmer so the flavors mix. Since the vegetables always differ and so do the spices, the soup is never the same. Which my family likes because it is always a fun surprise!


My other favorite is a vegetarian chili. Which happens to be the only chili my daughter will eat, for some reason. This is almost as simple as the aforementioned soup. I throw a bag of Beyond Meat Feisty Grounds in the multi-use Crock-pot. Add in a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and 4 cups of beans. I usually use a mix of black beans, kidney beans and pinto beans.

Add a couple of bay leaves (we have a tree in our yard so I just make the kids go and pick some leaves for me). Then add in some chili spices, a pinch of salt and some pepper. To top everything off, add in a quart box of low sodium vegetable broth. Put the lid on and use the “Beans/Chili” option so that it will simmer slowly. It usually takes about 25 minutes and then we have hot, delicious, and nutritious chili. Yum!

These are some awesome hacks to help feed your family for less this winter!
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Help Feed Your Family For Less This Winter Summary

Feeding your family for less this winter can certainly be done. And without too much complaining also! Just remember to use everything you have first to offset waste. This will reduce your overall grocery bill since you won’t have to spend as much buying excess food. Next, make sure you have a few staple foods on hand that can be stretched very far and fills up your family.

Lastly, try making a myriad of different soups and chili. Freeze whatever you don’t eat so that you can thaw them and use them at another time. Your family and your budget will thank you!

What are some of the best hacks you have found to help feed your family for less in the winter?

How to Save Money on Food This Year is a post originally published on: Everything Finance – Everything Finance – Its all about Money!

Source: everythingfinanceblog.com

How To Start A Blog For Income or Fun in 2021

So you’d like to learn how to start a blog? Maybe make some money?  Work for yourself and live life on your own terms? Sounds like a dream, right? You may be thinking… The only bloggers who are successful and making money started years ago when there was less competition or they have high-profile connections […]

The post How To Start A Blog For Income or Fun in 2021 appeared first on Incomist.

Source: incomist.com

16 Best Survey Sites

This page may include affiliate links. Please see the disclosure page for more information. Sharing your opinions by taking part in surveys is a great way to influence products and services and make some cash at the same time. The best survey sites work with companies to get consumer thoughts on current and future products and services….

The post 16 Best Survey Sites appeared first on Debt Discipline.

16 Best Survey Sites was first posted on November 8, 2020 at 12:59 pm.
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