Make Money – The Penny Hoarder 2021-11-19 15:25:41

You’ve done it. You’ve built up a little cushion in your bank account — $1,000! It feels good, right? Those days of checking your account balance in a panic are behind you.

Congrats! You’re on the right path. Now it’s time to think about some longer-term goals. What do you want to accomplish next with your money? Do you need to save more? Do you want to buy a home someday? Invest?

What’s the next step you should take? What are some specific things you can do to take your finances to the next level?

We’ve got some ideas for you:

1. Invest in Real Estate (Even if You’re Not a Millionaire)

The stock market can be a scary place. Stock prices shoot up and down like a roller coaster ride, and who knows when the whole thing might crash?

It would be nice to diversify and invest some of your money in real estate, but don’t you have to be wealthy to do that?

Now you can invest like the 1% does, and all you need to get started is $500. A company called DiversyFund will invest your money in private real estate — specifically, in apartment buildings it co-owns with its investors — and you only need $500.

You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolio through their online dashboard — like a 54-unit apartment complex in Salt Lake City, Utah, or a 30-unit waterfront property in Stuart, Florida. And you don’t have to experience the headaches that come with being a landlord — DiversyFund does all the heavy lifting for you.

Real estate has historically been very stable compared to the stock market. Over the long term, investing in the stock market will earn you an average annual return of 7%, adjusted for inflation, according to a number of studies. DiversyFund can’t guarantee how its investments will perform in the future — no one can — but historically, real estate has outperformed the stock market for the past 30 years.

So you don’t need a fortune to invest in real estate. All you need to get started is $500. Sign up here to start investing today.

2. See if You Can Get More Money From This Company

a woman logs into her bank account on her cell phone.

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?

Yep. A debit card called Aspiration gives you up to a 10% 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.”

3. Cancel Your Car Insurance

When was the last time you compared car insurance rates? Chances are you’re seriously overpaying with your current policy.

If it’s been more than six months since your last car insurance quote, you should look again.

And if you look through a digital marketplace called SmartFinancial, you could be getting rates as low as $22 a month — and saving yourself more than $700 a year.

It takes one minute to get quotes from multiple insurers, so you can see all the best rates side-by-side. Yep — in just one minute you could save yourself $715 this year. That’s some major cash back in your pocket.

So if you haven’t checked car insurance rates in a while, see how much you can save with a new policy.

4. Stop Wasting Thousands Because of Your Bad Credit Score

A woman puts her hands in her hair as a sign of distress in this illustration.

Do you know how much money your bad credit score has cost you? Between higher interest rates on car loans or interest fees on your credit card balance, it could be thousands of dollars each year.

You know you need to fix it, but you don’t have the time, money or energy. But there’s a debit card called Extra that can help raise your credit without any of the hassle. And you could get rewards, too.

The Extra debit card is the first debit card that can positively impact your credit score without any of the risks from a  regular credit card — there’s no credit check, no interest rates and no deposit required to use it. Plus, you get to keep your money in the bank account you’ve always used.

Sign up for an Extra debit card by securely connecting your bank account. You’ll get a credit limit based on your real-time cash balance. Every time you make a purchase with your Extra card, they’ll spot you the cash now and pay themselves back the next day.

At the end of the month, all of your purchases are reported to the credit bureaus as credit-worthy payments — just like a credit card company would. But you won’t be paying any interest fees since it’s your money you’re spending. You will earn rewards though!

It takes just a few minutes to sign up for an Extra debit card, and you can get all the perks of a credit card without the risks of a credit card. You can save thousands of dollars in interest, build your credit score and quite literally reap the rewards.

5. Let This Company Pay Your Credit Card Bill This Month

No, like… the whole bill. All of it.

While you’re stressing out over your debt, your credit card company is getting rich off those insane interest rates. But a website called Payoff could help you pay off that bill as soon as tomorrow.

Here’s how it works: Payoff can match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.

Payoff can help you borrow up to $40,000.

Payoff won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just a few minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars — and raise your FICO score by up to 40 points. Totally worth it.

All that credit card debt — and the anxiety that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.

6. Get Up to $1,000 to Become a Better Investor

Are you tired of trying to game the stock market and want to actually become a smarter investor?

An app called Tornado — created by Wall Street veterans — will give you up to $1,000 just to better understand the different ways to grow your money and help you become a more educated investor.

Yep — just by focusing on understanding the why behind the stock market, making smarter trades and investments and growing your net worth, you can get anywhere from $10 to $1,000. Plus, you’ll also get a first-deposit bonus.

With your subscription, you can get expert-level insight and ask leading investors your burning questions. Plus, the Tornado newsfeed is tailored to cover your investments and your interests — think of it like a personalized replacement for your Wall Street Journal ticker (but for a quarter of the cost).

Subscriptions are $4.99 a month, but that’s it. No skimming a little off the top of your account’s growth like some of those other “free” apps. Plus, when you participate in their Learn and Earn program – which serves up professionally vetted educational content tailored to your experience level – you can earn up to $50, easily offsetting your monthly subscription cost.

So if you’re ready to become a better investor, create your Tornado account now and start improving your net worth right away with up to $1,000.

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.

Get A Free Warranty on Most Online Purchases from Mulberry

You work hard for your money, and you spend it responsibly. So when you finally do make that big purchase, the last thing you want is for something to happen to it. Maybe your dog knocks a drink onto your new couch. Or an especially curious kid decides to see if your new phone can float.

Ouch. You know there are manufacturer warranties, but those are so short — and they might not even cover accidents like these.

Luckily, we found a browser extension called Mulberry that will give you 12 months of coverage on almost any online purchase — for free. Seriously.

How to Protect Your Online Purchases for Free

It’s as simple as adding the Mulberry extension to your Chrome browser.

Then, just shop online like you normally would. The extension will keep an eye out for qualifying items wherever you shop online — retailers like Best Buy, Costco, Home Depot and many others.

Then it will prompt you to sign up for Mulberry’s free 12-month protection plan, MulberryCare, to make sure your big purchase is safe from accidents: drops, spills, cracks, surges, pets and more.

Simply link your product with MulberryCare to get your 12 months free. And if you want more than a year’s worth of protection, you can opt for additional paid coverage within 30 days of receiving your online purchase.

Oh, and don’t worry: There’s no sneaky auto-renew feature.

How is This Better Than Traditional Warranties?

Historically, extended warranties have felt a lot like a protection racket.

A mob of middlemen drive up prices and shake you down, making offers you can’t refuse if you want to protect a big purchase from accidental damage.

MulberryCare offers an alternative model that could save you up to 75% on a long-term plan, compared to the competitor warranties we’ve grown accustomed to seeing.

The idea is simple: Mulberry takes care of the insurance process largely in-house, cutting out the middlemen who would’ve taken their cut and jacked up the coverage. Then they pass those savings along to you.

You know those warranties that pop up in your online shopping cart right before checkout? Compare their prices to the plan options the Mulberry extension shows you — the difference might be stronger than any point we can make here.

Plus, Mulberry has a perfect rating in the Chrome web store.

To get started, just add the Chrome extension to your browser, then activate your account with an email address and password and confirm your purchase within seven days.

You’ll sleep better knowing that new (expensive) TV you just bought is protected — for free.

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.

Save Up to 40% Off Doctor’s Visits With Sidecar Health

If you’re not covered by an employer healthcare plan or don’t qualify for a subsidized plan on the marketplace, seeing a doctor can be really expensive. Paying out of pocket can scare someone into foregoing an appointment altogether and ultimately risking their health.

That’s not just a bad idea — it could be downright dangerous.

But there’s a new kind of health insurance* that can be customized to be exactly what you need and costs only as much as you can afford. It’s called Sidecar Health, and it’s helping people cut their out-of-pocket cost by up to 40%.

No Hoops to Jump Through

Plans offered through Sidecar Health provide insurance coverage and work to cut down medical expenses by taking advantage of doctors’ discounted cash prices. Since they no longer have to deal with the expensive and time consuming process of insurance billing, they can pass those savings on to you.

But not only are you getting discounted rates directly from doctors, you’re also covered by your insurance plan from Sidecar Health. Depending on your optional deductible and selected benefit amount, you could end up paying only 20% of the doctor’s cost — and if your appointment ends up costing less than the average benefit amount, you could even get money back!

And since there are no networks to worry about, you can see any doctor you want and won’t have to pay out-of-network prices.

Use the App to Find the Lowest Price

How much will your doctor’s appointment cost? Sidecar Health has an app that makes it simple to compare prices between doctors in your area.

Using the app, you can see exactly what your plan will cover and how much you’ll pay for a visit. You’ll also see how much other people have paid for the same services nearby. It makes paying for medical care transparent — a word we’d never thought we’d use for insurance!

The app makes it easy to choose or change your coverage and manage your benefits. You can even upload your receipts to make reimbursement simple.

Find The Plan That Works For You — Or Create One Yourself

There are four different levels of coverage with Sidecar Health: Budget, Standard, Premium or Custom. You can choose based on how much protection you want for emergencies and procedures.

You can customize each of them, too. Don’t take prescriptions? Remove it from your coverage and lower your monthly premium. Want a lower deductible? Pick the exact amount you want. Save even more by locking in your rate for three years.

Getting a quote takes less than a minute — fill out a few questions about yourself, including your birthday and any preexisting conditions, then see all your options in front of you. Then, edit your coverage to be exactly what you need and nothing that you don’t.

Unlike traditional insurance, there are no enrollment periods or exceptions for life changes. You can sign up for coverage and cancel coverage whenever you want. Sign up today and start saving on your insurance in just two weeks.

Kari Faber is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

*Sidecar Health offers and administers a variety of plans including ACA compliance and excepted benefit plans. This refers to excepted benefit fixed indemnity insurance product marketed and administered by Sidecar Health Insurance Solutions, LLC and underwritten by Sirius America Insurance Company or United States Fire Insurance Company, depending on the state. It does not provide comprehensive/major medical expenses coverage, minimum essential coverage, or essential health benefits. Coverage and plan options may vary or may not be available in all states.

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.

Dear Penny: Was My Cousin Allowed to Buy Life Insurance on My Mom?

Dear Penny,

My mother died after several years with Alzheimer’s in the Philippines. While she was living in Maryland, a cousin took an insurance policy on her. She agreed knowing that she would only pay $50 a month and the rest will be shouldered by her niece. 

Now my cousin is asking for four death certificates and wants me to fill out forms because, according to her, I am the beneficiary. If she is the owner of the policy, what does it have to do with me? I asked for a copy of the policy because I have no idea what she is trying to do. Please help.

-Confused Daughter

Dear Confused,

Trust your gut. Don’t give your cousin your mother’s death certificate or any personal information she asks for.

There are a lot of things that sound sketchy here. The biggest red flag is that your cousin owned a life insurance policy on your mom. You can’t just take out an insurance policy on anyone. Just imagine how rife for abuse the system would be if we could all make bets on one another’s lives.

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To own a life insurance policy on someone else, you need to have an insurable interest in their lives, meaning you’d suffer a financial loss in the event of their death. It’s typically assumed that you have an insurable interest in the life of your spouse or your child. You can even have an insurable interest in the life of your ex-spouse if they’ve been ordered to pay you alimony or child support. But it’s unlikely that a niece would have an insurable interest in the life of her aunt, unless there were unusual circumstances — like they were business partners or your cousin had co-signed a loan for your mom.

You also need the person’s consent to take out insurance on their life. I have to wonder: Did your mother fully understand what she was signing? Or if you only recently discovered this policy, is it possible that your cousin could have forged her signature? It’s also odd that your mother was making partial payments if your cousin owned the policy.

It’s pretty implausible that your cousin would have bought life insurance for your mom out of the goodness of her heart. A more realistic explanation would be that she plans to pocket most, if not all, of the proceeds.

You can continue to press your cousin for a copy of the policy. But don’t be surprised if you’re met with a flurry of excuses and convoluted explanations. Even if your cousin does provide you with the document, I wouldn’t assume it’s legitimate. Contact the insurance company directly to verify the policy. You can provide the death certificate to the insurer directly if it’s legit. The company can send you any necessary forms.

If your cousin won’t cooperate, you can search the National Association of Insurance Commissioners online life insurance policy locator. The organization will ask participating companies to search for policies in your mother’s name. If they locate a policy and you’re the beneficiary, they’ll provide you with the details. Your cousin doesn’t need to be involved. Even if you’re not a beneficiary, you’d probably be authorized to receive this information as your mother’s next of kin.

If you believe your cousin had nefarious intentions, consider contacting your state insurance commissioner. Some people are hesitant to report family members to authorities. But if you suspect your cousin scammed your mother, she could easily do the same to others. Elderly people are especially vulnerable to being conned by people they trust, like family members. At the very least, you should warn other family members if you think that’s what happened.

Your cousin probably acquired identifying information about your mother, like her Social Security number, when she obtained the policy. Unfortunately, deceased people are at risk of having fraudulent accounts opened in their names. A smart move would be to contact each of the three credit bureaus to let them know that your mother has died.

I’m sorry that you have to deal with all this on top of the loss of your mother. But you have every right to be suspicious here. Don’t let anyone, especially your cousin, tell you otherwise.

Robin Hartilll is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to

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.

Do These 5 Things Before the Weekend If You Have No Savings

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The easiest way to save a lot of money is to make a lot of it first. If only it were that simple. But just because you may have to try harder than some (and most of us do), it doesn’t mean saving money has to be hard.

If you make enough money to pay for all of your necessities every month, there’s room to save and grow those savings. You might just have to do some rearranging to make room.

Do these five things before the weekend to start saving, and you’ll see it gets easier from there:

1. See Where Your Money Likes to Go

You know where your money comes from. But do you wonder where it all goes? If you do, you could probably use a budget.

Budgeting helps you stay on track financially, and it helps you visualize where your money goes every month, quarter and year. It also helps you spot inefficiencies and identify areas you could cut back on without much, if any, change to your quality of life.

These days, budgeting has never been easier. If you have a checking account, there’s probably a budgeting tool integrated into your bank’s app or your online account.

The fact that it has never been easier to track your money means there are lots of solutions available, many of which are fully free. So if you find your bank’s tools to be a bit unintuitive or lacking in features, check out the free options available in your preferred app store.

2. Start Investing with Free Stocks

Investing might fall closer to the back end of your 10-year plan, but it shouldn’t. It’s a common misconception that getting into investing requires a ton of experience and your entire paycheck, but that’s simply not true.

Can you imagine where your investments would be if you put a few bucks into the stock market when the idea first crossed your mind, which was probably years ago?

You really don’t need that much money to start investing. In some cases, you can even kickstart your fund with free stocks valued anywhere from $2.50 to $200.

Whether you’ve got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood.

Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.

What’s best? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $2.50 to $200 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.

Try swapping out a minor luxury for your first investment. Invest that $30 instead of buying movie tickets, pause that streaming service you didn’t even use this month or let a home-cooked meal help you redirect a few dollars from dining out to investing.

3. Save Smarter, Not Harder

For many people, budgeting is a lot like dieting and exercising. You feel good when you do it, but there’s a reason it always makes for a good New Year’s resolution.

Instead of feeling bad about shopping, try to feel good about how much you pay for things when you do.

These days, you can do that without combing every sales flyer or making it rain with a wad of coupons — though there’s nothing wrong with either.

There are web browser extensions that’ll alert you before checking out if you can get the same product or service for a better price from another online retailer.

And that’s exactly what this free service does, and it’s how it saved people more than $160 million last year.

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.

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

Capital One Shopping compensates us when you get the extension using the links provided.

4. Protect Your Family From a Flood of Debt

We save for rainy days. But what happens when it rains, pours and then floods? Most people don’t want to spend a lot of time mulling worst-case scenarios, despite these situations being the worst to be unprepared for.

You can plan and save for the unthinkable. It doesn’t take much time or money to help your family manage the mortgage, tuition, car payments or common household expenses without your income.

It takes about five minutes to leave your family $1 million in life insurance with a company called Policygenius.

Not sure how much coverage you need? A general rule of thumb is to secure seven to 10 times your average salary. Policygenius even has a life insurance calculator to help you find the best coverage for you.

5. Spend $5 on Making Retirement a Reality

If you don’t have a regular savings account, a retirement account might seem flat-out unrealistic right now. And if that seems unrealistic, you might not think this tip applies to you when we tell you this: You could fund that retirement account with stakes in Apple, Microsoft and Google.

If you can spare $5, then this certainly applies to you.

Seriously — with only a few dollars, an app called Stash lets you can invest in thousands of stocks and ETFs, which can help you grow your investment portfolio and reach your retirement goals.1

Some companies may even send you a check every quarter for your share of profits, called dividends. If these companies profit, so can you.

It takes two minutes to sign up, and your investments are protected. With Stash, investments are held by their custodian, Apex Clearing Corporation, a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) — that’s industry talk for, “your money comes with protection.”2

Plus, when you use the link above, Stash will give you a $5 bonus once you deposit $5 into your account.3

1For retirement, Stash offers access to traditional or Roth IRAs.

2To note, SIPC coverage does not insure against the potential loss of market value. Apex Clearing Corporation is a third-party SEC-registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/SIPC

Remember, not all stocks pay out dividends. And there’s no guarantee any stock will pay dividends in a quarter or year. Dividends may be subject to additional taxes, and are considered taxable income. Please refer to the IRS for additional information.

Investing minimums for fractional shares start at $0.01 for a Personal Portfolio

3Offer is subject to Terms and Conditions. To be eligible to participate in this Promotion and receive the Bonus, you must complete the following steps: (i) successfully complete the designated registration process of opening an individual taxable brokerage account (“a Personal Portfolio”), (ii) link a funding account (e.g. an external bank account) to your Personal Portfolio, AND (iii) initiate and complete a minimum deposit of at least five dollars ($5.00) into your Personal Portfolio. In the event you only complete the designated registration process to receive the Financial Counseling Service (as defined in your Advisory Agreement) or do not otherwise complete the account opening process for an individual taxable brokerage account (“Personal Portfolio”), you will not be eligible to receive the Bonus.

The Penny Hoarder is a paid solicitor of Stash. 

This information is for educational purposes only. This material is not intended as investment advice and is not meant to suggest that any securities are suitable investments for any particular investor. Investment advice is only provided to Stash customers. All investments are subject to risk and may lose value. All product and company names are trademarks ™ or registered ® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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.

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