Get a High-Yield Savings Account
The best known banks offer the lowest yields.
Bank of America and Chase offer .01% yields. One-hundreth of a percent.
Wells Fargo offers between .01-.03% and TD Bank offers .05%.
Which is crazy right? Because the bigger the bank, the nicer they should be to you and offer higher interest for your checking account right? Why is loyalty to customers not a thing?
Well, that’s not what actually happens. The best banks with the highest-yielding savings accounts are all banks without brick-and-mortar locations. They save money on rent, personnel, and other physical assets so they can pay you more interest on your savings account, which is great for you!
The current highest-yielding savings account is with CIT Bank, which offers 1.85 %. The average interest on a savings account is .06%, so CIT Bank offers a savings rate 31 times the national average.
The account is free, doesn’t have any hidden fees or charges, and only requires $100 to open. The account is also FDIC insured up to $250,000 per person.
Putting your emergency fund money in a high-yield savings account is one of the easiest ways to make free money and it takes less than 15 minutes. Open a high-yield savings account today. It won’t cost you anything, but will make sure you earn money on your emergency fund like you should.
Refinance Your Student Loans For Free
Refinancing is when you get a lower interest rate on your current loan.
Here’s how interest rates work. The more risky the borrower (you), the higher the rate of interest someone will charge you when you want to borrow money. The safer financially you are, the lower your interest rates will be.
You are a riskier borrower when you haven’t yet graduated college or gotten a job. Lending a 18 year old money is pretty risky. You don’t know if they’ll finish their college education or just drop out and dig themselves into a hole with more debt and declare bankruptcy.
Once you’ve graduated college and have a job, you’ll be able to refinance those student loans for a much lower interest rate and save a ton on that interest.
A lot of interest. How much? Here’s an example based on average student loan statistics.
The average American has $40,000 in student loan debt when they graduate. The government interest rate for student debt is currently 4.45% and the average private interest rate for student loan debt is 10%. If we assume a half and half mix of private and public debt, then taking an average 7.25% interest rate in student debt, you’ll pay $38,000 extra in interest if you don’t refinance your student loans. If you refinance to the lowest rate possible of 3.15% currently, you’d only pay an extra $15,000 in interest.
In this scenario, you’d save $23,000 just by refinancing.
It’s amazing how much a higher interest rate will cost you over time.
Checking your possible rate is completely free with Lendkey and doesn’t impact your credit score so take a look and see if you can get a lower interest rate to save a ton of money. Lendkey aggregates the biggest lenders and compares their rates to get you the lowest rate. They don’t charge origination fees either, so it’s free.
Analyze and Fix Your 401k For Free
When you first started your job, there was a little pamphlet of benefits. One of the benefits mentioned was a 401k, but didn’t really explain what to invest in.
There are a lot of things to consider that most people don’t: expense fees, stock/bond ratio, active/passively managed, diversified in different stocks/bonds, etc.
I wrote an article about those mistakes above and you should check it out.
Blooom also offers has a free tool that will fix your 401k, so if you’re interested in that, check it out.
Check Your Credit Score + $50,000 in Fraud Protection Free
Credit Sesame shows you your credit score anytime you want, and allows you to see what is impacting your credit score the most. It also has real-time alerts, so if there is anything fishy going on, you’ll get an alert right away.
It’s nice to know if there are any fraudulent accounts or inquires immediately so you can combat them as soon as possible.
It also offers $50,000 in fraud protection insurance for free, which awesome. It’s nice to know I have that in my back pocket if anything happens.
Every time you shop online, you should be using a cashback portal.
There is a difference in when you get paid though. Ebates pays on a quarterly basis, 45 days after the end of the quarter. BeFrugal pays out within 10 business days. If you don’t care when you get the cash, but just want the highest cashback, I’d sign up for both.
Check them both out and get a $10 bonus from each site, so $20 free!
Related: How to Triple Dip On CashBack
Get a Cashback Credit Card for Free
Credit cards are some of the best inventions ever if you pay off your balance in full and on time every month, so you never pay any interest.
Repeat: Pay off your balance in full every month so you do not pay any interest.
There are multiple credit cards that offer really awesome cashback without any annual fees! So you get paid to use their credit card, which is super awesome.
The Discover It Miles card offers 3 percent cashback during your first year, redeemable for any kind of travel. For every $10,000 in spending, that’s $300 you can use for travel. If you don’t want to deal with the whole points and miles redemptions for airline and hotel points, but still travel, this is a great card.
If you just want pure cashback, take a look at the Citi Double Cash Card. It offers 1 percent cashback, then 1 percent when you pay off your bill in full and on time, which is a great incentive for you to never carry a balance! It’s only 2 percent, compared to the Discover Miles card, but you get actual cash in return. If you don’t travel, consider this card.
Track Your Net Worth For Free
This is an awesome way to get your net worth up. When you start paying off your old debt and seeing how fast your net worth grows, you’ll become addicted to spending less and repaying more debt off.
Personal Capital allows you to track your net worth for free by linking your accounts. They offer bank accounts, 401k, IRA, 403(b), and other common retirement accounts for the positive part of your net worth. You can also link debt as well. They also offer linking for some alternative investments.
It’s awesome to see those net worth numbers change every month. Check out personal capital.
Get Free Rebates When Prices Drop
Most retailers have a policy where if a product goes on sale in some number of weeks after you purchase it, you’re entitled to that money back in the form of a rebate. That number of weeks varies across different retailers and so does their policies.
You’re probably going to have to send an email to a (sometimes specific) email address from the retailer you purchased from in order to collect on that rebate. Also, you’ll need to check the price of products every day or hour of course. You don’t get the rebate if the item is out of stock, which is always more likely when something goes on sale. I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of work!
Thankfully, Paribus does it for free. Sign up, let Paribus do its thing, and collect free money whenever you buy something and it has a price drop. Automation is wonderful.
Check Out Pay-Per-Mile Auto Insurance For Free
If you drive more than 10,000 miles a year, check out pay-per-mile insurance by Metromile.
With regular car insurance, if you don’t drive that many miles, you’re subsidizing all the other heavy drivers out there as the number of miles driven is one of the highest causes of car accidents. It’s simple. The more you drive, the higher the chance of you having an accident. But that’s not factored into the price of normal car insurance! Since it’s difficult for insurance companies to track the miles you drive, they just quote you a price based on the actuarial estimate of everyone on the road in a specific city or region.
So, if you don’t drive that many miles, you’re basically subsidizing other people’s insurance, which essentially means you’re paying for part of their insurance. If you don’t like that, get a quote for pay-per-mile insurance.
Metromile makes it fair, by making you pay for the number of miles driven, so that you don’t have to subsidize those drivers that drive a ton anymore. They’re currently in only a few states, but looking to expand. They’re currently available in 7 states: California, Washington, Oregon, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Illinois.
You can also track exactly where your car is parked via their app, and they alert you to street cleaning/sweeping times in Chicago, LA, SD, and SF so you’ll be reminded to move your car in time and won’t get fined.
Balance Transfer For a 3% Personal Loan For Free
If you have high-interest credit card debt, you should consider a balance transfer. Most credit card debt is high-interest at ~20-25%+. At that rate, it takes your debt just three years to double. Those minimum payoff amounts barely cover the interest! Your high-interest credit card debt is an absolute emergency. If you don’t have enough to pay it off right away, get a card that allows for a balance transfer ASAP.
A balance transfer is where another bank will pay off your credit card debt with a promo interest rate period. Usually balance transfers cost just 3-5% of the balance being transferred (the really good ones offer 3%, most offer 5% now), but since they offer a 0 % APR for 15-21 months, that’s almost like a 1.5% interest rate per year.
The average credit card debt of a household in the United States is $16,000. A 25% interest rate for your high-interest debt means you’d need to pay $4,000 a year in interest. That doesn’t even touch your debt! If you get a balance transfer, you’d only pay $240 a year in interest. You’re paying 17 times the amount in interest because you didn’t do a balance transfer.
If you have high-interest credit card debt, you need a balance transfer so you can get to work paying off that credit card debt without being bogged down in interest.
20-25% interest will kill you financially. Get a balance transfer so you can stop paying those insane rates and start paying off the principle on your debt, instead of just interest. The Citi Cash Back card offers 0% APR for 18 months and a 3 percent balance transfer fee.
A Company Will Cancel Your Subscriptions + Negotiate Your Utilities Bills
If you don’t check your credit card bills (you should!), odds are high that you have some random subscription that is being charged onto your account month after month. Most companies offer some kind of free trial because they know people will forget to cancel it before the subscription is up. The company Trim checks if you’re being charged for any subscriptions in the last 90 days and asks if you still want them. For free! Seriously, I can’t believe there is all this free stuff to help people’s personal finance and it’s not talked about more.
Trim will also negotiate bills for you if you don’t want to spend hours on the phone trying to renegotiate your utility rate. They do charge 33 percent of your yearly savings, so you’ll need to consider if that’s worth it. If you’re basically at the lowest rate you think you can get, no harm in having them try. If you have a hugely inflated rate, consider calling the company yourself since 33 percent in yearly savings is a lot! Canceling subscriptions is free though, they only charge for savings on utility bills. Check Trim out!
Get Paid Every Day Instead of Every 2 Weeks
Getting paid every 2 weeks is kind of an old and antiquated idea. You work every day, so why shouldn’t you get paid every day? It’s only fair.
A company called Earnin realized the absurdity of getting paid only every 2 weeks and decided to change all that. Earnin pays you your daily wage every day. So if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and need the money to not get charged things like overdraft or late fees, consider Earnin. If you’d just like to get paid everyday and invest the money earlier, check it out as well.
Earnin works with a pay what you want system and the company will keep letting you use it for free, ie pay nothing.
Get Notified of Amazon Price Drops On Your Wishlist for Free
CamelCamelCamel tracks the price of products on Amazon and sends you an alert when it has reached an all-time low or dropped a certain percent.
You can even see the historical prices of a product, so you can decide if the price is low enough for you to just purchase it.
Since you can bookmark all your products, it also allows you to psychologically limit your spending. If a product takes a few weeks to drop in price and you realize you don’t need it in a few weeks, you’ll save dollars just by waiting.
They also have sections of all-time price drops in different categories, so you can see the best deals on Amazon at the time.
Buying Gift Cards For A Discount
What happens to gift cards that people don’t want? They get sold to companies that stock gift cards like Cardpool. They offer up to 30 percent off on gift cards. They carry basically any gift card from a large corporation. It also offers a year-long guarantee if there is anything wrong with the card and I’ve used the guarantee for gift card companies prior and was glad they had it!
So the next time you order something, consider buying a gift card through Cardpool for that purchase to save a little bit extra if it saves you more than going through a online/offline cash back app/website.
Grocery Cash Back
Ibotta gives you a $10 sign-up bonus if you scan a receipt within a week. Cashback seems to range from 25 cents to $4 in cashback per item. You can basically get 25 cents off of each receipt since that redemption is always in the app. There are generic redemptions for things like chips, yogurt, watermelon, etc. Basically all kinds of random stuff. Which is nice, because you can double stack the generic chips redemption with a specific brand.
What kinds of items are in the $3-$4 range for cashback? Beer! So if you love beer, download the iBotta app. They even have Angry Orchard and Mike’s Hard Lemonade in there! They also have hard liquor cashback redemptions as well.
I guess in a way a grocery cashback app is kind of like coupons, but coupons that automatically work and are stored on an app in your phone.
Lastly, if you so choose, you can also use real paper coupons on top of all that. It’s beginning to sound like extreme couponing, so on to the next!
Offline Cash Back
Use Dosh, which gives a $5 sign-up bonus and allows you to get cash back via the app for in-person purchases.
The great thing is that it has a bunch of my favorite restaurants on the app, and they tend to offer 5-10% cash back. They also have a ton of bars and breweries which some friends like to go to as well. All you need to do is link a card to the app and every time you purchase something through a local business, the app will send you a notification on your phone that you’ve got cash back!
I don’t look to see if a restaurant or brewery is on the list of local businesses that offer cashback because I don’t want that to affect where I want to go. I’ve just linked my credit card and get random cash back. It’s always a nice surprise because it’s passive and a few times a month I’ll get an alert for some random amount.
Download the Dosh app, and get a $5 sign-up bonus.
Opening An i401k
The best part of having a side hustle is seriously the i401k. It’s basically an extra 401k if you’re self-employed in some fashion. Sell things on eBay, make money from a blog, or tutor some kids? All self-employed.
You’re allowed to contribute up to $55k combined for your 401k and i401k, which makes getting your personal finances in order that much quicker. If you’re interested in financial independence, that makes it so much faster as well.
If you’re a DIY investor, Vanguard offers a free account with a $20 charge per fund in your i401k if you do not have at least $50k with them or if each fund doesn’t have at least $10k. As far as I know, no Robo-Advisor offers an i401k, so if you really don’t want to DIY it, consider investing in a target date retirement fund.
Listen To Your Money Or Your Life + The Simple Path To Wealth
Amazon offers 2 free audiobooks, so if you’d like to listen to the books, it’s free to get those two.
Starting a 529 Account For College
A 529 account is a government account that usually allows for pre-tax contributions. The money can grow tax free and be withdrawn tax free if you’re looking to save for your or your child or spouse’s college tuition or expenses.
Each state has its own 529 account, and some states offer accounts if you’re not a resident, but others don’t. Some 529s are held by a company that offers high expense fee funds, while others are on par with Vanguard’s fees (basically the lowest in the industry).
Collegebacker picks the best state to open your 529 in and makes it easy to share your 529 plan for others so you can get money for a 529 plan instead of random toys and gifts for your family. They don’t take commissions so there’s no conflict of interest and they are a pay what you want company, where you can pay $0-$10 per month for your account.
Bank Account Bonuses
Every week, I’ll get mail for bank bonus offers for just opening an account. Banks usually post their bonuses in their windows as well. They’ve ranged from $100-$500 just for opening an account with them. Be sure to understand the rules and minimum deposits needed to collect on the bank bonus.
Any other money tools that are free? Let me know below!