Tried and True Ways to Make Money Without Spending
Is your checking account overdrawn again? Does this keep happening to you and no matter how much you plan you can't seem to get ahead? Many Americans are financially crippled by Student Loans, Credit Cards, and Medical Debt which keeps us from creating a savings account, buying a home, or even paying off the debt we do have. As the bills keep climbing how do you not lose your moral to the constant calls and nagging threats of creditors and become not only financially stable but debt free?
Money May Seem Difficult To Keep
Honest Ways to Make Money Without Spending Money
Here are a few tips on how to make money right now without spending a dime. You read right! Most searches on the internet turn up results which require you to spend money to make money, but when the account is already empty, this is a dead end. Besides selling a kidney, or budgeting, here are a few ways to make money which are completely free to you! Remember making money takes work so each of these tips require some effort on your part. This is not a get out of jail free card!
Ibotta is a wonderful app which gives you cash back on purchases you would make anyway! Although the account may be depleted, at some point you will have to go to the store for food. Follow these steps to make money using Ibotta:
1. Install the app on your phone
2. Search the box chain store of choice
3. Search and add items which are on your normal shopping list
4. Purchase the items
5. Scan your receipt into the app
Ibotta acts as a coupon on certain items and provides a cash back rebate to the purchaser. This is real cash but you can only cash out at $20 or more to your PayPal account and from there to your bank. The first month using Ibotta I deposited $50 by shopping for items I was going to purchase anyway.
When using a referral code from a friend to sign up you can be added to a team. The team then works together to meet the month's savings goal and when it is reached Ibotta gives everyone on the team a bonus! If you are a heavy shopper this app gives you a great way to quickly reapply funds you would normally have spent back into your account. An even better way to use the app is to not cash out at every $20 increment but keep the amount through the entire year and cash out just in time for holiday shopping!
Have a bunch of clothing you never wear? Are those clothes in great condition and hot or common brands anyone would purchase? Look no further than PoshMark! The app is free to use and list your items in your "closet" which is then loaded into the feed of items which match the description, size, brand, style, and even color of the item you are selling.
When an item sells, you are notified by e-mail, and sent a printable shipping label. Place the item in the mail for shipping and wait for a 5 star review and a payout! Direct Deposit to your bank account is available which makes PoshMark awesome because you only wait for the funds to clear.
TIP- PoshMark has millions of users so the best pictures you can provide of each item the better. Be honest about the condition and only sell items which you know are worthy of an upscale resale shop. Items with holes, lots of wear or stains, or are knockoffs are not recommended.
PoshMark users like to see the item modeled so if you can have someone take a nice picture of you in the item it will be more likely to sell. Unable to wear the item? No problem! Hang the item nicely on a hanger, pressed and clean, and use a neutral background to really make it pop. Go through your closet to be rid of items for the coming season and watch as your items quickly gain likes and hopefully quick sales.
If you want even more visibility per item you can throw items into parties, visible in the app, which then allow others in the party to see your offer. You can provide discounts and bundle packages to make quicker sales to interested buyers.
The app is again free to use but they do take a portion of your sales. They have to make money after all. For sales under $15 Poshmark will take $2.95. For sales over $15 you keep 80!%. Now remember if you offer discounted or free shipping on your item that does come out of your pocket so be reasonable with your pricing. It's often better to make a little higher cost on the item and give free shipping than to charge shipping with a lower cost point.
Let It Go
Getting rid of clutter and unused items through a sales app can not only bring in a few extra funds quickly but it can help feel better about taking new steps forward. Often times turning over a new leaf is best personified by not only making changes to our spending habits and everyday choices but by being rid of reminders of the past. Being a clothes horse may have gotten you in trouble financially but you can feel better by selling it off and starting over. Learn from your past however.
Not unlike PoshMark, Mercari allows you to sell your items for a small portion of your sale. Mercari allows you to place various items on their portal however, not just fashion. Have an old phone you could sell or perhaps hand made items? Mercari allows you to place pretty much anything up for sale, kind of like an E-Bay buy it now feature.
The catch? They do take a 10% fee of every sale, which in the long run could be quite a chunk of change. Mercari is also strict about their rules of selling in that you must provide a clear photo of the actual item and not stock footage and all descriptions must be as accurate as possible. Failure to provide an accurate description could result in your account being banned and funds returned to the purchaser.
With Mercari you can choose to ship the item yourself and not use a prepaid shipping label, which means if your item only costs a dollar to ship, you can charge the actual cost! This is a plus in the column for Mercari. They do have prepaid shipping labels as well but you must be sure the details of the shipping are correct in size and weight so as not to have the item returned to you for inadequate shipping cost.
TIPS: As with any selling app a clear photo is always better for possible buyers. Staging your items, modeling the clothing, and being sure your items look the very best they can will give you better chances at selling your items quickly. Honesty in the quality and wear and tear of the item is very important.
Selling items right before they become important for a season, such as jackets for fall or swimwear for summer, will also give you better chances of selling. Be sure to ship your item within 3 days of selling and put your page in away mode if you are unable to make the shipping deadline should you make a sale today.
Overall Mercari is another great option for selling items you would otherwise let sit around or donate to a local thrift store.
Old Clothing Just Piles Up
Credit Karma's Unclaimed Money Feature
We have all seen the Credit Karma commercials on television. The service is wonderful because I myself have found items which were incorrectly reported to the credit bureaus and I was able to find this out only through Credit Karma. One service many people are unaware of is the unclaimed money feature.
After logging into your account, at the top you will find a list of menu options. Under Resources you can scroll down and click on Unclaimed Money. This feature then searches for funds which were overpaid to accounts you may have had in the past such as a utility bill or even a medical payment. After finding unclaimed money under your name, you will be instructed how to fill out the proper information to have that money returned to your possession, which may require sending in a form with a copy of your ID. Some states require a notarized form so depending on the dollar amount of the funds it may be best to let it go. I personally found over $200 in unclaimed money I had paid out which was owed to me. My husband another $300! When you move as often as we have it is easy to have those funds never paid out to you.
TIP: Be sure if you have ever had a different name or lived in another state to check under every possibility. You may find money under your maiden name and your married name. Also hyphenated names may be all one word with two capital letters for each name or one capital letter at the start and the rest lower case.
All of these funds are attached to your social security number so you may be required to provide that information but this will help ensure the funds are really going to the person to whom they belong. This feature can be checked often but unless you move or have changed names there may not be unclaimed money more than a few times in your lifetime.
Buy What You Need
Learn the difference between a need and a want. Wanting something means having to earn it and "I had a really bad week," does not constitute, "I deserve it." It is my personal belief we do not deserve anything and must work to earn those things we want and even those things we need. Placing a need before a want is not only fiscally responsible but will teach yourself and those around you how to not fall prey to quick buys with low personal value, which deplete your bank account, and cause more crippling debt.
Check For Offers
We all have subscriptions or reoccurring payments per month. Cell Phones, Magazines, and Cable and Internet are common but what about your car and renter's insurance? Have you checked them lately? If you have recently moved, gotten older, or have had a the same policy for an extended period of time, you may be able to call and negotiate a better rate!
Once you reach the age of 27 if your driving record is in good standing, you are a non smoker, or are still in school with good grades, you may qualify for discounts! If those discounts don't take down your cost per month you can always check the rates of a local competitor and see if you can use that as leverage towards lowering your rate or simply switch companies.
TIP: If you are switching companies be sure the insurance coverage is the same or better than the one you are leaving. If it's not, tough luck and try again at a later date.
For subscription services many streaming services have a flat rate which is non negotiable. However, if you pair up with a friend on Netflix and split the cost of a multi device plan this could save you money per month. To save even more money ask yourself if every subscription you have is worth the cost. If you don't read the magazines which come to your door you may consider canceling your subscription.
You Can Do It!
It may seem almost impossible when the funds are low and the bills are high but you can do it! Every bit paid off is a step in the right direction. If you have many steps to go, rather than looking at the mountain in front of you, focus on the few steps ahead and take them one at a time. Getting overwhelmed never helps raise your moral to work towards your goals. If you continue having large amounts of debt, negotiating with creditors and your bank over fees and overdrafts may help as well!
Lately billing has been more cryptic, especially with medical billing. Most of the time you will no longer get an itemized bill but just a total, and that total may have very little information on where the bill is from and for what services. Doctors have their own billing so just when you think you have paid off a balance you find out you didn't pay the doctor and actually owe more money!
For each medical bill it is important you check your explanation of benefits from your insurance if you have it. If the total cost payout does not match the bill being sent to you the best thing to do is begin communicating with your insurance provider and medical billing. Generally these two do not communicate with each other so it is our job as a patron to be the liaison. This in itself could be a full time job if you have a lot of medical bills.
Asking medical billing for an itemized bill will allow you to go through that date of service with a fine tooth comb and be sure they did not over charge or put the incorrect code into the system. In doing this I have personally found testing which was never performed and even services from doctors who were never present. Note that some services may be required to be sent out so don't assume just because you didn't see the doctor or service provider in person they didn't do their job. It could be the lab or an outside specialist who was asked to take a look at your file.
Going through your medical bills can save you a lot of money in the long run if you do catch an error and report it effectively. Disputing some services may be difficult unless you can prove without a doubt you never received the service but you definitely do not want to get stuck paying someone else's bill because the medical biller accidentally put someone else's test on your file. Everyone makes mistakes but you don't want to pay thousands or even hundreds more than what is required.
TIP: No insurance? As your service provider if you pay in a lump sum if you can get a discount. If you are unable to pay a lump sum a payment plan may be available and as is common, if the payment plan's lowest amount is more than you can afford per month, pay what you can until the file goes to collections. Once a bill is paid off which has been in collections, you can go to Credit Karma and request to have the medical debt removed from your credit file. Once a medical bill is closed out you should instruct medical billing to have the blemish removed.
Check All Bills
With many people moving to automatic billing it is common for us to never know exactly what we are paying for. Checking the bills of your service providers such as cell phones and utilities can make sure you do not pay more than what you should. In some cases third party app companies will pick a random phone number and begin charging the number for a service which was never requested. This unfortunately happened to us.
We set up an emergency cell phone for our eldest son who suddenly began getting text messages that his premium content was all set up and being charged monthly by our network. We had turned off third party purchases and have a parent setting allowing us to say yes to a purchase or no before they are ever made. No third party purchases should have ever been accepted to his phone number and yet there they were, $30 in the first five days of his phone's activation! I was livid.
I called the service provider and went over everything closely to be sure there was nothing. They themselves had not charged the account and could see my son had never subscribed to the service. Unfortunately the conclusion was made one of two things had occurred:
1. He had an old phone number where someone had activated the service and upon activation of the phone number he began being charged.
2. The app company had picked his number at random to attempt to collect a monthly fee we would normally probably never notice.
Because of the large amount of premium content subscriptions I am going to assume it was the first option over the second. This lesson however taught me to always check your bills for every utility and service to be certain there are not hidden fees or extra charges which should not be there.
© 2018 Whitney Wickham