10 Fast and Easy Ways to Get, Save and Make Money Quickly

19 comments

Nowadays every extra dollar counts more than ever. Despite decent income from working a regular job, once taxes and other fixed expenses are accounted for, it is getting harder and harder to make ends meet. Since there are only twenty four hours in day, physically working more (provided you can even get a job) is not really possible. That’s why you must become more adept at saving smarter, or even better make your cash work for you by finding ways to increase your passive and investment income. Here then are ten ways that I have used effectively to make some extra cash every month. Hopefully one or more of these ideas will wok for you, and best of all you can start implementing them today!

1. High interest savings accounts. This is a no brainier way to make your money work for you. The difference between a high interest account and a regular checking account is the “higher” interest (APY) you get, 4 to 5 times in many cases. For example at current account rates, on $20,000 you can earn about $240 of interest over the year ($20 per month passive income), versus a miserly $5 to $10 for the entire year with a regular checking account. Further, with volatile and declining stock markets, having your money in cash that you can quickly get to is a huge asset. I use high yield savings accounts, because they generally have the most competitive offerings (from APY to user experience) and are amongst the most stable of the financial companies out there. Whichever high yield savings account you choose, make sure you go for one that has no fees, above average rates and is FDIC insured.

2. No annual fee credit card. This is my pet peeve – paying an annual fee for a credit card. This is on top of any interest you pay for carrying a balance. Ideally you should pay off your credit card every month, but in the current economy a number of families have to carry balances to make ends meet. However one thing you can do right now is get a no fee credit card, saving between $50 to $400 every year depending on your card. There are a number of cards you can get that have no annual fee and also very competitive interest rates. Many credit card sites can help you search across multiple offerings/vendors and provide you with cards that meet your criteria (like no annual fee or cash back rewards).

3. Refinance. If you have a home loan and have been a “responsible” owner, yet find it hard to refinance to a lower rate because of falling housing values or less than perfect credit, then thanks to various government refinance programs you may be in a for a break. If you have a conforming loan backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae (ask your lender if you are not sure) you can refinance to the lowest rates available in the market. For example, by refinancing from a 6.75% rate to 5% rate on a $200,000 mortgage, could reduce monthly repayments by up to 17%!

4. Start a blog. Do you know how much I make from running this blog; and can you make that much? To answer the first question, I started this blog from scratch and it cost me about $10 to purchase the domain name via popular registrar GoDaddy.com and setup using Google’s free blogger platform. Today,  I am making more than $1500 month. I wouldn’t call this entirely passive income, because it takes a lot of work to develop an even moderately successful blog. However once you write an article and market it correctly, you can keep making money from the ads in and around it for as long as it is relevant and comes up in search engine results. I have detailed the required characteristics for successful blogging and estimated what other bloggers are earning, but the key attributes are – decent writing skills, basic technical skills and a lot of patience. There is no harm giving it a try, because at most it will cost you $10 and some time, but you will learn a lot and the active and passive monetary rewards could be substantial.

5. Take advantage of the stimulus tax credits by adjusting your paycheck withholding. In the recently announced mulch-billion stimulus packages, there are many goodies (or free money) being paid as tax credits or deductions. Rather than claim them when you file your tax returns next year like most people, adjust your pay check withholding and get the stimulus payments and tax breaks sooner, thereby increasing your monthly cash flow. Also if you have any major life changes – kids, new job or investment losses – review your paycheck and adjust your withholding to stop giving the IRS a free loan.

6. Sell on Craigslist. I was never a big believer of Craigslist despite what people said. I thought most people would use it to sell junk, mainly because it was cheaper than eBay. I also assumed that since it was local to the state or country you lived in, the number of buyers and sellers would be small. Boy was I wrong. I recently sold a crib (in good condition) for $150, which I had bought three years for about $180. So after three years and using the crib daily for my infant son, I only lost about $30. Not bad I think. What’s more I had about 10 people interested in it, amongst over 100 ads for other cribs. I got a fair price for it – in cash, so I was happy. I have since used it to sell over $1000 worth of “stuff” that I no longer needed. As the saying goes, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. So do a home inventory of “stuff” you are not using, and sell it for free on Craigslist for free. The extra cash is definitely something you can use. Just make sure you post good pictures of the things you list!

7. Cut your brokerage costs. Despite all the market and economic turbulence, many new investors are entering the market, because of the potentially great deals on offer. My post on how to buy stocks, is one of my most popular nowadays and I think many folks who have been sitting on the sidelines are now willing to risk a little bit of money on the many blue-chip stocks selling at bargain basement prices. If you are willing to take some risk now, the pay-offs could be huge in a few years. Then again, it is also equally likely you could end up with little more than the shirt on your back if the market keeps falling. Whatever your rationale, experience and investing focus, the one thing you can control is how much you pay for trading. You can see this list I complied on the best low cost online brokers.

8. Never buy retail and instead portal shop. Two reasons for this. Firstly, it reduces impulse buying. Secondly you are almost guaranteed to find a cheaper price if you shop online. However, like me, most people don’t have time to spend hours trolling the internet looking for a good deal. That’s where shopping portals or aggregation sites come in useful. They bring together the best prices from various small and well known merchants and you can see the lowest prices in one view. When I see something I like, I buy it from one of the well known merchants that come up in searches or use it to get the nearest retail store to match price – they all will in the current environment.

9. Reduce 401k contributions. Yes, you read it right. I am suggesting you reduce your retirement contributions (to $0 or just enough to get the company match) and use the extra cash to increase your monthly cash flow or for better alternative investments. This may seem like a myopic, short term view – but realistically the stock market is probably not going to do much in the year ahead apart from being very volatile. I have done the math of how reducing your retirement contributions can save you money when markets are falling in this post, so do/see the numbers for yourself if you don’t believe me. I am not suggesting that you stop 401K contributions permanently. Once the stock market shows signs of life and the markets stabilize, you should ratchet up those 401K investments to the maximum and enjoy the benefits of dollar cost averaging and compounding as prices recover from their lows. Until then, you can quickly improve your current cash flow by employing this strategy.

10. Cut down on your auto insurance bill(s). Don’t believe all those ads you see that Geico, or any particular insurance company, is the cheapest option. You must always shop around with financial and insurance companies because every policy is negotiable and subject to personal factors. For example I switched my auto insurance to AllState and saved over $200 by just saying, “Geico gave me $X rate, so what can you do for me to keep me as a customer. And oh by the way, I want to also look at changing my home insurance.Shopping for insurance is boring and it is easy to keep going with the automatic renewals, but in current market conditions where companies are ferociously competing for customers you can easily save $100 to $500 on your insurance policies by making a few calls to get the best price.

Whew! What a list. All told if you implement even half of the above ideas I bet you could increase your available cash by 5-20% a month and even build a passive income source or two. Good luck saving and investing your money.

Bookmark and Share

Liked what you read? Then stay connected and get the latest articles via RSS, Email or Facebook

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Financial advisor January 11, 2012 at 9:04 am

Hi! This is a great post but I have to disagree with you at point 9. I don’t think that reducing your 401(k) contributions it’s a very good plan for the future. . Additionally, if you withdraw money from a 401(k) plan before age 59 (correct me if I’m wrong), you’ll face a 10% tax penalty (with few exceptions) and you could end up spending money today, money that may came in use when you are old.

Reply

Emily December 20, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I recently sold a secretary desk on Craigslist. I purchased it on consignment for $75 about six yrs ago, asked $100 for it, and got it!

Reply

Youthful Investor November 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm

I think it is so easy to start the process to making money online but it is far more difficult to be consistent and follow through with it, which separates most people from making money easy online.

My easiest recommendation is selling on eBay and Craigslist, especially Craigslist as you accept your money in cash and you do not have to ship anything.

The other thing is if you can write articles. My website and yours are both probably looking for original content all the time and it takes time to write those, time that could be better spent on other projects. Thus we are willing to pay money for articles. I paid $7 for an article someone wrote for me on a city in Florida for one of my mini-sites. That person wrote the article in under an hour and made it over 700 words. If you can pump out several 200-300 articles a day, save them to your computer and sell them. A great way to make money when you are bored!

Reply

Cherleen @ yesiamcheap October 26, 2011 at 9:47 am

I don’t have any plan of getting another credit card and I am having difficulty looking for a bank that will give me the interest rate I need, so I will probably apply for a refinance or reduce my 401K contribution. Thanks for the tips!

Reply

Maggie@SquarePennies October 22, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Good tips! There should be something there for just about everyone. This time of year is open enrollment time for health insurance policies via your job. If you are young and healthy you can probably avoid the PPO choice that costs more. The older you are and if you have chronic conditions it could be worth your while to pay the extra for the PPO.

Reply

Lena September 17, 2010 at 1:15 am

Some of your suggestions didn’t work for me. When I contacted Esurance about a $22 monthly increase in auto insurance they said it was due to the high cost of doing business in CA and told me I was free to look elsewhere if I didn’t like it. Also, for my business I have the option of driving 23 miles to the only place that carries supplies I need or shopping at their online store for slightly less but then incur the $9.00 or more for shipping costs on top of taxes. If I plan the trip to the store and combine it with other errands, it’s cheaper or a push to shop at the store and walk out with my purchase .

Reply

Anonymous April 12, 2010 at 1:03 pm

US Savings Bonds are truly passive income. What a surprise to learn Series I bonds bought 07/2000 are paying 6.72% whereas other monies not invested in CDs are paying far less!

Reply

Leave a Comment


2 × = 12

{ 12 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post:

Disclaimer: The information contained on Saving to Invest (this site) is for general information purposes only and does not constitute factual or professional financial advice. In accordance with FTC guidelines, we disclose that we may have a financial relationship with some of the merchants/companies mentioned on this website. We do our best to maintain current information, but due to the rapidly changing environment, some information may have changed since it was published. Please do the appropriate research before participating in any third party offers. Refer to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use for more information