5 Ways To Bulk-Up Your Bank Account Right Now
Updated: Apr 27, 2020
During this topsy-turvy, covid-crisis, finances can be uncertain. And that can be SCARY! Maybe you need to stretch that stimulus check for all it's worth, or maybe you have big plans to spend it on something that isn't an option until after this shut-down is over. Take the steps below to insure you are saving if you need to, or meeting some additional financial goals if you don't. Remember, saving money is like earning money. It can be your side hustle. I promise, you will feel SO good about yourself if you take even a few of these steps.
1. Want FREE MONEY right NOW? I can't stress this one enough because it's the easiest way to get a little cash if it applies to you. Have you ever heard of unclaimed property? Approximately 1 in 10 people have money floating around from financial institutions or companies. Like, maybe you over-payed your gas bill someplace you lived a few years back. Or maybe you're owed money through an old insurance policy. This works state by state, so you'll want to look up your name (both last names if you're married) in every state that you've lived in. This seems too good to be true because it's money you may have forgotten about or didn't even know you had coming. I've looked up my unclaimed property in 4 states once a year and twice, I've received a check. It might take a month or two to get to you, but money is money, right? Plus, it's like a treasure hunt. Look up your unclaimed property here.
2. Organize your spending with a budgeting system. This is especially important if you use credit cards and easily lose track of your day-to-day spending. I know there are a lot of options out there, but I personally use mint.com. I'm able to connect all of the credit cards I use and it helps me categorize each transaction to a specified budget. I have a budget for restaurants, groceries, my HOA, personal care, car payment, gifts, gas, etc. I love stats- and this program gives me tons of them: Pie charts, graphs that compare this months spending to last, credit score updates. It's like playing a video game with your money, and it motivates you to watch it grow. Every dollar I spend fits into it's own place so that I'm never taken by surprise. I also love that if I'm ever charged for something I never purchased, I catch it right away. (Rare, but it's happened!) After organizing my finances this way, I can't go back to being in the dark about it. It's comforting to know that I have a plan and it really helps me set goals. Pro Tip: If you are not salaried, always set your monthly income $20-$50 more than you anticipate making. This will encourage you to say "yes" to picking up that extra shift or spend a little extra time on marketing.
3. Open additional savings accounts. I have 3 extra accounts at fnbodirect.com that I am able to connect to the "goals" section of my "mint" budgeting system. These are the accounts that I save for vacations, down payment money, etc. Set them up so that they take automatic transfers out on paydays and watch them grow. I like to borrow money from my down-payment fund to pay off higher interest loans in bulk. Then, I take whatever I was paying for that loan and add it to my monthly contribution to that same savings fund. That way, I don't notice a difference in my finances, but those interest payments are actually going to myself instead of a bank. I'm sneaky with myself that way.
4. De-clutter your life. What does that have to do with money? A ton. How many times do you buy something that you already have because you couldn't find it or forgot you had it. Also, when you live in an organized space, it forces you to think about where you will store that item you think you want. Do you have space for it, or will you have to replace it with something else? And really, clutter is stressful and stress makes some people want to spend. Start going through your house room by room. Sell the things that might have value to other people over ebay or local facebook sales. Now is actually a great time for everyone to be selling and purchasing used items at a discount to help each other out.
5. Credit Cards. This doesn't apply to everyone, but credit cards can save you a lot of money depending on your personal situation. Obviously, credit cards can cost you a TON of money if you aren't able to make the payments. I only recommend them if you are organized with your finances and have consistent income. I only recommend opening a new credit card when you know you are going to be making a large purchase or be spending enough within the near future to hit whatever sign-up bonus your card is offering. If you are currently trying to save, it's a great time to research different cards for when you are able to meet those requirements. I have the travel bug, so my personal favorite cards are listed below.
- The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards card is great if you are traveling a lot for weddings, or visits back home to see parents. The current offer is "earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months (of activating your card)". That's an awesome deal considering 40,000 can easily add up to a round-trip flight. When Greg and I opened our Southwest card, the bonus points were able to cover both of us flying to Cuba round trip. That's amazing.
- The AAdvantage card is for American Airlines. I use this one for all of the places that Southwest doesn't fly to- that way, I have options. I opened this card in order to get points back when booking pricey flight to Maui. We got enough bonus points to visit my husband's family in Ohio.
- I can't recommend the World of Hyatt credit card enough. The current offer is "Earn 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Earn an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 total on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening." That's enough for 10 FREE nights at a category 1 hotel. On the anniversary of your card, you also get a free night at any category 1-4 Hyatt hotel. Greg and I love using our free Hyatt nights for weekend getaways in different parts of Florida like Sarasota and Key West. We even stayed at the Hyatt in Naples (only an hour drive from where we live...lol) for a night just for a fancy date. It's fun treating yourself like that when you are being rewarded for money that you would have spent anyway.
***Bonus: Join Honey! All you have to do is sign up and Honey will automatically apply coupon codes to things you purchase. It's a no-brainer.