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When money is tight, it can feel like you’re tiptoeing through life. One wrong step and everything could implode.
The overdraft fees, the bills, the credit card interest, the stress. It all keeps stacking up.
Don’t give up, though. There are resources out there that could offer you some relief:
1. Don’t Be Ashamed to Reach Out For Help
If you’re really in a tight spot, consider reaching out for some help. Nope, you don’t have to call your family members. Instead, start with 2-1-1, a confidential service offered through United Way. It can help you find the resources you need to secure affordable housing, make rent or pay utilities.
Just go to 211.org, and enter your location. It’ll show you the services available in your community and give you a number to call.
You might also look into applying for a grant. For example, Modest Needs grants are designed for workers just above the poverty line who are ineligible for most other forms of social assistance.
We know asking for help can feel shameful, but when you’re really in a tight spot, these resources can help you get back on stable ground.
2. Ask This Website to Pay Your Credit Card Bill This Month
If you’ve had to rely on your credit card to get by, you might have a stack of payments you’re staring down. But a company called Fiona can help you take care of this and pay off your debt even faster — and save you thousands of dollars.
Here’s how it works: Fiona will loan you up to $100,000 so you can pay off your credit cards. Then make monthly payments to repay the loan. This could lower your monthly payments and, because you’re able to eliminate high interest rates, help you pay off that debt a lot faster.
Plus, no credit card payment this month.
Fiona 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 two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.
3. This Research Company Will Pay You up to $225/Month to Watch Videos
Chances are, you don’t have time for a second or even third job, but we found a more effortless way to earn some extra cash this month.
A research company called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward.
It’s possible to earn up to $225 a month without having to get another job.
Unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards. It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.
It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately get a $5 bonus.
4. Cancel Your Car Insurance
If you need to free up some extra room in your budget, one of the easiest places to start is with your monthly bills — like your car insurance.
In most places, it’s straight up illegal not to have car insurance, so you’ve probably accepted you’re going to pay through the nose for it. But you don’t have to.
A free website called The Zebra will find the best deal for you — in just two minutes.
All you have to do is enter basic information about your car and driving history, then The Zebra compares policies from more than 100 companies to find you the best price.
The Zebra says it saves its users up to $670 a year.
If you find a policy you like, you can sign up online instantly.
5. Get Rid of Your Student Loan Debt
So maybe you’re doing everything right, but you still feel like you’ll be stuck with student loan debt forever. Don’t panic. A company called Credible wants to give you a hand.
Here’s how it works: Credible will match you with a loan that’ll cover your student debt tab. Use that loan to pay off your federal and/or private loans. Now you’ll be left with one new monthly payment.
This process is called refinancing, and the key is to find a loan with better interest rates or lower monthly payments.
We talked to Ashley Williams, a financial analyst who graduated with $46,000 in debt. Refinancing allowed her to knock five years worth of payments off her loans and save more than $18,000 in interest.
If you’re not sure where to start, we like Credible because you can check your options online for free in just two minutes.
6. See if The Government Owes You Unclaimed Money
State treasuries throughout the U.S. have more than $43 billion in unclaimed funds, according to The New York Times. Just sitting around! Waiting for you to come play lost and found.
To see if the government has any unclaimed funds in your name, check with the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. (Beware: There are several look-a-like sites out there. Be sure you’re searching legitimate ones.)
In fact, fellow reader Kelli Howell performed a quick search and found unclaimed money in her husband’s name. He was entitled to $56 from a “matured insurance policy.”
Sure, it’s $56, but that’s not bad for an unexpected check, right?
7. Trade Your Grocery Receipts for Cash
What do you normally do with your grocery receipts? You check out, the cashier hands you a mile-long piece of paper and you frantically stuff it to the bottom of a grocery bag. Pretty worthless.
But a free app called Fetch Rewards will turn your receipts into cash. It partners with tons of brands to give you points for every grocery receipt you share. Then you can exchange them for Visa gift cards.
This is perfect for those of us who don’t want to put a ton of work into this. All you have to do is send Fetch a photo of your receipt, and it does everything for you. No scanning barcodes or searching for offers — and you can use it with any grocery receipt.
When you download the app, use the code PENNY to automatically earn 2,000 points after you scan your first receipt. Then start snapping photos of your recent receipts to see how many points you can earn without a single trip to the store.
8. See If Your Cell Phone Company Owes You $80
Is your cell phone company overcharging you?
Probably. In fact, there are secret discounts it doesn’t want you to know about.
But a tool called Trim knows how to get them for you. William Ellis, a savvy saver from Indiana, was able to get $80 a year back in his pocket when Trim convinced Sprint to lower his bill — for the same plan. He didn’t even have to pick up the phone.
You can find out how much you’re overpaying by signing up for Trim. It takes just a couple of minutes, then Trim handles the rest.
Trim takes an upfront commission on any money it recovers for you, but there’s no charge if it’s not successful. Last month, Trim saved its users more than $1 million.
9. Get Free Scratch-off Tickets For a Chance to Hit The Jackpot
Hitting a big jackpot could solve a lot of your problems right now. It’s tempting to buy those scratch-off tickets from the gas station, but that’s not the best use of your money when you’re in a bind.
Instead, try playing for free using an app called Lucktastic. It releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets daily. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $1 to $10,000 in cash or gift cards to popular retailers.
The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free. It’s not guaranteed money, but at least Lucktastic is free to play. And hey, somebody’s gotta win.
We talked to single dad Oneil Campbell, from Boston, who was shocked when he won a $5,000 Lucktastic prize. “I didn’t see that one coming,” Campbell says. “I really didn’t. This is something good that happened to me at the right time — when I can really use it.”