Debt RoundUp Mon, 12 Aug 2019 03:43:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Debt RoundUp 32 32 Free Back to School Supplies Guide for Every Grade Mon, 12 Aug 2019 03:43:11 +0000 It’s back to school season my friends. If you have kids in school, then you know about this lovely time. The school lists are out and you need to head out to get supplies if you haven’t already. What happens if you don’t get a school list though? Do you know what school supplies you […]

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Free Back to school supplies guide for every grade

It’s back to school season my friends. If you have kids in school, then you know about this lovely time. The school lists are out and you need to head out to get supplies if you haven’t already. What happens if you don’t get a school list though? Do you know what school supplies you will need to purchase in order to be ready for the first day?

Since my son goes to school in a few weeks, I figured I would look around for a good guide based on the grades. I didn’t see one I liked, so that’s why I created a back to school supplies list. The best part is this breaks down by grade for you, so you only have to look for the grade your child is in. Let’s make back to school shopping a little easier!

With the help of school supply lists on Amazon, you can locate and understand what you need to bring for each grade. These lists do not include clothing or even backpacks. We know we need something to carry school supplies in, so make sure to get a backpack.

The two places doing the best deals are going to be Walmart and Amazon. These two are huge sites to score back to school deals each and every year. Also, don’t forget to sign up for Ebates in order to get cash back when you shop.

Without further ado, here are the suggested back to school shopping lists*. You can also click the grades below to go to the appropriate section.

Pre-K through 2nd Grades | 3rd Grade | 4th through 6th Grade | 7th and 8th Grade | 9th through 12th Grades

*If you need these to go shopping, here is an easy downloadable version.

Pre-K Through 2nd Grade

Since these four grades don’t require a different variety of supplies, so we are going to push them together. Depending on your school, you might not need to get many supplies, but here are what we suggest for these four grades. These back to school supplies are the basics to get any child through the year. You can probably get away with the bare essentials here. You can also use the links below to shop for all the supplies for each grade (the quality increases as the grades go up).

Pre-K  |  Kindergarten  |  1st Grade  |  2nd Grade


3rd Grade

While some of the supplies are similar to the lower grades, here are a few more additions to the list to help you get prepared for the step up to 3rd grade. There are 21 suggested items for this grade, so hopefully these help. If your supplies from lower grades are still usable, then bring them with your child. No need to purchase stuff you really don’t need when the other works just fine.  Click here to shop for all these on one page.

4th through 6th Grade

The kids are growing up so fast and now it’s time to get more supplies! While the basics are still the same as other grades, you will need to upgrade once you hit fourth grade to better and more durable supplies. The notable differences here are different styles of pens and more math geared supplies, such as protractors. The calculators might be a little fancier as well, but that depends entirely on the school and the teacher. If you can find a good deal on a calculator that can be used in multiple grades, then get it!

If you want to find products that match each grade closely, then use the links below. Otherwise, you can check out the products and choose what you need.

4th Grade  |  5th Grade  |  6th Grade


7th and 8th Grade

This is basically middle school for most public school systems. While they tend to start at 6th grade, the supplies and technology doesn’t change until they get near the end of middle and head off to high school. While your state may be slightly different, the supplies for these two grades are very similar. You can check out the links below for each individual grade as the quality and functions of the products may change depending on the grade.

7th Grade  |  8th Grade

9th through 12th Grade (High School)

High school is not much different when it comes to supplies. Where this grade level differs in the types of materials you need. The calculators probably need to be graphing style (most likely a TI version) and the binders and notebooks bigger. You also might need to get other books for each class. If you do need to buy books, make sure you check out, which offers used and rental books for much cheaper than purchasing one.

9th Grade  |  10th Grade  |  11th Grade  |  12th Grade

Obviously this isn’t an extensive back to school shopping guide, but we hoped to give you the necessities you would need for your child’s grade. We hope this helps you make that back to school shopping trip just a little easier.

If you’re like me, then you’ll be doing most of your shopping online. I’ll be hitting up Amazon to make my life a little easier. With Prime shipping, I’ll have my son’s school supplies at my door in two days. I can beat the rush at the store and just make life much easier.

I’ll call that a win!

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Should I Turn Off My A/C To Save More Money? Thu, 02 May 2019 15:57:18 +0000 It’s starting to get warm out there again, which means one thing… Time to tune up and turn on those air conditioners while trying to save money on your cooling bills. Tough job! If you’re anything like me, then you know how uncomfortable it can be when you’re hot in your own home. I hate […]

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Saving more money by turning off your a/c when gone

It’s starting to get warm out there again, which means one thing…

Time to tune up and turn on those air conditioners while trying to save money on your cooling bills. Tough job!

If you’re anything like me, then you know how uncomfortable it can be when you’re hot in your own home. I hate being hot, so I love air conditioning. I consider it one of the greatest inventions around, just due to how much I hate being hot. Living in the south doesn’t help me much either. It’s hot for several months out of the year. I just love Spring and Fall the most.

As someone who is also relatively frugal, I’m always torn between blasting the AC on high and enjoying those frosty temperatures or saving money. Typically, I push toward saving money. The good thing is you can save money and use your AC if you just plan a little and use some technology. Now a days, you can easily use technology to help you.

Check out the latest programmable thermostats to keep you cool and save you money! There are some awesome new ones out that can be programmed using your phone.

The majority of homeowners likely wonder whether it is better to turn off the AC while away or keeping it on all day. We certainly want to stretch every dollar, and we want the most efficient way of running things. But you also probably don’t want to die during the blistering heat of summer − which begs the question if turning the system off is worth the agony. But some people believe that leaving an air conditioner at all times − even while away − is the better path towards smaller energy bills. So…

Should I Turn Off My A/C to Save Money on My Cooling Bill?

I was lucky enough to have a HVAC technician help answer this question for me. Jason is a long-time HVAC tech who understands how air conditioners work and knows the answer to this constant question.

Jason is going to take it from here!

Being an HVAC technician for about 23 years, I’ve learned a good deal of how air conditioners work and how to maximize your indoor climate control efficiency. So, what about the belief that you shouldn’t turn off your air conditioner while away?

The myth: Leaving your air conditioner on all day will help save money in the long run by not having to kick start it each and every time you turn it back on.

The truth: Absolutely false.

How Air Conditioners Really Work

By keeping your air conditioner on at all times during the day, you’re not using an air conditioner efficiently, because leaving the air on all day (even when you’re not home) results in a higher use of energy. It would seem to be common sense that something that works harder is spending more energy, but this assumption is not an accurate reflection of how air conditioners work.  Fluctuating to accommodate for a constant temperature is far more taxing on an air conditioner than when it’s working at full capacity. Air conditioners work best when they are operating in full gear.

Leaving the air conditioner on throughout the day is also more damaging to your system. You’ll see several years added to the life of your system if you use it only when necessary instead of relying on the superstition that constantly running a system is somehow beneficial. Cut this habit now, and you’ll also notice a difference in your utility bills in no time. Most people don’t realize that by altering the temperature on the thermostat by one degree, your air conditioner is working at a difference of 5% — resulting in you saving or wasting your money in the long run. Pick the temperature that is right for you and your family.

The best way to maximize your savings and your comfort level is to purchase a programmable thermostat. It’s one of the first things I purchase when I buy a home (if there isn’t one already present). They pay for themselves quickly and you can enjoy a comfortable house, a well-functioning air conditioner, and a happy family. There are some great ones out there to purchase, but here are a few of the most popular.

That being said, it’s also not wise to leave your system running hard constantly. While running full blast is efficient on start-up, inching the thermostat to leave it constantly on full blast will leave your home freezing cold in July and can increase your energy bill.

Related Read: 43 Ways to Save More Money Today

The cost of running an air conditioner can go well over two dollars per hour. By switching off your air conditioner while away, you’ll immediately see the change in your future bills. Knowing that you’re saving money while using your air conditioner in an efficient manner will keep you and your family happier in the long run.

So, the answer to the question is: Don’t leave your A/C running when you’re gone!

The best option for you and most people is to create a schedule with your programmable thermostat to increase the temperature when you are not around. This will allow the system to be off more often. Please note, if you have pets, please know what you need to do for them to make them comfortable during the day. Don’t turn your temperature up to 90 to save money. That could harm your animals.

Related Tips to Reduce Your Cooling Bills

We won’t leave you hanging with just answering this question. You should know a few more ways to save money with your air conditioner.

First and foremost, make sure you get it serviced regularly. Most experts suggest twice a year (once in the Spring and once in the Fall). This is especially important when you have one system that does both heating and cooling. Always ask around for deals to see which company can provide you the service for the best price. You can’t get a discount unless you ask!

Second, if you have ceiling fans, use them! They are a great way to keep cooler and to push warm air out of your house. It also will help you circulate the cold air from the A/C around the house. Ceiling fans are excellent distributors of air and a great way to save more money on your utility bills.

Third, play with your thermostat settings to see what comfort level you can get away with. For every degree you raise or lower your thermostat, the more money or less money you save (depending on the season). Remember, for every degree, your A/C can be 5% more or less efficient. Those savings can add up over time.

What other great tips do you have to save money on your cooling bills?

Author Bio: Jason Wall is an HVAC technician who writes tips on air conditioning and heating for Griffith Energy Services. When he isn’t working or writing, he can be found enjoying a good baseball game or spending time with his family.


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10 Apps That Will Save You Money On Your Next Vacation Wed, 20 Mar 2019 22:35:27 +0000 Vacation. It is an annual rite of passage for many families across the summer. Besides Christmas, vacation is usually the largest one-time expense each year. We all want to have an awesome vacation, no matter if we stay near for a staycation, or book an international trip for a few weeks. Budgeting for a nice […]

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10 Apps that will save you money on your next vacation

Vacation. It is an annual rite of passage for many families across the summer. Besides Christmas, vacation is usually the largest one-time expense each year. We all want to have an awesome vacation, no matter if we stay near for a staycation, or book an international trip for a few weeks. Budgeting for a nice vacation can be daunting, but there are ways to save money on your vacation if you just know where to look.

Before you book your next trip, you might consider using some of these apps to lower your vacation expenses and save some dough. And remember one little thing…

Now that you have that in your mind, let’s save you some money on your next vacation!


It is somewhat difficult to find deals on plane tickets in recent years as people continue to travel by air in record numbers. These sites can help you find the lowest prices without booking fees.

Google Flights

You can’t buy package deals or exclusive flash sales (yet) with Google Flights, but, it is the quickest way to sift through the various carriers, flight times, and fare prices. Once you find an itinerary you like, you are taken directly to the carrier to complete the reservation.

Google Flights also has some fun features that can help you quickly see the cheapest fares from your local airport by seeing all the possible destinations on the map.

The Flight Deal

If you wait until the last minute to book a flight, The Flight Deal publishes several deals daily. Many of the deals are sales to international locations departing from the U.S., and you might also be able to snag a hotel deal as well.


Lodging can also be as expensive flying. If you normally book a hotel reservation every time you travel, you might try these alternatives to stretch your dollar a little further.


Whether you are taking a spur of the moment trip or simply wait until the last minute to score a bargain, HotelTonight partners with hotels to sell unbooked rooms at discounted prices. You can book up to one week in advance or even a same day reservation. Your choices range from chain hotels and local hotels, so it can be an opportunity to earn points or try some place unique.


If you tire of the typical hotel life where every room looks identical and the sound of a slamming door in the hallway wakes you up each time you fall asleep, you might like booking a private place with Airbnb. Your lodging can be an upstairs room in the Airbnb host’s house, a treehouse, or even a single family house. Prices are often competitive or cheaper than rates charged by a hotel.

Although it is possible to find lodging for the whole family, most Airbnb listings are ideal for singles and traveling couples. If you have small children, you will need to view the listing description to see if the host allows them.


Another way to save money by not sleeping in a motel is with VRBO. This is a better option if you have a family. If you need to book two hotel rooms to get more than two beds, your lodging costs just doubled. With VRBO, you can book a whole house cheaper than a hotel would cost and you get access to a kitchen that can save you money by not having to go out to eat for every single meal.


There are a couple of different ways to save money with the Ebates cash back portal on hotel rooms. You can get a small cash back percentage by booking directly from the hotel. A second way that just rolled out in the spring of 2017 is Ebates Hotels which is their version of a third-party booking portal that you to receive a higher cash back rate than if you were to book directly through the hotel with Ebates.

Hotel Credit Cards

This suggestion isn’t technically an app, but, hotel credit cards can be an easy way to save money on lodging. Some cards like the Marriott Rewards Premier and IHG Rewards Club credit cards from Chase come with one free night each year you own the card. When you play your cards right (pun intended), you can earn a sign-up bonus for extra credit card points that can be worth up to one week in free hotel nights.


Everybody knows how much they will pay for transportation and lodging before the vacation starts, but, you might not put much thought into your dining budget. Depending on the size of your family and the restaurants you want to visit, food can become expensive too.

If you like eating at “mom and pop” restaurants that the locals crave, you might try looking for gift certificates at This site doesn’t have the biggest selection to choose from, but you can often buy certificates for 50% off.

Some restaurants do require a minimum order amount on the meal price (i.e. $50) before the discount is applied, so take a look at the menu before buying the certificate to ensure you will meet their spending requirements.


Raise is one of the best places to buy discounted gift cards for your favorite restaurants and stores. You can save anywhere from 1% to 35% at your favorite chain restaurants like Applebee’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, or Starbucks for your morning coffee routine.



One reason we go on vacation is to have fun sightseeing or trying new things. Save some money by visiting Groupon. You might be able to find some savings on family activities, theme parks, and even restaurants.


If you are visiting a major city and plan to visit several attractions, CityPASS can save you a bundle of money. Some of the cities they offer bundles include Chicago, Boston, Dallas, and Southern California. As an example, you can save $153 with the Southern California pass instead of buying individual tickets to Disneyland (three-day park hopper), SeaWorld San Diego, and LEGOLAND California.

If CityPASS doesn’t have a discount to your vacation destination check the website of the local tourism agency or attraction you plan to visit. If a ticket bundle is offered, you can save money by purchasing them in advance online.


Whenever you travel, don’t think that you need to pay full price for every expense. By taking a few extra minutes, you can save hundreds of dollars by looking for bundles and being “unconventional” about vacation. Vacation is a time to relax and saving money before the trip even begins, means you can rest even easier.

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17 Simple Ways to Make Extra Money Before Christmas Wed, 07 Nov 2018 16:07:16 +0000 We are in November and it’s time to get our holiday spending ready to go. If you haven’t already put together a list of gift ideas, then you might need to start working on that. Most people focus on what they are going to buy, but not so much on how they are going to […]

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17 Simple and Great Ways to Make Money before Christmas

We are in November and it’s time to get our holiday spending ready to go. If you haven’t already put together a list of gift ideas, then you might need to start working on that. Most people focus on what they are going to buy, but not so much on how they are going to pay for it. Did you know credit card debt increases during the holiday season? It shouldn’t be a surprise really, but it also doesn’t have to be the norm. If you’d just save up some money over the course of a year, then Christmas shopping would be so much painless.

For this holiday season, you still have time to go out and earn some extra money to pay for the gifts you want to purchase. Why not stay out of credit card debt and just pay with the money you worked your butt off for? Let’s start hustling and make that money. Here are 17 ways to earn extra money before Christmas!

OK, here are 17 ways below, but how about over 100 ways to earn extra money? Not all of these can be done before Christmas, but you can put together a list of the ones that fit in your wheelhouse. Good luck!

Use Your Assets

Many of us have cars already, but that doesn’t mean we are using them each and every day. Did you know you can make money both using you car to drive people around, but also renting it out? Heck, Amazon is considering paying people to deliver packages with their cars. Don’t forget about your biggest asset either. People are making money with their homes more than ever before. Go make money!!

Rent Your Car – Use a service like Turo to rent out your car when your not using it. Their average members bring in an extra $200 a month just by renting out their car. That’s awesome!

Drive People – You’ve probably heard of or used Uber and/or Lyft. These two services allow you to become a driver and get paid for it. Pick people up, take them to a location, and get paid. They make it super easy and there are a lot of people earning good money. Check out The Rideshare Guy for more information.

Instacart – Do you mind shopping for goods or going to the grocery store? Then check out Instacart to be a shopper and deliver goods to people. Just like a personal shopper, this service helps you get jobs quicker. You only need to take on jobs you can do. How much you earn is up to you.

Airbnb – Have you ever stayed in an Airbnb location when traveling? It’s not a bad way to stay. If you have a home (or even an extra room) that you won’t be in for a weekend, then think about listing it for rent on Airbnb. This is a great service, which is extremely popular. I know a few people who pay their mortgage every month by renting out a room or their house a few times each month. Nice!

Take on One-time Jobs

If you only have time to take on one task here and there, that is OK, here are some ways to bring in extra money by using the time you do have to provide some type of service. There is no commitment to any of these money making methods, so the earning potential is completely up to you.

Test Websites – Oh yes, you can test websites. I’ve written about this before and people really think it’s cool. You can use the site, to find opportunities. You really can get started with this in one day and start making money.

TaskRabbit – Depending on where you live, you might have access to this service. It allows you to jump online and perform tasks for people when they need it. There are a number of tasks you can do, but they are all relatively easy. You might need to pick up something at the store, go find something for someone, and a number of other tasks. You can quickly become someone on TaskRabbit that people trust. Check out TaskRabbit to see if it will work for you.

Swagbucks – How often do you search the web and look through emails? Why not earn something for it in the process? That’s what Swagbucks is all about. You can search the web, earn points, and then cash those in for gifts cards and other “swag” depending on your needs. They even have Amazon gift cards!! Start earning on Swagbucks now.

Amazon Mechanical Turk – Much like other sites, Amazon  has it’s own task oriented service, but this is all for online service. You can apply for a “HIT” as they call them and get the task done and then get paid. They aren’t the biggest payouts, but if you have some free time, you can complete quite a few. Check out my detailed review.

Craigslist Gigs – Did you know Craigslist has a gigs section on their website? These are simple tasks or one-time needs from people in your area. You never know what you might find, but you can help someone move and earn money today. That’s the beauty of Craigslist, most people pay with cash (that’s what you want), so you can have money in your pocket today. This is probably the fastest ways to get paid.

Craigslist Gigs Section

Walk Dogs – If you like dogs and need some exercise, why not walk dogs and make some money? A great way is through This app and service connects you with someone who can walk dogs and take care of your pets when you need them. It’s a great way to make a little extra money on the side too. Getting exercise and getting paid, what a combination!

Mystery Shopping – Having been a mystery shopper in college, I know you can earn money doing this. The big problem is there are so many scams out there about mystery shopping. Never pay any one for access to mystery shopping jobs. That’s a sign of a scam. In college, I would do a few shops a day and earn about $50. It was good money and really easy. Here is a rundown on how to make money mystery shopping.

Become a Freelancer

Freelance Writing – I used to make good money as a freelance writer. While I don’t write for other sites often anymore, it’s a nice little pick me up when I need extra cash. You still can make money before Christmas with this method. You might think I’m crazy, but this course will teach you how to make money in 30 days. Seriously, you can be making money by the end of the 30 day course and the investment is worth it. I talk more about how here. You can also check out this course which is from someone who makes over $200,000 per year freelance writing.

Virtual Assistant – Do you like helping people out with their tasks? Well, being a virtual assistant might be for you. You can also make money with this form of work. People are always looking for help with their email, putting up content, and a myriad of other tasks. The best part is you can do it all from the comfort of your home (or coffee shop if you’re so inclined 🙂 ).

Web Design – I’ve been building websites for a number of years. While it’s not my main business, I do make money from this type of venture. If you’re good with websites and design, then this might be a good idea for you. So many people need good websites, so jump on in!

Blog Creator – What is a blog creator? Just ask me! I offer this type of service as part of my business. I help new bloggers install and setup their blogs to get them started. I even offer blog coaching from a technical aspect to help a new blogger get started. This can be a really good thing if you’re familiar with WordPress or the other blogging platforms.

Fiverr – Have you heard of Fiverr before? If not, it’s basically a service where people offer something for $5. You can write an article for $5, shoot a quick video for $5, create a logo, and so much more. Prices start out at $5, but once you have a few sales, you can start charging for add-ons, which allow you to push your  prices and earnings higher.

Freelance Service Sites – If you have a skill, get your service in the front of many. That’s what services like Freelancer and Upwork. You can jump on these sites, create a profile of your service, and then start bidding on projects. It can be daunting since you’re competing against people all over the world, but it can be done. I actually have hired quite a few freelancers on Upwork with good success.

So, there you have it. There are 17 ways to earn extra money starting right now. Some will take longer than others, but you have enough time to make extra money before Christmas. If you can’t make it work, at least hustle with one of these long enough to pay off your credit cards after you rack them up with holiday spending. There are so many ways you can make extra money, it’s not even funny. Don’t think you can’t do it because everyone can.

Get out there, find something you like, and earn money doing it. It’s what we are supposed to do. Don’t just sit back watching those around you hustling for more cash, strap on those boots and make that money!!

Bonus Money Maker: Here is an extra way to make money while you just sit around. You can earn by filling out surveys. It won’t be game-changing money, but you can do it pretty quickly. We recommend Survey Junkie as one of the best (and legitimate) survey sites out there.

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16 Free Apps That Save Money on Things You Pay for Monthly Tue, 16 Oct 2018 14:18:14 +0000 You probably already save money each month thanks to the Internet. Being able to shop online means you don’t have to pay brick-and-mortar retail prices or burn gas money to get across town. But, you might not realize that many free apps can help you stop spending on things you pay for monthly. After all, […]

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16 free money saving apps with phone and cash

You probably already save money each month thanks to the Internet. Being able to shop online means you don’t have to pay brick-and-mortar retail prices or burn gas money to get across town. But, you might not realize that many free apps can help you stop spending on things you pay for monthly.

After all, we’re almost 20 years into the 21st century and technology continues to remove cost barriers. If you think free online bill pay is the best thing since sliced bread for saving money, many nifty apps that offer the same services for free that you currently pay for.

While many apps offer a paid premium platform with additional amenities, you can use these apps entirely free for your regular weekly routine.

Monitoring Your Finances

Several apps keep an eye on your finances for free, so you no longer have to pay for services like credit monitoring or overdraft protection.

Credit Sesame: Free Credit Score

You can now access your credit score for free with Credit Sesame. In the past, you could only access your credit report (not your three-digit credit score) for free at To see your credit score without applying for a loan, you needed to pay a fee.

In addition to getting your free credit score, Credit Sesame also offers these free amenities:

  • Score Monitoring and Alerts
  • $50,000 in Identity Theft Protection

CIT Bank: No More Bank Fees

With rock-bottom interest rates, your monthly bank fees might be more than your interest earnings. CIT Bank offers free savings account or money market with an industry-leading interest rate. You only need $100 to open an account.

The best online savings accounts won’t charge you monthly maintenance fees or have high minimum account balance requirements.

Tip: For a free checking account, check out Capital One 360 for free ATM access at 39,000 ATMs.

Trim: Avoid Overdraft Fees

Trim is a “jack of all trades app.” You might use it to send low account balance alerts when your balance dips below a certain dollar amount. Or, you can also use Trim to remind you about bill payments, canceling unwanted subscriptions, and lowering your cable tv, internet, or cell phone bill.

Debx: Credit Card Interest

Rewards credit cards are one of the best ways to get paid to build your credit score. Of course, any benefit is negated if you carry a balance from month to month and you pay interest.

Debx is a free app that solves the credit card conundrum. Each day, Debx automatically withdraws the cash from your checking account for your daily credit card purchases. You enjoy the instant payment benefits of a debit card and can still enjoy earning credit card rewards.

Personal Capital: Tracking Your Spending

Maybe you use Quicken or another paid app to track your monthly spending. While these programs are good at what you do, you can get the same level of service for free with Personal Capital.

You can link your various bank and credit card accounts to receive spending reports and track your net worth. Personal Capital also lets you set savings goals and monitor your investment performance too.


Investing used to be a privilege only for the wealthy. Now, you can buy and sell stocks and ETFs for free with several platforms. Since you might pay between $4.95 and $7 per trade, you can save a small fortune and not cringe each time you only invest $100 at a time.

Although there are several free investing apps to choose from, these are some of the best ones.

Robinhood: Buy Stocks, ETFs, and Options

DIY investors and beginner investors like Robinhood. You can trade a wide array of stocks and ETFs for free. Advanced traders can even trade options for free! While Robinhood began as an app-only investing platform, you can now access your portfolio from a computer.

The Robinhood mobile app is very user-friendly, but there are still times when it’s easier to analyze your investments on a computer screen instead of a smartphone screen.

Wealthfront: Automated Investing

If you want automated investing, Wealthfront invests your first $15,000 completely free. They automatically rebalance your portfolio into the right mixture of stock and bond ETFs to match your age and investing goals. After you fund your account, all you need to do is decide how much you want to contribute each month and Wealthfront decides where to invest it for you according to the target allocations.

Tip: Another great automated investing app is Betterment.


The math might not add up with this category as shopping requires you to spend money. These apps can help you get extra cash back that you currently don’t. Or, you no longer have to buy the Sunday newspaper just to clip coupons and look at the sale ads.

Ibotta: Grocery Shopping

You don’t have to clip coupons anymore with the Ibotta app. But if you have any paper coupons, you can get additional savings. Ibotta is the most popular grocery shopping app as the average offer saves you between 50 cents and $2! If you redeem several offers a month, you can even earn a cash bonus that can be redeemed for PayPal cash or gift cards.

Ebates: Online Shopping

Ebates is another stellar cashback shopping app. You can get up to 40% back at over 2,000 online stores. Instead of going directly to the retailer’s website (unless you have the Ebates extension involved) activate a shopping session through the Ebates website or mobile app first. It only takes a few extra seconds, but your wallet will be happy you did.

Tip: When shopping on your computer, always make sure you use the Ebates browser extension to always make sure you never miss a cashback opportunity.

Honey: Digital Coupons and Promo Codes

If you like searching for online discount codes to enter on the checkout screen, you will enjoy Honey. Instead of spending time (which is just as valuable as money) poking around the internet for discount codes that may or may not work, Honey automatically applies all known discount codes to your order. Whether you’re buying a pizza or a Louis Vuitton handbag, Honey helps you instantly save money.

Tip: Honey can also help you save money at Amazon by comparing product listings to show the lowest price quickly.

Watching TV and Movies

Spending less on cable tv might be the most significant hurdle for reducing your entertainment spending. Now, you can watch cable tv and movies for a fraction of the cost you currently pay.

If you haven’t done so already, install a Roku device to watch free tv programs when you’re home and don’t want to use your phone.

TubiTv: Stream TVs and Movies for Free

TubiTv offers more than 7,439 movies and tv shows completely free. Although you won’t find all of the newest hits, you will find a large collection of recent favorites, classics, and several new releases from the major production studios.

Amazon Prime: Free Digital Media

Maybe you use your Amazon Prime membership for shopping discounts and free 2-day shipping. Your Prime membership also gets you free streaming access for the following media options:

  • Movies
  • TV Shows
  • Music
  • Audiobooks

If you can find the content for free on Amazon that you currently pay to watch or listen too, your Prime membership can easily pay for itself.

Making Money

Spending too much time on something can be just as impactful as overspending. After all, if it takes too long to make money from a side hustle, you might be better off choosing a different alternative. These apps can help you save time and quickly make money in your free time.

Swagbucks: Get Paid to Do Anything Online

Everybody’s favorite “get paid to” app is Swagbucks. With the multiple earning opportunities and easy redemption options, you can quickly get paid for your hustle.

You can get paid for the following activities:

  • Online Surveys
  • Shopping
  • Playing Games
  • Watching Videos
  • Searching the Internet
  • Clipping Coupons

Swagbucks can also fit into several other categories on this list because of the variety. Most surveys only take 15 minutes to complete so you can use Swagbucks during your lunch break or in between errands.

For shopping, you can get cashback at online stores (just like Ebates) and you can also get paid for every grocery coupon you print and redeem. These are probably the same coupons you get in the newspaper each week.

When it comes to payment, you can begin redeeming your points for gift cards with a $3 value for your favorite restaurants and stores. If you prefer the cash, you can request PayPal cash payment once your balance reaches $25.

Uber: Pay Your Car Insurance

Pay for your car insurance, gas, and car maintenance by driving for Uber. What’s great about Uber is that you can name your own hours and drive in your free time. Whether that’s the morning rush hour, Friday nights, or mid-day during the week, you can be a rideshare driver and make money owning a car.

Airbnb: Pay Your Monthly Mortgage

Become an Airbnb host and rent a spare bedroom to pay your monthly mortgage or utility bills. You can see how much other hosts make per month in your local area. If you own a second house or investment property, you can also turn that into an Airbnb property too.

Being an Airbnb host can be less stressful than being a full-time landlord because you only have short-term tenants. If you can rent your spare bedroom or basement, you don’t even have to drive to the rental property which is uber-convenient too.

Gift Card Granny: Sell Your Unused Gift Cards

With Gift Card Granny, earn cash for those gift cards you’re never going to use. You will earn rewards points that can be redeemed for free gift cards when for the following activities:

  • Selling gift cards
  • Buying gift cards
  • Opening Gift Card Granny email messages

Selling unused gift cards is like finding loose change in your car or underneath the sofa.


Saving money on monthly purchases is more than not buying things you don’t really need. Even on the “must have” apps and services, there’s a chance you can find a free app that offers a similar service. These apps can help you save money on your most common budget categories.

Are you ready to start saving money? Which app are you going to download first?

The post 16 Free Apps That Save Money on Things You Pay for Monthly appeared first on Debt RoundUp, the content owner.

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8 Apps to Save Money on Groceries Every Time You Shop Mon, 20 Aug 2018 14:15:27 +0000 The media loves to regularly point out that Americans struggle to afford an unexpected $500 bill. What many of us don’t realize is that if you’re having trouble paying for life’s surprises, you probably struggle to buy groceries and pay your rent every month too. Being able to save money on groceries is an easy […]

The post 8 Apps to Save Money on Groceries Every Time You Shop appeared first on Debt RoundUp, the content owner.

grocery shopping and money saving apps

The media loves to regularly point out that Americans struggle to afford an unexpected $500 bill. What many of us don’t realize is that if you’re having trouble paying for life’s surprises, you probably struggle to buy groceries and pay your rent every month too. Being able to save money on groceries is an easy and necessary step you should if you want to stop worrying about money.

There are two primary ways to improve your financial situation so you’re not part of the 43% that struggles to put food on the table every month:

  • Make more money (over 100 real ways to do so)
  • Spend less money each month

This is really the secret sauce to financial independence. Save the money your spend and make more money. Increase income and decrease spending. Seems simple enough, but it’s harder to do without dedication and work. Let’s focus on saving you money when you buy your food. Since we all have to eat, let’s do it while sticking to a budget!

The Easiest Way to Save Money on Groceries

There are many ways to save money on groceries with minimal effort. The current average grocery bill is approximately $384 for two adults and up to $1,279 for a family of four. Because we all have different buying habits and family sizes, your monthly grocery bill can be higher or lower than these two estimates.

If you already have a small income, groceries can easily consume half of your take-home pay. That doesn’t leave a lot of money left to pay your other monthly bills and save for the future.

Regardless of where you buy groceries, receipt scanning apps are the best way to save money in the grocery aisle. You can put the same items in your cart and pay less than before. An extra incentive to use these grocery apps is that the savings are in addition to any coupon’s or store loyalty card discounts you receive.

Although these apps might have overlapping offers, they each have exclusive offers too depending on where you shop and which brands you buy. The best suggestion is to try two or three of these apps to see which ones save you the most money.


Ibotta is the most extensive grocery app that works at most supermarkets and discount stores like Walmart and Target. Before you checkout, you can browse and activate offers or scan product barcodes to view current offers.

To receive credit, you use the Ibotta app to take a picture of your receipt, and you can match your activated offers. In addition to the upfront savings, Ibotta is continuously running monthly loyalty bonuses if you redeem multiple offers or buy specific brands. One recent example of an Ibotta cash bonus is buying at least three gluten-free products in a month to get $1 back.

Even if you buy store brands, Ibotta also offers several “Any Brand” offers to help you save money on fresh produce, milk, eggs, and other items you buy each time you visit the store.

Ibotta also offers additional cash back at multiple online stores when you make in-app purchases to save money on non-grocery purchases too.

You can request a PayPal or Venmo cash payment, or a gift card when your balance is at least $20. By redeeming your first offer, you also get a $10 cash bonus. There are plenty of offers that let you save $1 per item, so the savings opportunities are more plentiful than you might imagine.


You should also consider the SavingStar app which is arguably Ibotta’s next largest competitor. The best offers will be found on the first of each month as that’s when SavingStar adds the new monthly offers. However, new offers are also added on Sundays and Thursdays too. A Healthy Offer of the Week is also available each Tuesday.

Many SavingStar offers only require you to buy a single item to receive cash back, but some offers only issue credit when you purchase multiple items.

When your balance reaches $20, your payment possibilities include:

  • Direct deposit
  • PayPal cash
  • Gift codes


Another common suggestion to save money on groceries is to buy a list of the items you need. Sticking to your list spares you from buying items you don’t need and aren’t on your list, especially when you’re shopping on an empty stomach!

Favado lets you build a shopping list and the app compares the lowest weekly prices to show you which store will save you the most money this week. Not only does this app save you money, but it saves you time if you comb through the weekly grocery circulars scanning their promotions.

If you’ve never tried making a grocery shopping list before, give it a try. With Favado, it can be quicker than you imagine, and you’ll save time by not browsing every grocery aisle figuring what you need.

All grocery savings are instant because you can print digital coupons to redeem at checkout. And, Favado will also tell you where to find physical coupons from newspapers and magazines.

Because Favado doesn’t offer exclusive discounts yet, you will still want to use a second grocery app like Ibotta to save additional money on each visit.


You probably don’t associate Swagbucks with being a grocery app, but you can get 10 cents back for every in-store coupon you redeem plus the coupon’s discount amount.  To redeem the coupons, you will need access to a printer.

What makes Swagbucks enticing is that you can earn rewards points for a variety of online activities that you already do including online shopping, taking surveys, and web searches. Although your balance needs to be $25 to request a PayPal cash payment, you can request gift cards with a minimum $3 balance, even on Amazon gift cards.


Due to a rise in food allergies and clean eating convictions, more households are buying the following types of groceries:

  • Organic
  • Gluten-free
  • Non-GMO

Grocery stores have greatly expanded their product selection for these food items but eating healthy is still more expensive than conventional food. BerryCart is another stellar app that only provides offers for groceries that don’t have high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. You can save money regardless of if you shop at Whole Foods or Walmart because BerryCart works at over 100,000 locations across the U.S.

Amazon Prime

Amazon is the largest online retailer for two reasons, it’s convenient and has affordable prices. As an Amazon Prime member, you can save money with their Prime Pantry program that delivers groceries directly to your doorstep.

One Prime Pantry discount you should always try to monopolize on is spending at least $40 to get free shipping on Pantry orders. Amazon also runs other specials that help you get bonus cash back when buying select items and not having to clip any digital coupons.

If you shop at Whole Foods, Prime members can enjoy an additional 10% off sale items and exclusive weekly discounts. When you combine an Amazon Prime membership with BerryCart, eating healthy at Whole Foods is easy.


Just this app’s name alone can give you the energy to save more in the grocery aisles. Shopkick is another shopping app that credits you for buying certain products. You also earn rewards points just for walking into your local stores and scanning barcodes of select products to report the current retail price. It’s also possible to earn rewards points by shopping online and watching videos too.

You will earn points that can be redeemed for digital gift cards. These gift cards can help you save money on future grocery trips if you visit Walmart or Target.

Because you can’t receive cash back as a reward option, you might want to try one of the other apps first if gift cards aren’t your cup of tea. On the flipside, Shopkick is one of the few apps that lets you earn rewards points with no purchase required. Even if you don’t make a purchase, you can still earn rewards points by scanning a few product barcodes.

Your Grocery Store App

The above apps will let you save money by buying items from any store when you upload a receipt photo. The only problem is that there are more offers for name brand items instead of buying store brands like Food Club, Member’s Mark, Laura Lynn, Private Selection, etc.

With many grocery items, you can save some extra cash by buying the generic brand. Apps like Ibotta offer a 25-cent or 50-cent discount on select generic “Any Brand” purchases, but you’ll see more benefit by downloading your grocery store app. Before each trip, select any applicable digital offers and the discount will be applied at checkout when you scan your loyalty card.

If clipping coupons, even digital ones, isn’t your cup of tea, some store-specific apps only require you to scan your receipt and they will compare the competitor prices for you. The Walmart Savings Catcher app is probably the best example as you can receive cash back on pantry staples, consumable items, and health and beauty items.

How to Save Money on Groceries Without Clipping Coupons

Clipping coupons and activating digital offers to save money on food isn’t required for this next suggestion.

Because grocery apps are free to download, they can offer more discounts. Although you still need to take the time to activate digital coupons, it’s more efficient than paper coupons.

Another way to save money on every grocery purchase, whether you use an app or not, is to use a rewards credit card. If you prefer to pay with debit or don’t think you can responsibly manage credit, DebX is another free service that lets you earn cash back on every purchase while having the peace of mind that your debit card offers.

In addition to getting cash back on every purchase through grocery apps and purchase rewards, you need to keep these other tips in mind:

  • Make a list before you shop
  • Only buy items on your list
  • Never shop hungry
  • Buy store brands when it’s the cheapest option
  • Use your supermarket’s store loyalty card for automatic savings
  • Buy fresh ingredients and make meals from scratch instead of premade items


Buying groceries is an easy place to reduce your spending as many of us don’t pinch pennies as much as we should. Grocery apps are an effortless way to save money because you can activate offers on the go and they’re free to use. Since your phone already goes everywhere you do, saving money is effortless.

The post 8 Apps to Save Money on Groceries Every Time You Shop appeared first on Debt RoundUp, the content owner.

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101 Side Hustle Ideas to Make Extra Money Wed, 15 Aug 2018 17:47:00 +0000   Ever since I came to the realization of my debt problems, I’ve worked hard to find ways to make extra money. In fact, some would say I’ve been obsessed with it. I’ll be completely honest here, I’ve tried a lot of different ways of making extra money ever since being in debt. Having debt […]

The post 101 Side Hustle Ideas to Make Extra Money appeared first on Debt RoundUp, the content owner.


make more money reminder

Ever since I came to the realization of my debt problems, I’ve worked hard to find ways to make extra money. In fact, some would say I’ve been obsessed with it. I’ll be completely honest here, I’ve tried a lot of different ways of making extra money ever since being in debt. Having debt changes you and it propelled me to think outside of the box.

If you were like me with a full-time job and a good amount of debt, then the only way you might think of earning more is by getting a raise at work. That, or moving over to a new company. Unfortunately, waiting for a raise or promotion is a terrible way to earn extra money. I wouldn’t suggest it, so that’s why I’m giving you so many different ways to make extra money, starting as early as today. Yes, you can make more money right now if you choose.

Ever since I started this blog back in 2012, I had only thought about making extra money in specific capacities. I was a mystery shopper, did some discussion panels, and sold stuff on eBay. I even ran an e-commerce business selling stuff on my website and Amazon. Having said that, there are so many different and awesome ways to earn extra money outside of your day job. I’m excited to share these with you and hopefully you will find something you can use.

Now that I work for myself (thanks to starting this blog), I’m always on the lookout for cool ways to earn extra money. There might be some downtime in my business where I need to think of making money outside of my “day” job.

You can call it a side hustle or just extra work. I don’t care what you call it. The options to make extra money have grown since the explosion of apps and internet powered companies. Now, it’s up to you to value your time and see how you can also earn more money. This list gives you more than enough ways to try to generate income. Not all are going to be applicable, but you should find something.

Making extra money online freelancing

Make Money Online

One of the easiest ways to make money is from the internet. You can literally work from anywhere in the world at any time of day as long as you have an internet connection. Even during your lunch break! Grayson was able to travel Europe for a month with his family while working from different countries. Working online affords a lot of opportunities, but it still takes some knowledge on how to succeed.

The best part about making money online is you can try multiple areas of money making ideas. You don’t have to just do one, like a full-time job. You can have your hands in multiple money making pots!

Investing Your Money

You should already be investing for retirement through your employer 401k or personal IRA. You can also make investing your new hobby because it earns passive income. And it might be the only “hands off” activity that can make you money when you use a robo-advisor like Betterment or WealthFront that makes all the investment decisions for you. If you like the thought of hands off investing, check out our list of the best robo-advisor companies.

You can check out our investing articles for more info on how to do it and be comfortable with investing.

Answer Surveys

Answering surveys is an easy way for anybody to make money as most surveys can be completed in a matter of minutes. This is a good option for your lunch break, the bus ride home, or in the evening. You can get started for free at Swagbucks, Inbox Dollars, or Survey Junkie which offer daily surveys.

Try not to get caught into the scam sites that require you to pay to join. You should never have to pay to join a reputable survey site.

Participate in Focus Groups

Daily and weekly surveys can make you a decent side income, but, online focus groups can pay more because you get paid to test a product or provide more in-depth responses on issues than a traditional survey. Vindale Research and Toluna are two survey companies that can provide more focus group opportunities.

Watch Videos

Swagbucks and Inbox Dollars will pay you to watch videos like news clips and tv commercials and you only need to provide feedback. These two sites will also pay you to shop online, surf the web, and play video games.

If you want to make money doing what you already do on the web every day, you should strongly consider joining these two sites and start getting paid for your web activity.

Surf the Internet

Instead of only going to Google to research something online, get paid to perform web searches at Swagbucks and Inbox Dollars. Since these two sites allow you to make money by performing a host of online tasks, your earning potential can be higher than other paid search platforms.

If you want to get paid for every minute you spend online, join Nielsen Digital Voice. You can register your computer, tablet, and smartphone and get paid to share your browsing history.

Start a Blog

Creating your own blog can serve dual purposes. Blogging helps create an online portfolio you can show to potential clients if you plan to freelance online. And, you can also use your blog to earn passive income from affiliate marketing where you earn a commission every time a visitor buys a product you recommend.

Several successful bloggers routinely make over $100,000 a year through affiliate marketing. It only takes a few minutes to get started and by hosting your site on SiteGround.

Here’s a complete “How to Start a Blog” guide that will get you where you need to go.

Freelance Writer

Companies and blogs are looking for gifted writers to produce content for their visitors to read. The best part about freelance writing is that you don’t have to be an English or Communications major to get hired. You just need to be able to express your knowledge with written words and can start making money in 30 days or less with zero startup costs.

There are many ways to become a freelance writer, especially if you know who to talk to, but this course will show you exactly how to do it from someone who earns over $200,000 each year writing for other people.

Here is another great course that can give you insight into starting a freelance writing career.

Create a YouTube Channel

If you’re not camera shy, you can also make money by creating a YouTube channel where you talk about your area of expertise. It might be repairing cars, reviewing video games, or talking about makeup.

You’ll need a good camera and probably some light kit to do some of your videos, but those are usually the only expenses you need to get started..

Graphic Design

You can also make money in online graphic design by connecting with clients around the globe. A few places to start designing are Fiver, UpWork, or Café Press. Or, you can contact local businesses.

Another great place to start out with your graphic design chops is 99designs. It’s probably the most popular graphic design focused site.

Design Websites

In addition to designing logos and web graphics, you can also make money designing custom websites for businesses and blogs looking to create their own unique brand. If you want to get started quickly in this market, you can start a profile over on UpWork and start bidding on projects.

Website Management

A natural stepping stone for designing websites is website management for these same clients. You can ensure their websites remain secure with the latest plugin updates and backing up their websites in case their information is accidentally deleted.

This type of work is for someone who knows what they are doing and are process oriented. iMark Interactive provides this type of service for WordPress bloggers and is very highly rated.

Become a Virtual Assistant

Maybe you don’t want to create original content but want to manage other people’s content instead. Many blog and website owners are looking for virtual assistants to answer emails, share on social media, or even manage a blog by scheduling posts and podcasts.

This course will show you exactly how to setup a functional VA business in 30 days and you can start earning money.

Create an App

If you have some knowledge in computer programming, you might be able to make money by creating an app. There are several websites available that can provide resources if you don’t have all the tools. You can also check out sites like ibuildapp.

Flip Domains

You can make money by purchasing desirable domain names and selling them for a profit. Flippa is one of the best sites to attract bidders. You can also sell websites and apps on Flippa too.

Sell Websites

This side hustle might take a little more time and can be very rewarding. By building a website from scratch that makes monthly income from advertisements, affiliate income, or drop shipping on Shopify will attract potential buyers.

Test Websites

You can also make money testing websites, apps, and video games. Developers like to pay real people like you to interact with their website and provider your feedback in real time. Visit UserTesting to learn how to become a tester.

Transcribe Audio Conversations

Get paid to transcribe audio conversations for corportate, legal, and medical professionals. Rates start at $20 per audible hour and you can become a transcriptionist at TranscribeMe!

Become a Proofreader

An eye for detail and a knack for grammar can help you become an online proofreader. Some of the possibilities include proofreading blog posts, books, white papers, and legal transcripts. This can be a great way to earn some extra money while reading (if you’re into that sort of thing!).

Write Professional Resumes

Career changes are very common and job seekers hire professional resume writers. If you can write cover letters and resumes that will turn a job application into a job interview, this side hustle is for you.

Online Phone Representative

Companies are hiring online customer service reps to answer phone calls and live chat from home. You will need reliable internet and a quiet, distraction-free environment to qualify. Online retailers like Amazon will advertise openings on their own site, or, you can also check out FlexJobs.

Creating Ebooks

Ebooks are huge right now. People are buying up digital books to make their life clutter free. This is especially the case with Kindle ereaders and ipads. You can just download a book title so easily now.

This has enabled people who love to write the ability to monetize their efforts much easier than traditional book publishing. You can self-publish on Amazon and have access to their huge customer base with much less effort and overhead.

Making extra money tutoring students


Are you good at a certain subject matter? How about teaching someone what you already know and earning money doing it? You can make money by helping others learn. Don’t just think of subjects in school, but you can also each people something you’re good at like blogging on WordPress or even a musical instrument.

If someone is always asking you the same questions because you have a skill set, then it might be time to think about monetizing your knowledge!


Tutoring can take place online or in-person. One online tutoring site is Studypool where you can submit bids to help students with their homework questions in over 30 subjects. You can even tutor as a college student and charge higher rates once you earn your college degree.

You can also tutor in-person by advertising your services on Craigslist or other online tutor boards. High school students and college students are constantly looking for help in every academic subject from English, History, Math, Chemistry, and ACT/SAT Test Prep.

Create an Online Course

Making your own video course or teaching aids that can be purchased from your own website, YouTube channel, or learning platforms like Udemy is another way you can share your knowledge with others. You can also check out places like Teachable or Thinkific as good online course platforms.

Teach Music Lessons

Many parents also want their children to learn how to play a musical instrument. This is another good side hustle idea as all lessons are taught after school.

Become a Part-Time Instructor

You might be able to teach courses at a local community college or even become a substitute teacher for your local school district. Sometimes, you don’t even need an education degree to start teaching.

Sell College Notes

Organized college students can also make money selling notes online to students that don’t keep notes themselves or might have missed a class. Nexus Notes is a big player in the online note selling space.


If you are skilled in a foreign language, you can translate for a local business event. You can also teach English as a second language to non-native speakers too.

Earn extra income cleaning pools

Make Money with Your Hands

Do you like to work with your hands? How about making some money while doing it in your spare time. You can make money with your own hands, locally and online. These types of income ideas take a little more to get started, sometimes time and other times money, but they can be lucrative. Not many are rushing out to do work with their hands so the opportunity is there.

Craigslist Gigs

Checking your local Craigslist gigs section can help you find some one-time income opportunities for a variety of tasks.

Be a Handyman

If you are a jack-of-all trades, advertise your services on TaskRabbit. You can get paid to help people move, perform home repairs, or assemble furniture to name a few tasks.

Home Inspector

If you have a passion for homes and helping people, maybe becoming a home inspector might be a good idea. It does take some time to become certified, but that allows you to charge a bigger fee and have your worked backed by a national organization. Home inspectors in my area charge around $500 for an inspection and report. It can be more depending on the size of the home.

With all the shady inspectors out there, this could be a good market for someone who is meticulous.

HVAC Repair

Homeowners are always needing their heat and air conditioning systems repaired. Especially when the first cold snap or heat wave arrives and the professionals are overscheduled or overpriced.

Repair Siding and Gutters

Housing siding and gutters need to be repaired periodically from age and weather. Hiring you can be cheaper than using a professional service.

Mobile Mechanic

If you know a lot about cars and have the tools necessary to fix them, then you might check out becoming a mobile mechanic. You can fix people’s cars when they are at work or at home making their lives a little easier. Starting this business can take some time, but you could just join Your Mechanic, which is a service site with a huge base of customers already using it.

Clean Gutters

Gutters also need to be periodically cleaned when they get clogged with fallen leaves. All you need is a ladder and a love of heights. Maybe a broom and blower too!

Pressure Wash

You can also make good money pressure washing houses, apartment complexes, and businesses as property owners try to keep their structures looking “fresh.”

Install and Finish Sheetrock

When people remodel or build an addition, they might outsource the sheetrock hanging and finishing to somebody with experience.


Painting interior rooms or the exterior siding of a house can also be lucrative if you have an eye for detail. Many people don’t have the patience to properly blend in their brush and roller marks.

Mow Lawns and Landscape

Working professionals are willing to pay you to mow their lawn and landscape their property. Mowing and landscaping can also be a good seasonal job for the spring and summer months.

Shovel Driveways

In the winter time, you might be able to make even more money per hour by shoveling your neighbors’ driveways and sidewalks.

Snow Plow

If you have a 4-wheel drive pickup and a plow, you can also make money plowing and salting roads and parking lots. Life must go on even when it snows, and you can be there to make sure that happens.

Cut and Deliver Firewood

Many people still heat their homes with wood and do not have the time or tools to collect their own firewood. This can be good money if you have a regular source for firewood.

Take Down Trees

If you have the knowledge to remove trees, this can be another rewarding side hustle. In addition to making money for cutting down the tree, you can sell the downed tree for firewood as well. Yo just need some skill and a chainsaw to get started. Maybe a little initiative as well.

Pack Boxes

Families preparing to move might need you to carefully pack their belongings.

Become a Mover

People also need extra muscle on moving day to load or unload the U-Haul. Searching Craigslist or TaskRabbit are two good starting points. And, it can be a good weekend side hustle.

Haul Off People’s Junk

If you have a truck or trailer, you can charge people to haul off their junk that the trash service will not pickup. You might even be able to salvage and sell some of their belongings for cash.

Clean Houses

Working professionals will pay you to clean their house or vacation home. You might also consider cleaning rental properties when tenants move out or vacation properties before the next guests arrive.

Clean Windows

This is another task that people simply don’t want to do because they don’t have the time or know you can do a better job at.

Clean Pools

Pool cleaning and maintenance is another hassle than many homeowners don’t want to mess with. Primarily because cleaning a pool takes time and keeping the correct water pH balance can also be overwhelming if you don’t do it on a regular basis.

Clean Businesses

Many businesses, medical offices, and industrial complexes also have individuals come in at night to clean the property after the staff goes home. This can be a good second income because of the evening flexibility.

Wash Cars

Is your car immaculate inside and out? You can make money washing other peoples’ cars. And, all you need is basic car washing and detailing supplies that you already use for your own car.

Install Flat Screen TVs

Installing flat screen tvs and home entertainment systems can also be easy money and only require a few hours of your time for each install. You might need an extra hand to carry the tv, but, you only need a few hand tools, a level, and measuring tape to get started.

Collect Scrap Metal

You can also make a few bucks and help save the earth by collecting scrap metal for cash. You can make money by selling old appliances, grills, and other metal to scrap yards. Craigslist can be a great place to look for free deals where people don’t have the means of hauling their old appliances away themselves.

Repair Old Appliances

In addition to collecting scrap metal for cash, some appliance are worth more if you can spend a few dollars and make any necessary repairs. Not everybody wants to buy a brand new appliance from Lowe’s every time and this frugality makes refurbished appliances a hot commodity.

Pick Up Trash

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. That can be very true in this instance. If you don’t mind working for your money, you can clean up trash around commercial buildings in order to keep the money flowing.

One man started cleaning commercial parking lots and was able to earn upwards of $100,000 per year just cleaning up trash.

Earning extra money referring youth sports

Monetize Your Hobby

It’s also possible to make money by helping others without necessarily having to perform manual labor. And, get paid for doing something you already do in your free time as a hobby. One of the more popular methods is now driving for Uber or Lyft. You can monetize your regular driving route with ease.

While we traditionally think of hobbies as something that’s fun outside of our job, we now have many opportunities to monetize our hobbies while still keeping them enjoyable. What better way than to enjoy your hobby and earn money doing it?

Become a Pet Sitter

Walking, playing, and caring for pets while their owners work or travel can also be very lucrative. Professional pet sitters can make over six figures a year through pet sitting. Sites like can help you get started.

Baby Sit/Child Care

You can also make money babysitting children during the work day, in the evenings for date nights, and on the weekends. This can be a competitive field, but getting on sites like can be a boost for your income and reputation.

Consulting and Coaching

This industry has become saturated by people who claim they are coaches and consultants. This makes it harder for those who actually know what they are doing to break in, but using a site like can help. You can apply to be an “expert” in a specific field and you can earn money helping startups and entrepreneurs with questions and issues.

It’s a great way to expand your skill set and show what you know.


People like wooden handicrafts like wall decorations, birdhouses, and wooden bowls. You can sell these items at local craft fairs or online at your personal website and other online retail websites like eBay and Amazon.

Repair Computers

Make some money repairing your friends and co-workers’ computers so they don’t have to buy a new one. Another option is buying cheap used computers, repairing them for cheap and then selling them for a profit on Craigslist.

Become a Notary

A notary public is a common thing when you need to get paperwork signed. This could be for a contract, mortgage, lease, or many other things. One of the better ideas is to be a mobile notary public, so you travel around when people need you. These have become popular considering many need a notary on the weekends and they are much harder to find.

You need to figure out from your state and local government what the rules are, but once you become a notary, which has a low barrier to entry, you can charge what you want for your service.

Make Handicrafts

Making and selling handicrafts on Etsy is another way to make money. You can sell quilts, house decorations, jewelry, clothing, and vintage items.

Amazon also has their own version where you can sell your handmade goods.

Decorate Houses

Who said being an interior designer was a full-time job? While a design background can be desirable, you can make money coordinating home makeovers as you help the homeowner choose wall colors, décor, and maybe even appliances.

Stage Houses for Sale

When homeowner’s list a house for sale, they might hire somebody to stage furniture to make their house “pop” and help the buyer visualize their own belongings in place. This can be a good option if you have access to an array of furniture that can be toted from property to property as they sell.

Drive for Uber or Lyft

Make money on Uber or Lyft by driving people around town on your way to or from work and also on during the evenings and weekends. You will need a four-door car and a clean driving record to start ridesharing.

Be a Delivery Person

Delivering pizza might be the first delivery side hustle that comes to mind, but, you can also get paid to deliver prescription medication for pharmacies, and some online retailers like Amazon and Boxed are now offering same-day delivery in select cities and are in need of delivery drivers.

Rent Your Car

If you don’t have the time to drive people around, you can also make money renting your car on Turo or HyreCar. Travelers like this option because it can be cheaper than a rental car agency and there can even be a wider selection instead of only getting what the rental car agency has in stock.

Become an Airbnb Host

Listing a spare bedroom on Airbnb can also bring you some extra income. And, it can be a great opportunity to meet new friends that can be visiting from all over the world!

Rent Out Your Parking Spot

There’s a new app out there that is growing across the US that allows you to list your parking spot for rent. You earn money by renting out your unused parking spot to those in need of parking in your area. This can be an easy way to earn money if you have a spot available.

Referee Sports Games

Being a referee for local youth sports games can also be a fun way to make money and watch live sports simultaneously.

Teach a Physical Fitness Class

You can also teach a physical fitness class at a local gym, civic center, or church. Whether it’s Crossfit, yoga, or something in between, people like the challenge and relational aspect of attending a fitness class.

Be a Street Musician

When you aren’t teaching music lessons, you can make money playing music as a street musician or even being a member in a live band.

DJ Special Events

If you enjoy making playlists and being an emcee, you can be a DJ for special events like weddings and parties.

Be a Photographer

You can also photograph special events like engagement photos, weddings, family pictures, and pets. In addition to special events, selling stock photos online at sites like Shutterstock can also make a small income as websites and bloggers pay to publish your photos with their articles and posts.


A videographer records live video of events when still photography isn’t enough. A few events you can film include weddings, performances, and business videos.

Another videography is making money with a drone flyover. Sellers and buyers like drone video when trying to give a bird’s eye view to sell a piece of property or another real estate listing.


You can also make money catering special events including weddings, parties, and fundraisers. People always have gatherings that include a prepared meal.

Mend Clothes

Expensive outfits, pants, and shirts tear or might need to be resized for the owner to continue wearing. Using your sewing skills at a tailor can be worthwhile as many people don’t mend their clothes anymore.

Security Guard

Business parks, malls, and other places of business hire part-time security guards to watch the premises. You don’t need a law enforcement background for most positions and can begin working after taking a few classes offered by the security company.

Here’s a great resource to learn how to get the appropriate training.

Garden or Raise Chickens and Eggs

If you live in the country, you might have the real estate to grow a garden or raise livestock like cattle or chickens. People love going to their local farmer’s market to buy local produce, meat, and eggs. You can make even more money by inviting customers to visit your property and see how clean and efficient your operation is.

Make sure you understand your local laws for selling food to consumers. You might need certain permits, insurance, etc.

Earning more money with a yard sale

Shopping and Selling Stuff

You can also make money by shopping and selling in-person and online. You’d be surprised how many things you can sell to others without even thinking about it. Many are cleaning up their homes, listing their stuff online, and earning cash in just a few hours.

If you’re more of a shopping fan, then you can not only earn money when you shop, but you can earn money and shop for other people at the same time. You’ll be the ultimate shopping entrepreneur when you make money while spending other people’s money they asked you to spend!

Declutter Your House

An easy way to make a little extra cash is to sell your own belongings on Craigslist, Amazon, eBay, or by hosting a garage sale. You might be surprised how much quick cash you can make in a weekend and have a cleaner house in the process.

Flip Garage Sale Finds

Visiting local garage sales and browsing the free section on Craigslist can help you find some real treasures that you can turn around and sell for more money and pocket the profit. Some items might need some simple repairs, but, this can be well worth your time.

Learn more on how to flip flea market goods for profit.

Shop at Thrift Stores

In addition to visiting your local garage sales on the weekends, you can also have success visiting your local thrift stores and clearance centers for some good deals. These items can be sold on Craigslist or online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.

Become a Shopping Assistant

People will pay you to run their errands and do their shopping for them. You might be hired to go grocery shopping, buy Christmas gifts, or take their clothes to the dry cleaner. It’s not every day you can get paid to shop.

Mystery Shop

Research companies will pay you to dine at restaurants, shop at stores, or even stay at hotels. All you need to do is review the company and of course not tell anybody you are a mystery shopper. Make sure to find the quality mystery shopping companies to avoid the spam and fraud. The MSPA provides qualified companies.

Shop with Ebates

Another easy way to make money by shopping is using a cash back portal like Ebates. You can get 1% to 40% of every online purchase back. Before you buy anything online, make sure you use a cash back portal.

Shop with a Credit Card

Using a rewards credit card when you shop, can give you cash back or travel rewards points on every purchase. You can get additional rewards when you use a shopping portal like Ebates.

You just have to know how to properly use credit cards to enjoy the rewards. This is not for people who are prone to debt.

Sell Unused Gift Cards

If you receive gift cards for Christmas or your birthday that you never plan to use, sell them on a gift card resale site like Raise to get paid in cold hard cash instead of letting them continue to collect dust.

Check out our guide on places to sell your giftcards to make more money!

Sell on Amazon

If you have shopped on Amazon, no doubt you have seen third-party listings that might be cheaper than buying directly from Amazon. You too can make money selling on Amazon by selling anything from used books, electronics, or cosmetics.

There are a few different options for selling on Amazon. You can sell directly from your house that you ship when sold. Or, you can send the products you want to sell to a Fulfilled by Amazon warehouse and they will ship it when an item sells.

Here’s a great course to show you how from someone who makes over $20,000 per month selling on Amazon.

Sell on eBay

You can also try selling on eBay to reach a second online audience. You might also like eBay if you want to sell your products by auction or also with a local pickup option for bulkier items.

Here’s a guide on how to get started selling on Ebay.

Rent Textbooks

You might have sold your textbooks each college semester. Now, you can make money renting textbooks online. Students like this option because it’s cheaper than buying a used textbook. As the textbook owner, your earning potential can be higher if you can rent the same book out for several semesters.

Sell Textbooks

Instead of selling your textbooks back to the place you bought them, why not sell them to someone else who would most likely pay more for the book? Book buyback programs are notoriously cheap. They don’t pay nearly enough for the book compared to what you paid for it.

You can list your books for free on Craigslist to see if there are any takers. You could find a forum for your school as well and list them on there. If not, check out Chegg which tends to pay a little more than most book buyback programs.

Gig Walking

This is an innovative way to earn extra money doing things you already enjoy created by GigWalk. This app allows you to pick up “gigs” from brands that want you to make a purchase, try something in the store, or take pictures of something. They describe what they need/want and you get to see if you want to do it.

It’s an easy way to make money while on the way home or shopping where you might already be.

Earning extra income by donating plasma

Odd Ways to Make Money

There are also a few side income ideas you have possibly never thought of or maybe you didn’t realize people did such things for money. I’m sure there are a lot more ways to earn money outside of this odd list, but these are some of the ones you can start quickly. I’ve even heard of some people offering cuddling services for at least $100 per hour.

My favorite on this list is getting paid to be a friend for about $50 per hour. Accompany someone and you’re paid to be their “friend.” Interesting!

Donate Plasma

While many plasma donation centers are located near college campuses, since cash-strapped college students are the primary donators, anybody can donate. You can make anywhere from $20 to $50 per week and can donate twice weekly.

Participate in Clinical Studies

You can also make money as a “medical guinea pig.” Ask your local hospital or university if they have any paid medical studies currently accepting volunteers. You might have to meet specific criteria like having a sleep disorder or being a smoker depending on the study focus.

Rent a Friend

You can get paid to be a friend for up to $50 an hour. There is no dating involved, and this side hustle is only for an opportunity to hang out with somebody.

Advertise on Your Car

You can be paid to advertise for a company by wrapping your car. This unconventional form of advertising can pay enough to cover your monthly vehicle expenses like gas and insurance.

Advertise on Your Body

You can also get paid to lease your body by wearing temporary tattoos or sponsored clothing.

Sell Your Hair

If you have at least 10 inches of untreated hair, you can get paid up to $1000 on an online hair classified site. Not a bad return on investment for a few years of letting your hair grow out.

Flip Signs

One of the latest marketing crazes is hiring sign flippers to attract the attention of passersby. If you like being outdoors and interacting with the public, this can be fun.

Virtual Jury Member

Attorneys will simulate cases online and practice their prosecution and defense before they go in front of an actual court of law. Ejury allows you to be paid to be a virtual jury member and make a verdict, share opinions on case topics, and participate in focus groups.

Get Paid to Take Selfies

Several apps will also pay you to take selfies at places you visit and living your normal life.

Help People Find Jobs

Jobspottr will pay you to take pictures of “Help Wanted” signs across town. You earn bonus points for finding handmade signs that can be a little more difficult to spot.

Summary About Making Extra Money

The options to earn a side income are limitless, and most of these activities have low barriers of entry. You’re only help back by your creativity, will power, drive, and determination. It ultimately boils down to how much time you can commit and what your skills and interests are. Do you know how much money you can make when you just turn off the TV? Well, here’s a little answer.

Finding a way to make money by doing the activities you enjoy can be a win-win for you and the people you interact with. There are also many options for those who don’t want to interact with people and would rather complete work at their home.

What’s your favorite way to make extra money?

The post 101 Side Hustle Ideas to Make Extra Money appeared first on Debt RoundUp, the content owner.

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How to Stay Out of Debt With a Low Income Tue, 24 Jul 2018 15:10:28 +0000 You don’t make a lot of money and you’ve worked hard to get out of debt. Now that you have the taste of what it’s like to not have a monthly interest payment for maybe the first time ever as an adult, the last thing you want to do is go back into debt. But, […]

The post How to Stay Out of Debt With a Low Income appeared first on Debt RoundUp, the content owner.

How to stay out of debt with a low income

You don’t make a lot of money and you’ve worked hard to get out of debt. Now that you have the taste of what it’s like to not have a monthly interest payment for maybe the first time ever as an adult, the last thing you want to do is go back into debt. But, what’s the best way to stay out of debt with a low income?

These tips can help you make a financial game plan to make you build wealth while staying out of the poorhouse.

While you won’t become an “instant millionaire” you can still pay your bills, go on vacation, and save for the future—three activities that probably caused you to lose sleep when you were still in debt.

Keep Your Discretionary Spending to a Minimum

If you’re like most people with a small income, one of the only ways to find extra money each month is to reduce your monthly spending to the bone. That might mean not going out to eat, having a “staycation” instead of a vacation this summer, and canceling your monthly subscriptions.

The only problem is that for most us is that we can only suppress our wants for so long. When you’re debt-free and no longer sending your disposable income to make extra debt payments, the money in your pocket suddenly feels warmer than it did a month ago.

While you shouldn’t go back to your old spending habits and “keeping up with the Joneses,” it’s expected to have some lifestyle inflation. As with every aspect of life, remember the mantra, “Everything in moderation.”

It’s okay to increase some of your monthly subscription spending again, but don’t overpay.

Some of the ways you can save money on the finer things in life include:

While you should never pay more than absolutely necessary, the three recommendations above are the easiest ways to get the same products you use now for less.

Invest At Least 10% of Your Income

When you tackle your high-interest credit card debt, one of the next places you’ll cut is your monthly investments.

At a minimum, you should invest at least 10% of your income. But, to get a more accurate number, you should use a retirement calculator to see if you can afford to retire. It only takes a minute to plug in your current financial vitals and your retirement goals to see if you’re on track. If you need to invest more, the calculator will recommend how much you need to invest to retire on time.

Hopefully, your employer offers matching 401k contributions and you’ve been maximizing that opportunity to make “free money.” Most employers offering matching contributions match a percentage of the first 6% of your monthly salary. If you make $3,000 a month before taxes, they will might contribute $180 per month; think of it as an instant $2,160 annual raise.

Retirement Account vs. Non-Retirement Account Contributions

After maximizing your 401k match, you should split your remaining monthly investments into a tax-advantaged retirement account and taxable brokerage account.

Splitting your investments between the two ensures you invest for retirement, but you still have immediate penalty-free access to investments in your taxable non-retirement brokerage account.

When to Invest in a Taxable Brokerage Account

You will still want to keep your emergency fund savings and additional cash savings in an interest-bearing bank account and invest money you don’t plan on spending within the next two years in a taxable brokerage account. You invest the money you need a few years from now so it can appreciate faster than your bank deposits and you don’t have to pay the 10% early withdrawal penalty the 401k and IRA accounts charge.

Because the stock market is unpredictable, remember only to invest money in your taxable account that you don’t plan on withdrawing at least one year from now. Historically, the overall market yields a profit long-term, but you can lose money in the short-term.

For example, you can invest $1,000 today and if the market declines 10% a month from now, your investment is only worth $900 and can potentially take a year to regain the losses and begin appreciating. Volatility is why investors near retirement invest in fixed income assets so they don’t have to delay retirement because of an unexpected market correction.

The money sitting in your bank account only earns slightly more than 1% interest at best. If your investments earn 6% annually on average, you’re making six times the profit compared to keeping it at your bank.

The secret to becoming a millionaire is earning more passive income than the month before. It’s challenging to do this when the money in your savings account is only earning a few pennies each month. This is why it’s so important to invest your extra income.

When to Invest in a Retirement Account

Any money you don’t plan on spending until you retire needs to be put into your tax-advantaged retirement account. If you have a decent 401k plan with solid investment options and minimal fees, it can be easier to make all your additional retirement contributions there.

If not, invest any additional monthly contributions in either a Traditional IRA or Roth IRA. Open a Traditional IRA when you want to lower your taxable income now but pay taxes on your contributions in retirement, otherwise contribute your post-tax income to a Roth IRA so your contributions grow 100% tax-free.

Keep All Your Investments At One Brokerage

You don’t have a choice where your employer hosts their 401k plan, but you can control where you keep your personal investments. It’s almost always easier to keep your IRA and taxable brokerage accounts at the same brokerage.

If you prefer fully-automated investing, Betterment offers both account types and their complimentary portfolio rebalancing and tax harvesting tools optimize your return.

DIY investors should choose an online broker with low trade fees. It’s not hard to find a brokerage that only charges $4.95 per trade, but they usually offer many commission-free ETFs too so you get instant portfolio diversification with every single trade.

Say No to Instant Gratification for Large Purchases

Another money habit that separates the rich from the poor is delaying instant gratification. Too many people think being in debt is a fact of life. Guess what? It’s not!

You will need to make your own household rule for this suggestion, but you might say that you have to discuss with your spouse or wait at least 24 hours before you spend more than $100 on any unnecessary expense.

Whether you want to buy a stereo surround system for $300 that you can pay for with cash or a new $20,000 car that requires a car loan, these one-off purchases can quickly put you back into debt.

By waiting at least one day to say yes or no, you can decide if you actually need to make the purchase or if it can wait. In many cases, you’ll find yourself passing on the offer until your current product finally bites the dust.

Save for Large Purchases Instead

Saying “No” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan ever to make a large purchase again. For example, the car you’re driving now might only have a few good years left before it’s no longer cost-effective to keep owning the vehicle. Buying a replacement vehicle is a known expense and by making it a goal to have enough money set aside in three years to replace your car, you can pay for the entire car with cash for the first time ever!

With a little foresight, you can avoid going into debt in the future because you save your money for the future instead of spending it on today’s whims. If you always give into instant gratification, it gets a lot harder to accomplish your future savings goals.

Besides cars, some of the other large expenses you should plan for include vacations, home repairs and remodeling, and your child’s college education.

Use Cash Instead of Credit

Another financial pitfall for many households is using credit cards irresponsibly. Credit cards also increase the odds that you’ll spend more than with cash or debit even if you pay your balance in full each month.

On the flipside, responsible credit card use means you build your credit score without borrowing money and you can get rewards points that help you travel for free or get cash back each month.

What if you can combine the benefits of credit cards with cash to earn rewards while still being encouraged to live within your means?

With a free program like Debx, your credit card acts like a debit card. Each day, Debx withdraws the cash from your checking account to cover your daily purchases–so you never carry a card balance–while you earn rewards points and improve your credit score.

Make a New Budget

Why save this step for last?

Because you need to figure out how you want to spend all that extra money first.

Making your first debt-free budget can be challenging because you have fewer bills that need to be paid. It can be really easy to go on a spending spree and still be living paycheck to paycheck even though you’re debt-free.

By walking through the steps above you realize that putting your money in a bank account, retirement account, and increasing your discretionary spending a little bit will give you a clearer idea of how much money you will realistically spend now that you’re not forced to make a minimum monthly payment.

Once you have an idea how much you want to save, spend, and give to charity, you can see if you can still live within your means with your current income.

If not, you will need to trim your immediate and future spending so you can still accomplish your savings goals. For example, you might decide to save for a $10,000 car instead of a $15,000 car to have an extra $50 to put invest in your retirement account.

Just like you should keep all your cash at one bank and investments at one brokerage, you should also use Personal Capital to track your monthly spending for free. You can also use Personal Capital to track your investments and savings goals progress to see if you need to increase your monthly contributions.


Your first paycheck after you become debt-free can feel a lot like winning the lottery. Instead of squandering your windfall and becoming the next reality tv star for all the wrong reasons, following the steps above will help you maximize your small income so you can still retire on-time and live a life where you don’t worry about money anymore!

The post How to Stay Out of Debt With a Low Income appeared first on Debt RoundUp, the content owner.

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8 Free Investing Apps to Grow Your Money Mon, 25 Jun 2018 15:09:50 +0000 Most investors only look at the potential upside when they buy new investments. What you might not consider is investment fees you pay to buy or sell an individual stock or ETF. If you make several trades a month, those fees accumulate quickly and reduce your long-term profit potential. Thankfully, these free investing apps let […]

The post 8 Free Investing Apps to Grow Your Money appeared first on Debt RoundUp, the content owner.

8 Free Investing Apps to grow your money

Most investors only look at the potential upside when they buy new investments. What you might not consider is investment fees you pay to buy or sell an individual stock or ETF. If you make several trades a month, those fees accumulate quickly and reduce your long-term profit potential. Thankfully, these free investing apps let you invest for free so your portfolio can grow quicker.

Why Investment Fees Matter?

Just a few years ago, free investing apps sounded like a wild fantasy. It’s amazing how the Internet has made investing affordable to everyone. Even though the average trade from a traditional online broker costs $4.95, you can still trade the same stocks and ETFs for free on certain investing apps.

If you make three trades a month at $4.95 per trade, you will spend $15 or $180 a year. While a $4.95 trade fee doesn’t seem like a lot when you’re investing large sums, it’s a different story when you’re only investing $100 or less per stock. A $100 stock investment must appreciate 10% or pay $10 in dividends before you “break even” to recoup your investment costs and realize an actual profit.

Paying these trade fees month in and month out result in a small fortune for the brokerage while requiring your money to work harder to earn more passive income for you.

Skipping the fees is one way you can become a millionaire.

Benefits of Using Free Investing Apps

Free investing apps let you buy and sell investments with ease. Although they might not have as many investment and research options as a traditional brokerage, free trades mean maximum profit potential. After all, if you’re not going to use all the “bells and whistles” your current brokerage offers, why pay high trade fees?

In addition to free trades, you should also look into these additional benefits of using free investing apps.

Buy Partial ETF and Stock Shares

Many of these apps let you buy or sell fractional shares of stocks and ETFs. For example, you can buy $100 of Amazon stock instead of having to save up $1,500 to buy a single share. While you will only own a partial share (.067 shares in this instance), your money is invested instead of sitting on the sidelines.

If you only have small amounts of money to invest each month, you need to work fractional shares to your advantage to buy company stocks and ETFs that you usually can’t afford.

Open an IRA Account to Maximize Savings

Even if you only plan to use this app as a secondary investment account to only trade stocks or ETFs, you can save additional money by opening a tax-advantaged IRA account to help you retire on schedule.

Buy ETFs from Multiple Fund Families

Although the various brokerages have many ETFs that have very similar holdings—index funds for example—you might want to invest in actively managed ETFS or high-dividend ETFs that you can’t get from your brokerage commission-free. With these apps, you can have your pick of every ETF fund family for the same price, free!

Enroll in Automated Investing for Free

Even if you only have $1 to invest each month, you can use one of these apps to invest $X on the same date every month automatically. The app will also rebalance your portfolio so you can stick to your investment goals. When you sell an investment, you might even be able to enjoy tax-loss harvesting to minimize your year-end tax bill.

It’s important to note that not every app offers automated investing or complimentary tax-loss harvesting.

Consider These Free Investing Apps First

Each of the following apps has their strengths and weaknesses so you’ll need to choose the app that best fits your investment goals.

M1 Finance

Best for trading Stocks and ETFs

M1 Finance is probably the best all-around free investing app because You can trade over 4,200 stocks and 1,900 ETFs on M1 via their website platform or mobile app.

Other free apps only let you trade a preselected basket of stocks and ETFs. With M1 you can trade virtually any ticker symbol that trades on the NYSE or Nasdaq stock exchanges. You won’t be able to buy international ADR, OTC, or penny stocks.

If you want to invest in brokerage-specific ETFs like Vanguard, Fidelity, and Schwab, you can now buy these various funds without paying transaction funds. If you invest with Schwab but want to buy a Vanguard ETF, you must pay the regular trade commission. That’s a thing of the past with M1 Finance.

Hands-off investors will also want to look at M1’s “Expert Pies” that are let you follow a premade investing strategy like target date funds, socially responsible investing, copying hedge funds, and other customized investing strategies.

Regardless of what you decide to invest in, all of your investments are in a personal pie. You manage each holding based on the percentage of your portfolio. So, if you want to invest in 10 different positions, you can set a target allocation of 10% per holding. As you deposit new cash, M1 will automatically buy shares of stocks that are underperforming so you continuously maintain the 10% target allocation.


Trading Individual Stocks and Options

If you only want to trade stocks, Robinhood might be your favorite app. Robinhood has two “only” rules you must know about:

  • You can “only” buy full shares of individual stocks and options
  • Robinhood is “only” available on Android and iOS devices

You won’t be able to buy fractional shares of any stocks, but stocks and stock options trade for free. They are also rolling out the brand-new Robinhood Crypto feature so you can trade select cryptocurrencies for free too.

As long as you don’t mind trading stocks exclusively on your mobile device, Robinhood is probably the best option for frequent traders. For an additional monthly fee, you can also get access to extended hours trading.

One potentially large downside of Robinhood is that they don’t offer retirement accounts and your only account option is a taxable brokerage account.


A 100% Free Roboadvisor

WiseBanyan prides itself as being the world’s first free financial advisor. If you want a fully automated micro-investing app and don’t want to pay a monthly account management fee, WiseBanyan invests your money based on your investment objectives in a basket of stock and bond Vanguard and iShares ETFs. And, you only need $1 to make a single trade.

You can create multiple milestone with different portfolio allocations that can be as conservative or aggressive as you choose. Although WiseBanyan is free, you can pay for add-on packages like tax loss harvesting and customized portfolios.

TD Ameritrade

Commission-Free ETFs and Ample Research

TD Ameritrade is a a full service online brokerage, but it can be 100% free if you trade from their extensive list of 300+ commission-free ETFs. They also don’t require a minimum account balance you can open an account with $0 and fund it at your convenience when you choose an ETF you like.

They also have excellent educational and research materials that can help investors of any expertise level. If you decide to dive into active investing later, you can with TD Ameritrade and have all of the best tools at your hands.


Your first $15,000 is managed free with a fully automated platform!

Wealthfront is another fully-automated investing platform that invests your first $15,000 is managed for free! You will need $500 to open an account, but if you want built-in tax optimized investing and real-time human customer service.

Unlike the other automated investing platforms, you can only buy full shares of ETFs and you might not consider this option if you can’t make a full investment each month. If you’re only investing your spare change, consider one of the other recommendations that do offer fractional share investing like WiseBanyan or Betterment.


Trade fractional shares of individual stocks on a dollar basis instead of a percentage of your portfolio

Although it’s not free, Stockpile makes the list because you can trade fractional shares of stocks and ETFs for 99 cents per trade. Stockpile fills the gap between M1 Finance and Robinhood. You might like the prefer the concept of managing an investment portfolio based on dollar amounts instead of percentages, but you want the option of buying fractional shares.

You will need $5 to open an account, but Stockpile also gives you a $5 gift for the stock of your choice, so you basically get to open an account for free.

Another reason to consider Stockpile is to teach your child or teen to begin investing and their user-friendly platform is geared to helping novice investors pick companies they are familiar with. If you need birthday or Christmas gift ideas, parents and adults can also buy children stock gift cards too!


Fully automated investing with financial advisor support

Maybe you want the benefits of automated investing but you’re not ready to ditch your personal adviser. With Betterment, you will have to pay an account management fee starting at 0.25% annually, but you can open an account with $0 and get access to financial advisors.

You can also invest in fractional shares with a minimum $1 deposit. If you want automated investing and automatic tax-loss harvesting and portfolio rebalancing, Betterment is an excellent option.


Invest in peer-to-peer loans as a fixed income alternative

As an alternative to traditional stock and bond investing, you might consider peer-to-peer loans. LendingClub is the largest peer lending platform with historical annual returns ranging between 3% and 8% per year.

Each note costs $25 and you can invest in 36-month and 60-month personal loan applications and collect the monthly interest payments from the borrower. You can choose to reinvest the monthly interest payments in new notes to compound your earnings.

The minimum initial investment amount is $1,000 so LendingClub can adequately diversify your balance across several different loans to ensure you earn a positive return with minimal risk. Because your money can be tied up for up to five years, you should only invest money in LendingClub that you don’t plan on spending in the near future.

For many, LendingClub is an excellent alternative to high-yield savings accounts that earn less than 2% but are a still fine choice to park your liquid cash.

Lending Club offers an automated investing feature at no additional cost and is the easiest way to invest in peer loans. If you have the time and expertise, you can also manually invest in different notes just like you research and pick your own stocks and ETFs.

Because peer investing income is considered ordinary income like your day job, you might consider opening a tax-advantaged IRA to minimize your tax bill. You can always transfer your funds to your current IRA to invest in the market when your investment strategy changes.


Invest in crowdfunded real estate and earn a higher return than public REITs

Fundrise is another alternative investing app that lets you invest in crowdfunded real estate. Like LendingClub, you will only want to invest money that you don’t need immediate access to because you’re investing in private real estate projects through a private REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust).

However, you can earn an annual return between 8% and 12% without the volatility of real estate stocks and ETFs that can be purchased with one of the other free investing apps mentioned here.

The minimum initial investment is $500, but there aren’t any account maintenance fees. You will only have to pay the standard REIT fund fees that are standard with any publicly traded REIT ETF or mutual fund.


The “big name” brokerages like Vanguard, Fidelity, and Schwab receive the most praise for being go-to investing apps, but they don’t always offer the flexibility you’re looking for. If you don’t need the fancy research tools or you don’t want to pay a trade commission for every stock trade, these investing apps can produce the same long-term results at zero cost.

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How to Start Investing in Real Estate Without Buying Property Mon, 07 May 2018 15:42:15 +0000 Real estate investing has been a favorite way to make wealth for millennia and turn ordinary people into millionaires. You might think that the only way to invest in real estate is to become a landlord or flip houses, or at least I did. And if you’re like me, you don’t have the time or […]

The post How to Start Investing in Real Estate Without Buying Property appeared first on Debt RoundUp, the content owner.

How to invest in real estate without buying property

Real estate investing has been a favorite way to make wealth for millennia and turn ordinary people into millionaires. You might think that the only way to invest in real estate is to become a landlord or flip houses, or at least I did. And if you’re like me, you don’t have the time or money to buy an investment property when you have your own mortgage to pay.

What you might not realize, is that you can invest in real estate without being in a landlord. Even better, you can avoid stock market volatility while earning a consistent dividend that slowly builds your net worth.

If you’re looking to diversify your investments so your not 100% reliant on the stock market to fund your retirement or you want to make your bank deposits work a little harder for you, crowdfunding real estate can be the income stream you’re looking for.

What Is Crowdfunded Real Estate?

You’ve probably had friends and community members ask for money via a GoFundMe campaign in recent years.

Crowdfunded real estate is very similar GoFundMe campaigns in the sense that individuals can contribute a few dollars to help a person reach a financial goal. The primary difference is that investing in crowdfunded real estate lets you invest a partial stake into private, high-dollar projects that only the rich and well-connected had access even a decade ago.

Depending on which real estate platform you use, you can invest in a basket of properties via a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) or individual projects that you personally vet.

Although crowdfunded real estate has only been a mainstream investment option since 2012 with the passage of the USA JOBS Act that legalized crowdfunding, it has provided positive returns for real estate investors in every income bracket. Like any investment, positive returns aren’t guaranteed but considering most platforms only accept 5% of all project proposals, it’s not like the Wild West are the pre-2007 home mortgage crisis when anybody can get approved for financing.

You might also prefer crowdfunded real estate to buying tangible real estate because less financial capital is required per investment property since other private investors are buying a stake as well.

What’s the Difference Between Crowdfunded Real Estate and Exchange Traded REITs?

Crowdfunded real estate is a secondary private real estate market which offers a higher potential return than the typical real estate investments you can buy through your stock brokerage, but it’s highly illiquid.

You can’t buy today and sell tomorrow might a REIT mutual fund or ETF. Instead, investing in crowdfunded real estate is a lot like buying an investment house, but you only have to invest a few hundred (or thousand) dollars instead of the entire cost of the house. You only get your money back once the project is complete or after waiting at least 60 days and paying an early withdrawal penalty.

With REIT ETFs like the Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ) is very similar to a crowdfunded REIT except it’s highly liquid and can be traded instantly. The tradeoff for this flexibility is a lower dividend and a fluctuating share price that can make a $1,000 initial investment worth $900 if the REIT share price drops 10%.

Profits aren’t guaranteed with crowdfunded real estate, but since you’re a stakeholder instead of a shareholder, your profit potential is higher because of the extra financial commitment required.

How Much Money Can You Make Investing in Crowdfunded Real Estate?

Although your profit potential is still higher if you can own your own tangible investment properties, your level of risk is higher too because you have more capital invested in a single project.

If you have $70,000 to invest in a single real estate deal or you can invest it in a basket of real estate properties to limit your investment risk. Directly investing in tangible real estate means you can earn at least 14%, but you don’t realize the profit until you find a tenant or buyer.

Because you’re instantly invested in multiple investment properties, you can expect to earn an annual dividend of 8% to 12% on your investment each year.

How Much Should You Invest in Crowdfunded Real Estate?

This question hinges on several factors:

  • How old are you?
  • How soon do you need to access the money?
  • What are your investment goals?
  • What are your current investments?

Because crowdfunded real estate investing is like investing in a multi-year CD, you shouldn’t put all your investment money into one of the recommended investing platforms listed below.

You should only invest money that you don’t foresee spending until three to five years from now as that’s how long it can take the average investment to mature. You’ll still earn regular interest payments, but if you want the ability to withdraw your cash on a whim, you need to consider investing in a REIT stock that trades on the stock exchange.

As a general rule of thumb, you might decide to invest 10% of your total investment portfolio in real estate. That entire 10% can be invested in crowdfunded real estate, or you might decide to split it between public exchange-traded REITs too.

Most crowdfunding platforms offer taxable investment accounts and tax-advantaged IRAs that can save you some cash. Crowdsourcing returns are counted as ordinary income in most tax situations so an IRA can be the perfect option to maximize your returns. Because these investments are highly illiquid, they are a strong candidate for IRA accounts that you won’t withdraw from until retirement.

Can Only Accredited Investors Invest in Crowdfunded Real Estate?

Not anymore.

When crowdfunding real estate first became in vogue, most platforms only accepted accredited investors with a high net worth to invest in the projects. Although some platforms are exclusively for accredited investors, there are a few that are open to the “Average Joe” that aren’t part of the 1% by offering a private REIT that invests in a basket of investment properties with a minimum initial investment of at least $500.

Accredited investors still have access to more deals and can directly invest in single project that offer a higher income potential, but also require an initial investment commitment at least $5,000.

The Best Real Estate Investing Platforms for Non-Accredited Investors

We’ll first start with the investing platforms that accept non-accredited investors. You might have to live in a specific state to invest with a particular platform because of state crowdfunding regulations.

Non-accredited real estate investors can only invest in crowdfunded REITs that hold a position in several properties. If you want to invest in individual properties, you will need to do it the old-fashioned way by buying tangible property with cash in your local real estate market.

Accredited investors can also invest in private REITs if you want instant diversification, but you might prefer to further diversify your holdings by investing in individual projects that you will only find at platforms other than Fundrise and Rich Uncles.


Fundrise accepts any US resident at least 18 years old. The minimum initial investment is $500 to enroll in the “Starter Portfolio” that divides your investment into an East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast REIT and has a current return of approximately 7.12% with quarterly dividend payments.

Once your investment account balance reaches $1,000, you can begin investing in targeted portfolios that can earn up to 12% annually in investment income by investing in debt or equity holdings in a variety of residential, commercial, and industrial projects.

You can’t pick the individual projects, but depending on the advanced strategy you choose, you can invest in individual real estate markets like Washington, D.C. or Los Angeles.

Rich Uncles

You can invest in commercial properties or student housing with Rich Uncles, but how you invest might depend on which state you live in.

If you want to invest in single-tenant commercial properties, Rich Uncles invests in “triple net” (NNN) industrial, retail, office buildings where the tenant is responsible for paying the following expenses:

  • Property taxes
  • Insurance
  • Maintenance

You can expect a 7% dividend from their private NNN REIT, but membership is currently only available in roughly 24 states and a $500 minimum investment.

Even if you don’t qualify for the NNN commercial property REIT, you may still be interested in their newly launched student housing REIT that only requires a $5 minimum investment and is open to all 50 states. With this REIT, Rich Uncles invests in domestic and international student housing with at least 150 rooms and a minimum 90% occupancy rate.


With a minimum $10 initial investment, Groundfloor delivers a historical return of 8 to 12% on commercial and residential properties that may need to “fix and flip.” And, Groundfloor lets non-accredited investors invest in individual projects–instead of a private REIT—with all loans only lasting 6 to 12 months.

The one downside is that Groundfloor is only open to lenders from a handful of states, but they are trying to expand to all 50 states in the near future so join the waiting list if you’re a non-accredited investor who wants to invest in individual projects.


RealtyMogul offers two different REITs that invest in commercial properties and multi-family apartments. Both REITs have a minimum initial investment of $1,000, but unlike Fundrise to holds a little bit of everything in their REITs, you can focus solely on residential or commercial.

Accredited investors can invest in individual projects to earn a higher potential yield. You might prefer this option if you prefer owning tangible real estate but don’t have the time or cash to finance an entire local project by yourself.

Real Estate Investing Platforms for Accredited Investors

Some platforms only accept accredited investors. As an accredited investor, you have the option to invest in individual projects that typically require a minimum initial investment of at least $5,000. Although you won’t get instant diversification by investing in a single project, you can earn a higher dividend and it’s also the digital equivalent of being able to control how you invest your money.

It only takes a matter of minutes to join each platform so you can join and browse to see which one offers the best available projects.


Most PeerStreet loans only have a duration of 6 to 24 months and earn up to 12% annual interest. Although you have to invest larger sums of money in individual projects, the quick turnaround means you can continually reinvest your earnings into new projects and be able to withdraw your cash sooner than later after a loan matures.

You can also enroll in the automated investing option to let PeerStreet invest in the ideal mix of properties for you so you can get instant diversification and earn an optimal return from residential and commercial properties.


You can also consider RealtyShares to invest in residential or commercial properties with either debt or equity financing with a minimum $5,000 initial investment.  RealtyShares pre-screens most loan applications so you only see the best 5% of applicants that are most likely to offer the positive returns that make crowdfunding real estate so attractive. You will need to pick each individual project to invest in and you might consider splitting your investment between debt financing (less risk but lower potential return) or equity financing (higher potential return but more risk).


EquityMultiple lets accredited investors invest in the three types of loans for commercial properties:

  • Syndicated Debt (6-24 months)
  • Preferred Equity (1-3 years)
  • Equity (3-7 years)

You can expect returns between 6% and 14% on these loan types and you can decide if you want to invest for short-term gains or longer-term investments that usually have a higher potential yield. Another reason to consider EquityMultiple compared to some of the other crowdfunding platforms is that the EquityMultiple team also co-vests in the deals so they risk their own personal money alongside yours.

Patch of Land

Another large platform is Patch of Land that offers 12% annual returns on loans with maximum 12-month durations. You will only find debt investments on Patch of Land which are more secure and have shorter loan durations which means your money isn’t tied up as long as some of the other investment opportunities.


There you have it, an alternative investment class that helps you avoid the volatility of stocks, bonds, and public REITs where declining share prices can erase the any dividend payments. If you want your spare cash to earn more passive income, investing in crowdfunded real estate can be just the option you’re looking for.

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