Latest posts by R.J. Weiss, CFP®
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What would an extra $5,000 in your bank account mean to you in a year?
Would you be able to pay off debt, travel, start investing for retirement, or save for a down payment on a home?
Wherever your imagination takes you, the first thing you must know is that it’s possible. The trick is figuring out what exactly you need to do to save $5,000 in the first place.
To help you get started, here’s a 12-step plan to help you save more, earn more, and end up with an extra $5K in your bank account in 365 days.
How To Save $5,000 In A Year
# 1 – Raise Your Credit Score
A good credit score can save you thousands. One study showed the difference of having excellent vs. poor credit saves a typical 35-year old male $274,918 over his life.
That’s why when it comes to a small actions that get big results — raising your credit score tops the list.
Fortunately, it’s also easy to do.
I use a free site called Credit Sesame. With Credit Sesame, you get your credit score for free, plus personalized tips to help you raise your score.
Credit Sesame also allows you to see the information on your credit report. A recent FTC report found 20% of Americans have an error on their credit report. With how big of an impact your credit score has, it’s vital to know if an error is bringing down your score.
Credit Sesame Quick Summary
- Get your credit score for free in under 90 seconds
- Get personalized tips on how to improve your score
- Highly rated app with a rating of 4.3 and 21,000+ votes
- No credit card needed & it won't impact your score
# 2 – Earn Up To 20% Cash Back When You Shop Online
If you’re not getting cash back for shopping online, you’re missing out. There are many sites that give you money back (they share the referral fee) for the things you buy online.
My favorite site is Swagbucks, which let’s you earn up to 20% cash back from stores like Amazon, WalMart, and Target.
Swagbucks has paid out over $200,000,000 in rewards, has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and is a reader favorite at The Ways To Wealth.
Click here to get a $5 bonus for singing up and making your first purchase.
Swagbucks Quick Summary
- Free to sign up and free to use
- Get up to 20% cash back from Swagbucks when you shop online
- Paid out over $220,000,000 in rewards and has A+ rating from Better Business Bureau
- Get $5 just for signing up
# 3 – Start Building Your Money Making Skills
To save $5,000 in a year, you not only have to cut expenses. It’s important to earn money as well. As Benjamin Franklin said:
“There are two ways to increase your wealth. Increase your means or decrease your wants. The best is to do both at the same time.”
Maybe the easiest way to earn more is by completing surveys. A year ago I never heard of completing surveys for money. However, after reading stories of bloggers who credited surveys with helping them pay off their debt, I was intrigued.
Little did I know there are dozens of survey sites that pay you for completing surveys online. Here’s three favorite of The Ways To Wealth readers:
SurveyJunkie is an established survey site with over 5,000,000 members and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
MyPoints has paid out over $236,000,000 in rewards. There’s also a $5 bonus for your first 5 surveys, with this link.
Opinion Outpost allows you to earn points with each survey completed, which you can redeem for cash through PayPal. You’ll then be entered into Opinion Outpost’s $10,000 quarterly drawing.
It’s important to mention — all these sites are free to join. So, by signing up for all three, you’ll be able to earn more. Also, make sure you complete the basic profile information. Typically, the more targeted the surveys, the more they pay.
# 4 – Pay Off Your Debt Faster By Refinancing
Why exactly does having an excellent vs. poor credit save a typical 35-year old male $274,918 over his life?
Interest payments. The average American spends $8,037 each year on interest.
Whether it’s student loans, credit cards, cars, or even a mortgage — it’s worth seeing if you can consolidate or refinance your debt.
Don’t underestimate the power of doing so too. With one of the providers I mention below, the average borrower who refinances their student loans saves an average of $288 a month.
Where can you start your search for lower rates? It depends on your income and credit score.
If you don’t quite fit that demographic — there is Credible. Credible allows you to search and compare rates from top lenders. What’s nice about Credible is you get to see real rates – not ranges – from multiple lenders in under 2 minutes.
Rates from Credible lenders are as low as 4.99% to refinance your credit card debt — so definitely check them out.
# 5 – Start Driving For Lyft
What’s nice about driving for Lyft is that you can work on your own time. Whether weekdays, weekends, or nights work best — the choice is yours.
Also, by working when demand is high, such as when an event is in town — you can earn higher than the average.
You’ll also like to know — Lyft offers a sizeable bonus for new drivers (although it depends where you live, find out here).
With the average earnings of a Lyft driver at $17.50 an hour, if you work 30 hours this month, you can make an extra $525.
Related Reading from The Ways To Wealth
- 15 Money Management Tips You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner
- Travel Hacks That Save Money: How I Saved $8,500 On Travel This Year
- 100 Insanely Smart Ways To Save Money In 2018
# 6 – Let A Robot Save You Money
If you’re looking for small rewards with big returns — you’ll love a free tool called Trim.
Trim works behind the scenes to cancel unused subscriptions, find you cash back, and negotiate your bills. For example, this month I got a $10 credit on my Internet bill Trim’s bot negotiated based on a power outage.
All you have to do sign up, then connect your accounts. Trim then takes care of the rest.
Trim Quick Summary
- A free service that saves you money by cutting unused subscriptions, negotiating bills & earning cash back
- Has saved users over $1,000,000 in the last month
- New York Times called Trim, "a good warning for consumers who hate not getting what they are paying for or paying for things that they are not getting."
# 7 – The Zero Effort Hack To Optimize Your 401k
If you’re like most, you decided on your choice of 401(k) funds a while back and haven’t given it much thought since. I get it. Sorting through complex options in your 401(k) can seem daunting.
Instead of trying to do it yourself or even hiring a financial advisor to optimize your 401(k) — try using Blooom.
Blooom is a free tool that analyzes your 401(k) in a hands off way. All you do is link up your retirement account–then get a free analysis of your 401(k) in minutes. You can take this free analysis and make adjustments yourself. If you prefer a hands off approach, Blooom can manage your 401(k) for $10 a month, with your first month free.
The Wall Street Journal recently named Blooom “One of the best online tools for retirement planning.”
Let Blooom tell you how you’re doing. Start the signup process by entering your name, birthday, and estimated retirement date. Then, let Blooom link up to your 401(k) to get your free analysis.
Blooom Quick Summary
- Check the health of your 401(k) with a free analysis from Blooom
- Optimize your investments and minimize hidden fees
- Works with: 401(k), 457, 403(b), 401(a) and TSP
# 8 – Sell Your Stuff
If you have old stuff lying around you’ve been wanting to sell but haven’t because of time — you’ll love Decluttr.
Decluttr makes selling your stuff much easier than Craigslist, eBay, or other online marketplaces. Instead of you selling items individually – Decluttr buys your stuff in bulk. This saves you the hassle of managing multiple listings, payments, and dealing with buyers.
You simply upload what you want to sell, then ship it to Decluttr for free. Once Decluttr gets your order, you’ll get paid cash within 24 hours.
# 9 – Shop Your Insurance
According to Insurance.com, the average person spends $84,388 on car insurance in their lifetime.
Here’s some more car insurance stats that may surprise you.
- 39% of Americans have never shopped their auto insurance for a better rate
- Nearly 50% of American’s are unaware they can shop and change insurers BEFORE their next renewal date
If you haven’t shopped for car insurance in over a year, you’re likely missing out on huge savings.
Try Esurance, which takes only a few minutes to get a quote, to see if you can save. What I like about Esurance is it’s easy to get a final quote, even on your phone. So, with ease you know whether to continue shopping around or if you’re already paying the best price. Time saved!
# 10 – Get Money Back On Price Drops You Didn’t Even Know About
If you use credit cards, one of the perks many credit card companies give you is price protection. This allows you to get a refund if something you bought drops in price.
But who actually has time to track purchases, watch for price drops — then claim the refund they’re entitled to?
Thankfully there’s Paribus. Paribus will watch your purchases for price drops, then file price adjustment claims on your behalf. It takes about 15 seconds to sign up. Then, the software does the rest.
Paribus Quick Summary
- Paribus is FREE to use and let's you keep 100% of your savings!
- Paribus then works in the background to monitor for opportunities to get money back
- When you’re eligible, Paribus files price adjustment claims on your behalf and you keep 100% of the savings
# 11 – Maximize Your Cash Back Rewards
The average American misses out on over $200 in rewards each year by not maximizing their cash back rewards.
That means by doing something as simple as choosing the right card — you could have an extra $200 in your bank account in 365 days.
(Of course this is only true if you’re paying your credit card bill in full).
A new free app called Birch, helps you learn how to maximize your rewards by letting you know which card to use when. For example, it might suggest you use a certain card when paying for groceries to earn more points.
# 12 – Get The Investing Returns You Deserve
If you’ve never invested on your own (or have with bad results), it seems intimidating to start. There’s choosing the right investments, the right brokerage, knowing what type of account is best.
If the complexity of investing has you waiting on the sidelines or you’re not getting the returns you think you deserve, consider trying Betterment.
Betterment uses a goal based approach to investing. Instead of leaving you to sort through the complexity — Betterment asks you about your goals, then recommends an ideal investment approach.
What’s nice is that unlike other sites with large minimums, you can start investing with Betterment for $1. Plus, their fees are as low as .25% a year (the average is .63%).
There it is. Spend less, make more, and invest it wisely.
Do these three things well and you can end up with an extra $5,000 in your bank account in 365 days.
The Ways To Wealth Related Reading
- 16 Hottest Small Scale Business Ideas
- 8 Free Apps We Use to Save, Make, and Manage Money in 2018
- How (and Why) to Invest with Little Money Even When You Are Broke
- How To Save $1,000 In A Month: A 30-Day Money Challenge
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