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6 Money Moves to Make Before June 30, 2020

Time flies, and the end of the year will be here before you know it. Now’s the time to make a few smart money moves before June comes to a close.

Here are six strategic steps you should take if you want to start July strong.

1. See if You Can Get Money From This Company

Here’s the deal: If you’re not using Aspiration’s debit card, you’re missing out on extra cash. And who doesn’t want extra cash?

Yep. A debit card called Aspiration gives you up to a 10% back every time you swipe.

Need to buy groceries? Extra cash.

Need to fill up the tank? Bam. Even more extra cash.

You were going to buy these things anyway — why not get this extra money in the process?

Enter your email address here, and link your bank account to see how much extra cash you can get with your free Aspiration account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”

2. Let This App Pay You up to $83 When You Win Solitaire Games

Lots of us already play Solitaire on our phones for fun or just to pass the time. Want to see if you can win money at it?

There’s a free iPhone app called Solitaire Cash that lets you play for real money. You could get paid up to $83 per win.

You might be thinking: There’s got to be a catch. This is definitely one of those spammy apps, right?

Wrong. There really isn’t a catch. Sure, you can pay to play in some higher-stakes tournaments, but there’s no pressure. And, in fact, there aren’t even any annoying ads.

With each game, you’ll battle it out against at least five other players. Everyone gets the same deck, so winning is totally a matter of skill. The top three players who solve the deck fastest can win real money — anywhere from $1 to $83.

Over on the App Store, it has over a million downloads and more than 15,000 ratings, averaging 4.7 stars (out of 5).

To get started, just download the free app and start playing your first game immediately.

3. Here’s How to Knock Up To $715/Year Off Your Car Insurance in Minutes

When was the last time you compared car insurance rates? Chances are you’re seriously overpaying with your current policy.

If it’s been more than six months since your last car insurance quote, you should look again.

And if you look through a digital marketplace called SmartFinancial, you could be getting rates as low as $22 a month — and saving yourself more than $700 a year.

It takes one minute to get quotes from multiple insurers, so you can see all the best rates side-by-side. Yep — in just one minute you could save yourself $715 this year. That’s some major cash back in your pocket.

So if you haven’t checked car insurance rates in a while, see how much you can save with a new policy.

4. Add up to 300 Points to Your Credit Score

When it comes to your credit score, it’s important to stay organized and keep tabs on it. After all, it’ll play an essential role in any big purchase you want to make — whether that’s a home or a car.

So if you’re looking to get your credit score back on track — or even if it is on track and you want to bump it up — try using a free website called Credit Sesame.

Within two minutes, you’ll get access to your credit score, any debt-carrying accounts and a handful of personalized tips to improve your score. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).

James Cooper, of Atlanta, used Credit Sesame to raise his credit score nearly 300 points in six months.*** “They showed me the ins and outs — how to dot the I’s and cross the T’s,” he said.

Want to check for yourself? It’s free and only takes about 90 seconds to sign up.

5. Invest Like a Tycoon (Even If You’re Not Rich)

Imagine if you had bought one share of Amazon for $18 when the stock first went public. Today, it would be worth more than $20,000 — despite all the ups and downs in the stock market.

But if you work for a living and don’t happen to have millions of dollars lying around, that can sound totally out of reach.

That’s why a lot of people use the app StashThey make it easy, plus they’ll give you $5 of stock in Amazon or Google (or another company of your choice) just for opening an account. 

The best part? When these companies you invest in profit, so can you. Some companies even send you a check every quarter for your share of the profits, called dividends.

Enter your email address to quickly sign up (you only need to deposit $5 into your investment account to get the $5 bonus).

6. See if You’re Wasting $690/Year on Homeowners Insurance

You’re probably wasting money right now. And it’s probably on something you’d never expect — your homeowners insurance policy.

This isn’t something you actively think about — you just know you’re required to have it.

The problem is, you’re paying too much. Luckily, an insurance company called Policygenius makes it easy to find out how much you’re overpaying. It finds you cheaper policies and special discounts in minutes.

In fact, it saves users an average of $690 a year — or $57.50 a month. It’ll even help you break up with your old insurance company. (You’re allowed to cancel your policy at any time, and your company should issue you a refund.)

And just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean you’re skimping on coverage. Policygenius will make sure you have what you need.

Just answer a few questions about your home to see how much money you’re wasting.

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Manage Money

The 5 Biggest Money Secrets Most Rich People Won’t Tell You

Life would be a whole lot easier if someone would just Venmo us $1 million, but unfortunately the chance of that happening is, well, probably zero. (Venmo doesn’t allow transactions that large anyway.)

But even though our chances of becoming a millionaire are slim, we can still manage our money like one. No, we’re not going to tell you how to buy hundreds of shares of Apple stock. Or how to pick out the perfect yacht.

These are simple money moves any normal, non-millionaire person can make today. Each secret can get you closer to achieving your big goals.

Take a look:

1. Use This Secret Banking Account

Here’s the deal: If you’re not using Aspiration’s debit card, you’re missing out on extra cash.

Yep. A debit card called Aspiration gives you up to a 10% back every time you swipe, plus they give you up to 100x the normal interest rate on your balance.

Need to buy groceries? Get extra cash.

Need to fill up the tank? Bam. Even more extra cash.

This card used to have a huge waiting list, but you’re now eligible to sign up for free.

Enter your email address here, and link your bank account to see how much extra cash you can get with your free Aspiration account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”

2. You Can Buy an Apartment Building (Even If You’re Not Rich)

This year has been a rollercoaster. Historically, though, real-estate investing offers the best long-term returns. (Does the name Rockefeller ring a bell?)

That’s why we like investing with pros like DiversyFund. They’ll help you make long-term investments in apartments and office buildings all over the country  — and you don’t have to be a millionaire. You can get started with only $500.

You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a 200-unit apartment complex in Killeen, Texas or a 59-unit building in San Diego. And you don’t have to be the landlord — DiversyFund does all the heavy lifting.

Because they know how to ride out the market’s ups and downs, they’ve historically seen annual returns of 17% to 18%, though they can’t make any promises.

As a partial owner, you make money on rent payments and when property values go up. It takes just a few minutes to sign up and own your first apartment building.

3. You Should Cancel Your Car Insurance

When was the last time you shopped around for car insurance? Was it more than six months ago?

If so, you’re probably overpaying — by hundreds of dollars. Yep. Experts say you should compare rates twice a year to get the best deal.

Twice a year? Yeah, we don’t want to do that either.

A website called EverQuote makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is answer a few questions about yourself and your driving record, and it’ll show you your options.

Doing this could save you up to $610 per year on your insurance. Seriously.

It takes just a few minutes to look at your options and see how much you could save. And the best part? Because we’re driving less, some insurers are slashing prices this month.

4. Buy Another Company for $1

Take a look at the Forbes Richest People list, and you’ll notice almost all the billionaires have one thing in common — they own another company. 

But if you work for a living and don’t happen to have millions of dollars lying around, that can sound totally out of reach.

That’s why a lot of people use the app Stash. It lets you be a part of something that’s normally exclusive to the richest of the rich — buying pieces of other companies for as little as $1.*

That’s right — you can invest in pieces of well-known companies, such as Amazon, Google or Apple, for as little as $1. The best part? When these companies profit, so can you. Some companies even send you a check every quarter for your share of the profits, called dividends. 

It takes two minutes to sign up, plus Stash will give you a $5 sign-up bonus once you deposit $5 into your account.**

5. You Can Give Your Family up to $1M

Oh, to be a millionaire. Look, not all of us have the money to set up trust funds for our loved ones. But you could still give them up to $1 million with term life insurance.

You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But your application can take minutes — and you could leave your family up to $1 million with a company called PolicyGenius.

Rates start at just a twenty bucks per month. The peace of mind of knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.

If you want a fast life insurance quote without a medical exam or even getting up from the couch, get a free quote from PolicyGenius.

 

*For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.

**You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.

The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.

 

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Manage Money

Here’s How to Get Rewarded With $5 in Amazon or Twitter Stock This Week

Take a look at the Forbes Richest People list, and you’ll notice almost all the billionaires have one thing in common — they own another company.

But if you work for a living and don’t happen to have millions of dollars lying around, that can sound totally out of reach.

But with an app called Stash, it doesn’t have to be. It lets you be a part of something that’s normally exclusive to the richest of the rich — on Stash you can buy pieces of other companies for as little as $1.

That’s right — you can invest in pieces of well-known companies, such as Amazon, Twitter, Apple and more for as little as $1. The best part? If these companies profit, so can you. Some companies even send you a check every quarter for your share of the profits, called dividends.1

It takes two minutes to sign up, and it’s totally secure. With Stash, all your investments are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) — that’s industry talk for, “Your money’s safe.”2

Plus, when you use the link above, Stash will give you a $5 sign-up bonus once you deposit $5 into your account.*

1Not all stocks pay out dividends, and there is no guarantee that dividends will be paid each year.

2To note, SIPC coverage does not insure against the potential loss of market value.

For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.

*Offer is subject to Promotion Terms and Conditions. To be eligible to participate in this Promotion and receive the bonus, you must successfully open an individual brokerage account in good standing, link a funding account to your Invest account AND deposit $5.00 into your Invest account.

The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. 

Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.

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Manage Money

These 4 Legitimate Companies Will Give You Free Stocks

We’re all about freebies around here. Free gift cards? Heck yeah! Free money? Sign us up! Free stocks? Even better — they could increase in value over time!

And before you ask: Yes, there is a such thing as free stocks. We know, we know. It sounds too good to be true, but you just have to know where to look — and that’s where we can help you.

We researched the best, most legitimate investment companies, apps and trading platforms that offer something for free:

1. Stash: Get $5 in Amazon or Google Stock

Imagine if you had bought one share of Amazon for $18 when the stock first went public. Today, it would be worth more than $20,000 — despite all the ups and downs in the stock market.

But if you work for a living and don’t happen to have millions of dollars lying around, that can sound totally out of reach.

That’s why a lot of people use the app Stash. They’ll give you $5 of stock in Amazon (or another company of your choice) just for opening an account. 

The best part? When these companies profit, so can you. Some companies even send you a check every quarter for your share of the profits, called dividends.

How to claim your free bonus: It takes just a couple of minutes to sign up and get your bonus stock — you may even just get a share of the “next Amazon.”

With Stash, all your investments are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) — that’s industry talk for, “Your money’s safe.”2

2. Robinhood: Get up to $200 in Free Stock

Here’s the thing about millionaires: They know the sooner you start investing, the better. And we found a company that will give you free stock to get started. An investing app called Robinhood will give you up to $200 worth of free stock in companies like Visa, Microsoft and GE, just for downloading its app and opening a free account.

Robinhood is free and easy to navigate, which is why more than 10 million people use it — including both news junkies looking to outsmart the market and people who want to carefully put a few bucks away in a long-term investment.

How to claim your free stock: It takes just a couple of minutes to sign up and see how much free stock you can get.

3. Acorns: Invest 15 Cents and Get $5 in Bonus Stock

Yeah, we know what you’re thinking: 15 cents? How’s that going to do me any good?

Well, that leftover change from your morning coffee and evening grocery hauls could turn into more than $1,000.

That’s what happened when Penny Hoarder reader Jeremy Kolodziej opened an investment account with Acorns. The app’s round-up feature bumps each of your purchases up to the nearest dollar and puts the spare change into the stock market, which helped him mindlessly save $1,076 in about 20 months.

“It’s a virtual coin jar,” he says. “You don’t even think about it.” He used the spare change to pay for two vacations.

Plus, Acorns will give you a bonus $5 in stock!

How to claim your free stock: When you sign up for Acorns through The Penny Hoarder, you’ll get a $5 bonus.

4. Webull: Get up to $1,600 in Free Stock

Are you new to investing? Or are you an experienced trader who keeps tabs on the stock market? Either way, there’s an app you ought to check out. It’s called Webull, and it’s a commission-free stock trading platform that’s super easy to use.

If you sign up and deposit $100 into your Webull account, you’ll get two free stocks. Each has a value ranging from $8 to $1,600. It’s like a lottery. You might suddenly find yourself getting a $1,600 stock for free — a nice bonus to help you build your investments!

If you’re not quite ready to dive in head-first, you can try out Webull with the equivalent of digital Monopoly money. You start with 1 million fake dollars’ worth of virtual money in your account. You can practice with a stock-trading simulator and test out different investment strategies without the risk of losing any of your real money.

There are no commission fees, so you can buy and sell stocks and ETFs for free. If you’re a newbie, Webull offers seminars and an online community. If you’re more experienced, it has a bunch of tools and intuitive charts you can use to steer your investments.

There’s no minimum investment required to get started, and it takes only minutes to sign up.

1Not all stocks pay out dividends, and there is no guarantee that dividends will be paid each year.

2To note, SIPC coverage does not insure against the potential loss of market value.

For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.

*Offer is subject to Promotion Terms and Conditions. To be eligible to participate in this Promotion and receive the bonus, you must successfully open an individual brokerage account in good standing, link a funding account to your Invest account AND deposit $5.00 into your Invest account.

The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. 

Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk. 

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Manage Money

“Money and success don’t change people; they merely amplify what is already there.” — Will Smith

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Manage Money

If You Need to Add 284 Points to Your Credit Score: Try This 90-Second Move

Everyone who’s saddled with bad credit has a unique story.

A man burdened with $6,000 in unpaid bills. A couple recovering from job loss and foreclosure. A woman who fell behind on payments while living abroad. A single mom with a terminally ill child. A young woman with so much debt she couldn’t even get a credit card.

One of the toughest parts about paying down debt and fixing your credit score is knowing where to begin.

To create a rebuilding plan, first you have to know what you’re dealing with.

Your credit report will give you this information. You can get a free copy of it once every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus — but they can be tough to decipher.

If you want to keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. This website breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and what you should do about it.

Folks who’ve used it tell us it’s a lifesaver, and they’re not alone: 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.

5 People Who Raised Their Credit Scores Using Credit Sesame

We spoke with five different people who’ve had profound problems with their credit. All five turned things around with Credit Sesame.

James Cooper: +277 Points

Matt Odom for The Penny Hoarder

James Cooper knows all about having bad credit. As recently as 2017, his credit score was a lousy 524.

“I never had a credit card,” he says. “I had $6,000 worth of unpaid bills.”

He vowed to sort out his financial situation and fix his credit.

Although there are legitimate credit repair services, there are also shady ones that demand money upfront and promise way more than they can deliver. Then they’ll milk you for money until you wise up.

Cooper and a friend went through this ordeal with three companies. Then they found Credit Sesame, and the free credit monitoring service taught them how to fix their credit.

Cooper raised his score by 277 points — from 524 to 801 — over the six months from June to November 2017.

Inspired by his experience, now Cooper teaches high school students the importance of good credit.

Jerry Morgan: +120 Points

Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

In 2008, the housing bubble burst. The three-bedroom home in New Port Richey, Florida, where Jerry Morgan and his wife, Vivienne, had lived for 10 years plunged into the foreclosure process.

Then Vivienne lost her job.

By 2017, the family’s financial situation started to look up again. So in September, Morgan decided to address his credit score.

“Frankly, with the experiences we have gone through, I was embarrassed to even check my score,” he said.

Before coming across Credit Sesame, Morgan hadn’t bothered to check his credit score in, well, quite a while. He says finally getting his finances on stable ground encouraged him to take a peek at this three-digit number.

Following recommendations from the service, he’s raised his score 120 points in six months.

Elisabeth Nyang: +168 Points

Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

At the end of 2016, Elisabeth Nyang was in debt to the tune of $17,500— a mix of credit card debt, overdue bills and lingering student loans. She found herself there after two years of living in China.

In China, where it’s difficult to send money to the U.S., Nyang fell behind on her payments. In hindsight, she admits, the difficulty in transferring money was just an excuse — out of sight, out of mind.

But when she decided to move back to the States, she knew she needed to get her finances back on track.

“I can’t live like that,” she remembers thinking.

Since signing up for Credit Sesame in January 2017, Nyang has paid off that $17,500 pile of debt and raised her score from 495 to 663. That’s a 168-point jump.

Melinda Smieja: + 284 Points

Photo courtesy Melinda Smieja

In 2005, Melinda Smieja’s 13-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor.

“So here I am a single mom, and my daughter gets sick,” she explains. “And I’m like, ‘What am I gonna do?’”

Between continuing to care for her younger daughter and moving from Seabeck, Washington, to Seattle to be near her 13-year-old’s medical care, she racked up credit card debt.

“I used [a credit card] for dinners, I used it for food,” she says. “For a place to stay. It got to the point where all of my credit cards were maxed out.”

Her credit score was down to 480 by the time she checked. And she’d racked up somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 in debt on 11 credit cards.

In 2010, an email campaign led her to Credit Sesame, a new company (at the time) offering an easier way to monitor your credit history.

“It was something that I had been searching for [without realizing it],” Smieja explains.

It made her overwhelming situation manageable.

“I could look and I could say, ‘Okay, this is what’s all going on here. This is my debt. This is what’s happening. This is what’s making my credit [interest] high.’”

And she could finally tackle her debts, one at a time. The work wasn’t quick. It was slow and steady — but it paid off.

In 2016, for the first time, Smieja’s credit score hit 680, crossing the line of what lenders consider “good credit.” By late 2017, it was up to 764.

Dana Sitar: +68 Points

Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

At 30, Dana Sitar’s history with credit cards, student loans and medical bills was pretty bad.

Student loan interest was piling up. Hospital bills were out to collection agencies. No one would give her a credit card. She landed a loan for a new car by the skin of her teeth. Her security deposits for car rentals and apartments were through the roof.

She wanted to fix it, but didn’t even know where to start.

Sitar, an editor for The Penny Hoarder, found Credit Sesame in 2016, and today, she’s breathing a little easier.

Credit Sesame, Sitar writes for The Penny Hoarder, is “answering all the questions swirling in my head, keeping me awake at night and threatening a panic attack every time I authorize a credit check.”

Since she started tracking her credit score with the app, she’s watched it rise — slowly but surely — by 68 points.

“Motivated by the easy access to my free credit report card through the app,” she says, “I haven’t been able to ignore my credit like I used to.”

Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score

Your credit score is important.

And why is that?

The better your score, the better deal you’ll get on a mortgage, car loan or credit card. We’re talking big money here.

To keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and a credit report card for free from Credit Sesame.

Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits.

This was originally published at The Penny Hoarder.