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These 4 Bills Are Draining Your Bank Account. Here’s How to Cut Back $2,579

Bills, bills, bills. They never seem to end, do they? They take more and more out of your account each month before you even realize it.

You can’t escape them entirely (wouldn’t that be great?), but you can stop them from being so darn painful every month. All it takes is ending your loyalty to a few companies you currently use for bills and fees that come every month.

Trust us, they won’t miss you. And you definitely won’t miss them — especially when you realize how much money you’ve been needlessly throwing away every month.

1. Your Credit Card Bill: Let This Company Pay it Off

No, like… the whole bill. All of it.

While you’re stressing out over your debt, your credit card company is getting rich off those insane interest rates. But a website called Fiona could help you pay off that bill as soon as tomorrow.

Here’s how it works: Fiona can match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.

Fiona can help you borrow up to $250,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 2.49% and terms from 6 to 144 months.

Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online . It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.

All that credit card debt — and the anxiety that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.

2. Your Car Insurance Bill: Save $500 

Chances are you’re seriously overpaying on car insurance. If it’s been more than six months since your last car insurance quote, you should look again.

And if you look through a website called Pretected , you could save yourself up to $500 a year. 

It takes just two minutes to answer some questions, and Pretected’s smart matching technology will show you the insurance companies that are the best fit for you. And don’t worry — Pretected uses the most advanced data security and encryption technology, so all your details are safe. 

The website is free to use and can even save you up to an additional 20% if you add another vehicle to your policy. That’s a decent chunk of money to put back in your pocket!

More than 10 million Americans have already used Pretected’s smart matching technology to find affordable car insurance. See how much money you could save with a new policy.

3. You’re Overpaying at Amazon

Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert when you’re shopping online at Amazon or Target and are about to overpay?

That’s exactly what this free service does.

Just add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including Walmart, eBay and others to see if your item is available for cheaper. Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price-drop alerts and even see the item’s price history.

Let’s say you’re shopping for a new TV, and you assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop up letting you know if that exact TV is available elsewhere for cheaper. If there are any available coupon codes, they’ll also automatically be applied to your order.

In the last year, this has saved people $160 million.

You can get started in just a few clicks to see if you’re overpaying online .

4. Cut Your Car Payment by $150/Month — and Skip 2 Months

Every month, your car payment takes a big bite out of your bank account. The average payment these days is more than $600 a month for new cars, $400 a month for used cars.

What if you could lower your monthly payment by $150 or so? A company called ReFiJet will refinance your auto loan to help you save money — and as a bonus, you won’t have to pay for the first two months. It can lower your monthly payment and potentially save you thousands of dollars by the time you pay off your loan.

ReFiJet will show you multiple auto loans that you’re pre-qualified for, along with rate and payment estimates. You can see for yourself how much you could save. This is done with a soft credit check that won’t affect your credit.

ReFiJet says it saves customers an average of $150 a month — which really adds up. It costs you absolutely nothing to find out if you have better options.

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3 Ways to Cut Your Monthly Bill The Car Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Know

If you’re like most people, your car insurance bill is something you pay each month without giving a second thought.

But that’s a mistake.

Because there’s so much competition — unlike with cable companies, for example — there are lots of discounts available for savvy consumers.

You might know things like raising your deductible or removing collision coverage can save you money on your monthly premiums, but we bet there are a whole slew of other strategies you’ve never heard of.

Here are 3 strange ways to get cheap car insurance.

1. Cancel Your Car Insurance — Now

Car insurance rates are some of the lowest they have ever been. And you probably wouldn’t know that unless you went looking for new insurance last year.

Which means your car insurance company has been letting you auto-pay every month without ever telling you that you could be paying them way less (and why would they?).

What you should be doing is shopping your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money. Let’s be real, though. It’s probably not the first thing you think about when you wake up. But it doesn’t have to be.

A website called Smart Financial makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options.

Using Smart Financial, people have saved an average of $715 a year.

Yup. That could be $700 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options .

2. Scratch Your VIN Into Your Windows

Yes, we’re telling you to deface your ride for cheaper insurance.

Cars with their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched into the windows are less likely to get stolen, so many insurance companies offer a discount for completing the process.

Note: this only applies to comprehensive policies, which cover theft, and not on more basic forms of insurance.

Getting this done at the dealership is expensive, so purchase a DIY etching kit online, or contact your local AAA and police departments to see if they have any workshops coming up.

3. Get a Little-Known Discount

Which organizations do you belong to? Where do you work?

Whether you’re a member of AAA or AARP, chances are you can get a discount on your car insurance. Check with your employer and alumni association, too.

Even warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club have partnerships to get their members discounted rates.

If your car insurance company doesn’t currently give you a discount for things like this, check a site like SmartFinancial.

SmartFinancial could be getting you 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.

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Which Fitness Chain Has the Best Gym Membership for Your Budget?

Despite years of adding “lose some weight” to my list of New Year’s resolutions, I have yet to join a gym.

Not to make excuses (well, let’s be real — everyone who wants to avoid the gym is making excuses), but I’m incredibly indecisive when it comes to spending money on myself.

Except when it comes to food.

But getting in shape requires making a decision and a commitment to putting in the work. And it takes an investment — in time and often in money.

With so many options out there, how do you pick the best gym membership for you?

Our Guide to Finding the Cheapest Gym Membership

Let me start by saying choosing a gym is a very personal decision.

Size might be a significant factor. Location might be also important to you — maybe if you pass the gym along your normal commute, you won’t be going out of your way.

Well, to help make your decision a bit easier, we compiled information from six national workout chains so you can compare availability, costs and features.

Some gyms provide free trials, so be sure to take advantage of those offers before signing up for a membership.

Writer’s note: Individual membership costs are published as listed online as of May 17, 2019, and they are subject to change. Rates may vary based on location and current promotions.

1. Youfit Health Clubs

Where: Youfit Health Clubs has more than 100 locations in 15 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

How Much: The base membership fee is $10 a month. The premium tier (known as “Lime Card” access) costs $21.99 a month. When you sign up for the base membership, you’ll also pay for first and last month dues. Initiation fees vary depending on the membership package.

What’s Included: Depending on location, these clubs include top-of-the-line equipment, free weights, group fitness sessions, express circuits, personal trainers, tanning beds and childcare. Premium members can also bring a free guest with them for every visit and can visit any YouFit location.

Try It: Get a free guest pass for one-time use.

2. Planet Fitness

Where: Planet Fitness has over 1,800 locations in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Canada and the Dominican Republic.

How Much: Monthly dues are $10 for just one location or $19.99 to use any location. Annual fees are $39.99 and the start-up fee is $1. The $10 membership has no commitment.

What’s Included: These gyms include cardio and weight-training equipment, plus fitness training programs for all members. Some locations include massage chairs and tanning services. Many locations are open 24 hours a day.

Try It: Find the location nearest you.

3. Crunch Fitness

Where: Crunch Fitness has more than 300 locations for its regular gyms and 30 locations for its Signature gyms (which include more classes, upgraded amenities and more). Its gyms are located in 30 states, as well as Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and four Canadian provinces.

How Much: A base membership is $9.95 a month, a Peak membership is $21.95 a month and a Peak Results membership is $24.95 a month. Enrollment fees vary from $10 to $49.99 depending on your membership level. The annual fee is $78, prorated at $6.50 a month.

What’s Included: Depending on what type of membership you choose, you can take advantage of multiple perks at this gym, including a training orientation with a fitness expert, group fitness classes, online video workouts, tanning and Hydromassage. The Peak and Peak Results memberships can be used at multiple locations.

Try It: Try a free one-day trial.

4. LA Fitness

Where: LA Fitness has more than 675 locations in 27 states, Washington D.C. and Canada.

How Much: Monthly fees start at $24.99 for single-club access or $29.99 for multiple clubs within the same state. Initiation fees are $89.

What’s Included: Gyms include state-of-the-art equipment and cardio areas, group fitness classes, indoor heated pools, whirlpool spas and saunas. Some have kids’ clubs, juice bars and basketball and racquetball courts.

Try It: Find your local club to request a guest pass online.

5. 24 Hour Fitness

Where: 24 Hour Fitness has over 400 locations in 13 states — California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Texas, Hawaii, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, New York and New Jersey.

How Much: Monthly fees start at $29.99, but can vary based on location and membership level. Members pay a one-time initiation fee, which starts at $29.99, and there’s also a $49.99 annual fee.

What’s Included: Gyms include studio and cycle classes. Most facilities also have an indoor lap pool and a Whirlpool. Members can take advantage of personal and group training. Get access to digital workouts you can complete at home without stepping foot in an actual gym. Parents of children ages 6 months to 11 years can drop their kids off for supervised fun time at nearly every location.

Try It: Use this three-day free pass.

6. Anytime Fitness

Where: Anytime Fitness has more than 4,000 locations in all 50 states and 36 countries across six continents. (That’ll likely soon change, as the chain recently announced plans to expand to Antarctica.)

How Much: Membership starts at $29.99 per month, but prices vary depending on location and current promotions. According to Anytime Fitness’s spokesperson, the average membership is $40 a month. Members also pay one-time initiation and key activation fees, which vary depending on the franchise.

What’s Included: Members have access to cardio machines, weights and strength training equipment, as well as classes and wellness programs. Some locations offer tanning and personal training. They are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Try It: You can get a free seven-day pass.

Other Alternatives to Popular Chain Gyms

If none of these chain gyms suit your fancy, you could always join your local YMCA or set up a home gym to get your workouts in.

You could also incorporate fitness into your daily routine by trying one of these nine inexpensive gym alternatives. Running is one of the options on that list; this post on tips and tricks for finding discounted running shoescan help ease your stride.

Or you could lace up those shoes and march right into the gym!

Originally published on The Penny Hoarder.

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20 of the Absolute Best Freebies We’ve Ever Found Online

Man, there’s nothing better than free stuff. Like when you’re walking through a mall’s food court and an employee offers you a bite-sized morsel of bourbon chicken impaled on a toothpick?

Always take the bite-sized morsel of bourbon chicken. Always. Every single time. You don’t even have to be hungry. Right?

The point is, we all love free stuff. But not all free stuff is worth loving.

After extensive research, our crack staff of freebie-ologists have put together this sweet list of quality freebies for you. Only the finest freebies are allowed in this list. From coffee to coconut oil to diapers, here’s the ultimate list of our favorite free stuff online.

1. Free Godiva Chocolate

Free Godiva chocolate — what could be better?

We’re pretty sure free Godiva chocolate is handed out every day in heaven. Probably those chocolate salted-caramel truffles.

Even better: This offer isn’t a one-time deal. Once you sign up, you get free chocolate every month at participating locations, plus birthday chocolate!

2. Free $225 in Cash

If we told you you could get free money just for watching videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh.

It’s too good to be true, right?

But we’re serious. A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch someone bake brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.

All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward. Brands pay InboxDollars to get these videos in front of viewers, and it passes a cut onto you.

InboxDollars won’t cover your full rent, but it’s possible to get up to $225 per month watching these videos. It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.

It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately earn a $5 bonus to get you started.

3. Free Ice Cream

We’ll never, ever pass up an opportunity for free ice cream. If we ever do, you should go ahead and start making our funeral arrangements. This is free ice cream we’re talking about!

When you download the Slab Happy Rewards app from Marble Slab Creamery, you’ll get free ice cream just for signing up. After that, you’ll earn points for each dollar you spend, and you can cash them in for $5 off future purchases.

4. Free Credit Score

No, really. Hear us out.

If you’ve ever tried to get your credit score, you know most services make you sign up for a trial or charge you an outrageous amount of money. But it’s your credit score! Where do they get the nerve?

Credit Sesame will give it to you for free. And it takes about 90 seconds.

You’ll also see a credit report card, so you can check for errors. Finding and correcting just one could give your credit score a significant boost!

5. Free Gift Cards

What do you usually do with your receipts? You check out, they hand you a mile-long piece of paper, and you frantically stuff it to the bottom of a grocery bag. Pretty worthless.

But a free app called Fetch Rewards will turn them into gift cards. It partners with tons of brands to give you points for every grocery receipt you share. Then you can exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, Chipotle and dozens of other retailers.  

And it’s perfect for those of us who don’t want to put a ton of work into this. All you have to do is send Fetch a photo of your receipt, and it does everything for you. No scanning barcodes or searching for offers — and you can use it with any grocery receipt.

When you download the app , use the code PENNY to automatically earn a free bonus, and you’ll be well on your way to your first gift card.

Not so bad for a useless receipt, right?

6. Up to $225 in Free Stocks

When you download the Robinhood app  and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $2.50 to $225 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.

Robinhood  doesn’t charge commission fees, meaning you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, there’s no minimum investment to sign up.

7. Free Pizza

You can get a free personal one-topping pizza on your next visit when you sign up for Chuck E. Cheese’s More Cheese Rewards program.

In addition to free pizza, you’ll get a $10 reward for every three visits when you spend over $20 and unspecified treats on your birthday and half-birthday.

Everyone forgets the half-birthday.

8. Free $10 for Sharing Your Receipts

We know it sounds strange, but Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts.

Here’s how it works:

Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes.

Bam. Cash back.

Ibotta is free to download . Plus, you’ll get a $10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.

9. Free Baby Diapers

Is your family growing? Create a Target baby registry to get over $100 in free baby stuff!

Even better, when your due date is eight weeks away, you’ll get a 15% discount on any items remaining on your registry.

10. Free Coffee

Want to try a bag of some of the best coffee in the country — completely free?

You can get a 2-ounce trial of Blue Bottle’s famous beans for nothing at all.

It’s part of their monthly subscription service, so you’ll need to enter your credit card info, but you’ll get an email before Blue Bottle charges you and sends you more coffee. Just cancel your subscription if you don’t want to keep getting coffee.

11. Free Bare Minerals Makeup

It’s safe to say that lookin’ pretty ain’t cheap. Whether you’re purchasing lipstick or foundation, blush or primer, you’re bound to rack up a pretty penny — especially if you want the good stuff.

Before you buy anything else, check out Bare Minerals. The company wants to give your wallet a well-deserved break with a free five-piece customizable Everyday Minerals makeup kit sample(based on your skin tone). You’ll just pay for shipping.

Not interested in a makeup kit? It’s giving away free eyeshadow samples, too!

12. Free Baby Shoes

Is there anything cuter than baby shoes?

That’s a firm no.

Little Wanderers , an independent retailer, stocks some adorable footgear — and you can snag a pair for free by using our code PENNY1.

Choose from some fringe boots or a pair of high-top sneaks. There are even some miniature snow boots with fur. So cute!

13. Free Pancakes

Who doesn’t like pancakes? IHOP has pancakes. If you join the chain’s e-club, called Pancake Revolution, you get a free stack of Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity Pancakes. You get the same thing on your birthday, and on each anniversary of signing up.

14. Free Kind Granola Bar

This is #kindawesome.

This free Kind granola bar isn’t necessarily a freebie for you, but a gift you give to someone else for being kind. Get it? You’re doing something kind for someone who did something kind — paying it forward without paying a thing.

15. Free Shampoo

If you sign up for Pantene’s email list, the company will mail you free samples of shampoo and other products.

16. Free Dog and Cat Food

No longer content with only feeding humans, Rachael Ray is venturing into dog and cat food these days. Her “Nutrish” brand is gourmet, natural, nutritious pet chow.

You can request a sample of her dog or cat food here.
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17. Free Baby Leggings

Head over to BabyLeggings.com and throw a pair in your cart. At checkout, just use the code “PENNY1,” and you’ll only have to pay for shipping.

18. Free Roast Beef Sandwich

Hungry? Arby’s has an email list. If you sign up for it, you’ll get a free Roast Beef Classic with the purchase of a drink. (Arby’s will also send you coupons.)

This is one of the only offers on this list that requires you to buy something to get something else for free. But hey, you’re going to need something to wash down your free roast beef sandwich.

19. Free Dunkin

Do you run on Dunkin?

Join the DD Perks program to get a free beverage when you sign up and on your birthday. Plus, you’ll earn points for every purchase and get a free beverage for every 200 points.

20. Sephora Beauty Products

Oooh, Sephora.

Become a “Beauty Insider,” and you’ll have your choice of a free beauty kit from Fresh or Marc Jacobs on your birthday.

Adapted from the original post at The Penny Hoarder.