Vital Dollarhttps://vitaldollar.com Personal Finance Blog Thu, 13 Jun 2019 11:21:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.1 https://vitaldollar.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/cropped-gravatar-blue-32x32.jpgVital Dollarhttps://vitaldollar.com 32 32 Survey Junkie Review: Is it Legit or a Scam?https://vitaldollar.com/survey-junkie-review/ https://vitaldollar.com/survey-junkie-review/#respond Thu, 13 Jun 2019 11:16:12 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=4428 While there are a lot of different survey websites out there, not all of them are legit. Taking surveys can be a realistic way to make some extra money in your spare time, but it can also be a waste if you’re using a site that is not reputable. This article will cover everything you […]

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Survey Junkie

While there are a lot of different survey websites out there, not all of them are legit. Taking surveys can be a realistic way to make some extra money in your spare time, but it can also be a waste if you’re using a site that is not reputable. This article will cover everything you need to know about Survey Junkie, so you can decide if it is worthy of your time and attention.

Chances are, you came across this article because you’re looking for a flexible way to make some extra money. Paid online surveys are often recommended as a great side hustle for stay-at-home parents, anyone looking to make extra money to pay off debt, or anyone who wants to do something productive with their downtime. Survey Junkie is one of the best sites to make money with surveys, and we’ll cover all the details in this review.

Sign up for Survey Junkie to start making extra money now.

What Is Survey Junkie & How Does It Work?

Survey Junkie is a free website that allows you to sign up and get paid for sharing your opinions through online surveys. You will earn points for each survey that you complete, and those points can then be cashed in for your choice of gift cards.

How does Survey Junkie work? First, you just have to sign up for a free membership that requires your email, a password and basic contact information. Once you’ve created your free account, you start taking surveys and save up your earned points. The first surveys for which you can make some quick money is answering some basic profile questions about yourself, so that Survey Junkie can tailor the surveys to your likes and personality.

The types of surveys that you can take vary anywhere from opinions on different products and services, to questions about local companies, sports teams, advertising awareness and more. Most surveys will take you 5 – 20 minutes to complete (although some are longer and some are shorter) and you’ll be able to see the estimated time that you’ll need before you start taking the survey.

On your home screen, after you set up your free account, you will see a list of surveys you can start taking and how many points each survey is worth. Along with each survey you can choose from, is the amount of time it will approximately take to complete.

Survey Junkie Dashboard

How Do You Make Money With Survey Junkie?

Most survey websites like Swagbucks or InboxDollars give you the option to make money doing a number of different things like watching videos, taking surveys, playing games, trying new offers, etc. Survey Junkie, on the other hand, focuses exclusively on surveys.

The fact that Survey Junkie is specialized can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. On the positive side, Survey Junkie is very easy to use because the dashboard isn’t cluttered with so many different options. If you want to take surveys, Survey Junkie is one of the best sites. But on the negative side, the income potential from sites like Swagbucks is higher because there are so many different ways to earn.

Some of the most common types of surveys you might see are related to banking and financial products, local awareness of advertisements based on your zip code, and how beneficial you find certain business advertising and marketing approaches are. By spending just a few minutes each day taking surveys, you can make some extra cash for time that otherwise may be spent doing something unproductive.

Sign up for Survey Junkie to start making extra money now.

How Does Survey Junkie Make Money?

To explain how a companies like Survey Junkie can pay you to take surveys, let’s illustrate a basic example. Let’s imagine you are a new business owner that opened up a retail store selling various household products. You are seeking to understand your customers, what they like, dislike, what problems or pain points they experience with household products, and how much they might be willing to pay for common solutions.

If you could only get the opinion of your customers and use that data to cater your store products to their needs, you figure you could make a great business grow quickly! Thankfully, you came in contact with a company called Survey Junkie, who offers to display your questions and surveys to their large membership base. They offer to do this for a price, as it is valuable information they are gathering for you.

You work with them to create a customized questionnaire for the products, services and local customers to better understand what your customers want. Survey Junkie then takes your questions and offers it to their large membership audience. After working with Survey Junkie, you have grown to know and understand your audience very clearly, and as a result, have been able to grow your sales and local awareness significantly.

This is exactly how Survey Junkie makes money. Your opinion matters, and Survey Junkie essentially connects you with people who are willing to pay for it.

How Much Can You Make With Survey Junkie?

While there isn’t a definite set amount, it’s pretty easy to calculate a basic estimate of how much you can make on an hourly basis with Survey Junkie. Survey Junkie pays you in rewards points for each survey taken, which can later be exchanged for cash or gift cards.

In order to earn $10 in cash (which is the minimum amount you’ll need in order to redeem), you need to build up 1,000 Survey Junkie points. The way to calculate how much you can make is by doing some basic math for each survey. Each survey will show you how many points you will earn, and how much time it will approximately take to complete the survey.

If you take a survey that will pay you 100 points, and takes about 12 minutes to complete, that means you are making about $1 for 12 minutes of your time. (remember that 1,000 points is equal to $10, thus 100 points is equal to $1). We know that there are 60 minutes in each hour, so if you make $1 every 12 minutes, that means you are making about $5 per hour (60 minutes / 12 minutes = $5). While that’s not a high hourly rate of pay, keep in mind that you probably wouldn’t be using that hour productively if you weren’t taking surveys, so essentially it is extra money.

The above scenario will vary per survey, and if you are a fast reader and can answer the questions quickly, you could potentially make more money. Keep in mind the above scenario is hypothetical and is just an example. The surveys with Survey Junkie will be similar scenarios in terms of time and points per survey, however.

Survey Junkie Earning Potential Scenario

Let’s assume you can expect to make about $5 per hour as shown from the hypothetical scenario above. If you anticipate that you can spend an additional 2 hours per day in the evenings when you’re winding down from work, you will make approximately an additional $10 per day. That extra $10 per day is equal to:

  • $3,650 per year
  • $300 per month
  • $70 per week

While the “per survey” amount you make may seem minimal, it certainly adds up over time and consistency.

Can you make money using Survey Junkie? Absolutely. However, it should not be considered your full-time job, and is certainly not going to make you rich. It will allow you to make some extra cash to pay off that credit card, pay for your weekend entertainment, or just to build up some extra savings for a rainy day.

If you want to maximize your income from taking surveys you should be using a few different survey websites. See our list of the top 11 websites for paid online surveys (hint: aside from Survey Junkie, our highest recommendations are Swagbucks, MyPoints, Vindale Research, and InboxDollars). If you are active at several different websites you will be able to multiply your income exponentially.

Sign up for Survey Junkie to start making extra money now.

How To Redeem Survey Junkie Rewards Points

If you wish to get cashback for your rewards, you’ll need to link your PayPal account or Dwolla account to transfer the cash rewards to your bank account. Both PayPal and Dwolla are free transfer services that simply act as the middle-man between Survey Junkie and your bank account to process the transfer.

If you wish to receive gift cards, it’s a bit longer process because they will do a quick verification phone call with one of their customer representatives first for security purposes.

From your Survey Junkie dashboard, you’ll be able to see how many points you have currently. Once you accumulate at least 1,000 points, you will be able to redeem them.

Survey Junkie Points

Is Survey Junkie Safe?

When dealing with protecting your information online, it’s always a wise idea to make sure you are working with trusted companies. Here are a few key points to consider when deciding whether a company is safe or not, along with our answers regarding Survey Junkie:

  • Do they have a professional website with listed contact info, privacy policy and transparent terms and conditions? – Survey Junkie has a very presentable website with clear info on who they are, where they are based, what their privacy policy and terms of service are, along with clear contact information on the bottom of each page.
  • Do they have a positive online reputation? – Searching for customer testimonials, news reports that mention the company, and customer reviews are good ways to validate their online reputation. Survey Junkie has over 10,000 reviews from their customers with 8.6 out of 10 satisfaction rating from TrustPilot. Both are good signs of a trustworthy company.
  • Do they clarify what they do with your information? – Survey Junkie clearly states in their privacy policy and frequently asked questions page how they use your information, and how they protect it. This type of transparency is also a positive sign of a trusted company.

Survey Junkie is big enough with multiple positive indicators of a trustworthy company to work with. Based on the above responses, it’s safe to say that Survey Junkie is legitimate and a reputable company to work with.

Is Survey Junkie Worth My Time?

This is a personal decision that only you can answer. Taking surveys is not going to generate a high hourly wage, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t worth your time. You may also want to consider how you would be using your time if you’re not taking surveys. Earning something for your time can be better than earning nothing. Also, many people take surveys while they are doing other things like watching TV.

The appeal of taking surveys for money is that it is an extremely flexible side hustle and anyone can do it. You don’t need a certain skill or experience, and there are plenty of opportunities available. You can take surveys and make money even if you have only 30 minutes to spare.

It’s up to you to decide if it is worthy of your time. There are other side hustles that offer higher income potential, but if you’re looking for a flexible, easy way to make some extra money, Survey Junkie is a great option.

Sign up for Survey Junkie to start making extra money now.

Survey Junkie Review
 

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Search Engine Evaluator Jobs: Work from Home and Make $12-$15 Per Hourhttps://vitaldollar.com/search-engine-evaluator-jobs/ https://vitaldollar.com/search-engine-evaluator-jobs/#respond Wed, 12 Jun 2019 11:22:40 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=4261 Working from home has its perks, and there is plenty of potential to make a decent amount of money whether full-time or part-time. Search engine evaluator jobs are an interesting option for freelancers and side hustlers who want to make extra income from home. Have you ever entered a basic search on Google, Bing or […]

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Search Engine Evaluator Jobs

Working from home has its perks, and there is plenty of potential to make a decent amount of money whether full-time or part-time. Search engine evaluator jobs are an interesting option for freelancers and side hustlers who want to make extra income from home.

Have you ever entered a basic search on Google, Bing or Yahoo and the results aren’t quite what you were looking for? That’s because the search results are based on an algorithm, and the results aren’t always perfect. That’s where search engine evaluators come in.

What is a search engine evaluator? What are the pros and cons of working as a search engine evaluator? And where can you start your search for work?

These are some basic questions to which we’ll discuss the answers to.

→ Not sure what side hustle is right for you? Try our interactive side hustle quiz.

What Is A Search Engine Evaluator?

A search engine algorithm can only do so much. I mean, think about building a program to determine the search results of nearly any search inquiry on a major search engine. Sound complicated? That’s because it is. Some things require a human touch, and one of those things is the occasional irrelevant search results from common search engine inquiries.

A search engine evaluator’s job is to determine whether the results to common searches are relevant to the entered keyword or phrase. They also determine relevancy for paid ads from people using PPC programs like Google Adwords, Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads) and other paid traffic programs.

Most search engine evaluator jobs are done by contracted employees such as freelancers, work from home individuals and remote workers. Other names that you might see for essentially the same position include:

  • Ads quality tester
  • Ads quality rater
  • Web search evaluator

All of which are relating to the same work of evaluating the relevance of search engine results.

Requirements for the Job

Just about anyone with internet access, a drive to learn, and some basic knowledge of search engines can get started. There are a few things you will need to have both in terms of knowledge and equipment. They are:

  • Access to high-speed internet: Internet with download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second
  • Anti-virus protection software: Many computers come with their brand’s version of this installed, but other options include Avast, Norton or McAfee (for example).
  • Basic knowledge of how search engines work: You don’t have to be an expert, but a general understanding of search engine optimization, link building, and how search engines discover websites via web crawlers, etc.
  • Basic research skills: The ability to find the answer to unknown questions, topics and find related resources.
  • Fluent language skills: You must be fluent in reading and writing for the language you wish to apply for. If you are fluent in multiple languages at both reading, speaking and writing, you may be a more marketable candidate for more positions.
  • Study and test taking skills: Ability to study for and pass a skills test for skills related to search engine evaluations.
  • You must be at least 18 years of age or older.

The biggest barrier to getting started is passing the exam. If you’re driven enough, you can expect to pass the exam relatively quickly and get started applying for jobs.

To learn about other side hustles, please see:

The Pros & Cons Of Working As A Search Engine Evaluator

Being able to work from home as a search engine evaluator has its pros and cons and are worth considering before spending time meeting the above-mentioned requirements. Here are some pros and cons to think about:

Pros:

  • Flexible schedule: Work the hours you want and however much you want
  • Work from home: No need to leave your home or deal with rush hour traffic traveling to and from the office
  • Work anywhere you have internet: Anywhere you have access to the internet can turn into your new office. Work from vacation, the cabin, your bedroom or virtually anywhere.
  • Great way to make extra money: Perfect for side hustles or stay-at-home parents looking to make some extra cash.
  • Build your knowledge: Search engines aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and the knowledge of how they work could be useful and a great building block for your resume.

Cons:

  • Project availability: Work is not always available, and projects are posted on an as-needed basis.
  • Part-time work: Most available positions are only part-time work which may or may not be ideal for you.
  • Not the highest pay: Not only are search engine evaluators limited on the number of jobs that are available, but the pay also doesn’t pay that much.

How Much Does a Search Engine Evaluator Make?

Different companies will pay different amounts for available work. However, according to Glassdoor, the average rate that search engine evaluators get paid is $31,368 if working on a full-time basis (which as discussed before, is not usually the case). That equals about $15 per hour.

Working as a search engine evaluator generally pays anywhere from $12 – $15 per hour, depending on the company and project.

It’s not the most lucrative side hustle idea, but it’s not a bad way to make some extra money.

Companies Hiring Search Engine Evaluators

Aside from your basic job boards like Glassdoor, Indeed and ZipRecruiter, those seeking to work as a search engine evaluator can find job openings on more industry specific websites. Among the many companies and job boards that offer this service for work as a search engine evaluator are:

1. Appen

Appen is an independent contracting company who hires independent agents who seek to own their own business providing digital and internet related work. Some common jobs available through Appen are:

  • Search Media Evaluation (Work with the world’s top search engine companies)
  • Social Media Evaluation (Help improve social media around the globe)
  • Translation
  • Transcription
  • Survey and Data Collection (Short projects that last from 15 minutes to three hours)
  • Linguistic Specialties (Text to Speech, Computational, Phonetics, Pronunciation, Annotation, etc.)
  • Lexicon Annotation
  • Speech Evaluation

Appen has some basic requirements to get started on top of the general requirements listed above. They are:

  • Web research skills and analytical skills
  • Comprehension and communication skills
  • In some cases, fluency in another language
  • A computer that is able to run Googles free Chrome web browser, version 45

2. Lionbridge

Lionbridge is a company that originally began in translation, and later expanded to sister industries and services such as content creation, testing services and artificial intelligence such as search engine evaluations. Working for Lionbridge will be more of a full-time position working with Lionbridge to provide their customers with search engine evaluation services and other related web services.

3. iStoneSoft

iStoneSoft posts contract type jobs relating to anything from translation, hardware testing, data entry to search engine evaluation jobs. You can enter the type of work you wish to pursue, and iStoneSoft will return search results for flexible jobs related to your inquiry.

4. ZeroChaos / Workforce Logiq

Zero Chaos is now known as Workforce Logiq and provides their contracted employees with multiple kinds of remote work. They work with companies from over 50+ countries and have over 1,000+ hired experts. Some of the types of work they hire for include accounting, resource management, sales, and also search engine evaluation positions and other related projects.v

5. Google

Perhaps the best opportunity as a search engine evaluator is working for the leading search engine themselves, Google. Google will occasionally post search engine evaluator positions to their career page and generally seek people with a basic understanding of their search engine, a Google / Gmail account, and basic communication skills.

Is Working as a Search Engine Evaluator Right For You?

For the most part, working as a search engine evaluator is a job that many people seek if they are looking to work from home, have a second side hustle job, or simply want to make some extra cash on top of their full-time job. It can also be a good fit for stay-at-home parents looking to have some flexible work.

Here’s a quick recap of what’s involved with working as a search engine evaluator:

  • Your work is evaluating the search results to common search inquiries
  • Other names and titles for search engine evaluators include Ads Quality Tester, Ads Quality Rater, and Web Search Evaluator.
  • Job availability, for the most part, is per project and contracted work (although full-time positions are available, but are harder to find)
  • Approximate pay will range from $12 – $15 per hour
  • Starting points to find jobs are looking on websites like Appen, Lionbridge, iStoneSoft, Workforce Logiq, and Google.

No doubt you can make some side cash in your spare time, the question is how valuable is your spare time and how much do you expect to make? If your answer aligns with the bullet points in the summary list above, you’re a great fit to get started with your new side hustle.

READ NEXT: How to Start a Side Hustle

Search Engine Evaluator Jobs

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Swagbucks Review: Is Swagbucks Worth It?https://vitaldollar.com/swagbucks-review/ https://vitaldollar.com/swagbucks-review/#respond Fri, 07 Jun 2019 12:28:42 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=4402 There are countless companies and apps that promise to help you make money online or earn extra cash in your spare time, but not all of them are legit. One of the sites/apps that if frequently recommended is Swagbucks. This review will cover all of the basics of how you can make money, and will […]

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Is Swagbucks Worth It?

There are countless companies and apps that promise to help you make money online or earn extra cash in your spare time, but not all of them are legit.

One of the sites/apps that if frequently recommended is Swagbucks. This review will cover all of the basics of how you can make money, and will help you to answer the question “Is Swagbucks worth it?

Swagbucks is a cash back and rewards program that allows its members to earn money and gift cards for everyday things they already do online.

You can make extra money with the Swagbucks app by taking surveys, playing games, watching videos, purchasing gift cards and even browsing new deals. Chances are, you already spend hours per day surfing the web, why not make a little extra cash while you’re at it?

Here’s a detailed Swagbucks review that will explain how Swagbucks works, how you can make money with Swagbucks, and answer some frequently asked questions about their rewards program.

Get a $5 signup bonus when you join Swagbucks through this link.

How Does Swagbucks Work & How Can You Make Money With It?

It’s common to question things that sound too good to be true, like making money for watching videos online or just surfing the web. Can you really do that?

Absolutely. Here’s how it works.

Swagbucks is able to partner with major retail companies, who pay them a commission for sending traffic to their websites to make purchases, showing partnered retailer ads to Swagbucks members, etc. It’s basically a marketing funnel for retail and online companies to attract new customers and show their products and services to more people. Swagbucks then takes that commission they earn and pass on a portion of it to you in the form of cash back or rewards.

With Swagbucks, you can make extra cash through multiple different ways. Here’s a description of each way you can earn money when opening a free Swagbucks account:

Taking Surveys

Swagbucks Surveys

Information these days is vital to building products and services that customers actually like. That’s why companies will often pay people to answer surveys and gather customers opinions on different topics.

When you take surveys with Swagbucks, you’ll earn point for each survey you take (I’ll cover the points system later in this article). It’s a true “win-win” scenario, you get paid for surfing the web, and retailers get to market their products, services and utilize your valuable opinions to make better products!

From the surveys dashboard (shown above), you’ll see a list of available surveys. Each survey will have an estimated amount of time needed to complete the survey, as well the number of points you’ll earn for completing the survey.

While Swagbucks is often classified as a survey website, to maximize your income you’ll want to also do some of the things listed below.

→ Related reading: 11 of the Best Websites to Take Paid Online Surveys for Money

Cash Back for Shopping Online

Swagbucks Cash Back

Swagbucks will give you cash back in the form of points, cash or gift cards when shopping at partnered retailers through Swagbucks affiliate link. Again, Swagbucks gets paid a commission when they send customers to partnered retailers, and they simply pass on a portion of that commission to you in the form of cashback.

You can shop at some of the most well-known online retailers like Amazon and Walmart and redeem your “Swagbucks” for points or free gift cards. There are thousands of retailers and websites in their program, so this is a great opportunity to save money on the things you need to buy anyway.

To make it easy for you, Swagbucks has a browser extension that you can install with just one click. The browser extension will give you a notification whenever you are browsing a website that offers cash back through Swagbucks. All you need to do is click on the alert so Swagbucks can track any purchases that you make.

The cash back functionality is one of the best ways to make money with Swagbucks. You may already use other programs like Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates). Sometimes the cash back that you can earn from Swagbucks will be higher than what Rakuten is offering.

→ Related reading: 15 of the Best Cash Back Apps and Websites

Get Paid To Watch Videos

Swagbucks allows you to start watching videos through their partner links and give your rating of the videos once you’ve watched them. They will learn the type of content you like and customize the videos you watch to the type of content and genres you like most. Each video you watch and rate will earn you more Swagbucks. Videos can range from anything related to interesting cooking ads to random music videos.

Watching videos can be a fun way to earn points, but it’s not one of the better opportunities to earn. Personally, I don’t spend any time on the videos because the payout isn’t high enough to justify the time.

Search For Any Topic With The Swagbucks Search Engine

Swagbucks Search Engine

Swagbucks has its own search engine and you can earn points by searching. You can install the Swagbucks Search browser extension and it will set Swagbucks as your default search engine. When you search, you’ll see related offers and options that allow you to earn Swagbucks.

For example, when a customer types in the search engine “make money”, the results currently show two opportunities to make 1500 Swagbucks when you open a free Stash Investing account, who also pays you $5 when signing up. Type in any term you wish and see if there are related offers available to earn Swagbucks and other free offers.

Signing Up For Offers

Swagbucks Discover

Swagbucks will pay you for discovering new offers available through their partner retailers (labeled as “discover” in the navigation menu). When you see an offer you like, you can sign up for the offer which is often times a free trial of the product or service, or a discounted trial, and you will get paid Swagbucks for each offer you sign up for. Keep in mind that some offers require you to buy a trial or something similar, and others may be free. Each offer will be detailed on what is necessary to get the earned Swagbucks.

If you want to maximize your earnings with Swagbucks, you’ll definitely want to pay attention to these offers as some of them pay quite well. The offers also change frequently, so check back often and be sure to take action when you see something interesting.

Get a $5 signup bonus when you join Swagbucks through this link.

Get Paid To Play Games

If you like to play games, you can search popular games and apps to play. The way you earn Swagbucks is when you make an in-game purchase, you will earn a set among of Swagbucks.

For example, you might be familiar with the popular games Angry Birds, or Bejeweled. These addicting games often get so fun that paying a few bucks to earn you more benefits within the game is worth the entertainment. We’ve all been there! Swagbucks will pay you for each dollar you spend within the partnered games when you start the game through the Swagbucks link.

Just like the videos, this is (in my opinion) not the best way to earn with Swagbucks. You might earn a few points, but the other options are better.

How Swagbucks Points Work & Options For Redeeming Points

Swagbucks uses a point system, and you need to understand how the system works if you are going to be using the site. Fortunately, the points system is simple.

In general, 100 Swagbucks is equal to $1. You can redeem 1,000 Swagbucks for $10 in cash through PayPal or for a $10 gift card to your choice of many different retailers, websites, and restaurants.

Every task you complete will earn Swagbucks, whether it involves taking a survey, watching a video, accepting an offer, or making an online purchase through one of Swagbucks’ partners. The Swagbucks will accumulate in your account and you’ll be able to see your total whenever you are logged in.

Swagbucks Points

You can redeem your points at any time by clicking on “Redeem SB”. Gift cards start for as little as $3 (300 SB), so you won’t have to wait a long time before you can actually redeem the points you’ve earned.

Although the conversion is generally 100 SB to $1, there are some offers that give you a better conversion rate. For example, right now I could redeem 2200 SB for a $25 Walmart gift card, which is a 12% discount.

Get a $5 signup bonus when you join Swagbucks through this link.

Is Swagbucks Safe?

As always, it’s important to be cautious of any new program you decide to join, especially when it involves giving out even the slightest amount of personal information. Swagbucks requires your basic contact info such as email, full name, and basic contact info. It will then request your PayPal account info as well for cash back (unless you only choose gift cards). So, is it safe?

We like to ensure a few important things are in place when deciding if a company is safe. Some questions to ask are:

  • Do they have a legitimate looking website?
  • Do they have strong partners with well-known companies?
  • Are there any major publications through trusted news organizations?
  • What are the current customer reviews?

Any question related to the above will help you determine for yourself if they are safe or not. After review, it’s easy to say Swagbucks is a legit and safe company to join as a free member. They have a very professional-looking website with detailed privacy policy and terms detailed. They partner with thousands of major retail companies and have been featured in multiple news editorials like Readers Digest and U.S. World News publications. Lastly, they post on their homepage what their customers are saying, along with their Trustpilot rating from thousands of customer reviews.

Who Is Swagbucks For?

While it could easily be said that Swagbucks is for almost anyone who wants to make extra money from the hours they already spend online, that’s a bit of a broad statement (although true). More specifically, Swagbucks will definitely benefit the following types of people:

  • Anyone who wants to make a little extra money in their spare time
  • Stay-at-home parents
  • Anyone who wants a flexible side hustle
  • People who shop online (cash back)
  • Online gamers
  • Anyone interested in learning of new products and services

In short, if you have some extra time and you spend it online browsing the web, then you will benefit from Swagbucks.

Conclusion – Will Swagbucks Make You Rich?

If you’re looking to become a millionaire by using Swagbucks, you’d better reconsider your decision. While Swagbucks is an easy way to make extra money doing stuff you already spend hours doing, it certainly won’t make you rich. It will, however, add an extra cushion of cash each month and take care of a few of your living expenses.

Depending on how much time you spend online each day, you can make anywhere from a few extra bucks a week to a few hundred bucks per month through Swagbucks. It is free to join, fun to use, and a great way to surf the web while making some extra cash while doing it.

Get a $5 signup bonus when you join Swagbucks through this link.

Swagbucks Review
 

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How to Become a Freelance Writerhttps://vitaldollar.com/get-started-freelance-writing/ https://vitaldollar.com/get-started-freelance-writing/#comments Thu, 06 Jun 2019 12:34:28 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=583 If you’re like millions of other people who are looking to make some extra money, you’ve probably considered a number of different side hustle ideas, weekend jobs, or business opportunities. Every now and then I have friends or family ask for my suggestions about how to make money online. Freelance writing is always one of […]

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How to Become a Freelance Writer

If you’re like millions of other people who are looking to make some extra money, you’ve probably considered a number of different side hustle ideas, weekend jobs, or business opportunities. Every now and then I have friends or family ask for my suggestions about how to make money online. Freelance writing is always one of my first suggestions, and I’d highly recommend you consider it as well.

Before I worked online full-time, I did a lot of freelance writing for several different blogs. It was flexible work and allowed me to make some money while I was also working to build up my own websites and blogs. Over the past 10 years, I’ve continued with freelance writing off and on. With a freelance writing side hustle, I’ve been able to make $500 – $3,000 per month on the side.

Although it’s a great opportunity, most people have no idea where to start. The thought of trying to find paying clients can be very overwhelming if you’ve never done it before.

In reality, finding your first clients usually isn’t all that difficult, and so I wanted to write this article to lay out all of the facts about freelance writing, why it’s a great opportunity, and how you can get started. If you want to learn how to become a freelance writer and get paid to write, read on.

→ Related reading: How to Start a Blog

Why Freelance Writing is a Great Opportunity

Ok, so what makes freelance writing an opportunity worthy of your time?

With a lot of other possibilities for making money, why would you want to consider being a freelance writer?

Here is a look at some of the reasons why I highly recommend it as a great side hustle.

Freelance Writing

Flexible Schedule

As a freelance writer, you’ll benefit from a flexible schedule. Most of your assignments or gigs will have deadlines, and bigger projects may even have some milestones that you’ll need to hit throughout the project, but you’ll have the flexibility to work around your own schedule.

You can have a full-time job and write for clients in the evenings or on weekends. Freelance writing is also a great job for stay-at-home parents. You can write during those peaceful hours when your kids are napping, or after they are in bed at night.

Not only do you have flexibility in the specific hours that you work, but you can also make it as big or small as you want. Just looking for something to do a few hours a week and make some extra money? Or looking for something that could turn into a full-time business? Either way, freelance writing could be a good fit.

→ Related reading: How to Start a Side Hustle

Start Making Money Quickly

This is a huge factor, and one of the main reasons why I highly recommend freelance writing as a side gig. It’s possible to find a paying client today and you could start earning money right away.

I’ve mentioned on Vital Dollar before that blogging is my favorite side hustle. There are a lot of reasons I recommend blogging as a way to make money, but the fact is, building a successful blog takes a lot of time and effort. In most cases, you’ll need to put in months of work before you start to see any rewards.

A lot of people want or need to start making some money right away. If that’s the case for you, freelance writing could be a better fit than blogging (you can always work to build your own blog while also doing some freelance writing).

Plenty of Work Available

Many of your clients will be websites and blogs that are constantly in need of new content. With the amount of new content that is being published online, the need for freelance writers is only going to increase.  By following the tips that I’ll cover later in this article, you should be able to start finding paying clients pretty quickly.

Very Little Investment Required

Many businesses, both online and traditional offline businesses, require a significant financial investment. That’s not the case with freelance writing. All you really need is a domain name, web hosting, and maybe a premium blog theme (if you need help setting up your website or blog, please see my guide How to Start a Blog). You can easily start with less than $100.

Make a Good Income Per Hour

There are a lot of side hustles and ways to make money that don’t pay very well. The amount of money that you can make as a freelance writer will really vary depending on the types of projects that you’re able to land. Some of the work out there for freelance writers is low paying, but there are also plenty of gigs that pay very well.

Even as a part-time freelance writer, I’ve been able to find work that pays me $50 – $100 per hour, and there are many people who do even better than that. Most freelancers are paid per project or per word, not per hour. But regardless of how you are paid, you’ll want to track your time so you can calculate how much you are making per hour.

One of the keys to making a good hourly rate as a freelancer is to find recurring gigs, which is the case with a lot of blogs that hire freelance writers. With recurring gigs (where you write an article every week or month), you won’t need to be constantly looking for work. Land a few recurring gigs and you can make a really good hourly rate.

Of course, most freelance writers don’t start out with great-paying gigs. You may need to take some lower-paying projects to gain experience and to build your portfolio, but know that an excellent income is possible as a freelance writer.

Build Your Own Profile in the Industry/Niche

Most freelance writing projects will allow you to get credit for your work and will list you as the author (if a job is described as “ghostwriting” you will not be credited). If you’re writing for a popular blog or magazine you can quickly establish your own reputation in the industry while making money!

After a while, people will get used to seeing your name and reading your writing, and your reputation may open up other possibilities in the future.

Write About Topics That You Enjoy

There are freelance writing opportunities on just about any topic you can imagine. It’s possible that you could find work on topics that you know and enjoy, and you’ll actually be able to make money by writing about something that interests you.

→ Related reading: 40 Exciting Hobbies That Make Money

Excellent Supplement to Income from Your Own Websites

When I worked as a freelance writer I was still working to build my own websites and blogs. Because it takes time to grow a profitable blog, I looked to freelance writing as a way to make some money in the meantime. As the income from my own blog grew, I was able to slowly scale back on freelance writing until I didn’t need that income anymore.

→ Related reading: How to Become a Virtual Assistant

How to Become a Freelance Writer

How to Make Money as a Freelance Writer

Now that you’re convinced that freelance writing is a great opportunity and could be a good fit for you, you’re probably thinking “Yeah, that’s great, but I have no idea how to get started and find paying clients.”

So let’s take a look at the steps you can take if you’d like to get started.

Step 1: Select Your Topics

The first step is to think about what types of topics you would like to write about. As I mentioned earlier, there are opportunities for all different types of things. I’d recommend choosing something broad to start with, and then you can narrow it down and focus even more later if you’d like. But don’t put yourself in a bind by focusing only on one very small niche when you’re trying to get started.

For example, choose a broad topic like travel, health & fitness, finance, photography, or parenting. Those are just some examples, but the point is, choose a broad topic that reaches a large audience. Go with photography instead of concert photography so you’ll have more options when you’re getting started.

You may decide that you want to cover a few different topics rather than just one, and that’s fine too. Some freelance writers will write on just about anything, but I recommend having a specialization, or a couple of specializations. Landing clients is a lot easier when you can show them your existing work that is highly relevant to the topics that they want you to cover. Plus, you’ll be able to network in one industry and build up your profile as an expert on that topic.

If you choose a topic, or topics, that you know very well, you should be able to save time in your writing because you won’t need to research as much. Being able to write faster will essentially improve the hourly rate you earn.

It’s also important to point out that not all niches will offer the same income potential. Generally, the industries that produce a lot of money online (finance, business, health, travel, etc) will offer the best opportunities for freelance writers. Topics that tend to be hobbies or are more for personal interest are less likely to pay well.

→ To learn more, check out Freelance Writing 101: Build a Successful Writing Career on Skillshare.

Step 2: Create a Blog of Your Own

When you’re applying to job listings or contacting potential clients, you will need to provide some writing samples. If you haven’t written for other clients yet, the best thing to do is set up your own blog. You can write and publish at least a few articles that will serve as samples of your work. Of course, make sure that you do a good job with these articles since people will be using them to evaluate your quality of work.

Even if you have articles on other sites that you can use for your writing samples, it’s still a good idea to set up your own blog. Include a bio/about page, a page with information about your freelance writing services, and list your email address or include a contact form that people can fill out if they want to get in touch with you. Your blog can serve as a valuable asset for helping you to land clients.

The main purpose of your blog is to have writing samples that you can show to others. You don’t need to worry about trying to get a lot of traffic to your blog, especially at first. Just focus on having it for the purpose of writing samples.

If you don’t have a blog and you’re not sure how to set one up, it’s really simple. Check out my How to Start a Blog page and I walk you through the process.

What About Guest Posting?

Another way to get writing samples is to write unpaid guest posts for other blogs in the niche you are targeting. Many blogs are open to article submissions from other writers, and this can be an ideal way to get your first experience. Honestly, the people who are looking at your writing samples may not know whether you were paid for an article or if you did it for free. Treat these free guest posts as if you were being paid. If you have some high-quality articles on established blogs in your niche, they can prove to be extremely valuable writing samples.

Step 3: Determine Your Ideal Rate

One of the hardest things to decide as a new freelancer is what you should charge. Most projects will pay a set amount for the completed project or an amount per word, not an hourly rate. The pay for freelance writers can vary widely. Some blogs may pay $10 per article, and others may pay $500. Of course, there are a lot of factors that will influence how much a client is willing to pay.

Since we’re talking mostly about writing for blogs here, let’s continue that thought process. In order to know how much you should charge, you’ll need to know things like how many words the article should include (unless you’re being paid per word), the amount of research needed to write the article, and the specific tasks that you’ll be expected to perform. At a bare minimum, you will be expected to write and proofread the text. Some clients will have editors who provide additional proofreading, but you should always do your own proofreading as well.

Some clients will want you to enter the article into WordPress or another content management system for their website. Some clients will want you to find photos that can be used along with the article. Some clients may even expect you to promote the article on your social media profiles after it is published. All of these things should factor into the price you are charging, because it will all impact how much time you need to spend on the project.

There really is no going rate, because the rates vary so much. In general, I would recommend starting with at least $25 for a 500-word article and $50 for a 1,000-word article. Those prices are higher than the bargain-basement writers that churn out a lot of low-quality content, but much lower than the rates charged by professional (full-time) freelance writers. Ultimately, you’ll probably want to increase your rates a good bit, but in my opinion, it’s good to just get started.

As a new freelancer, you may need to have some flexibility with your rates if you have trouble getting clients at the rates that you want. Some successful freelance writers started at $10 per article.

Step 4: Search Job Boards

There are a lot of ways to go about finding freelance writing opportunities, and we’ll look at several of the best ways. One of the easiest and fastest ways to get started is to browse several job boards that publish opportunities specifically for freelance writers. Companies can place a listing on these sites when they are looking to hire a writer. There are several of these job boards and they provide good variety in the opportunities that you’ll find.

Some of these job listings will mention the rate they are willing to pay, and others will ask you to provide your rate information. Any time you are responding to one of these ads be sure that you are following their instructions. If they ask you to send writing samples and rate information, be sure to do that. I’ve placed several ads over the years to hire freelance writers. You might be surprised at how many people will respond to say they are interested, but won’t follow the instructions by sending the requested information. If you don’t follow the directions, you’re probably not going to get hired.

I recommend checking these job boards frequently (at least a few times per week, if not daily) because new opportunities are added often and the faster you can respond the better chance you will have.

Here are some of the job boards that are worth checking out:

Step 5: Contact Sites That Hire Writers

My favorite way to find quality freelance writing gigs is to proactively contact websites and blogs that hire writers, even if they haven’t posted a job ad. Depending on the size of the business you may or may not have difficulty reaching the editor or the person in charge of hiring writers. If you’re just filling out a generic contact form, I recommend that you ask to be put in touch with the editor, or ask for your message to be passed along to the editor. You can also search on Google or LinkedIn to see if you can find the name and contact information of an editor. For smaller blogs, in many cases the contact form will go directly to the editor or person in charge of hiring writers.

For these cold emails, I suggest keeping it brief and to the point. Mention that you are a freelance writer specializing in the same type of content that they publish, and provide a link to a few of your blog posts as writing samples. Mention that you are interested in writing for them on an on-going basis and ask them to get back to you if they would like to discuss more details.

I’ve landed several clients through cold emails like this. The key is to contact the right people/businesses. Many blogs and online magazines are always looking for writers, so if you get in front of them, you could land a nice recurring gig.

This is another reason why I recommend that you specialize in a topic that you’re already interested in. Chances are, you already follow several active blogs and websites on the topics that interest you most. You probably already know of a few blogs that publish articles from multiple writers, and this would be a great place to start.

You can also visit blogs in the industry, go to the About Us page or skip to the site footer and look for a “write for us” link, or something similar. If they do have information on the site about writing for them, be sure to follow their instructions for getting in touch. If you can’t find any information about their hiring process, it’s still worth the effort of a cold email.

You can also use lists to help you find great opportunities. Many websites and blogs have compiled lists of sites that pay writers. There will be some overlap on these lists, but you may find some good opportunities on lists like these:

There are also many other lists like that if you want to do a Google search. If you’re writing in a very popular industry you could also search for an industry-specific post, like this one that focuses on travel blogs: 34 Travel Magazines and Websites That Pay Freelance Writers.

Don’t expect to reach out to one website/blog and land your first gig. But if you make an effort to reach out to a few each week, you should be able to have some success.

I’d also recommend starting small. Don’t reach out to the biggest, most popular blogs in the niche right away. Get some experience and build up your portfolio of writing samples before going after the bigger gigs.

Should I Use Upwork and Other Bidding Sites?

There are a number of sites like Upwork and Freelancer.com where you can create your profile and bid on projects. In general, I recommend that you avoid these sites. Most freelancers spend a lot of time bidding on different jobs and have nothing to show for it, or maybe a few low-paying jobs. You’ll be competing against a lot of other writers, and many people are willing to work for very cheap. That being said, I do know some freelancers who have had decent results with these sites, but I would definitely recommend starting other places first.

Step 6: Prioritize Repeat Gigs

I’ve mentioned this in a few other places throughout the article, but it is worthy of being a major point in the article as well. Repeat gigs are the key to making good money as a freelance writer. Finding work is one of the biggest challenges that many freelancers have. The more repeat, on-going clients you have, the less time you’ll need to spend looking for work. And that means you’ll be able to spend more time actually writing, which is what brings in the money. You’ll see the amount you make per hour of work drastically increase because most of your work will be income-generating.

This is one reason why blogs and blog editors can be such great clients. Blogs are always in need of new content, so if you do a good job for a blog, chances are it will lead to repeat work.

Step 7: Work on Your Pitch

If you want to take your freelance writing income to the next level, perfecting your pitch is something that you will want to work on. As I mentioned earlier, my favorite way to find freelance writing is to reach out to people that I think could benefit from my services.

In order to have success with cold emails, you’ll need to pitch yourself and your services effectively. A good pitch will:

  • Show your credentials or expertise
  • Show your capability to deliver quality articles
  • Show that you are familiar with the website or publication that you’re contacting
  • Ask for a response

As you get more practice, your pitch will improve. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. As you skills with the pitch improve, you’ll be able to land more work, and better-paying gigs,

Step 8: Consider Guest Posting for Free

Offering services for free may seem like a bad idea, but it can actually help you to land clients, in some cases. Increasing your profile or exposure in the industry could lead to new opportunities, and one of the best ways to get that exposure is to write guest posts for well-read blogs. Typically your guest posts will include a brief author bio, so you can even mention in your bio that you’re a freelance writer or that you write for several blogs in the industry. Other editors or blog owners may come across your work and reach out to you about writing for them.

My first freelance writing gig was actually the result of a guest post. I submitted a guest post for free to a leading blog (this was back in 2007). The blog owner liked the article and asked if I was interested in writing an article every week as a paid writer. The pay was actually pretty good too, especially for a first gig! And that led to other paid gigs.

If you have paying clients, I would definitely recommend prioritizing them over writing free posts for other blogs. But if you have time to spare, consider writing for some blogs that will start to get you some exposure. You can also use guest posts as writing samples, and if potential clients see that you wrote for a leading blog in their niche they will be more likely to hire you over someone who has no experience or profile in the industry.

Step 9: Continue to Build Your Network

Networking is an important aspect of just about any type of business. Connections that you make can lead to unexpected opportunities, or to help you land work with a client that you’ve had trouble securing on your own.

As a freelance writer, it’s helpful to have blog editors and website owners in your network, especially those who hire other freelancers. Make an effort to get to know others through things like blog comments, social media, and even introducing yourself in an email.

You can also network with other freelance writers. Other freelancers that you know can be great for putting you in touch with a hiring editor.

Of course, networking requires that you give as much as you take. Be willing to help others without expectations of always getting something out of it.

Step 10: Grow Your Social Media Profiles

If you are specializing in a specific industry or niche, it can be very helpful and valuable to also have your own social media profiles and following. Focus on the social networks that are most popular in your particular industry. If you’re able to use social media to get more exposure for the articles that you write you will have a big advantage over most other freelance writers that are competing for work. When you’re applying to jobs, you can even mention your social profiles and that you’re willing to help promote the articles that you write.

So Now it’s Up to You!

If you’re looking for a way to make some extra money, I believe freelance writing is one of the best opportunities out there. Not many jobs/businesses offer the flexibility, opportunity to start earning right away, and good income potential.

If it may be a good opportunity for you, start to put these tips into action. Pick your specialty, set up your own blog, and start to look for your first client.

→ To learn more, check out Freelance Writing 101: Build a Successful Writing Career on Skillshare.

Learn About More Side Hustles:

How to Become a Freelance Writer

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9 Ways to Start Investing Without a Lot of Moneyhttps://vitaldollar.com/how-to-start-investing/ https://vitaldollar.com/how-to-start-investing/#comments Thu, 06 Jun 2019 11:28:22 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=4350 Investing can be an intimidating topic. Unfortunately, many people think that they don’t have enough money to invest, so they simply do nothing. The truth is, you don’t need to have a lot of money in order to get started with investing. Yes, there are some investments that will not be accessible or appropriate for […]

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9 Ways to Start Investing Without a Lot of Money

Investing can be an intimidating topic. Unfortunately, many people think that they don’t have enough money to invest, so they simply do nothing.

The truth is, you don’t need to have a lot of money in order to get started with investing. Yes, there are some investments that will not be accessible or appropriate for you as a new investor, but there are still plenty of good options.

Don’t wait until you have more money to get started, or you’ll miss out on valuable opportunities.

In this article, we’ll look at nine options that allow you to start investing with even a small amount of money. In some cases, you can get started with just a few dollars.

1. Your Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan

Possibly the easiest way to get started with investing is to set up automatic contributions to a retirement plan made available through your employer, such as a 401(k) or 403(b). According to Census Bureau statistics, 79% of American workers have access to a 401(k) plan, but only 41% of those who have access actually contribute (source).

If a 401(k) or 403(b) is available to you, you can elect to contribute a specific percentage of your wages and it will be taken out automatically before each paycheck. Automated contributions are great because once it is set up, it will happen with no other action from you. You’re not going to forget to make the investment or decide to spend the money on something else.

Contributing to a 401(k) or 403(b) will also reduce your taxable income, so you’ll wind up paying less in taxes and keeping more of your money.

Another reason why this is an excellent option for new investors is that you don’t need a chunk of money to get started. You can fill out a form with your employer’s HR department and start contributing just a small percentage of your wages going forward, even if you currently have nothing set aside to invest.

Most employers will offer some sort of match, and it is recommended that you contribute enough to get the full match. For example, if your employer will match your contributions up to 5% of your wages, you should contribute at least 5%. Between your own contributions and the match, you’ll be contributing 10% of your pay to the retirement plan.

→ Related reading: 5 Steps to Get Your Retirement Savings on Track

2. IRAs

There are a few different types of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), with the most popular being the Traditional IRA and the Roth IRA. Your contributions to a traditional IRA will reduce your taxable income (if you meet the qualifications). Your investments in a Traditional IRA will grow tax-free and you will be taxed when you take the money out of the IRA in your retirement.

Contributions to a Roth IRA will not reduce your taxable income now, but you will never be taxed on the growth, and you will not be taxed when you take the money out in your retirement.

The 2019 contribution limits of $6,000 (if you’re under 50) or $7,000 (if you’re 50 or over) apply to both Traditional and Roth IRAs. That is a total amount that you can contribute to either type of IRA, or a combination of both types.

While anyone can contribute to a Traditional IRA, contributions will not be tax deductible if your income is over a certain limit. The limits below are based on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI):

  • Single individuals with income over $137,000 cannot make tax-deductible contributions.
  • Single individuals with income between $122,000 and $137,000 can make a partial contribution that is deductible.
  • Married couples filing jointly with income over $203,000 cannot make tax-deductible contributions.
  • Married couples filing jointly with income between $193,00 and $203,000 can make a partial contribution that is deductible.

There are also some income requirements that restrict who is eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA. The restrictions below are also based on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI):

  • Single individuals with income over $137,000 are not eligible.
  • Single individuals with income between $122,000 and $137,000 can contribute a reduced amount.
  • Married couples filing jointly with income over $203,000 are not eligible.
  • Married couples filing jointly with income between $193,00 and $203,000 can contribute a reduced amount.
  • Married couples filing separately are less likely to be able to contribute to a Roth IRA. See this page for details.

You can invest in many different things within an IRA. You could choose to open a Certificate of Deposit (CD) with a local bank or online bank within an IRA. You could open an IRA with Vanguard and invest in mutual funds or ETFs. You could also invest in individual stocks within an IRA.

Each institution will have its own guidelines related to minimums, but you don’t need much money to get started with an IRA. For example, you can open an IRA at Betterment with no minimum, so there is no excuse to not get started.

3. Robo Advisors

Regardless of whether you want to invest within an IRA or just a regular taxable account, using a robo advisor is a good option for just getting started. A robo advisor will ask you a series of questions about yourself and your goals (including things like your age, your level or risk tolerance, when you plan to retire, etc.) and will make investment decisions for you based on your own situation.

Using a robo advisor is a great choice if you’ve been putting off investing because you feel like you don’t know enough about how to invest your money. The robo advisor will do the work for you.

Another reason to consider a robo advisor is that you can get started without needing a lot of money to invest. Here are a few of the leading options:

4. Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending is another excellent option for investing with a small amount of money. The two leading platforms are Prosper and Lending Club, and both allow you to get started for as little as $25.

If you’re not familiar with peer-to-peer lending, it basically allows people to get loans without going through a bank. Instead of a traditional loan from a bank, people can borrow money from other people, like you and me. As an investor, you can make money from the interest that is being charged on the loans.

There are definitely pros and cons with peer-to-peer lending. The pros include:

  • Easy to get started
  • Low minimum investment
  • Potential for good returns

The cons include:

  • Risk
  • Not very liquid
  • Can take some time to choose the loans you want to invest in

If you’re interested in getting started, I recommend reading An Investor’s Guide to Peer-to-Peer Lending.

5. Real Estate Crowdfunding

Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need a lot of money to get started with real estate investing. There are a few different ways that you can invest in real estate with smaller amounts of money, and crowdfunding is one of the easiest options.

many of the leading real estate crowdfunding platforms are only open to accredited investors, but there are also some options that are available to anyone (see my article Real Estate Crowdfunding for Non-Accredited Investors).

Some of the best options are:

  • Fundrise – Leading platform that allows you to invest in a portfolio of properties (minimum $500).
  • Groundfloor – Invest in individual rehab and renovation projects ($10 minimum).
  • Rich Uncles – Invest in your choice of two different REITs ($5 minimum).
  • American Homeowner Preservation – Invest in distressed mortgages ($100 minimum).

With any of the platforms listed above, you can sign up and start investing very quickly.

Real Estate Crowdfunding for Non-Accredited InvestorsInvestment TypeMinimum InvestmentStart Investing
FundrisePortfolio$500Learn More
Realty MogulREIT$1,000Learn More
Rich UnclesREIT$5Learn More
GroundfloorIndividual Projects$10Learn More

6. Robinhood and Webull

If you’re interested in investing in stocks and ETFs, Robinhood and Webull are great ways to get started. Both investment apps have no account minimum and trades are free. The apps have been designed with new investors in mind, so they’re fairly simple to use.

With no minimums and no fees, there is nothing that prevents you from starting right away. And if you sign up for Robinhood through this link you’ll get a free stock! 

Sign up for Webull through this link to get a free stock.

You can see more details in my article Robinhood vs. Stockpile vs. Webull.

7. Bumped

Bumped is a new mobile app that allows you to earn stock based on your purchases. It works similar to a cash back program, except instead of cash, you earn stock!

When you sign up for Bumped (there may be a waitlist) you’ll create your account and link your debit or credit cards. When you make purchases at stores and websites that participate in their program, you’ll earn stock in those companies.

There are no fees to use Bumped, and all you need to do is take a couple of minutes to link it to your cards. It’s a really easy way to get some extra rewards and to start investing in stock.

If you like earning cash back and rewards from your purchases, you will love Bumped. And best of all, it doesn’t interfere with your other rewards and cash back, so you can stack the rewards for an even bigger impact.

Sign up for Bumped here.

8. Build Up Your Savings

It may not be the most exciting investment, but simply putting money into a savings account is also a good place to start. If you’re using a savings account, be sure to choose a high-yield account that will allow you to earn a decent interest rate. There are many online banks, like CIT Bank, that offer rates that are far higher than what you will earn with most local banks.

You can build up your savings for any number of different purposes, like establishing an emergency fund, saving up for a bigger investment, saving for a house, or any other goal.

You can open a savings account at CIT Bank with $100, so you don’t need a lot to get started.

High-Yield Savings AccountsAPYMinimumSignup BonusOpen Account
CIT Bank1.55%$100$0Open Account
CIT Bank2.4%$25,000$0Open Account
Capital One1.0%$0$25Open Account

9. Invest in Your Own Business

So far, we’ve looked at some conventional options like savings accounts, stocks, and retirement accounts. Another option would be to invest in your own business. Believe it or not, you don’t need a lot of money to start an online business.

I’ve been self-employed through my internet-based business since 2008, and I started it with less than $100. You can easily start a blog or website with very little investment. For just $2.95 per month (if you sign up through this link) for web hosting with Bluehost, you can have your own website or blog.

Investing in your business is also different from all of the other options here because it will involve some work as well as investing a small amount of money, but the potential payout is unlimited. The first blog that I started with less than $100 wound up making me more than $1 million.

If you’re interested in starting an online business, see my article How to Start a Blog.

 

If you’ve ever felt like you don’t have enough money to start investing, hopefully, this article has convinced you that there are several viable options to start investing with a small amount of money. Any of them would be an excellent place to begin, so choose the one that seems most appealing to you, and take the steps to get started.

READ NEXT: 13 Things You Can Do TODAY to Improve Your Finances

9 Ways to Start Investing Without a Lot of Money

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7 Steps to Improve Your Credit Score Fasthttps://vitaldollar.com/how-to-improve-credit-score-fast/ https://vitaldollar.com/how-to-improve-credit-score-fast/#respond Wed, 05 Jun 2019 11:08:14 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=4303 Your credit score can impact everything from whether you are approved or rejected for loans, to the interest rates that you’re charged, to your rental applications, and even to your job applications. Building good credit takes time, but fortunately, there are several things you can do to get a quick boost, sometimes even in 30 […]

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How to Improve Your Credit Score Fast

Your credit score can impact everything from whether you are approved or rejected for loans, to the interest rates that you’re charged, to your rental applications, and even to your job applications.

Building good credit takes time, but fortunately, there are several things you can do to get a quick boost, sometimes even in 30 days or less. If you’re anticipating a big purchase, a move, or even a job search, you may want to take action and try to improve your credit score quickly.

If you’re looking for details that will help you to understand credit scores and how they work, please see How is My Credit Score Calculated. If you’re looking to improve your score, read on for practical tips that will help you to improve your credit score fast.

Keep in mind that long-term improvement of your credit score should be the goal. If you consistently have an excellent score, you’ll never need to worry about applying for credit or other things that could be challenging with a below average score.

These tips are intended to help you get fast results, but be sure to continue to manage your credit wisely and keep paying your bills on time to maintain a solid score going forward.

How to Improve Your Credit Score Fast

Step 1: Know Your Score

First, you need to know your current credit score. This will serve as the baseline and you’ll be able to track your progress. If you don’t know what your score was before you started implementing the things we’ll cover in this article, you won’t know if your score actually improved or by how much.

One of the easiest and quickest ways to get your current score is to sign up for a free account with Credit Sesame. You’ll get your current credit score for free, as well as a free credit report card and free credit monitoring.

Using Credit Sesame won’t hurt your credit score and you’ll be able to easily keep track your progress for free.

Step 2: Check for Errors or Inaccuracies on Your Credit Report

One of the fastest ways to improve your score is to get any errors or inaccuracies removed from your credit report. In order to do this, you’ll need to get a copy of your full report, preferably from all three of the leading credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

AnnualCreditReport.com is authorized by the federal government to provide consumers with a copy of their credit report at no cost. You can get your report from each of the three bureaus once every 12 months. You can get all three at once, or request them one-at-a-time.

Through AnnualCreditReport.com you will get a copy of the full report, but you won’t get the scores. With Credit Sesame you’ll get the score but not the full report, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of both of these free resources.

Once you have a copy of your report, read through it carefully to be sure that everything is accurate. If you notice any accounts that are not yours or errors, immediately contact the credit bureau. The report from each bureau will include contact information for reporting errors or filing a dispute. The types of errors that you should be looking for include:

  • Accounts that are inaccurately being reported as opened or closed
  • Payments that are inaccurately marked as being late
  • Balances that are being reported as higher than they actually are
  • Accounts (especially collections accounts) that are not being recorded as paid off

If the same error appears on the reports from multiple bureaus, you’ll need to file a dispute with each bureau that is showing this inaccuracy.

Step 3: Pay Your Bills on Time

The most significant factor in determining your credit score is your payment history. You may not be able to do anything about late payments from the past, but you can control what happens going forward. Commit to paying every bill on time.

If you have any bills that are currently overdue, pay them immediately. Your credit score will show the number of times that your bills have been 30 days late, 60 days late, and 90 days late. Of course, each one gets progressively worse for your credit score, so don’t let your bills or payments get to this point.

You can set up automatic payments for many of your bills, although you will need to be sure that you carry enough money in your checking account to cover bills that may be automatically paid.

Another option is to set up a payment reminder. You may be able to set up email or text message reminders that will notify you of upcoming due dates so you don’t miss a payment. You can also use the free app Personal Capital for the same purpose. Personal Capital will remind you of upcoming due dates for your credit cards, mortgage, and other loans. The accounts will need to be linked to Personal Capital, but it’s easy to set up and then will work to keep your organized.

Get a $20 Amazon Gift Card for Trying Personal Capital
Right now, Personal Capital is offering a free bonus of a $20 Amazon gift card just for trying the free app. All you need to do is sign up here and then link at least one financial account. After your first account is successfully linked (which takes just a minute), you’ll receive an email with the code for the digital gift card.

Step 4: Get Credit for Paying Your Cell Phone and Utility Bills

Experian Boost is a fairly new program that allows you to improve your credit score thanks to your payments of monthly bills for things like your mobile phone bill and your utility bills. While this can be helpful for anyone, it is especially helpful for someone with a limited credit history or anyone who is trying to improve their credit score.

It’s a free program. All you need to do is sign up here and connect it to the accounts that you use to pay your bills (bank account, credit card) so Experian can see your payment history.

It takes just a few minutes to set up and you can quickly see how it impacts your score. If for some reason it lowers your score, you can simply turn it off and your score will go back to what it was prior to Experian Boost.

The only downside is, this will only impact your score with Experian. Still, it’s an easy (and free) way to potentially improve your score very quickly with one of the three leading bureaus.

→ Related reading: 9 Signs You May Be Living Above Your Means

Step 5: Lower Your Credit Utilization Ratio

Another major factor that impacts your score is your credit utilization ratio, which shows what percentage of available credit you are using. For example, if you have credit cards with a total credit limit of $10,000 and you currently have a combined balance of $2,000 on those credit cards, you would have 20% utilization.

An ideal ratio is 30% or less, meaning that you have at least 70% of your credit limit available to you. If your credit card accounts are maxed out or if your utilization ratio is high, it will negatively impact your score.

The reasoning here is that someone who has their available credit maxed out is more likely to be late with a payment or miss a payment. A low credit utilization ratio shows that you can effectively manage your available credit.

With that in mind, there are a few ways this can impact your strategy to increase your score:

  1. You should pay down revolving accounts like credit cards and keep the balances as low as possible.
  2. You should not close credit card accounts that have high credit limits because it can reduce your available credit and increase your utilization ratio.
  3. You may want to ask creditors for an increase to your credit limit, which will improve your utilization ratio (as long as you don’t incur more debt)

Step 6: Don’t Close Old Credit Card Accounts

If you have an old credit card that you don’t really use anymore, you may think it makes the most sense to simply close that account. However, you may want to simply leave that account open for a few different reasons:

  1. The age of your accounts can impact your score, and having older accounts with a good payment history is something that you want to have on your credit report.
  2. If the old credit cards have a lot of available credit that you’re not using, closing them will hurt your utilization ratio.

Older, established accounts can be very good to have on your report because it shows stability. As long as your older accounts are not costing you anything in fees, it’s generally better to leave them open as opposed to closing them.

Step 7: Address Any Accounts in Collections

Accounts that have been turned over to collections can significantly hurt your score. If you have any collection accounts on your report, do whatever you can to resolve them. Ideally, they should be completely paid off. If that’s not possible, you should at least be paying on them regularly so that you’re making progress toward getting them paid off. You may be able to negotiate a lower payoff that would allow you to get it paid off.

If you have paid off a collections account and it is still showing up on your report as though it has not been paid, be sure to contact the credit bureau and file a dispute. Provide evidence showing that the account has been paid off.

Bonus: Get Added as an Authorized User

Getting yourself added to someone else’s credit card account as an authorized user can help to increase your own score, but this is an approach that needs to be used with a lot of caution. I’m listing it here as a bonus rather than one of the main steps because it’s something that you may or may not want to do.

As an authorized user, the account will impact your credit score just like the other tradelines on your report. If the account has a good payment history, and bills are continually paid on time, it can help you. If there is a lot of available credit on the account, it can help to improve your credit utilization ratio.

However, there are several things that you need to be aware of:

  • Being an authorized user can also damage your credit score if payments are late, so be sure that you’re only added to an account of someone that you trust.
  • If you are an authorizes signer and the account owner is making payments late, you can file a dispute with the bureaus and explain the situation. You can also call the issuer and have yourself removed from the account.
  • There are companies that will allow you to pay to be added as an authorized user to a stranger’s account. This isn’t illegal, but it will violate the terms of most credit card companies and it’s an ethical gray area.

Although this approach should be used with caution, it can be a great way to improve your score quickly thanks to improving your credit utilization ratio.

 

Although it can take some time and patience to maximize your credit score, these steps can help you to quickly improve your score if you are in need of fast results. If you’re looking to improve your score, head back to the first step and sign up for a free account with Credit Sesame to get your credit score and credit report card right away.

READ NEXT: 13 Things You Can Do TODAY to Improve Your Finances

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7 Amazing Apps for Effortless Moneyhttps://vitaldollar.com/apps-for-effortless-money/ https://vitaldollar.com/apps-for-effortless-money/#respond Mon, 03 Jun 2019 11:50:26 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=4508 Who wouldn’t want some extra money if there is no effort involved?  While there are all kinds of ways to make extra money, there are varying amounts of effort and work required. I’m a big fan of easy wins, and I love possibilities that will put more money in my pocket without requiring much from […]

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Apps for Effortless Money

Who wouldn’t want some extra money if there is no effort involved? 

While there are all kinds of ways to make extra money, there are varying amounts of effort and work required. I’m a big fan of easy wins, and I love possibilities that will put more money in my pocket without requiring much from me.

This article will highlight seven different apps that allow you to make or save money with no effort at all. To be honest, these apps aren’t going to make you rich. But they all allow you to make or save money effortlessly, so they are definitely worthy of your attention.

1. MobileXpression

Earning something extra with the MobileXpression app is about as easy as it gets. MobileXpression is a market research company that studies trends and behaviors and they will compensate you for access to your mobile browsing activity.

You’ll sign up for free, install the app on your phone or tablet, and you’ll need to open the app occasionally to claim the credits that you’re earning. You’ll earn 5 credits each week that the app is active. When you have accumulated 30 credits (6 weeks), you will be able to redeem them for a $5 gift card of your choice. If you wait until you have 50 credits (10 weeks), you’ll be able to redeem them for a $10 gift card of your choice. You’ll also get a bonus just for signing up and installing the app.

It’s a better deal to wait until you have 50 points. If you do that, you can earn $50 in gift cards per year. I’ve had MobileXpression installed on my phone for a year now, and I’ve received $50 in gift cards to Amazon. It’s probably my favorite app because it’s so easy. After installing it, all I’ve had to do is open the app to claim credits and choose my gift card.

If you have multiple devices, you can install it on all and multiply the rewards that you earn.

If you don’t mind providing access to your browsing activity, MobileXpression is a great way to make something extra with no effort. They do not collect or view your text messages, emails, or other personal content.

Sign up for MobileXpression here to start earning effortlessly.

2. Dosh

Dosh

Dosh is a cash back app, but it’s very different from some other popular cashback websites/apps like Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) and Ibotta. With Dosh you will never have to scan receipts or claim the deals that you want.

After you create a free Dosh account, you’ll link your credit and/or debit cards to the app. Whenever you make a purchase using one of your linked cards at a store/website/restaurant that participates in Dosh’s program, you’ll earn cash back. After you’ve linked your cards, there is really nothing else you need to do.

The amount of cash back that you’ll earn through Dosh will vary depending on the retailer, but many of the offers are in the 3% – 5% range. One of the best things about Dosh is that this cash back will be on top of what you earn by making a purchase with a rewards credit card, so you can stack the rewards and cash back. If you like credit card rewards, you’ll love being able to stack the rewards to get even more.

From inside the Dosh app, you will be able to see cash back offers that are nearby to your current location. For example, I can see a 4% cash back offer at my local Dunkin Donuts. Dosh also has a lot of offers from local retailers and restaurants, so it’s not only the big chains.

Dosh also offers some online cashback deals, but in order to get those, you will need to click through from the app and make a purchase (so it’s a little more effort than the local deals).

For a limited-time, Dosh will give you a $5 bonus when you signup and link your first credit or debit card.

Sign up for Dosh here to get the $5 bonus and earn cash back effortlessly.

3. Drop

Drop

Drop is another cash back app that is similar to Dosh in some ways. Like Dosh, you’ll sign up and link your credit or debit cards to drop for easy cash back.

But there are a few differences between Dosh and Drop. When you create your free Drop account, you will select five offers that will be your “power offers”. It’s important to choose these carefully because you can’t change them later. You’ll earn cash back automatically from the retailers that you select, so you’ll want to pick the places where you spend the most money.

Drop has some great stores and restaurants in their program, so you’ll have some excellent choices. My power offers include Walmart, Target, Walgreen’s, McDonald’s, and Dunkin Donuts. Any time I make a purchase at those places with one of my linked cards, I earn Drop points.

Drop works on a point system where 1,000 points = $1. When you get 5,000 points, you will be able to redeem them for a gift card of your choice.

Another key difference between Dosh and Drop is that Drop has additional offers that you can choose for earning extra points (and honestly, this is one of the best ways to earn a lot of points). You may get points for simply installing an app, creating an account, or for making a purchase.

And just like Dosh, Drop points can be stacked on top of the rewards you earn from credit cards, other apps, and loyalty programs.

For a limited time, Drop is offering a 5,000 point bonus (equal to $5) when you create a free account and link a credit or debit card.

Sign up for Drop here to get the $5 bonus and earn cash back effortlessly.

4. Bumped

Bumped is a new app that allows you to earn stock instead of cash back or rewards points. You’ll create a free account and link your debit and/or credit cards. You’ll also select your favorite brands within the app. When you spend at those brands using your linked cards, you’ll earn fractional shares of stocks and ETFs from those brands.

Currently, there is a waiting list for Bumped. You can sign up for free and you’ll be notified when you are able to get access. Bumped is functional now, they’re just letting users in slowly.

There are no fees to use Bumped and it can also be stacked with credit card rewards and other cash back apps.

Bumped is a really unique app, and one that allows you to earn stock in your favorite brands with no effort on your part. Once it is set up (which only takes a few minutes), there is nothing left to do.

Sign up for Bumped here to start earning stock.

5. Trim

Trim

Trim is an awesome money-saving app. There are a few different ways the app works. First, after you create a free account, you will link the app to your credit cards and/or bank accounts. Trim will analyze your spending and look for subscription payments that you can cancel.

The best feature of Trim, in my opinion, is the bill negotiation. If you give Trim permission, they will work on your behalf to negotiate the lower bill for your cable TV, internet, and cell phone services. I tried, unsuccessfully, on my own to get Comcast to lower my bill, but Trim was successful.

There is no cost to try the bill negotiation service, but if Trim is able to lower your bill, they will keep 1/3 of the difference for the first year. So if they reduce your bill by $30 per month, they’ll take $120 ($10 x 12 months) and you’ll save $20 per month after their cut. If they are unsuccessful at reducing your bill, you owe nothing.

Trim also offers automated savings and debt pay off plans.

The bill negotiation service is what places Trim on this list. You can take just a couple minutes to sign up and then let Trim do the work to save you money each month.

Sign up for Trim here.

6. Charlie

Charlie

Charlie is technically not an app, but I’m including it on this list because it has the same benefits as the others – effortless money.

To use Charlie, you will either sign up with your phone number or Facebook Messenger. Charlie will communicate with you via text or Messenger rather than through an app.

After you sign up, you’ll link Charlie to your bank account. Charlie will help you in a few different ways like:

  • Finding free money
  • Finding low-priced services
  • Reminders for credit card due dates
  • Savings reminders
  • And more

Charlie is 100% free to use. They claim that the average user saves $80 per week thanks to Charlie.

Sign up for Charlie here.

7. Swagbucks

Swagbucks

Swagbucks is one of my favorite sites for paid online surveys, but there are also some effortless ways to make money with Swagbucks.

First, when you sign up through this link, you’ll get a $5 bonus.

Some of the low-effort ways to make money with Swagbucks include setting Swagbucks as your default search engine, watching videos, playing games, and installing apps.

Probably my favorite way to earn through Swagbucks is the cashback functionality. When you install the Swagbucks button in your browser, you’ll be notified whenever you are browsing a website that offers cashback through Swagbucks. All you need to do is click on the alert and Swagbucks will track any purchase that you make, and you’ll earn very easy cash back for the things you need to buy. Swagbucks has thousands of websites that partner with them, so you’ll be able to earn cash back for a large percentage of your online purchases.

And of course, if you want to put in a little extra effort to maximize your income from Swagbucks, you can also take some surveys.

Sign up for Swagbucks here and get a $5 bonus.

If you want effortless money, and I’m sure you do, try all of these apps and I think you’ll like the results.

READ NEXT: 21 of the Best Passive Income Ideas

Apps for Easy Money

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Drop App Review: The Easy Cashback Apphttps://vitaldollar.com/drop-app-review/ https://vitaldollar.com/drop-app-review/#respond Fri, 31 May 2019 13:26:55 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=4433 Cashback websites and apps like Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) and TopCashback are very popular, and with good reason. These programs make it very easy to save money on purchases that you need to make anyway, and who wouldn’t like that? With the rise in popularity, more and more cashback apps have become available. One […]

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Drop

Cashback websites and apps like Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) and TopCashback are very popular, and with good reason. These programs make it very easy to save money on purchases that you need to make anyway, and who wouldn’t like that?

With the rise in popularity, more and more cashback apps have become available. One of the newer cashback apps is Drop. The main appeal of Drop is the ease of use, and the fact that earning cashback is essentially automated with Drop. All you need to do is sign up for a free account, link it to your credit or debit cards, and you’ll be able to start earning cashback from your purchases. No clipping coupons, scanning receipts, or claiming offers.

It’s that easy.

You might have a few questions about how it works before getting started. How can you earn money with Drop? What stores can you shop at with Drop for rewards? How much money can you save and make with Drop? Is Drop safe to use? Here in our detailed review of the Drop App, we’ll answer these common questions to aid you in deciding if it’s worthwhile to use.

→ Related reading: 15 of the Best Cashback Websites and Apps

What is the Drop App?

You might be familiar with money-saving websites and apps like Ibotta, Paribus or Swagbucks. Each one works differently, but the purpose is to allow users to save money on things they buy.

Drop is a similar cashback program, however, its focus is on providing you with cashback from everyday shopping that you already do. No need to spend extra time trying new offers, watching videos or taking surveys – just earn cashback from your everyday purchases.

You are probably familiar with rewards programs offered by major credit card companies. The rewards program from Drop is similar, and you can actually stack it with credit card rewards to get multiple levels of rewards for the same purchase.

→ Related reading: How to Stack Rewards and Cash Back

Once you have linked your debit card, you can get access to cash back offers through the app, and also select up to 5 “Power Offers”, or your chosen stores that you shop at often to get cash back on all the purchases you make there.

Before we get into all of the specifics, here is a quick overview of the pros and cons of Drop.

Pros

  • Easy cash back that is basically automated
  • Quick and easy to sign up
  • You can stack the cash back with credit card points and other rewards
  • Several popular retailers and restaurants participate in the program
  • Other offers give you ways to earn more points
  • Redeem points for as little as $5 in gift cards

Cons

  • You have to link it to your credit or debit card
  • No option to redeem your points for cash (only gift cards)

Sign up for Drop and get a $5 bonus (5,000 Drop points) when you link your first credit or debit card!

Get Your Bonus Here

How Does the Drop App Work?

When you sign up for a free Drop account, you will be asked to select 5 retailers or restaurants for your Power Offers. This is very important. After you select the 5 that you want, you won’t be able to change them. You will automatically earn cash back from your purchases at these retailers or restaurants (assuming you pay with a card that is linked to Drop), so you’ll want to chose the ones that allow you to earn the most cash back.

Choose the places where you spend the most money. For example, my power offers are Walmart, Target, Walgreens, McDonald’s, and Dunkin Donuts. I earn Drop points for all purchases made at those places, as long as I am paying with a credit card that is linked to my Drop account.

If you like Drop, be sure to check out Dosh as well. 

How Can You Make Extra Money with Drop?

There are 6 ways in which you can benefit from making and saving more money as a member. They are:

1. Power Offers: To redeem rewards with Power Offers, you need to link your debit card or bank account to the Drop App. Once you’ve linked your account, you can select up to 5 of the available stores that you regularly shop at and earn rewards every time you shop at the selected retail stores. Some of the Power Offer stores include major retailers like Target, McDonald’s, Whole Foods Market and 7Eleven among many others.

2. Referring Friends & Family: After you’ve opened up your free Drop account, your profile will have a unique referral code. For every person you refer to the Drop app, you will get $5 and your referral will also get $5. The downside to this is that Drop caps the number of people that you can refer to a maximum of 10 referrals, or $50 earnings potential.

3. Take Advantage Of Mobile Offers Within The App: The mobile offers are different from the Power Offers in that they are separate offers that come and go for each partnered company. These offers are usually for online purchases and will give you a set amount of points within the Drop app for the respective offer. An example of an available offer might be earning 20 points for every $1 you spend at Walmart. The available offers within the app are many, and in almost all major stores with almost any shopping category such as electronics, grocery, clothing, etc.

4. Earn Rewards Through Drop’s Integration Partners: Integration partners are partnered rewards companies that offer extra points when signing up or linking your account to Drop. One example is Rocketmiles, a program that rewards you for booking hotels and flyer miles. When linking your Rocketmiles account to Drop, you will get rewarded through both companies.

5. Special Offers: Within the Drop app you will be able to view offers by category. One of the best ways to earn Drop points is to take advantage of these offers. For example, you might be able to earn a few thousand points for simply installing an app or creating an account somewhere. These types of offers allow you to rack up points quickly.

6. Check For Regular Rewards Updates: Many of the available offers are regularly updated, and it’s worth checking the app on a daily basis to see what is available as it may go quickly. It’s also good to check the updates with the integration partners, as those may occasionally change over time as well, and will allow you to always be doubling up on your available rewards points through integrated partners.

How Much are Drop Points Worth?

As you build up your points balance with Drop, you can choose to redeem them for exclusive offers and gift cards. The conversion rate is 1,000 Drop points = $1. While that may sound like it’s not much, keep in mind it’s relative to the amount of points you earn for each offer. Many of the offers for cashback are 10-20 points per dollar, which comes out to 1-2%. If you think of it like a cashback credit card, it’s not bad. And if you consider that you can earn Drop points and credit card rewards for the same purchase, it’s even better.

In order to redeem your points with Drop, you need to save up at least 5,000 points, or $5 worth of rewards. Once you have at least 5,000 points, you can select from a list of multiple popular gift card offers at some well-known retailers, but you’ll have more options if you wait until you get 10,000 points or more. Among the many available redemption offers are gift cards with companies like:

  • Amazon
  • AMC Theatres
  • Domino’s
  • Best Buy
  • iTunes
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Target
  • Groupon
  • And many more…

Among the selection of redemption options are many popular restaurants, hotels, and gift cards with popular brands like Adidas and Nike.

Sign up for Drop through this link and get a $5 bonus (5,000 Drop points) when you link your first credit or debit card.

How Do I Sign Up For Drop To Start Earning Cashback?

Signing up for Drop is completely free and takes less than 5 minutes to set up. All you need is your email address, basic contact info. You will be directed to sign into your bank account to link your accounts to start earning. To get started, follow the steps below to set up your free Drop account:

  1. Sign up here. You can choose to sign up with Facebook, or through your email account.
  2. Link your bank account by searching for your bank and logging in through their secure API link.
  3. Select your “Power Offers” which are companies that you will get rewards for shopping at regularly. You can select up to 5 Power Offers.
  4. Start earning points with Drop and redeem your points for gift cards.

Setting up your account is fast and easy to do, they take you step-by-step within the app on how to set up your account, so no technical skills or knowledge is needed. Just access to the internet and your basic contact info.

Is Drop Worth It?

Drop is unique in that it allows you to get cash back for everyday shopping that you already do with their Power Offers. Most cash back companies require your time in order to earn money, while Drop gives you easy access to rewards for your purchases.

Is it worth it? While you aren’t going to get rich off using Drop, it’s certainly worth taking 5 minutes to set up and you will get rewards points automatically. In fact, even when you sign up and link your bank account, you will get a $5 bonus when doing so through our partner link. Drop doesn’t take any time away from your day and earns you money automatically. In other words, it’s free money!

I love Drop because I can use it in addition to getting rewards through credit cards, and because it takes no time or effort once it is set up. The only reason not to use Drop is if you are concerned about the safety or security issues of linking the app to your credit or debit cards.

Sign up for Drop through this link and get a $5 bonus (5,000 Drop points) when you link your first credit or debit card.

Drop App Review: The Easy Cashback App 

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15 Brilliant Ways to Save Money in 1 Hour or Lesshttps://vitaldollar.com/save-money-one-hour/ https://vitaldollar.com/save-money-one-hour/#respond Thu, 30 May 2019 13:01:01 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=4155 There are all kinds of different ways to save money, but if you’re looking for quick results, here are some ideas to save money with only a minimal investment of time and effort. Read through this list and I’m sure you’ll find at least a few things you can do right now to start saving […]

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15 Brilliant Ways to Save Money in 1 Hour or Less

There are all kinds of different ways to save money, but if you’re looking for quick results, here are some ideas to save money with only a minimal investment of time and effort.

Read through this list and I’m sure you’ll find at least a few things you can do right now to start saving some money. Several of these methods can even help you to save money on your recurring bills, which will free up money in your budget each and every month.

→ Related reading: How to Create a Budget That Works

1. Let Trim Lower Your Monthly Bills

Trim

Trim is a free app that can help you to save money in a few different ways. The most significant is its bill negotiation service. If you give Trim permission, they will work on your behalf to reduce your bills for cable TV, internet access, and cell phone service.

It takes just a couple of minutes to sign up and then Trim does the work for you. There is no upfront fee and if they aren’t able to lower your bills you will owe nothing. If they are able to lower your bills, Trim will charge 33% of your total savings over the next year.

I’m a fan of Trim because their negotiation reduced my Comcast bill for internet access (even after I unsuccessfully tried to negotiate a lower price on my own).

In addition to the bill negotiation, Trim will also analyze your spending and help you to find subscription payments that you can cancel to save money.

Try Trim for free.

2. Set Up Paribus to Get Refunds for You

Paribus

Paribus is a free app that helps you to get refunds that are owed to you. You’ll link it to the email address that you use for online shopping and whenever it sees a receipt email it will go to work. Paribus will look for lower prices whenever you have a purchase from a store/website with a low price guarantee.

If Paribus finds a lower price, it will automatically request a refund for the difference on your behalf. I’ve received several emails about partial refunds from purchases as a result of taking just a couple of minutes to sign up for Paribus.

Another nice feature of Paribus is shipment tracking. The app will track shipments from websites like Amazon that offer a delivery guarantee. If the delivery is late, Paribus will attempt to get compensation for you. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, this could mean a free month of Prime or a small gift card.

Possibly the best thing about Paribus is that it is hands off. You sign up, give it access, and you’re done. It will work without any further effort from you.

Try Paribus for free.

3. Transfer High-Interest Credit Card Debt

If you have high-interest credit card debt, an easy way to save some money is to sign up for a new credit card that offers 0% interest for a limited time on balance transfers. There are plenty of cards with balance transfer offers, so it’s not hard to find a good option. Dropping from 15-20% interest down to 0% interest can make it a lot easier to get that debt paid off!

Of course, doing a balance transfer is only a good solution if you are committed to paying off that balance and not accumulating more credit card debt. Don’t apply for a new credit card unless you’re confident that you can avoid racking up more debt.

See an updated list of the best balance transfer credit cards here.

4. Open an Account with a Good Cashback Credit Card

If you’re like me and you use a credit card for the majority of your purchases, you can accumulate a lot of rewards and cash back over the course of a year. Earning 2% – 5% cash back may not sound like a lot, but it really adds up.

If you’re using a rewards credit card that pays 1% cash back, you can do better! There are a few cards that pay 2% for every purchase.

There are also other cards that allow you to earn a higher percentage on certain types of purchases. I love the Chase Freedom and card because I can earn 5% cash back on purchases in categories that rotate each quarter. Right now, I’m getting 5% cash back on groceries, which is an easy way to accumulate rewards from something I need to buy.

The same disclosure is applicable here. Don’t use a credit card unless it is for purchases that you would make anyway. If using a cashback credit card encourages you to spend more money, don’t carry one. 

See this page for an updated list of the best cash rewards credit cards.

5. Buy Discounted Gift Cards (for Things You Would Buy Anyway)

Raise

One of my favorite easy ways to save money is to buy gift cards at prices below face value. If you buy a gift card to a store or website that you need to shop at anyway, it’s a great way to save some money.

There are a few different ways you can buy discounted gift cards, including:

  • Use a website like Raise to buy discounted gift cards that other people aren’t going to use.
  • Buy discounted gift cards at wholesale clubs (when they have promos).
  • Buy gift cards at places that will earn extra cash back (if you get 5% cash back from grocery store purchases, you may be able to buy a gift card at the grocery store for other stores and restaurants).
  • Take advantage of special offers with buy-one-get-one-free (usually around the holidays).

I have a more detailed article about ways to buy discounted gift cards if you’re interested in learning more.

Raise is my favorite way to do it. The amount that you’ll save will depend on the store or website that you’re buying a gift card for, but the savings can be pretty good in some cases (especially with restaurants). If I know I am going to be making a purchase at a store or eating at a restaurant, I’ll check Raise and see if I can get a gift card at a discount.

6. Let Personal Capital Check Your Investment Fees

Personal Capital

Personal Capital is a free finance app that has several different benefits. My favorite use of Personal Capital is for tracking net worth, but it also has some nice reporting tools. One of the reports will allow you to see how much you are spending on fees for your investments.

High investment fees can kill your long-term growth, so it’s best to minimize the fees as much as possible.

You can create a free Personal Capital account, link your investment accounts, and check the fee report. If you don’t like what you see, you can move to investments with lower fees.

Get a $20 Amazon Gift Card for Trying Personal Capital

Right now Personal Capital is offering a $20 Amazon gift card just for trying their free app. You’ll need to sign up here, and then after you have linked at least one financial account, you will get an email with a code for the $20 gift card.

7. Create a Meal Plan for the Next Week

One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to create a meal plan and use that meal plan to create a grocery list. If you typically go to the grocery store and just buy random stuff, you’re probably spending way too much money.

A meal plan is a great way to make the most of the money that you spend on groceries, and it’s not that hard to do. See this beginner’s guide if you’re looking for some direction.

In less than an hour, you can create a meal plan for the next week, and when you go grocery shopping you will easily save money.

See this article for more ways to save money on groceries.

8. Pack Your Lunch

Do you normally buy your lunch each day? If so, an easy way to save some money would be to pack your own lunch.

You can pack a lunch in just a few minutes, or with an hour you can cook something and take part of it with you each day.

If you spend $8 per workday on lunch, that will cost you about $176 per month! You can easily pack a lunch each day for a small fraction of that amount.

9. Switch to a Different Energy Provider

Depending on where you live, you may be able to choose your provider for utilities like electricity and gas. Not only can you save money, but it’s fast and easy to do. In most cases, the company that you switch to will handle the work for you, so all you need to do is sign up.

You can use a website like ChooseEnergy.com to find the best rates on electricity and natural gas. Comparing rates is easy and you may even find some offers with signup bonuses.

Visit ChooseEnergy.com to easily compare rates.

10. Get a Quote for Refinancing Your Student Loans

If you have student loans, you may be able to save money by refinancing or consolidating. In just a few minutes you can get a quote from websites like Credible or LendKey. It’s easy to do, and you may be able to save a nice chunk of money without much effort.

11. Move Your Savings to an Account with a Higher Interest Rate

Where do you keep your savings? If you have a savings account with a local bank, chances are, the interest rate you’re earning is very low. If you open a savings or money market account with an online bank you can probably increase the interest that you earn by a drastic amount.

My wife and I keep our savings with CIT Bank. The main reason we use CIT is that they offer outstanding interest rates (more than 20x the national average). Check their current rates for high-yield savings accounts and money market accounts.

High-Yield Savings AccountsAPYMinimumSignup BonusOpen Account
CIT Bank1.55%$100$0Open Account
CIT Bank2.4%$25,000$0Open Account
Capital One1.0%$0$25Open Account

12. Ditch Cable

Sling

If you pay for cable or satellite TV, you can probably save a lot of money by going with one of a growing number of cable alternatives. We canceled cable about 6 years ago and I’ve never missed it.

Sling is one of the best cable alternatives, and at just $25 per month it will save you a lot of money. Netflix and Hulu also give you access to plenty of TV shows and movies at low monthly prices. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, don’t forget that you have access to Prime Video.

Cable TV AlternativesStarting PriceLive TV?Sign Up / Start Trial
Sling$25YesSign Up
Netflix$8.99NoStart Trial
Hulu$7.99UpgradeStart Trial
Fubo$44.99YesStart Trial

13. Change Cell Phone Carriers

Do you use one of the major cell phone carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile)? If so, you can probably save a lot of money by switching to a cheaper carrier.

My wife and I switched to a discounted carrier a few years ago and it literally cut our bill in half, saving us more than $800 per year! We’re currently with Cricket Wireless and very happy with the price and the coverage. Other good low-price options include FreedomPop and Mint Mobile.

Low Cost Cell Phone PlansStarting PriceSpeedBring Your Phone?Sign Up Here
Cricket Wireless$304G LTEYesSign Up
FreedomPop$04G LTEYesSign Up
Mint Mobile$154G LTEYesSign Up

14. Check for Lower Insurance Rates

Insurance is the type of monthly bill that most people don’t really like to spend money on. It’s important to have insurance, but it’s not really an exciting thing to buy. But saving money on insurance can be a little more exciting.

There are several websites that make it easy to compare insurance rates. If you find a rate lower than what you are already paying, which is very possible, it can be a fast way to save some money.

PolicyGenius allows you to get rates for many different types of insurance. Quotacy is a great site that I used to get the best rate on life insurance.

15. Adjust Your Existing Insurance Coverage

Another way to save money on insurance is to adjust your existing policy. There are a few details that you might be able to change, and they can have a big impact on the monthly premium that you pay.

If you increase the deductible will can significantly (in most cases) lower your premium. Of course, you’ll need to consider the likelihood of needing to pay that deductible to determine if the change is the right move to make.

You may also be able to reduce your premium by reducing the amount of coverage on your policy. Of course, you’ll want to be sure that you have adequate coverage, but it’s not uncommon to be overinsured. When my wife and I moved a few years ago we were given way too much coverage on our homeowner’s insurance for the content of our house. We were able to reduce the amount of coverage and still have more than enough, and it knocked about $150 off our annual premium. Check your policies to see the details, and if you’re overinsured you may be able to easily save some money with just a phone call.

 

With just a small amount of time and effort, all of the options covered in this article can help you to save money. If you have an hour to spare, pick one of these options and take action now to keep more money in your wallet.

READ NEXT: 100 Amazing Websites for Saving Money

Save Money in 1 Hour or Less

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Webull Review: Free Stock Trading Platformhttps://vitaldollar.com/webull-review/ https://vitaldollar.com/webull-review/#respond Thu, 30 May 2019 12:08:15 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=4435 This article is sponsored by Webull. All opinions are my own. Webull is an online broker that offers commission-free trading through its mobile app (available for iOS and Android). Although there are other apps offering free trades, like Robinhood, the two apps are very different and Webull has some unique features to offer, especially in […]

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Webull Review

This article is sponsored by Webull. All opinions are my own.

Webull is an online broker that offers commission-free trading through its mobile app (available for iOS and Android). Although there are other apps offering free trades, like Robinhood, the two apps are very different and Webull has some unique features to offer, especially in the area of research.

Currently, Webull is offering a free stock worth $3 – $300 to anyone who successfully opens a free account through this link

Read on to learn more about the company and the app.

About the Company

The Webull app is owned by Webull Financial, LLC. The company was founded in 2017 (privately held) and the mobile app was launched in May of 2018. Webull is a registered broker-dealer with the SEC and a member of FINRA and Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which protects securities customers of its members up to $500,000 (including $250,000 for claims for cash). You can see more at FINRA’s BrokerCheck.

How Webull Works

There are no fees to open or maintain an account with Webull. There is also no minimum balance for regular trading (there is a $2,000 minimum balance for margin trading). You can trade stocks and ETFs, but Webull does not currently offer trading for options or cryptocurrency.

As was mentioned earlier, you can get a free stock simply for opening an account with Webull.

After you’ve signed up, it will typically take a few hours for your account to be approved and activated. Once it is approved you will be able to transfer money to Webull and start trading. Transfers can be done by ACH for free (requires a US bank account). You can also transfer money by wire, but there are some fees associated with that ($25 for domestic wires and $45 for international wires). Wire transfers can be done from US or international banks.

Once the money you have transferred is in your Webull account, you can begin trading. Webull offers free trades of 5,000 stocks and ETFs.

The Webull platform is available through the mobile app, and a beta version of a desktop app is also available (the desktop app is currently for trading only).

What Makes Webull Unique

Webull is, in some ways, like Robinhood. Both apps offer commission-free trades of stocks and ETFs, as well as the convenience of a mobile app. However, there are some significant differences between the two. While Robinhood is intentionally a fairly simple app, Webull offers more in the way of reporting and research. Webull offers news, real-time market data, and powerful analyisis tools for free. This includes real-time quotes, in-depth charts, analyst rating and the full financial calendar.

You may also benefit from the full extended hours trading (4:00 AM – 8:00 PM Eastern). Webull also offers 24/7 support.

How to Get Two Free Stocks

In addition to the free stock that you’ll get for creating a Webull account, you can also qualify for a second free stock when your first deposit is at least $100 within 30 days of opening the account. The second stock will be valued between $4 and $1,000.

For clarity, to qualify for the second free stock, your first deposit must be at least $100, that must be in one deposit (not a combination of multiple deposits), and within 30 days of opening the account.

Get a Free Stock When You Open a Webull Account ($3 – $300 value)

Get Your Free Stock Here

Is Webull Safe?

As was mentioned earlier, Webull is registered with the SEC and a member of FINRA and SIPC. The SIPC protects the securities of its members’ customers up to $500,000 (including $250,000 for claims for cash). Webull is also fully encrypted to protect user data.

Pros and Cons

Like any other app or platform, Webull comes with some pros and cons. Let’s take a look.

Pros:

  • Commission-free trades of thousands of stocks and ETFs. Although it’s not the only broker offering free trades, Webull does have an advantage over many of its competitors in this area.
  • Free to set up and no minimum balance. When you combine this with the free trades, Webull is very attractive, especially for beginner investors who may not be dealing with large sums of money.
  • Advanced reporting and tools. This is probably the feature that is most significant in differentiating between Webull and Robinhood. Investors will love the access to data that is available in the Webull mobile app. This data can go a long way in helping you to invest more effectively.
  • Ease of use. Even with advanced tools, Webull is still fairly easy to use. There is not a long learning curve and you will be able to use the app effectively almost immediately.
  • Possibility to get two free stocks. Get one free stock for signing up, and another if you deposit at least $100 within 30 days. You can’t beat two free stocks!

Cons:

  • Limited desktop version. While the reports and tools available in Webull are great, personally, I would prefer to be able to access them on a desktop. As of now, the desktop app is only for trading and is a beta version. However, they are working on this and improving the desktop app.
  • No retirement accounts are available. All of your activity with Webull will be with taxable accounts as there is no option for IRAs or other retirement accounts.
  • No option for joint accounts. All accounts with Webull (currently) are individual accounts without the option to create a joint account.

Is Webull Worth My Time?

Overall, Webull is an excellent app. The commission-free trades, free sign up, and no minimum balance cannot be beaten. The advanced reporting and analysis tools are also better than what you will find from many competitors. Webull is a great choice for anyone who wants to be able to trade stocks or ETFs from a mobile phone.

Get a Free Stock When You Open a Webull Account ($3 – $300 value)

Get Your Free Stock Here

Webull Review

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