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Putting This Off Could Stick Your Family with Over $200K in Debt. And It Takes Just 5 Minutes

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So you’re apparently a grown-up now. You’re successfully adulting. Congratulations! 

That means it’s time to stop procrastinating and ask yourself this “adulting” question — one you’ve been putting off. If you were gone, how would your family ever pay off the house?

The unfortunate truth is, most of us die in debt, and studies have found that nearly 85% of people between the ages of 46 and 49 have an average mortgage debt of over $200,000. The last thing you want to do is leave your family with that debt. 

Luckily, in just five minutes, you could make sure your family is financially taken care of with a life insurance policy. A company called Bestow makes it easy to apply for coverage right from your phone. Yep. You don’t even need to leave your house.

Spend Five Minutes to Make Sure Your Family Can Pay the Bills When You Die

As long as you’re between the ages of 18 and 60, you can apply and get a quote in minutes — and if you’re approved, you could have coverage by the end of today. There’s no medical exam required.

Even better — life insurance may be cheaper than you think. Bestow’s premiums start at just $10 a month, and Bestow helps you choose the right amount of coverage for your family. How big is your mortgage? You can choose coverage ranging from $50,000 to $1.5 million, and policies can run from 10 to 30 years. Bestow can help you figure it out.

For example, you could get $250,000 of coverage for just under $13 a month.*

So, if you’ve been putting this off, now’s the time to stop. In just five minutes, you could make sure you don’t leave your family with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. It takes just a few minutes to get started, and you’ll know your family is taken care of.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. You better believe he has a mortgage.

*Rates are based on a healthy, non-smoking, 25-year-old woman.

Life insurance quotes provided by Bestow Agency, LLC dba Bestow Insurance Services in CA, who is the licensed agent. Term Life Insurance Policies offered by Bestow are issued on policy form LS181 and LS182, or state version including all applicable endorsements and riders, by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®, Administrative Office, One Sammons Plaza, Sioux Falls, SD 57193. Products or issues ages may not be available in all jurisdictions. Limitations or restrictions may apply. Not available in New York. The application asks about your lifestyle and health to avoid requiring a medical exam.

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Take These 5 Financial Steps Before Quitting Your Job

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They’re calling it “the Great Resignation,” because everybody’s quitting their jobs now. At least it feels like everyone’s quitting.

The COVID-19 pandemic has many of us reevaluating our lives and our careers. Some of us are burned out. Some of us aren’t ever going back to the office. Nearly 4 million Americans quit their jobs in June alone, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In fact, most American workers are currently thinking about bailing on their jobs, according to a number of recent surveys. A surprising number of them are even willing to go into debt to do so. 

Are you in this boat? If you leave your current job without having another job lined up, you’re going to want to make these five financial moves before you give notice. Having a solid financial plan will give you the time, the room and the stability to pursue the kind of career you really want.

1. Have Savings in the Bank

Even though there are a lot of job openings these days, you might not get a new job right away. Before you quit, financial experts often recommend having enough savings to pay six months’ worth of living expenses — although that can be a pretty tall order.

In any case, you should have enough savings to support yourself for several months. Try funneling some of your current paycheck into a separate savings account, so you won’t be tempted to spend it.

With the Aspiration account, you can earn up to 20 times the average interest on your savings balance. (The FDIC reports that the average account earns just .05%.)

With this online account, your money is FDIC-insured and protected by military-grade encryption. You also earn up to 5% cash back on your debit card purchases. It takes all of five minutes to sign up.

2. Make Sure You’ll Have Health Insurance

Um, don’t forget that we’re still in a global pandemic. Yes, STILL.

You’ll want to have health insurance, even though you won’t have it as an employment benefit anymore.

COBRA allows you to continue coverage under your former employer’s plan for up to 18 months, but it’s expensive. You’re not eligible for government-paid COBRA premiums if you voluntarily left your job.

Instead, consider shopping on the federal health insurance marketplace, which offers a variety of plans at differing levels of coverage and cost. Depending on your income, you may qualify for a subsidy to help pay for your insurance.

3. Cut Your Monthly Expenses 

With no steady income — at least temporarily — you’ll need to live on less. Examples: Cut cable, cancel some streaming services, don’t order out for dinner.

Don’t stop there, though. Take real steps to reduce your unavoidable monthly bills:

Car insurance: A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options. People have saved an average of $540 a year this way.

Groceries: A free app called Fetch Rewards will reward you with gift cards just for buying toilet paper and hundreds of other items at the grocery store. After you’ve downloaded the app, just take a picture of your receipt showing you purchased an item from one of the brands listed in Fetch. 

Online purchases: Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert anytime you’re shopping on Amazon or Walmart.com and you’re about to get ripped off? That’s what this free service does. Just add it to your browser, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites to see if your item costs less somewhere else. 

4. Roll Over Your 401(k)

If you’ve been in your current job for long enough that you want to quit it, then you probably have a 401(k) retirement account through your employer. 

It might be tempting to cash it out and have access to all that money, but that’s not a good idea. It comes with penalties and taxes while reducing your retirement savings.

You should probably just leave your 401(k) account as it is until you get a new job. Then you can roll it over into your next employer’s 401(k) plan. Or, if you’re going to be self-employed, roll the money into an IRA, an individual retirement account.

5. Develop Other Income Sources 

If you’re burned out on your job and you want a change, you’re far from alone. But if you quit your job without another one lined up, you may need some alternative income sources until you find your next permanent gig.

Maybe it’s time to look into getting a side gig for the time being. Here’s a list of seven side gigs that have gotten us through the past year and a half. They include delivery apps, elder assistance, contact tracing, freelancing and homeschool assistance.

We know other ways to pick up a little spending money here and there. For instance, research companies want to pay you to watch the news.

You could add up to $225 a month to your pocket by signing up for a free account with InboxDollars. They’ll present you with short news clips to choose from every day, then ask you a few questions about them. It only takes a minute to sign up, and start getting paid to watch the news

The “Great Resignation” has a lot of us quitting our jobs — or at least thinking about quitting our jobs.

Nothing wrong with that. But if you’re doing this, having a financial plan in place will make all the difference.

Mike Brassfield is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder.

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Track Your Credit Score from Your Phone — and Get $10 in Cash Rewards for Doing It

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Take it from us: Your credit score is more important than you think it is.

The higher your score, the better deal you’ll get on a mortgage or a car loan or a credit card — or even on a deposit for your next apartment or car rental.

Your credit score is a three-digit number ranging from 300 to 850. It’s based on your payment history, how much of your credit you’re using, how long you’ve had credit, how many kinds of credit you have, and other factors. 

Basically, it’s a measure of how well you’ve managed money in the past, and it’s used to predict how well you’ll manage money in the future. Banks and credit card companies use it to decide whether they’re willing to lend you money — and at what rates. Landlords and potential employers look at your score, too.

So what’s your score, and how can you raise it? You can find out with a free tool called SoFi Relay, and rest assured, there will be no harm to your credit

SoFi will check your score for you, and it sends you alerts whenever your score changes. It also gives you insights on the major factors that contribute to your credit score. 

This free money management app does more than that, though. Once you link your accounts to it, it tracks all of your money, all in one place. It’s a spending tracker that helps you see where your money is going and shows you a high-level overview of your finances — all on your phone. If you want, the spending tracker will help you set monthly spending targets.

More than half a million people are already using SoFi Relay. If you join them, SoFi, for a limited time, will give you up to $10 in Cash rewards for signing up for credit-score monitoring.

How to Get $10 Just for Signing up for Credit Monitoring

SoFi is a financial company that’s probably best known for refinancing student loans at better rates. But it has a whole menu of other financial services, too — like mortgages, personal loans, investing, automated investing, IRAs, life insurance and credit cards. 

SoFi members can also talk one-on-one with a financial planner for free. This financial advisor can give you advice and help you set goals.

And your $10 bonus for signing up for credit score monitoring? It gets deposited into your SoFi Money cash management account, which you can open up in less than 60 seconds.

SoFi Money helps you save, spend and earn interest. It pays out six times the national average on interest rates, charges no account fees or overdraft fees, and if you set up direct deposit, you can get your paycheck up to two days early. No minimum balance is required. 

Here are its other features:

  • A debit card that provides free access to more than 55,000 ATMs.
  • Auto-save features enable you to route your paycheck to specific savings goals 
  • FDIC insurance for your deposits.
  • Periodic cash-back offers.
  • Automated savings roundups, if you want them. Have your debit card round up your purchases to the nearest dollar, so you can save or invest your digital change.

In a nutshell, SoFi offers you lots of tools to help you manage your money in a better, smarter way.

No overdraft fees. Free consultations with a financial advisor. Loans at some of the lowest rates around. Different ways to invest.

And now, a free way to keep track of your credit score — along with tips on how to improve it. Get started here to see how much you could improve your score. 

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. You better believe he keeps tabs on what his credit score is doing.

* The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of SoFi. This material is not intended to serve as a recommendation and is not meant to suggest that any of the products mentioned are suitable for all Members, as individual results, needs, and financial situation may vary.

** Please refer to SoFi.com to review all product disclosures, terms and conditions, state restrictions, and fees where applicable.

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This App Pays up to $40 per Game When You Compete and Win

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What’s your favorite game to play on your phone? Is it spider solitaire or cube solitaire? Do you like bubble shooter games? How about block puzzle games or bingo?

Wouldn’t it be even better if you could win real cash competing in your favorite games? 

That’s the idea behind Mobile Premier League, a gaming app that offers a bunch of classic online games and the opportunity to win cash prizes by competing against other players.

Other gaming apps typically only offer one game per app. But once you download Mobile Premier League’s app, you’ll have your choice of nearly a dozen popular online games. These include cube and spider solitaire, bubble shooter, baseball, bingo, block puzzle, “Fruit Chop,” “Matching Master,” 21 Puzzle, billiards and bowling.

The app is free to join, and you can play free practice versions of the games for as long as you want. Or you can enter daily cash tournaments or head-to-head matches to win money.

When you first sign up to enter tournaments, you get $5 in bonus cash just for joining. You can use that money to start playing in cash tournaments, to see if the app is for you.

Whenever we sign on to the app, we always see several different tournaments available. 

Entry fees for tournaments range from 25 cents to $6. Currently, the pool of winnings for each tournament can go up to $1,250, although a prize pool that big will get split up among hundreds of winners. The most that a single player can win in a tournament is $40, but Mobile Premier League plans to add bigger tournaments soon.

Your winnings get deposited into your Mobile Premier League account, and you can pay yourself via PayPal or a simple bank transfer. (That $5 in bonus cash you get when you join? That’s just for the games. You can’t keep it — you only get to keep your winnings.)

Mobile Premier League has many of the old-school games that you may have played on an early mobile phone, a Gameboy or a personal computer, so chances are, you’ll find something you like.

Whether your game is cube solitaire, bubble shooters or bingo, it’s easy to download the app and start playing.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. His preferred game on Mobile Premier League is 8 Ball Blast.

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Here’s How to Get Some of Your Kids’ School Supplies for Free this Year

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Holy cow, is it time for back-to-school shopping already? 

Not only is it a pain, but it’s also expensive. The average parent spends nearly $125 on back-to-school supplies per kid per year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Here’s a good way to make it better: Get some of your kids’ school supplies for free. 

That’s right, free. When you sign up for a cash-back app called Ibotta, you’ll earn 100% cash back on a variety of school supplies and snacks.

This back-to-school shopping promo is a more generous version of what Ibotta always does, which is earn you cash back when you buy things. Although it’s probably best known for getting you cash back on groceries, wine and beer at your local grocery store, Ibotta is offering this back-to-school bundle through Aug. 31.

The following items are free after rebates: a three-subject spiral notebook, a 12-pack of Ticonderoga No. 2 pencils, an eraser, a box of tissues, a Del Monte fruit cup and all the ingredients you need for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

The rebate items, which have a combined value of at least $20, can easily be purchased online via Ibotta through Walmart, Target, H-E-B or Shipt. You can also buy them in-store at Walmart.

To collect your $20 in free school supplies — a good deal no matter how you look at it — just download the free Ibotta app or browser extension. Your back-to-school offers should appear. Choose which of the four retailers you want to shop at. 

You’ll get your 100% cash back within 72 hours of pickup or delivery.

It takes about 30 seconds to download Ibotta on your phone. What, you don’t need free school supplies?

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He buys school supplies for two kids.

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Parents: Here Are 5 Smart Uses for Your Child Tax Credit Payments

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Parents, we know what a game changer this is: Suddenly, you’re getting these child tax credit payments every month from the federal government.

The payments started landing in bank accounts in mid July — $300 a month for each child under six, and $250 for older children. Even better, these payments will keep coming each month through December!

If you’ve got a family, that money really adds up. Good thing, too — kids are expensive. The remaining five payments are coming via direct deposit on Aug. 13, Sept. 15, Oct. 15, Nov. 15 and Dec. 15. (If the IRS doesn’t have your direct deposit info, you’ll get a check.) And you’ll get more money back when you file your taxes next year.

So, here’s what we think you should do with this money:

1. Stock Up on Groceries — and Get Paid 

Every parent knows that some of the realest spending decisions you make are at the grocery store: Should I buy this or that for dinner? What’s on sale? Can we afford that? 

The federal government’s child tax credit payments will certainly help you feed your family — and maybe buy some nicer cuts of meat, or that pricey ice cream you were looking at. And you may as well earn a little money back while your groceries are being bagged up. 

A free app called Fetch Rewards will reward you with gift cards just for buying any of hundreds of different items at the grocery store. 

Here’s how it works: After you’ve downloaded the app, just take a picture of your receipt showing you purchased an item from one of the brands listed in Fetch. For your efforts, you’ll earn gift cards to places like Amazon or Walmart. 

You can download the free Fetch Rewards app here to start getting free gift cards. 

Over a million people already have, so they must be onto something.  

2. Invest the Money for Your Kids

Another way to financially take care of your family is to invest. Investing is how you build generational wealth. 

If you feel like you don’t have enough money to start investing, this sudden extra money could help with that. Also, you really don’t need that much — and you can even get free stocks (worth up to $200!) if you know where to look.

Whether you’ve got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood.

Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.

What’s best? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $2.50 to $200 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.

3. Build Up an Emergency Fund

As a parent, the responsible thing is to have an emergency fund. But as a parent, your money is always so stretched, that’s hard to do.

An emergency fund is a stash of easily accessible money that equals three to six months’ worth of living expenses, in case you unexpectedly lose your job. And millions of us unexpectedly lost our jobs in 2020.

You can save your federal child tax credit payments in an Aspiration account, an online account where you can earn up to 20 times the average interest on your savings balance. (The FDIC reports that the average account earns just .05%.)

You can also earn up to 5% cash back on your debit card purchases. 

It takes five minutes to sign up.

4. Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company 

Have you got credit card debt? Use your child tax credit payments to pay off a low-interest loan that replaces your credit card debt.

Credit card debt is the most expensive kind of debt, and your credit card company is just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates. But a website called AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.

The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 2.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.

AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $50,000 online. You do need to give AmOne a real phone number in order to qualify, but don’t worry — they won’t spam you with phone calls.

5. Look Out for Your Kids Over the Long Term

These child tax credit payments could help you afford something you haven’t bothered with until now: Life insurance.

There was a surge of interest in life insurance during the pandemic, as more Americans realized they probably needed it. 

Also, more people are seeking out no-exam life insurance because they don’t want to go to a doctor’s office for an in-person exam. Companies like Bestow use algorithms instead of medical exams to evaluate applicants.

Rates start at just $16 a month. You could leave your family up to $1 million. The peace of mind knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.

If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without leaving your home, get a free quote from Bestow.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. As the parent of 11-year-old twins, he’s wondering: Where have these monthly child tax credit payments from the federal government been all these years?