If you are looking to put extra money in your pocket this summer, consider switching to a better bank account, credit card or brokerage. Financial service companies are becoming increasingly generous in their race to attract new customers. Switching accounts usually doesn't take much time, and can be done online. If you do it right, you could easily make $350 or more and end up with a better financial deal in the long run.
Just remember these two warnings:
Don't sign up for an account just because of an introductory bonus. While a bonus can be nice, you should remain focused on the long-term value of the product. The sign-on bonus is just the "cherry on top."
Don't change your spending behavior just to earn a sign-on bonus. If you cannot afford the spending thresholds required to earn a bonus, don't open the account.
1. Switch Checking Accounts ($200 or more possible)
Checking accounts are probably one of the most boring financial accounts out there. However, you could easily earn $200 of more by taking advantage of a bank account switching bonus. Financial site NerdWallet keeps an updated list of bonuses being paid by banks. The amount of the bonus and the rules vary by bank. But typically you will need to sign up for direct deposit in order to qualify.
If you have been with your bank for a long time, now is a good time to consider switching to a better deal and getting a nice bonus in the process.
2. Open A New Credit Card ($150 or more possible)
It has never been easier to earn lucrative rewards on credit cards. 1.5% cash back has become the new 1%, and many cards are offering 2% or more depending upon the spending category and your behavior. If you are still earning a boring 1%, now might be the time to consider a change. You can search for the best cash back credit cards online at MagnifyMoney.
In addition to earning a better cash back rate of return, many credit cards are also offering a lucrative sign-on bonus. You can easily find cards with a $150 sign-on bonus, so long as you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months of the account.
3. Open A New Brokerage Account ($200 or more possible)
Do you have investment accounts? The cost of investing has never been lower, and online brokerages are willing to pay for your business. For example, if you moved a $25,000 IRA to E*Trade, you could get a $200 bonus. Depending upon how much money you moved, you could earn up to a $2,500 bonus.
You should not change your investment strategy or pay higher on-going fees in order to get a short-term sign-on bonus. However, given how low trading fees have become, now is a good time to see if you can get a better on-going deal and be paid for the switch. You can see a list of the current brokerage account bonus offers on the finance blog InvestorJunkie.
Earn Money Quickly
You can open a checking account, credit card and brokerage account online quickly. And if you have been with your existing bank for a long time, now is a good time to see if you can get a better deal. Not only will be you better off in the long-run, but you could end up with some easy extra money this summer.
Related: 12 ways to save money on food
12 Ways to Save Money on Food
12 Ways to Save Money on Food
This advice applies to adults and kids alike. Plan out your shopping list before you head to the grocery store so you’re not tempted by impulse buys, and let any children along for the ride know that you plan on sticking with that list. Small expenditures add up to big money, so try to avoid giving in to any last-minute requests.
If your children continue to insist that you purchase their requested items, then ask them to bring their own piggy bank money. Remind your children they are only allowed to pick something they can afford. It's good practice for grown-up budgeting.
You might not have 20 hours a week to scour multiple publications for the best deals, but if you focus on searching for online coupons, you'll end up saving just as much. Search online for products with the word "coupon" afterward. For instance, if you're looking for Cascade dish soap, search for "Cascade dish soap coupons."
To make sure that you don't waste money on impulse buys, schedule your shopping around paydays. The day or day after you get paid should be your shopping day. Before you go shopping, make a list and make sure it has everything you'll need until the next shopping day on it. Now make a commitment to yourself that you will make what you're going to purchase last until the next shopping day.
Stocking your freezer with frozen meals can help you save money on lunch, since they cost just about $5 each. It can even be a healthier option because they help you practice portion control. Just make sure you're purchasing meals that have no preservatives, and watch out for sodium levels.
Don't waste your time making a sack lunch every day. Instead, prepare a week's worth of lunches on Sunday, and your body will thank you for the extra 10 to 30 minutes of sleep you'll gain each night. If you cook one big meal on Sunday, make sure it's easy to change up throughout the week. Chicken, rice and vegetables all cook quickly and taste great with different sauces and cheeses.
Most families throw away so much food on a weekly basis. A better idea is to turn your dinner leftovers into a lunchtime feast. Apps like BigOven help you use your leftovers to make yummy, new dishes. All you have to do is enter the ingredients you have, and the app will show you different recipe options for your leftovers. You'll save money using food that would have been thrown out.
If you know you have $400 to spend per month on your food budget, that's roughly $100 a week. Whether you shop once or twice per week or use cash or credit doesn't matter as long as you stay within your spending limits. Just be sure to only spend the amount you allotted per week.
Keep your shopping list in a set location so all members of the household can access it. Write estimated prices of the items you are going to buy next to each item on the checklist. It can serve a dual purpose as a price book you can use to guess how much you will spend.
If you've ordered from the kids menu at a restaurant recently, then you know how big the meals are – they're almost as big as meals for adults, and they can cost up to $10 each. If you have multiple children, an easy way to cut down on this expense is to have them share a meal. Not only does this lower the cost of feeding everyone, but it also cuts down on food waste.
Most stores are open late, and without the distraction of announcements, people and maybe even your kids, you can have your own Zen moment. When you are clearheaded, you're more likely to zone in on what you really need and leave out what you really don't. Plus, it's easier to give the cashier coupons without causing any delays for the people in line behind you.
We are a society consumed by all sorts of apps, but if you want to grocery shop, save money and still be lazy, let Favado, an app created by Savings.com, do the work for you. The app will tell you about items on sale from different stores, and if there is a store coupon or manufacturer coupon, it will also let you know that too. (Of course, you can just use it to scan the weekly ads to keep things simple.) And if you're already glued to your smartphone, it's easy to incorporate into your shopping routine.