Bankrate’s 2021 January Financial Security Index findings prove one thing: Americans need help building their nest eggs. Bankrate asked respondents if they could cover an unexpected $1,000 bill. A full 61% said they couldn’t without pulling additional strings, like cutting back on everyday expenses. In fact, plenty of people barely have anything resembling a “slush fund,” particularly after 2020’s global pandemic.
If you can sympathize, you’ll be pleased to learn you’re not without options.The economy is showing signs of regaining balance. As it moves toward pre-coronavirus levels, focus your attention on personal wealth-building. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a lot of cash upfront in order to begin boosting your finances.
Below are a handful of methods to get yourself in a more comfortable financial situation. Try the ones that suit you and your lifestyle best.
1. Put money into real estate.
For a long time, real estate has remained a prudent investment vehicle. This doesn’t include your house, though. Your home is an asset, yes, but it’s also where you live. You can’t really get immediate cash without moving, which incurs other costs. However, you may be able to make fast money by buying and selling distressed real estate in your area.
There are many ways to find investment properties, and the wholesale real estate market continues to boom. Wholesale properties may be foreclosed or otherwise undervalued. This makes them ripe for a short sale and fast turnaround.
Not interested in building a large network of other real estate investors or spending hours on end searching through the MLS for the perfect property? You have the option to source wholesale properties directly from investors that specialize in finding great investment properties. Leveraging wholesalers cuts back on the time needed to start your investment portfolio and removes one of the most difficult aspects of getting started.
2. Embark upon a side hustle.
The gig economy hasn’t slowed down one iota since the beginning of Covid-19. Lots of entrepreneurially minded people have taken up a side hustle. You can join their ranks, and you don’t necessarily need to put much money into getting started.
For instance, if you own a working vehicle and you like to drive, you can become a rideshare driver. You’ll be able to make your own hours and get a bit of money with every trip. If your talents are in the graphic design field, you could offer your services on a freelancers’ platform like Upwork.
Any side hustle has the possibility of turning into a full-time career or business down the road. But first, you need to figure out what you love doing. That way, your gig won’t feel like work. It’ll feel more like a chance for you to show off your mad skills.
3. Use cash-back portals and loyalty cards.
Do you shop online or use credit cards? JP Morgan recently noted that ecommerce spending has skyrocketed across most generations since the beginning of 2020. Nevertheless, you want to make sure you’re squeezing all available paybacks and perks from every transaction.
As an example, are you clipping coupons available on retailers’ apps or websites? Have you checked out cashback sites like Rakuten or Iobotta? Before you make any purchases, always see if you’re eligible for any discounts. Getting 50 cents off your shampoo might not seem too exciting. It all adds up, though.
To help you stay the course, keep track of how much you save every week. Keep your receipts and write down your savings. If possible, “match” the amount you saved (or close to it) and put the money into an interest-bearing savings account.
4. Join Airbnb.
People are finally thinking about traveling again, especially as Covid vaccines become more prevalent and available. This could be an opportunity for you to dive into Airbnb. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a huge space to wow occasional visitors. You just need the right mindset and a safe environment.
Begin by reading through Airbnb’s policies and guidelines. Scour the site for other homeowners’ listings for ideas. Then, think about your home. Is there a unique place that would make a terrific “crash pad” for travelers to your region? Do you have a unique outbuilding like a barn or roomy shed that you could convert? Get creative, but make sure you’re offering amenities like a climate-controlled atmosphere that’s clean and quiet.
To be sure, becoming a host won’t be without its demands. You can’t just settle into a “set it and forget it” attitude. Nonetheless, joining Airbnb could help you meet new people from all over the world. And you don’t have to leave your neighborhood to be incredibly hospitable—and make money, too.
5. Put dollars into CDs.
Lending institutions offer their customers CDs, which are accounts that offer higher interest rates than traditional savings ones. In exchange for the interest that you receive, your money is locked up. For instance, if you put $500 into a three-month CD, your money will grow a little over three months. You won’t have access to it until the CD matures.
As long as you can be without your cash for three months, six months, or years, you can benefit from CDs. Check out banks in your area. Many periodically offer CD specials featuring attractive interest rates. You can also look online for the day’s highest yield CD rates across the nation. Remember: You’ll want your money to grow automatically, but you have to be comfortable with the time frames. Don’t put $1,500 into a five-year CD if it’s all the money you have. Otherwise, you can’t get to it sooner without facing penalties.
While you’re scouring your local banks for the best CDs, see if the banks offer money for opening accounts. Plenty of financial institutions and credit unions will add cash to a new account. This enables you to get more money right away, just by becoming a customer. If you have children, you might want to open investment-focused youth savings accounts for them, too.
Bumping up your income isn’t as impossible as you think. It doesn’t require you to find a new line of work, either. Try the preceding strategies to give yourself a financial lift—and the benefit of lowered money-related stress.