Our salaries are in a race with inflation, and we’re losing.
The cost of everything is rising faster than it has in four decades, and there’s no escape, because it’s affecting basic necessities like food and gas. You can’t go without eating, and you have to get around.
Inflation hit a 40-year high in June, with prices up 9% compared to a year earlier.
Did your salary go up 9% this past year? No, we didn’t think so. Costs are rising faster than your salary is.
What can you do to protect your bank account and make some extra money if you’re feeling the squeeze? Here are the best ways to make and save more money that you probably haven’t thought of before.
1. Let This App Pay You up to $83 When You Win Solitaire Games
Lots of us already play Solitaire on our phones for fun or just to pass the time. Want to see if you can win money at it?
There’s a free iPhone app called Solitaire Cash that lets you play for real money. You could get paid up to $83 per win.
You might be thinking: There’s got to be a catch. This is definitely one of those spammy apps, right?
Wrong. There really isn’t a catch. Sure, you can pay to play in some higher-stakes tournaments, but there’s no pressure. And, in fact, there aren’t even any annoying ads.
With each game, you’ll battle it out against at least five other players. Everyone gets the same deck, so winning is totally a matter of skill. The top three players who solve the deck fastest can win real money — anywhere from $1 to $83.
Over on the App Store, it has over a million downloads and more than 15,000 ratings, averaging 4.7 stars (out of 5).
To get started, just download the free app and start playing your first game immediately.
2. Find Out If You’re Overpaying
Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert when you’re shopping online at Target and are about to overpay?
That’s exactly what this free service does.
Just add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including Walmart, eBay and others to see if your item is available for cheaper. Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price-drop alerts and even see the item’s price history.
Let’s say you’re shopping for a new TV, and you assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop up letting you know if that exact TV is available elsewhere for cheaper. If there are any available coupon codes, they’ll also automatically be applied to your order.
In the last year, this has saved people $160 million.
You can get started in just a few clicks to see if you’re overpaying online.
3. This App Can Help Save You $720 a Year
Keeping track of your subscription services can feel like a game of whack-a-mole. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on them all, another random charge pops up on your bank statement.
It’s easy to let it slide — $5 here, $10 there. But it can seriously add up. Luckily, an app called Truebill can show you exactly where you’re wasting money on forgotten subscriptions and bills that are overcharging you. It saves the average person $720 a year.
Truebill helps you find and cancel things like unused streaming subscriptions and expired free trials, and they’ll also negotiate lower monthly rates with your internet company, phone company and other bills — for the same service.
Truebill has already saved users more than $245 million, and it uses Plaid to make sure all your sensitive information is safe. The app does all the heavy lifting. All you have to do is sign off on these money-saving changes.
It takes just a few minutes to get started and see how much you could save this year. Just register an account and link your bank account, then sit back while Truebill goes to work.
4. Get Up to 40% Cash Back When You Shop Online
Chances are you do some of your shopping online. Whether it’s pet food from Walmart, a new outfit from Macy’s or even a flight home for summer vacation, you’re probably leaving money on the table.
A free website called Rakuten has the hookup with just about every online store you shop, which means it can give you a kickback every time you buy.
In fact, since Colleen Rice started using Rakuten, she’s earned more than $526.44. For doing nothing. Seriously.
Rice says she uses Rakuten for things she already has to buy, like rental cars and flights.
It takes less than 60 seconds to create a Rakuten account and start shopping. All you need is an email address, then you can immediately start earning cashback at your go-to stores through the site.
Your cash will be deposited directly into your bank account or via a check in the mail every few months. Talk about money for nothing.
5. Use This Secret Debit Card
Here’s the deal: If you’re not using Aspiration’s debit card, you’re missing out on extra cash. And who doesn’t want extra cash right now?
Yep. When you sign up for a debit card called Aspiration, you could get up to 5% back when you swipe at certain stores — plus they give you up to 50 times the normal national interest rate on your savings balance.
It’s perfect for earning extra cash for things that are already on your shopping list. You were going to buy these things anyway — why not get this extra money in the process?
This card used to have a huge waiting list, but now you can sign up for free.
Just enter your email address here and link your bank account to see how much extra cash you can get with your free Aspiration account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
6. Get Paid Up to $140/Month Just for Sharing Your Honest Opinion
Brands want to hear your opinion to help inform their business decisions on everything from products and services to logos and ads — and they’re willing to pay you up to $140 a month for it.
A free site called Branded Surveys will pay you up to $5 per survey for sharing your thoughts with their brand partners. Taking three quick surveys a day could earn up to $140 each month.
It takes just a minute to create a free account and start getting paid to speak your mind. Most surveys take five to 15 minutes, and you can check how long they’ll take ahead of time.
And you don’t need to build up tons of money to cash out, either — once you earn $5, you can cash out via PayPal, your bank account, a gift card or Amazon. You’ll get paid within 48 hours of your payout being processed, just for sharing your opinions.
They’ve already paid users more than $20 million since 2012, and the most active users can earn a few hundred dollars a month. Plus, they’ve got an “excellent” rating on Trustpilot.
It takes just a minute to set up your account and start getting paid to take surveys. Plus, right now, you’ll get a free 100-point welcome bonus just for becoming part of the community.
7. Cancel Your Car Insurance
Here’s the thing: your current car insurance company is probably overcharging you. But don’t waste your time hopping around to different insurance companies looking for a better deal.
Use a website called EverQuote to see all your options at once.
EverQuote is the largest online marketplace for insurance in the US, so you’ll get the top options from more than 175 different carriers handed right to you.
Take a couple of minutes to answer some questions about yourself and your driving record. With this information, EverQuote will be able to give you the top recommendations for car insurance. In just a few minutes, you could save up to $610 a year.
8. Spend 2 Minutes Doing This to Save up to 35% on Gas, Groceries and Going Out to Eat
Your monthly budget is already stretched to the max — but an app called GetUpside wants to help you cut your spending by giving you discounts every time you shop at partner stores.
All you have to do is download the free app, claim an offer and upload your receipts. When you snap a pic of your receipt, you can save up to 25 cents per gallon on gas, plus cash back on your grocery haul (without having to clip coupons).
And at some restaurants, you can get up to 35% cash back on your bill! Just check the app to see what discounts are available near you.
It takes a couple of minutes to sign up for GetUpside. You’ll earn cash, which GetUpside sends you through PayPal, e-gift cards or deposits directly into your bank account. They’ve already paid out $100 million — how much could you earn?
9. Get Paid for Your Opinion (as Soon as Today)
Got opinions? Here’s another good online survey site.
The catch with a lot of these sites is that it takes forever before you can actually get paid. You find yourself taking tons of surveys before you ever see a single cent — if you even qualify for the survey at all.
That’s why we like a website called Survey Junkie. It rewards you no matter what — even if you don’t qualify. And it lets you cash out a lot faster than its competition — you could even get paid today.
You get points for every survey you take, and once you’ve earned 500 points, you can cash out and get your first $5. A lot of sites make you wait until you’ve earned $20 or $25 worth of points before you can claim your earnings.
Most people get their money within seven days of signing up — but the pace is entirely up to you. Plenty of folks cash out the same day. And you can choose to get paid via PayPal or with digital gift cards.
No, you won’t necessarily get rich taking surveys online, but it’s an easy way to make a little extra cash while you’re killing time. Signing up takes about one minute, and you’ll immediately earn points just for creating your account. You’ll be that much closer to cashing out.
10. Earn $300+/Month in Passive Income with Your Extra Space
If you’re like us, your garage probably isn’t doing much of anything at the moment. Maybe you have some tools in there, or maybe it’s home to your boxes of odds and ends, collecting dust.
But with a website called Neighbor, your extra space — whether it’s a spare room, an empty garage or a parking space — could be earning you an extra $300 a month in totally passive income.
Neighbor works by connecting people who need storage space with hosts who have the room to spare. The average host makes about $300 a month, but some people have earned up to $50,000 a year just by letting people park on their property.
It takes less than 10 minutes to get started. Just answer a few questions about your space, take some pictures and set your asking price. Neighbor will recommend a dollar amount based on your location and type of rental, but the final listing is up to you.
Neighbor even gives you up to $1 million in free protection as a host and offers protection plans for your renters, giving you both peace of mind.
Neighbor is an easy source of passive income, and it’s easier than most side hustles. It’s free to list your space, and you’ll only be charged a 4.9% processing fee from the profit you make each month, so there’s no risk to you.
Sign up here and see how much you could earn.
11. Add $225 to Your Wallet While Watching the News
It’s been a historic time for news, and we’re all constantly refreshing for the latest updates. You probably know more than one news-junkie who fancies themselves a constitutional scholar or a foreign policy expert.
That might not be the best news for your dinner conversations — but it’s great news for your wallet. 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 surveys to choose from every day, which you can fill out while you watch tonight’s broadcast.
You just have to answer honestly, and InboxDollars will continue to pay you every month. This might sound too good to be true, but it’s already paid its users more than $56 million.
It takes about one minute to sign up, and start getting paid while you watch the news.
Mike Brassfield (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.