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How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck This Year

Details for How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck This Year

Wouldn't life be a little easier if you had a $1,000 cushion in your emergency fund?

The paycheck-to-paycheck cycle is an easy one to fall into — and a hard one to break.

But trust us: There are ways out — and we want to help.

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck This Year

One of the best ways to tackle this cycle to the cold, hard ground is to take it step by step. No, you won’t get ahead overnight. This is going to take a little time. But in the end, it’ll be worth it — and it doesn’t have to be hard.

Month 1

This month, we want you to try and reduce your car insurance bill. For many, car insurance is just one of those things where we cave in and pay. Because, just like the electric bill and phone service, we need it, right? But one way you could save money is by shopping around and comparing rates at least once a year.

The Zebra is an online car insurance search engine that offers “insurance in black and white,” compares your options from 204 providers in less than 60 seconds.

Month 2

Can you earn an extra $20 this month? A number of sites will pay you to read advertisers’ emails, sign up for offers and take surveys.

We’ve tried about a million of them (OK… we've lost count), but there are only a few we'd recommend.

  • MyPointsThis platform lets you earn gift cards for taking polls, answering surveys and other things you do online — a great way to cash in on long lines or an endless commute. You’ll earn a $5 bonus when you complete your first five surveys.
  • InboxDollars offers several short, daily surveys you can take. If you take all of them each day, you could earn an extra $730 a year — not too bad.

Month 3

Open an online savings or checking account and deposit $5. It doesn't seem like a lot, but it's important first step. Heck, roll some change.

There’s no law that requires you to bank the old-fashioned way — at a brick-and-mortar bank with a crummy interest rate on your savings.

It’s time to move your money into the 21st century. An iOS app called Varo Money combines traditional banking tools with modern technology to help its customers become financially healthy.

Here’s the best part: Pair your Bank Account with a Varo Savings Account where you’ll earn 1.5% Annual Percentage Yield. That’s more than 20 times — repeat, 20 times — the average savings account.

Varo goes easy on the fees, too. As long as you use one of its 55,000 ATMs across the world, you’ll never pay fees.

Additionally, you’ll pay no monthly service fees, no minimum balance fees, no foreign transaction fees and no cash replacement fees. You’ll just pay any fees charged by out-of-network ATMs and cash deposit fees if you deposit cash in-store through Green Dot.

Month 4

To build your savings, try to earn an extra $50 this month by bringing in money you don’t have to work for — like, at all. Here are a few cool ways to build up passive income and savings:

  • Paribus is a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It's free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.
  • MobileXpression for Android: After you’ve installed this app for one week, you get to play an instant rewards game for a prize (everyone wins something). We’ve seen users win a $25 Amazon gift card, but other prizes include iPads and Samsung TVs.

Month 5

Have a spare room? Try to earn an extra $100 or more by listing it on Airbnb.

If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.

And there's no reason you can't be creative. We found a guy who earns $1,380 a month listing a backyard tent on Airbnb!

(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)

Month 6

Have a bunch of movies or CDs collecting dust on a shelf? Decluttr will pay you for them.

Decluttr buys your old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and video games, plus hardware like cell phones, tablets, game consoles and iPods. Plus, enter FREE5 at checkout to get an extra $5 for your trade-in order!

What about old clothes? Instead of storing themindefinitely, try selling them. One app we especially like is Letgo. You can literally list your clothes in less than a minute.

Can you find $100 worth of stuff in your closets?

Month 7

Here’s a super simple way to boost your savings quickly and with almost no work.

We've put together a list of our favorite bank promotions happening right now. These banks will pay you up to $300 just to open a new account!

It's up to you to decide how to manage several bank accounts. But we find when you’re building your savings, it's helpful to have multiple places to “hide” money so you’re less likely to spend it.

You could always open an account, collect the bonus, and close it when you're no longer using it — just make sure you read the details and know the requirements you need to meet to earn the bonus.

Month 8

Can you Lyft your way to an extra $325?

Demand for ridesharing has been growing like crazy, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

If you give just a few rides with Lyft each week, you can easily earn the last $325 over the next few months. In fact, we talked to one driver, Paul Pruce, who’s been driving full-time with Lyft for over a year. He earns $750 a week as a driver!

To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later.

Months 9-12

Bonus: Cut your monthly bills to keep that balance growing!

You don't have to do it alone. Download TrueBill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions and refund your bank fees.

After downloading the app, create an account and link your bank account and/or credit cards. Turn on the bill negotiation and outage protection features. Boom. TrueBill is already searching for potential refunds — it might get you a refund even when you didn’t know an outage occurred.

On average, Truebill customers get $12 in credits off their cable bills each month.

The app will also remind you of all those sneaky subscriptions you’ve signed up for through the years, so you can cancel what you don’t use and reclaim your monthly budget.

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