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There are lots of “work from home” and get-rich-quick schemes out on the web. If you find one that works, let me know and I'll be the first to sign up! Until that day, here are 5 ways to make some extra cash in less than 12 minutes.
I've tried all of them personally and they've all worked for me! Some of them require a bit of planning, but most of them can be accomplished in under 10 minutes.
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1. Credit Card Welcome Bonuses
They are usually contingent on spending a certain amount of money in the first few months you have the card. However, if you adjust your spending habits and just put everything on the card, you'll usually make the spending minimums no problem.
I update a list monthly of the best credit cards.
TOTAL TIME: 7 minutes
2. Adjust your tax withholding
Did you get a refund from the IRS this year? Chances are you did. The IRS issued almost 60 million refund checks in 2012. Each check averaged $2946. That means the average taxpayer overpaid by $245 per month in 2011. What could you do with an extra $245 per month? Pay off some student loans, build up that Roth IRA you've been meaning to start, maybe get your emergency fund off the ground?
If you received a large refund this year, you probably should adjust your withholding. (Disclaimer: you should consult with a certified tax adviser before doing this.) Withholding is adjusted on your W4. For military members, you can adjust your withholding right on myPay. It takes a few minutes and is really easy.
So how much should you be claiming for exemptions? Use the IRS Withholding Calculator to figure out what your exemption status should be. For me, married with no kids, I'm a 2. Before I used the calculator to set up my exemptions correctly, I was having nearly $500 a month withheld. Now, I'm down to a more reasonable $300/month, which should still result in a refund of about $1000. Definitely better to have the $200/month in my bank account rather than to be giving Uncle Sam a free loan for a year.
TOTAL TIME: 10 Minutes
3. Switch to a Cashback Credit Card
Okay, this is cheating a bit because we already talked about credit card welcome bonuses up top. But this is different because we're talking about using credit cards that give you a cash back bonus. Many cards only give you reward points, which can only be redeemed for overpriced merchandise in the credit cards company's online store. Some other cards give you cash back, but at horrible rates.
You shouldn't settle for anything less than 1% cash back on all purchases. Many cards give you 2% and some even go up to 6% on certain categories (such as the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred, which gives you 6% cash back on groceries).
If you're not cashing in on cash back, you're giving up the opportunity to put money in your pocket. This year alone my wife and I have racked up over $1000 in cash back, which we've used for plane tickets, to build our emergency fund, and we're planning on using to buy Christmas presents. And we've never given the credit card companies a dime in interest, fees, or anything else.
TOTAL TIME: 5 Minutes
4. Cancel services you don't use or at least get a lower monthly rate
One extreme way to save $100s each month is to cancel all your monthly subscriptions and try and go a month without them. (Disclaimer: I'm not the first one to have the idea, but I have done it myself.) I see so many people that subscribe to multiple magazines that they never have the time or desire to read. I used to subscribe to The Economist.
I loved receiving a glossy new magazine every week. How many of the articles did I actually read? Maybe half, usually less than that. You know what I didn’t like? Paying nearly $100 a year for the subscription. There are so many other monthly recurring charges that hit your credit card every month.
Just take a look at your statement. Netflix, gym membership, cable, Amazon Prime, mobile phones, landlines (does anyone still have a landline?), credit score monitoring service, and so on. You don’t need any of these. All those magazines that you get every month or every week and then have no time to read it? You can probably get the best articles online anyways, for free.
If you can't cut out an expense, at least get the price lowered. I was paying $60 a month for TimeWarner Cable’s second fastest available Internet connection. After calling them once, I was able to get the price lowered to $40/month for 6 months and they upgraded me to their fastest connection, a $10 value, for free. After the 6 months, they raised my bill to $70.
I called them once again to cancel. I was offered $30 a month for 6 months, and it was pro-rated for the previous month. A 50% decrease over what I was originally paying, all for only a 15 minute phone call. I was saving $40 a month. Over a year, that adds up to $480, or an hourly rate of $1920 ($480/15 min).
Try earning that much money anywhere else in the world. I have had friends do this same method and they have had $160 cable/internet bills cut down to $90 a month, plus free HBO, Showtime, and HD for a year. That’s a yearly savings of $840, or an hourly wage of $3360. Not bad for a 15 minute phone call.
TOTAL TIME: Less than 12 Minutes
5. Try a new bank (or two!)
Many banks offer bonuses when you open a new checking or savings account with them and perform a few actions, like a debit transaction or direct deposit. If you've got some time on your hands, why not open a new bank account. You might just find a new bank you want to do business with and you'll get a bonus on top!
Use any of these ways to make $200+? Let me know how it went in the comments!
If you liked these ideas or used any of them to put cash in your pocket, then share the love with your friends on Facebook, Twiter, or Reddit!