Finding money in an old winter coat or some forgotten jeans is the best. You’ve got cash in your pocket and you didn’t do a thing! Instead of $20 we’ll show you where to find an extra $1,000 this year. Just like finding that $20 bill, these steps are virtually effortless yet can turn into a lot of extra money.
1. Buy Generic Drugs Over Name Brand
According to the Consumer Products Healthcare Association (CHPA), households spend an average of $338 per year on over the counter medications. This provides ample opportunity to save some money by buying generic.
A common concern is that generic might be cheaper because it’s of lesser quality. However, the FDA requires generic drugs to have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, and method of consumption as the name brand version.
In reality, generic drugs are cheaper simply because they don’t have to spend money on Research and Development, clinical trials, marketing, or advertising. And at an average 60% discount, the only thing that buying generic over name brand does is leave your money right where it belongs, in your wallet.
Total Yearly Improvement: $200 (Assumes average 60% generic discount to name brand)
2. Put Your Excess Cash to Work
With volatility in the markets and uncertain economic conditions, both domestically and abroad, you can hardly be blamed for wanting to keep your hard earned cash safe and secure. But if you’re keeping your money in a standard savings account you’re stuck “earning” a dismal 0.1% interest rate if you’re lucky.
Fortunately, there are better risk-free alternatives available in the form of high yield savings accounts. The sign-up process typically only takes a few minutes and the 1% yield you’ll earn is certainly better than nothing. Check out NerdWallet for a list of the best accounts out there and let your hard earned money do some work for you.
Total Yearly Improvement: $200 (assuming $20K in savings)
3. Use Coupon Codes or CashBack Deals When Buying Online
According to Forrester Research, the average U.S. consumer will spend $1,738 online in 2016. That’s a hefty sum, but thanks to the rise of affiliate marketing it’s never been easier to get a little more value at checkout.
A natural skeptic might be wary of a scam, but affiliate marketing programs are simply a tool for retailers to outsource some of their marketing, helping to drive sales and entice new business. The best way to save some money on your online purchases is to search for a coupon code or a cashback deal before checking out.
With either strategy you’ll find deals worth 5% – 20%+ which can add up to serious savings over the course of a year.
Total Yearly Improvement: $130 (Assumes 7.5% average coupon or cashback deal)
4. Take Advantage of Credit Card Rewards
Unless you’re not ready to trust yourself with plastic, there is no reason you shouldn’t be using your credit card as your primary means of purchase. As long as you budget correctly, you can simply draw down credit and pay it off each month. This strategy is commonplace and results in the same expenditure as if you had used cash or a debit card all along. By using your credit card for everyday purchases you can accumulate cashback rewards that can ultimately add up to make an impact.
Credit cards have been getting more aggressive with their cashback rewards over the last couple years. It’s easy to find cards these days that offer up to 2% cashback on all purchases, and even 5% on specific categories. These options offer an excellent way to put cash back in your pocket and lessen the sting of everyday expenditures.
Total Yearly Improvement: $225 (Assumes $15,000 spent with your new credit card at 1.5% cashback, does not count $100 sign-up bonus offered by Quicksilver)
5. Off-Peak Traveling
Friday and Sunday are peak flying days because most people work Monday through Friday. But if you can afford to get a little flexible with your travel plans you’ll find some serious savings. We did some research, and found that roundtrip; cross-country tickets averaged almost $150 less when flying Tuesday to Wednesday versus flights booked Friday to Sunday. Even if you can’t swing the mid-week trip, try flying back on a Saturday to save an average of $75 per ticket.
Total Yearly Improvement: $150 – $300 (Assumes you purchase the equivalent of 2 cross-country, round-trip tickets per year)
6. So That’s $980, I Thought You Said $1,000!
If you add this up, we’re at $980 (taking the midpoint of the ranges). This isn’t the $1,000 I promised, which means we’re not quite done. According to a CoinStar survey, the average American has approximately $28 hiding in their couch, car, and around the house. Spend an hour tossing all your loose change in a jar and you’ll hit your $1,000!
You’ve done it! You’re $1,000 richer and barely lifted a finger to make it happen.
Have any other suggestions of how to add easy money to your bank account? Share them with us below!
Johnny Van Siclen is the founder and CEO of EarnSmart, a savings tool that helps people automatically save toward pre-defined goals either in the form of cash goals (e.g. an emergency fund) or retail goals, helping people save then spend responsibly, guilt free.