9 Ways to Watch College Football Without Cable

For many of us, college football season is one of the most exciting times of the year. But, with so many teams to watch (including your local team), it seems like most of the “good games” require cable TV. Despite this roadblock, it’s possible to watch college football without cable.

After all, it was only a few years ago when you could watch the national championship game and the major bowl games on local channels. Today, you need ESPN to watch the most important games of the year.

Fortunately, that no longer means you need to sign up for a 12-month cable contract. Instead, consider these low-cost options to watch college football.

Watch College Football Without Cable

If you’re looking to cancel DirecTV or your cable TV subscription, there are several other ways you can watch college football. They’re legal, you’re not locked into a contract, and you can stream the game from any device. The only thing you need is a reliable internet connection.

Once college football season ends, you can cancel your streaming subscription fee-free. Or you might decide to hang on until the college basketball March Madness tourney ends.

College football streaming options might be the primary factor in deciding which of the services you choose. But don’t forget to factor other, non-sports channels into your price comparison. After all, most of us watch more than college football on TV.

1. An HDTV Antenna

The streaming options below do an excellent job of offering cable TV channels. However, they don’t always excel at providing your local channels. There’s a good chance you won’t get all four local broadcast affiliates (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox). This is because the major networks don’t have to partner with the different streaming apps.

If you happen to live in a major market where you can stream all four local affiliates (i.e., Los Angeles and Hulu Live TV), you may not need an antenna. But you may still run the risk of having those channels temporarily removed due to contract disputes.

Also, you might be able to get better picture quality using an HDTV antenna than streaming the channel over the internet. Heavy internet usage can cause your internet stream to stall or buffer. This can cause you to miss key plays that you could have seen using an antenna.

You can see which local channels the apps below stream by entering your zip code. If they don’t offer the local channels you need, you can most likely get them with an antenna.

Why We Like HDTV Antennas

  • Most viable way to get all your local channels without cable
  • Watch every over-the-air channel for free

2. Sling TV

If you’re only keeping your cable plan to watch ESPN, the cheapest alternative is Sling TV. It offers three viewing plans: Sling Orange, Sling Blue and the Blue and Orange Combo.

Sling Orange ($25 per month)

For $25 a month, you can stream ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3. With other apps, expect to pay at least $40 a month to stream the ESPN networks.

Adding the Sports Extra package costs $5 per month. This lets you stream ESPNU, Pac-12 Network, SEC Network and the Stadium Network.

Now, for the tradeoffs. If you only want to pay $25 monthly for college football, you must choose between the ESPN and Fox Sports networks. The latter networks don’t stream in Sling Orange.

Also, you can only stream on one device at a time with Sling Orange.

Sling Blue ($25 per month)

You can’t stream ESPN, but you get FS1 and FS2. Plus, select markets also stream their local NBC and Fox channels on Sling Blue.

Adding the Sports Extra package with Sling Blue costs $10 monthly. Unfortunately, you still don’t get any ESPN channels. But you can stream NFL RedZone, which makes this a good package for watching NFL football.

For college football, this is the less practical package because you can’t stream any ESPN channel. But, you can stream on three devices at once.

If you want maximum college football exposure on Sling, either choose the Orange or Orange and Blue combo package.

Sling Orange + Sling Blue ($40 per month)

When you want ESPN and Fox Sports, you can get the combo package and save $10 per month off the price of both separate plans. You will get all the Orange and Blue channels, including ESPN. And, you can stream on four devices at once.

For any plan, you need to pay $5 a month extra for cloud DVR. But even with that, you can’t record any of the ESPN channels or the SEC Network. If you want to DVR games on these networks, consider a different streaming app.

What We Like About Sling TV

  • Cheapest way to stream ESPN channels
  • Cheapest way to stream FS1 and FS2

For more information on Sling, read our full Sling TV review.

3. Hulu with Live TV

To get ESPN and Fox Sports, one of the best platforms is Hulu with Live TV. For $39.99 per month, you can stream both networks. That’s about the same price as Sling’s Orange and Blue package. Other streaming apps offer both networks, but charge more.

With Hulu Live, it’s possible to get most (or all) of your four local channels. But, in most markets only expect two or three local channels that air college football. In my town, Hulu doesn’t stream the local NBC affiliate. So, I need to use an HDTV antenna to catch the NBC broadcasts.

Besides live TV, you have full access to the on-demand Hulu library of movies and TV series.

Plus, you get 50 hours of free DVR storage. Hulu states you can record any college football game they stream. And, you can stream on two screens at once with the basic Live TV plan.

Maybe you’re one to set up at least three screens at once. For an extra $14.99 per month, you can watch on unlimited screens at home and on three devices when you’re away from home.

Why We Like Hulu with Live TV

  • 50 hours of free cloud DVR to record college football on any channel
  • Stream regional sports networks without buying an add-on package
  • Unlimited device streaming at home (extra $14.99 per month)

You can learn about the other Hulu with Live TV benefits here.

4. CBS All Access

CBS All Access lets you livestream your local CBS channel and the CBS Sports Network.

It costs $5.99 a month, and includes on-demand programming with limited commercial breaks. Or, you can pay $9.99 monthly for commercial-free on-demand programming. Of course, you will still see the regular commercials when watching live TV.

Why We Like CBS All Access

  • Most affordable way to stream local CBS channel or CBS Sports Network
  • Access to on-demand CBS library, too

5. College Sports Live

Another budget streaming app you might enjoy is College Sports Live. This app partners with over 70 schools to stream live sports content. Many of these colleges belong to smaller conferences. However, College Sports Live also partners with larger names, including Penn State, Notre Dame and USC.

It’s possible to watch full-length games of partner schools. You can watch televised events for other sports, too.

If your favorite team is a partner, it’s worth looking at the College Sports Live program schedule. You can see in advance which games they are streaming. If you subscribe, it’s only $9.95 per month.

Why We Like College Sports Live

  • Stream 70 college teams, regardless of your local broadcast zone
  • Listen to radio broadcasts if the game isn’t video-streaming

6. ESPN+

The ESPN+ app costs $4.99 per month. But, this isn’t a full access pass to the entire ESPN network. Instead, most of the available college football games are from lesser-known colleges and divisions. It’s similar to the streaming options available on ESPN3.

To watch the games that broadcast on ESPN or ESPN2, plan on spending at least $25 a month with a streaming app like Sling TV.

You can also stream other college and professional sports on the ESPN+ app. Some of the options include NHL hockey, European soccer and Canadian football.

When you’re not watching live sports, you also have access to an on-demand library of original ESPN programming. For instance, you can watch the popular 30 for 30 documentary series.

What We Like About ESPN+

  • Cheapest way to stream ESPN programming that’s not on ESPN or ESPN2 channels

7. DirecTV Now

This is the contract-free online version of DirecTV. For college football, look at the DirecTV Now “Just Right” package, which costs $55 a month.

The sports channels are similar to those available on the other streaming plans listed here that cost at least $40 monthly. But you have more non-sports channels to watch the other six days of the week.

With this plan, you can watch college football on these channels:

  • Big Ten Network
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2 and ESPNU
  • Local ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC (where available)
  • FS1
  • SEC Network

Which regional sports networks you can stream may depend on your home address.

You can also stream on two devices at once. And you get 20 hours of free cloud DVR.

Why We Like DirecTV Now

  • 20 hours of free cloud DVR
  • Stream on two devices at once
  • Access to local channels in most markets

8. PlayStation Vue

The PlayStation Vue platform is a good option, but plan on spending more than $40 a month. With either Sling or Hulu, you can watch many of the same channels for less money.

To decide if PlayStation Vue is worth the extra price, compare the non-sports channel lineup as well. There are four different channel lineups, each with different lifestyle and premium movie channels.

You don’t need to own a Sony product to be a Vue subscriber. But if you own a PS4, you can watch up to three live programs at once.

All subscribers can also enjoy free DVR storage that works on most channels. In most cases, you can record live games. However, some games or channels can’t be recorded due to broadcasting rules. You can also stream on up to five devices at a time.

The cheapest plan is $44.99 and includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2. But plan on spending $59.99 a month if you want the complete sports channel lineup.

Access Plan ($44.99 per month)

This entry-level plan gives you access to these five college football options:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • FS1
  • FS2
  • Local channels (where available)

But with this plan, you can’t add the $10 monthly Sports Pack, which includes some of the regional sports networks.

Hulu or Sling offer a better product for a lower price unless you like the non-sports channels on PlayStation Vue, or you own a PS4 and you think you want to watch three split screens at a time.

Core Plan ($49.99 per month)

This is the the best plan for watching college football on Playstation Vue.

In addition to the Access Plan lineup, you also get these channels:

  • ESPN College Extra
  • ESPNU
  • NBC Sports Network
  • Regional Fox Sports Network Channels
  • SEC Network

More importantly, with the Core Plan or either of the two more expensive plans, you can add the Sports Pack plan. Sports Pack gives you access to more of the regional sports networks.

Sports Pack ($10 monthly)

When you get any plan other than the cheapest PlayStation Vue plan, you can add the Sports Pack. It costs $10 a month to stream these bonus channels:

  • Fox College Sports (Atlantic, Central and Pacific)
  • Fox Sports Networks
  • Longhorn Network
  • NESN National
  • Stadium Network

Sports Pack is one of the few ways to watch regional channels if you live outside the broadcast zones for them. Still, depending on the broadcast rights, these regional channels can be subject to blackout rules if you live outside the normal broadcast zone.

However, you can still watch your local regional channel. For example, if you live in Alabama, you can watch Fox Sports Southeast. But, the Midwest network might be blacked out for a certain game.

Why We Like PlayStation Vue

  • Stream up to five devices at one time
  • Stream local channels
  • Free cloud DVR to record games

9. Fubo

Fubo might be the best network for other sports fans, but not for college football. This is because ESPN isn’t available with any plan.

If college football isn’t your primary passion, you might prefer Fubo. It allows you to stream foreign sports and U.S. professional sports with NBA TV and the NFL Network.

Other benefits: You can stream on up to two devices at once. You can add a third device for $5.99 per month. You also get 30 hours of free cloud DVR storage.

But Fubo is one of the more expensive options listed here. You can choose from one of two basic packages: Fubo ($44.99 per month) and Fubo Extra ($49.99 per month). With either package, you can add the Sports Plus package for $8.99 monthly. This add-on gives you access to the various Pac-12 and Fox College Sports networks.

Fubo ($44.99 per month)

The basic Fubo package comes with these college football channels:

  • FS1
  • FS2
  • Your regional Fox Sports network
  • BeIN Sports
  • Big Ten Network
  • CBS Sports Network
  • Local channels (where available)

If the various Fox Sports channels broadcast the games you want, you might like this package.

Fubo Extra ($49.99 per month)

For an extra $5 a month, you get access to the the Stadium Network channels in addition to the same sports channels as the basic Fubo channel.

Once again, for the price you pay, other apps might provide better viewing options.

Why We Like Fubo

  • Most complete way to watch college football and other global sports
  • Stream on two devices at once
  • Regional sports networks

FAQs

Below are answers to some of the more common questions about how to watch college football without cable.

Can I watch college football for free?

Using an HDTV antenna is the only way to watch college football for free (once you’ve paid the one-time purchase cost of the antenna). But with an antenna, you can only watch what your local channels are broadcasting.

Otherwise, you have to pay to watch college games. Once you have one of the streaming apps we recommend, you can watch games on that app.

If the streaming service also partners with ESPN or other cable networks, you might be able to stream games from their apps instead. Depending on the app, you might be able to stream live broadcasts or watch full game replays at your leisure.

If you have the Sling Orange package, for example, you can watch ESPN broadcasts from the Sling app or the WatchESPN app. With WatchESPN, you can multicast multiple games from a single TV screen. Keep these network apps in mind if you like watching multiple games at once.

Other TV streaming apps partner with the cable network apps, too. Sling, Hulu, PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now partner with these different apps. As long as that channel is in your current package, you can probably use the network app if you prefer that streaming experience.

How much does it cost to watch college football without cable?

To watch cable channels, you can pay as little as $25 a month for the Sling Orange package. With this package, you can watch ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3. For $30 monthly, you can add the Sports Extra package to also stream ESPNU, SEC Network and the Pac-12 Network.

Other full-service streaming apps start at $40 per month. These other apps might offer more channels or features (e.g., free cloud DVR).

Sling is the best option for bargain hunters. But, Hulu with Live TV might be better if you want ESPN and Fox Sports. For the same price as the Sling Orange and Blue package, you can also stream the Hulu on-demand library and more non-sports channels. And, Hulu provides free cloud DVR that saves you $5 a month.

Once you begin paying more than $45 a month, you need to decide if the extra channels are worth the cost. Most of these channels don’t specialize in college football. But, they might be fun to watch if you enjoy other sports or lifestyle channels.

Does these options require a contract?

No. None of these suggestions require you to sign a contract like cable or satellite TV providers do.

You can cancel your streaming plan at any time and not pay a deactivation fee. When college football season rolls around again, you can restart your streaming plan penalty-free.

Do you need internet to watch college football without cable?

With the exception of using an HDTV antenna for local channels, you need an internet connection to stream college football. A home internet connection of at least 5 Mbps should be sufficient. But, you may need a faster speed if you stream on multiple devices at a time.

Most of these apps offer a five-day free trial. Before you cancel your cable plan, try them out to make sure these options meet your expectations.

Tip: If your cable plan is still the better option, see if Trim can lower your monthly bill.

Can I stream local channels with these apps?

In some markets, you can stream all four major network affiliates. However, in most cities you will only be able to stream one, two or three local channels. So, plan on buying an HDTV antenna if you want all four.

Each local TV market is different. On the website of the streaming app you’re considering, there should be a place to enter your zip code to see which local channels and regional sports networks are available.

Summary

These apps help you break the cable TV monopoly on watching college football. Next season, you can watch your favorite teams for a fraction of what the cable company charges.

What channel do you watch college football on the most? What option is best for you? Let us know on Facebook!

24 Best Personal Loan Companies in 2019

If you need to borrow money, don’t go with the first lender you find. The loan may come with high interest rates and stiff repayment terms that can make your loan significantly more expensive.

Any personal loan company worth its salt won’t overwhelm you with fees, and they will offer a competitive interest rate.

Personal loans can save you money if you’re able to secure a lower interest rate. They can also improve your credit score with every on-time payment you make. Bonus: Since personal loans are for a fixed borrowing amount, you can’t add to the balance like you can with credit cards. This makes it easier to get out of debt and stay out.

Too many people think they must pay an interest rate of 15%, 20%, or sometimes even more on debt. Just because that’s the rate your credit card, medical care provider, or retailer charges doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it.

As you will find out, you may be able to refinance your debt with a personal loan and get a lower interest rate. You may even be able to drop your interest rate down to the single digits with a personal loan.

The Best Personal Loan Companies

We’ve researched some of the best personal loan companies out there, just for you. The companies mentioned below offer great loan options and don’t have hidden fees.

Note that with some of these companies you may have to pay origination and application fees. However, you can still easily save thousands of dollars compared to high-interest loans credit card interest rates.

Too many people think using high-interest loans or credit cards is the only way to borrow money. But in fact, there are lower interest rate options out there.

Another trend you will notice with these loan companies is that most of the top lenders are not involved with a traditional brick-and-mortar bank. In the last decade, online banking and peer lending have made it easier for companies to offer lower interest loans.

Online loan companies don’t have to worry about offsetting costs for large buildings, so they can offer lower rates. This makes it easier for consumers like you to find a loan with a lower interest rate.

You still can apply for a personal loan from your local bank or credit union. However, online lenders will usually provide a more competitive quote because of fewer operating expenses.

Here is a list of popular personal loan companies that may be able to help you lower your debt’s interest rate. If you qualify, you may be able to pay off debt faster.

1. Credible

Credible is one of our favorite recommendations because it’s a loan search engine. You can quickly compare the rates of up to eight lenders at once. Plus, the rates can be as low as 4.99% APR for personal loans to refinance your credit card debt!

If you have student loans to refinance, you can also refinance your federal and private student loans.

2. Upgrade

Upgrade is a newer company founded by two former executives of Lending Club. With a $1,000 borrowing minimum and an APR as low as 6.99%, Upgrade is one of the most affordable lenders. You have the option to apply for a three- or five-year loan.

You can borrow up to $50,000 using Upgrade. If all goes well, it will work on delivering the money to your bank account the next day. Upgrade even lets you customize your payment due date. This feature makes it one of the most flexible lenders on this list.

3. Even Financial

Even Financial is different from most of the other companies listed in this post because it searches for the best loan terms for you, and matches you with the lender that best meets your needs.

Unlike Credible, Even doesn’t provide a list of all the lenders and their rates. Rather, Even steers you to the best choice for you.

The rates on personal loans you can find on Even Financial are as low as 4.99%. This could be a big difference from the 15% (or more) you may currently be paying on your credit card debt.

4. Best Egg

Best Egg offers next-day deposit once they approve your application. Fixed rates are as low as 5.99% with a three to five-year loan term. They offer personal loans up to $35,000.

This might be the first time you’ve ever heard about Best Egg. It’s important to know they have an A+ Better Business Bureau rating. With a $2,000 minimum borrowing requirement, it can be really easy to qualify for a loan if you only have a small balance.

5. SoFi

SoFi is another top pick because of its low-interest rates and generous lending terms. With SoFi’s personal loans, you can borrow between $5,000 and $100,000 for up seven years. And, it offers a fixed interest rate as low as 6.99% APR if you set your payment up on autopay.

SoFi has other benefits, too. Hopefully, you will never need to use this benefit, but SoFi does offer unemployment protection. This feature temporarily pauses your payments if you lose your job.

You won’t have payments on your SoFi loan for three months, but the benefit can be extended for three more three-month increments, up to 12 months total for the life of the loan.

This benefit is unheard of for private loans. Other lenders require you to continue making the minimum monthly payment regardless of your employment status.

In fact, the only other similar benefit offered is a federal student loan forbearance request that allows you to pause payments penalty-free.

SoFi lets you borrow money for:

  • Student loan refinancing
  • Medical resident student loan refinancing
  • Home mortgages
  • Personal loans

And, you will never pay an origination fee or prepayment penalty.

6. Prosper

One of the largest peer-to-peer lenders is Prosper, which allows you to borrow up to $40,000. All loans are a fixed rate with either a three-year or five-year loan term.

Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) is a recent phenomenon in the finance industry. It allows private investors lend directly to borrowers like you. This means you can skip the traditional bank loan application process that can make a loan more expensive.

In addition to debt consolidation loans, Prosper also lets you apply for baby and adoption loans. Other options are home improvement, small business, and special occasion loans. And, Prosper has interest rates starting as low as 6.95%.

7. LendingClub

Like Prosper, LendingClub is a P2P lender that can offer lower interest rates (currently as low as 6.95%) and possibly give you a better chance of approval than a bank would.

LendingClub offers fixed-rate personal loans of $1,000 to $40,000 for either 36 months (three years) or 60 months (five years). When you apply, LendingClub performs a soft inquiry so your credit score will not be affected by the loan application. The entire approval process takes about seven days.

You can use LendingClub to apply for personal loans, small business loans and auto refinancing.

8. LightStream

If you’re in the market for a personal loan with a super-low interest rate, check out LightStream,  As of August 9, 2018, you can get a rock-bottom 3.09% APR with AutoPay,

This offshoot of SunTrust Bank is offering a fixed 3.09% APR to borrowers with good to excellent credit. You need to borrow at least $10,000 for a loan term of 24 months to 36 months to qualify.

Additionally, you need to sign up for automatic payments. This low rate is possible when you buy a new or used vehicle and is slightly lower than the industry average for a new car loan.

If you want to consolidate your debt, Lightstream is also offering debt consolidation loans for 5.89% APR on a $10,000–$24,999 loan with autopay. By signing up for autopay instead of paying manually, you’ll save 0.50% APR.

As Ben Franklin would say, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

9. LendKey

LendKey is for people who want to refinance their student loan debt. LendKey has a network of community banks and credit unions, and partners them with borrowers who want to refinance their student loan debt.

With LendKey, you can get rates as low as 2.51% variable APR, or 3.49% fixed APR if you sign up for autopay (as of Sept. 13, 2018). There’s also no loan origination fee, and it won’t harm your credit to shop rates on LendKey’s website.

LendKey’s borrowers on average save over $16,000 by refinancing. Plus, many lenders available on LendKey’s website offer flexible repayment options. Some examples include interest-only payments for the first four years. This is a benefit that can rarely be found when refinancing student loans.

10. Upstart

Young professionals with minimal credit history should consider Upstart. It offers personal loans of $1,000 to $50,000 in three- and five-year repayment term.

This could help you to consolidate your credit card debt or student loans. You could also get a loan to start a business or pay for personal expenses.

Upstart takes your education, area of study, and job history into consideration when you apply for a loan. Once Upstart approves your application, you will receive the money the next day. Since launching in 2014, Upstart has funded more than $1.4 billion in loan requests.

Here’s another cool fact about Upstart; it was founded by ex-Google employees. They used their knowledge to build the first lending platform that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to price credit and automate the borrowing process.

As a result, Upstart can offer credit to borrowers that other lenders might pass over. However, they’re still making smart loans. Upstart has a missed payment rate that is currently below the industry average.

11. Payoff

Payoff specializes in credit card debt consolidation and has refinanced more than $100 million so far. Current interest rates are as low as 5.65%.

The only fee you will pay is an origination fee. You won’t pay typical fees with Payoff. For instance, other lenders might charge more if you make a payment by paper check. However, with Payoff payments made by snail mail never cost extra.

The Payoff loan term can be between two and five years in length. Payoff also offers job loss support to restructure your monthly payments if you lose your job. This benefit is becoming more common, but it is still a rarity among private lenders.

12. Earnest

Some lenders rely solely on your credit report to approve or deny your loan application. However, Earnest uses “deep data” like your job history, income potential, college experience, and saving patterns to get you the lowest interest possible.

Earnest offers student loan refinancing with variable rates starting at 2.47% APR with autopay. It also offers personal loans with fixed rates as low as 6.99%. Personal loan terms are three to five years.

Bonus: Earnest will let you get an estimated interest rate without affecting your credit score.

13. Peerform

Peerform is one of the few P2P platforms that lend to borrowers who have a credit score as low as 600. If you have average credit, you may not qualify for their top category 5.32% APR, but you can still potentially get a lower interest rate than at a bank.

P2P lenders like Peerform have been so successful in recent years because they have made loan consolidation easier. Borrowers can more easily responsibly refinance their current debt and avoid the bank for new financing too.

With Peerform, you can borrow up to $25,000 per loan and your all loans have a three-year (36 months) loan term.

14. Avant

Avant caters to borrowers with a credit score between 600 and 700. Interest rates start at 9.95% APR for a 24-month loan. All loans have a fixed interest rate.

Like a few other lenders, Avant looks beyond your credit score at your educational and professional background to get the lowest interest rate possible.

You can borrow from Avant for debt consolidation, home improvement, and unexpected emergencies.

15. Discover Personal Loans

With Discover Personal Loans, you will pay zero fees (as long as you pay on time) and can receive a same-day lending decision. Discover offers loan terms from 36 months to 84 months, and interest rates start at 6.99% APR.

Bonus: If you experience “lender’s remorse,” Discover will let you return the entire borrowed principal penalty-free within the first 30 days. You won’t find very many lenders with that generous benefit.

You can use Discover’s personal loans to consolidate debt or pay for large expenses including your wedding or medical bills. One of the most common reasons people apply for a personal loan is to pay for medical expenses.

With higher copays and deductibles on insurance plans these days, medical expenses can accrue quickly. Using a consolidation loan to help manage those bills can save you money and stress.

16. PersonalLoans.com

PersonalLoans.com is not a lender, but is a personal loan search engine. This search engine can help you find loans as small as $1,000. You can also specify your loan term to be as short as 90 days or up to six years.

Lenders in PersonalLoans.com’s network offer loans up to $35,000 with interest rates starting at 5.99% fixed APR.

To begin finding your loan offer, all you have to do is submit a request with some basic information. You’ll need to share your bank account information, for instance. You’ll also need to share your income and credit score. Lenders will review your information quickly. You could be presented with a great loan offer within just a few minutes!

17. FreedomPlus

FreedomPlus offers a 4.99% fixed interest rate when you borrow at least $15,000. This minimum borrow requirement is higher than the other lenders on this list. However, if you are going to borrow at least $15,000 anyway, it’s worth applying.

To apply to FreedomPlus, you will need a credit score of at least 640. You also need an annual salary of $34,000 or higher, and a debt-to-income ratio below 40%.

You can earn an additional interest rate discounts by having a co-signer and owning a retirement account with at least $40,000 in assets. Both of these discounts can lower your interest rate by 2%–3%!

18. Wells Fargo

Do you prefer a well-established national bank with physical branch locations? Wells Fargo offers personal loans without an application fee or origination fee when you apply for a fixed-rate loan. Since Wells Fargo is a brick-and-mortar lender, their starting interest rate is a little higher than the online-only lenders. Their starting interest rate for personal loans currently sits at 6.99%.

In addition to the option of in-person service, current Wells Fargo members can enjoy relationship discounts. You can get discounts by opening a checking account, for instance.

Wells Fargo has a fast processing time for loans, too. You can even receive next-day funds if you are in a financial bind and need the money fast. Now, there’s no need to apply for a payday loan.

19. Citizens Bank

Another brick-and-mortar option for personal loans is Citizens Bank. Interest rates start at 5.99% for a fixed, three-year loan. That rate drops to 5.74% if you also bank with Citizens Bank.

You won’t pay any application, origination, or prepayment fees with your loan application. This is a crucial financial blessing when you’re trying to pinch pennies. The application process can be completed online. In most instances you can receive your requested funds within two business days.

Citizens Banks offers loan terms from three to seven years and loan amounts of $5,000 to $50,000. Note that Citizens Bank prefers you have a “strong credit history” and an annual income of $24,000 or higher if you want a personal loan with them.

20. LendingPoint

When you have “near prime” credit with a credit score near 600, you could qualify to borrow money through LendingPoint. LendingPoint analyzes your income, job history, financial history, and credit behavior to approve your credit request. Note that LendingPoint’s loans will be the most like your credit card because their lowest APR is 15.49%.

If you are currently paying more than 16% with your credit cards, this is an opportunity to get out of debt and rebuild your credit. However, if your current card rates are lower than 16%, you may want to check with other lenders.

Along with the relatively high interest rates, LendingPoint only offers personal loans with 12-month and 24-month loan terms. And they offer a maximum loan size of $24,000.

If you’re currently planning on repaying your entire balance within two years and canceling your card once the balance is repaid, you can refinance with LendingPoint today to cancel your card immediately.

21. Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Financial powerhouse Goldman Sachs created Marcus to “help people achieve financial well-being”, according to their website. They offer personal loans from $3,500 up to $40,000.

Their website says there are never any fees with a Marcus loan. That means no application fee, no origination fee or no prepayment fees. There aren’t even any late fees with Marcus, although you should still pay your loan on time to protect your credit rating.

And they have interest rates starting as low as 6.99 percent. Marcus offers loan terms from 36 months up to 72 months. It’s important to note that interest rates with Marcus are generally higher if you stretch out your term. Also, the better your credit, the lower the interest rate you’ll qualify for.

Bonus: Marcus also offers a high yield savings account. As of this writing, it’s paying a yield of 1.85%.

22. Citibank Personal Loans

Citibank offers personal loans of up to $30,000. You can get a fixed rate loan with interest rates ranging from 7.99% to 17.99%. Loan amounts range from $2,000 up to $50,000 with Citibank. Loan terms can be negotiated for as little as 12 months or up to 60 months.

However, if you choose a loan term longer than 36 months, you might pay a higher interest rate. Also, if you default on your payments your interest rate could increase as well.

23. Credit Direct

Credit Direct will help you find options for personal loans between $1,000 and $40,000. They work with lenders to help you find the best solution for your loan needs. Credit Direct can help you get several different types of loans, such as:

  • Credit card refinancing loans
  • Debt consolidation loans
  • Home improvement loans
  • Medical expense loans

And more. Credit Direct offers several ways to make borrowing money easier. First, their loan application process only takes five minutes. Second, once you’re approved you can sign all of the documents via an e-doc service.

Third, approved funds are direct deposited into your bank account. Credit Direct works with 15-20 other lenders to find you the best rate possible. Note that they only work with residents in certain U.S. states.

24. Barclays Personal Loans

Barclays offers personal loans for between $5,000 and $35,000.

According to their website, terms can be between 36 and 60 months with an APR as low as 5.74%. They also don’t charge any fees.

If you decide to go with Barclays for your personal loan, you can start by checking your APR without affecting your credit score. This makes it easy to shop around and see what kind of interest rate you can get for your loan.

Shopping around can help you save money and get a lower interest rate.

What Can I Get a Personal Loan For?

With over 20 lenders to choose from, you’ve got a good chance of finding a personal loan that works for you. Here is some other information you might want to know about personal loans.

You can use a personal loan for the following reasons:

  • Refinance existing high-interest debt for a lower interest rate
  • Refinance student loans
  • Remodel your house
  • Start a small business
  • Pay medical bills
  • Pay other personal expenses

The #1 reason to apply for a personal loan is to refinance your current high-interest debt. Compared to credit card debt, which can carry an interest rate as high as 25%, a personal loan may be a bargain — your interest rate can be as low as 5.99%.

Save Money on Interest

This single decision can save you thousands of dollars that you would otherwise pay in interest. If you kept the balance on your credit cards or didn’t consolidate your debts you could be paying a lot more to banks and lenders.

Personal loans can also save you money if you’re refinancing student loans. Student loan interest rates are often cheaper than most forms of consumer debt, but not always. Depending on your student loan rates, you can still save tens of thousands of dollars in interest if you consolidate to a lower rate loan product.

If you’re still curious about personal loan basics, scroll to the bottom of this article. We’ve got all you need to know about different types of loans, how interest rates are calculated, and how you can apply for a personal loan.

Applying for a Personal Loan

The personal loan application process is a cinch. In some cases, you can even get same day approval and have the money in your account tomorrow.

Each lender and loan company has different lending requirements. For instance, a lender might not be licensed to lend in particular states. Some companies have minimum credit score requirements for borrowers as well.

Generally, though, as long as your credit score is above 640, most lenders will look at your application. Lenders also like it if you are gainfully employed and responsibly use credit now and in the past few years. If you meet these three qualifications, you have a good chance of being approved for a personal loan.

Once you receive your personal loan money, immediately pay off your credit card balance or other debts. This debt consolidation tactic not only helps you enjoy a lower interest rate, but you’ll just have one monthly payment. Fewer monthly payments make it easier to budget. And, it’s harder to forget your payment.

Personal Loans Can Save You Thousands of Dollars

Let’s assume have a credit card balance of $5,600 and a 21% APR. For this example, it takes three years (36 months) to repay the entire $5,600 balance.

Now, let’s compare how much interest you will pay keeping the balance on your credit card. Your three options are a credit card interest rate of 21% APR or a personal loan with a 10% or 5.99% APR:

Interest Rate Total Interest Paid
21% $1,995
10% $903 (Savings=$1,092)
5.99% $533 (Savings=$1,462)

Taking a few minutes to transfer your high-interest debt to a cheaper personal loan can easily save over $1,000. And, your monthly payment will also drop $30 in the process.

If you’re living on minimum wage, any drop in your monthly interest charges will tremendously improve your quality of life. Having to pay less interest also means you can continue to make the same monthly payment as before.

However, note that making bigger payments repays the borrowed principal faster. This means you’ll become debt free sooner!

How Are Personal Loan Interest Rates Determined?

Like any other loan, your personal loan interest rate depends on your creditworthiness. Essentially, that means what’s your current credit score and your credit history? The better your credit, the lower your new interest rate will be.

Personal loan interest rates also depend on the three following factors:

  • How much you borrow
  • The loan term (how many months you have to repay the loan)
  • A fixed interest rate or a variable rate

You will usually have a higher interest rate when you choose a longer repayment term (60 months vs. 36 months) and have a higher loan balance.

So, you can save even more money by keeping two things in mind. The first is to not borrow any more than you have to to consolidate your debts. The second is to try and repay the balance as quickly as possible.

Pay extra payments as you can, and put any unexpected money toward your loan. Unexpected money can be found in overtime hours, gifts, tax returns, by selling things you don’t need, etc.

Fixed Rate Loans vs. Variable Rate Loans

Variable rate loans generally have a lower interest rate than their fixed rate cousins at the beginning of the loan term. But if interest rates climb, you may pay more long-term.

Unless you can repay your entire balance in one or two years, you should almost always consider applying for a loan with a fixed interest rate. This will help you hedge against potentially higher interest rates in the future.

Getting a fixed rate loan will ensure you always know what rate you’re paying and your payment amount.

Right now, most lenders will offer a fixed rate loan for between 5.99% and 7.99%. A variable rate loan may have an interest rate of 5.49% that adjusts quarterly. Every three months, your variable rate can increase, decrease, or remain the same.

With a fixed rate, your interest rate will remain the same for the entire life of the loan. If your interest rate is 6%, it will never go higher. Even if the lender begins charging 8% to new borrowers, your rate remains the same! Choosing a variable rate loan in a market with rising interest rates can quickly become expensive.

Summary

Many people think their only option to save money on high-interest debt is to use a debt consolidation agency. In reality, that’s one of the most expensive ways to refinance your debt. Consider applying for a personal loan. You can easily reduce your interest rate by 15 percentage points and save thousands of dollars.

Until now, personal loans might have been the best-kept secret that high-interest lenders didn’t want you to know.

Disclaimers

All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage and history. The APR ranges from 6.95% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. *The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6%; the average origination fee is 5.2% (as of 12/5/18 YTD).* There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer.

†Per reviews collected and authenticated by Bazaarvoice in compliance with the Bazaarvoice Authentication Requirements, supported by anti-fraud technology and human analysis. All reviews can be reviewed at reviews.lendingclub.com

All loans available through FreedomPlus.com are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loan and rate terms are subject to eligibility restrictions, application review, credit score, loan amount, loan term, lender approval, and credit usage and history. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Loans are not available to residents of all states – please call a FreedomPlus representative for further details. The following limitations, in addition to others, shall apply: FreedomPlus does not arrange loans in: (i) Arizona under $10,500; (ii) Massachusetts under $6,500, (iii) Ohio under $5,500, and (iv) Georgia under $3,500. Repayment periods range from 24 to 60 months. The range of APRs on loans made available through FreedomPlus is 4.99% to a maximum of 29.99%. APR. The APR calculation includes all applicable fees, including the loan origination fee. For Example, a four year $20,000 loan with an interest rate of 15.49% and corresponding APR of 18.34% would have an estimated monthly payment of $561.60 and a total cost payable of $7,948.13. To qualify for a 4.99% APR loan, a borrower will need excellent credit on a loan for an amount less than $14,000.00, and with a term equal to 24 months.  Adding a co-borrower with sufficient income; using at least eighty-five percent (85%) of the loan proceeds to directly pay off qualifying existing debt; or showing proof of sufficient retirement savings, could help you qualify.

Investing for Beginners: A Step by Step Guide

Investing your first dollar can feel intense because you want to choose the “perfect” investment. But investing for beginners doesn’t have to be difficult.

It doesn’t matter if you have zero investing experience or currently only invest within your 401k. You can learn some valuable investing ideas reading this guide.

The saying, “There’s no time like the present” holds true for investing. Even if you only start with a $100 investment, that can be the most valuable $100 you ever invest.

Successful investors don’t become rich overnight chasing hot stock tips. It’s from years of consistent investing and earning passive income from dividends and rising share prices. By investing today, your investments have more time to build wealth.

Stock Investing for Beginners

Most of this guide focuses on investing in stocks. We’ll cover a few stock market alternatives, too. But, the stock market is the first place to start. It’s easy to build a diversified portfolio with minimal cost.

Step 1: Decide What You Want to Invest In

The first step to start investing is deciding what you want to invest in. For stocks, you essentially have two options. One option is to match the performance of the overall market through index funds (passive investing). If the stock market returns 7%, you make 7%.

The second option is trying to outperform the broad market (active investing). For example, if the market returns 7%, you try to make more than 7%.

Option 1: Index Funds. (The Lazy Way)

  • Ideal option if you don’t have the time or desire to be an active investor.
  • Index funds are the best option for most beginners.

In most of life, being lazy doesn’t produce good results. But that’s not the case with index funds. This investing approach is also known as “passive income investing.” With index funds, you invest in a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF) that tracks one market index.

For instance, an S&P 500 index fund holds positions in the 500 largest U.S. publicly traded companies. Historically, this index has an average annual return of 7%. S&P 500 index funds have a similar 7% historical rate of return, minus any investing fees.

Studies consistently show that most active funds don’t beat their benchmark indexes. This is partly because active funds have more investing fees, which reduce your total returns. The other reason is because it’s nearly impossible to pick winning stocks every single year.

After all, S&P Dow Jones Indices reports that the performance of 76% of large-cap fund managers trailed the S&P 500 index from 2013 to 2018. In short, you would have made more money with an index fund and only trying to match market performance than one of these large-cap fund managers did.

How to Invest in Index Funds

You will find index funds in your 401k plan or your online brokerage. Another option is to use an automated investing platform like Betterment. It invests your cash in stock and bond index funds to create a diversified portfolio for you.

There are index funds for every major U.S. and international stock and bond index. You should start with an S&P 500 index fund, as it tracks some of the most stable companies in the U.S. The S&P 500 doesn’t have the highest earning potential, but it’s less volatile than smaller market sectors.

You should also consider investing outside the S&P 500 to diversify your portfolio. For instance, you could invest in index funds that track smaller companies (small-cap or mid-cap), foreign markets, or bonds. After all, the S&P 500 might have a bad year but the Russell 2000 index (2,000 small, U.S.-listed companies) or global markets might be thriving.

To help you pick the right asset allocation, most brokerages offer an investing goals quiz. Based on your responses, they recommend different stock and bond indices to invest in. They also recommend which industry sectors should make up your portfolio, and how much of your portfolio each sector should comprise.

Most brokers offer their in-house index funds for free (minus fund fees). For instance, if you invest with Vanguard, you won’t pay the usual $6.95 trade fees for any Vanguard index funds.

Option 2: Choose Your Own Stocks. (The Harder Way)

This is ideal if you want to try to beat the market. To make it work, you’ll need the time to research individual stocks

Choosing stocks is more difficult and time-intensive. It is also riskier because you invest in fewer companies compared to an index fund. By the same token, if you pick the right stocks, your returns will be higher than with an index fund.

View choosing your own stocks as a next step in your investing. Only try it if you feel comfortable investing in something besides index funds. Continue using index funds as the foundation of your portfolio to minimize downside risk.

How To Invest in Stocks

You can buy almost any stock or active fund from your online broker. With Ally Invest, it costs $4.95 to trade shares of stocks and ETFs. To save you some money, Ally waives the trade fees on select index fund ETFs and active ETFs. For more information, check out 9 Best Online Stock Brokerages for Trading Stocks.

For expert advice, you can use a service like Motley Fool Stock Advisor to invest in individual stocks. Twice a month, it recommends stocks that can outperform the broad market for the next three to five years. Picking the right stocks can hedge against broad market declines that index funds experience, too.

Another stock investing option is “sector funds.” These funds focus on specific sectors or company types. For instance, you can invest in banks, utilities, technology or military funds. These sectors might perform better than the broad market.

Sector ETFs are easier to invest in than hand-picking individual stocks. But these ETFs are riskier than a broader market index fund since you invest in a narrow market index. With a broad market index fund such as the S&P 500, you hold companies from many industry sectors. In that case, winning sectors can offset the losses of losing sectors.

Step 2: Choose Your Investing Horizon

Before you invest, answer these two questions:

  • What do I want to invest in?
  • How soon do I need my money?

Besides deciding if you want to invest in index funds and other investments, you need to decide when you want to access your earnings. The type of account you have determines how soon you can touch your money penalty-free. And, how you pay taxes on your investment gains.

You might decide to invest in a tax-advantaged retirement account first because of the tax benefits of 401k and Roth IRA accounts. But, you can’t touch this money penalty-free until you turn 59 ½ years old. If you’re 20 years old, that’s four decades before you can reap your investment returns.

So, you should also consider investing with a non-retirement account. Although your investment income in these accounts is taxable each year, you can always make penalty-free withdrawals.

However, investing is more volatile than keeping your money in a bank account. So, you should only consider keeping money in your investment account that you don’t plan on needing for at least three to five years.

A Charles Schwab study shows that the average bear market (when stock prices fall at least 20% from the 52-week high) lasts 18 months. The same study shows that bull markets (rising stock prices) last up to five years. If you invest right before the bear market begins, it can take several years for your share prices to recover and show a profit.

Investing is effective at building long-term wealth. You’re not guaranteed to make money with a short time horizon. If you need more proof, look at calendar year 2018. The S&P 500 reached all-time highs in September and closed down 6.24% for the year. If you were counting on making money in 2018 to spend in 2019, your dream most likely didn’t come true.

Try Retirement Accounts First

The best place to start investing can be your retirement accounts because they allow you to save money on taxes. This is especially true if your employer matches your 401k contributions. But as we said before, you can’t touch this money penalty-free until you’re 59 ½.

Traditional 401k or IRA accounts reduce your taxable income for the current tax year. The contributions and earnings grow tax-deferred. You pay taxes on the withdrawal amount in the year you make the withdrawal, which is usually in your retirement.

You fund Roth 401k and Roth IRA accounts with after-tax income. So, the year that you fund those accounts, you pay taxes on the income you fund them with.

But, you never pay taxes on the original contribution — or the earnings — again. This is a big deal. An initial $5,500 Roth contribution may earn tens of thousands of dollars over the years, and you won’t pay taxes on any of that.

With IRA accounts, you can buy index funds, active funds and individual stocks. If you decide to start with index funds, you can always choose stocks or active mutual funds later on.

Most 401k accounts only offer a few dozen mutual funds and your company stock. This can be a blessing for beginner investors, because it avoids the problem of too much choice. But you have to hope that you have a good plan with low-cost index funds.

To help you invest in the best plan options, Blooom performs a free portfolio analysis. If you don’t have the best fund selections already, it recommends changes to optimize your returns. Blooom will also manage your 401k account for you to maintain diversification.

Use a Taxable Brokerage Account for Non-Retirement Investments

You should also invest with a non-retirement account. Most online brokers call these “taxable brokerage accounts.” Any gains you earn (either from dividends or by selling an investment at a profit) in these accounts are taxable. The benefit of non-retirement accounts is that, unlike retirement accounts, you have instant access to your cash when you need it.

If you need to, you can invest today and sell your gains whenever you need to pay for large expenses that you might otherwise have to borrow money for.

Step 3: Choose an Online Brokerage

Picking a broker can be as important as deciding what you’re going to invest in. A few investing platforms only let you invest in specific products like index funds. Others let you invest in individual stocks and active funds, too.

You may choose a brokerage that lets you invest passively and actively. Or, you may first choose a brokerage that only sells  index funds. Then, open a full-service brokerage account later for stocks.

Below are a few of the best investing apps and which types of investors they’re best for.

Betterment

  • Best for index investing and investors wanting a “hands-off” experience.

When you only want to invest in index funds, Betterment is one of the best options. Investors of all experience levels may like Betterment’s fully automated approach.

When you join, you take an investment questionnaire that helps you determine your investing goals. Based on your investing horizon and current age, Betterment invests in a basket of stock and bond index ETFs.

You only need to fund your account with $1 to make your first investment.

Betterment also handles those mundane investing tasks that too many investors neglect. These tasks include portfolio rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting to maintain a diversified portfolio.

As you near retirement, Betterment also shifts your holdings to be more risk-averse. Holding a higher percentage of low-risk bonds in your portfolio reduces your risk of “losing everything” to a stock market downturn right before you retire.

While you’re young, you should own more stocks to capture more upside growth potential. But as you age, you want to reduce your stock holdings.

Read our Betterment review to learn more about how it invests your money.

Wealthsimple

  • Best for investors who want to invest in socially-responsible companies and who want automated investing.

A growing investing trend is investing in companies with a defined social mission. This is socially responsible investing (SRI). Wealthsimple offers automated investing for SRI and non-SRI investing.

If you opt for socially responsible investing, you will invest in ETFs that subscribe to some of these goals: low carbon, gender diversity and affordable housing.

Tip: Get a $50 bonus when you join Wealthsimple using this link.

Blooom

  • Best for optimizing your 401k retirement plan.

Many people have a love-hate relationship with their 401k. They enjoy the tax benefits and employer match. But they dislike the higher fees and lack of investment options.

To get the best results out of your 401k plan, give Blooom a try.

Blooom performs a free portfolio analysis. Then it chooses the best funds in your plan to meet your investing goals. It also makes sure you have the correct stock and bond mix for your age.

M1 Finance

  • Best for 100% free investing in index funds and individual stocks.

For free investing apps, M1 Finance is one of the best. It lets you invest in almost any ETF or individual stock that trades on the major U.S. stock exchanges.

You can invest solely in index fund ETFs, or you can hold stocks, too. M1 charges $0 in trade fees for any investment option. This saves you at least $4.95 each time you buy or sell shares of a stock.

And, you can buy partial shares of any ETF or stock. Let’s say you only have $100 to invest, but a single share costs $63. M1 lets you buy 1.58 shares, so your entire $100 gets invested. With other brokerages, you can only buy one share, and the remaining $37 sits on the sidelines.

A unique thing about M1 Finance is that you assign a percentage allocations to each holding. This is similar to the way you assign investments in your 401k. For example, you might assign 10 investments each a 10% allocation. In that case, for every $10 you invest, M1 invests $1 in each holding.

Robinhood

  • Best for DIY investors who want to buy full shares of stocks and ETFs.

Another free investing app that beginner investors enjoy is Robinhood. You don’t pay any trade fees and you get a free share of stock when you join.

A lot of DIY investors prefer Robinhood because you can trade shares in real time. With other free investing apps, you must submit trade requests before the once-daily trading window opens. This lack of control can be a nuisance if you enjoy full investing control.

One downside to Robinhood is that you must buy full shares of stock. Of the free investing apps, Robinhood is most similar to a full-service online broker, except you don’t pay a $4.95 broker commission each time you buy or sell stock shares.

Ally Invest

  • Best for investors who want research tools.

Some experienced investors prefer to use an online brokerage that charges trade fees. Although you pay a fee, you have more research tools and potentially better customer support.

Ally Invest waives the $4.95 trade fee on select iShares and WisdomTree ETFs. For individual stocks and other ETFs, the trade fee is the industry-standard $4.95 to buy or sell shares.

Some of the research tools that can help you trade stock include a profit/loss graph and over 90 chart studies. You don’t need these tools to invest in index funds. But they come in handy when picking sector ETFs or individual stocks.

Learn more with our Ally Invest review.

The Same Brokerage As Your 401k Provider

To minimize the investing learning curve, you might use the same broker that your 401k plan is with. For most people, that’s Fidelity, TD Ameritrade or Vanguard.

These three brokerages all offer commission-free index funds. There are slight differences in the portfolio allocation and fund fees. But, the performance is nearly identical. Choose the brokerage you like best and you’ll be happy with their index fund offerings.

Step 4: Start Investing

After opening your retirement and non-retirement accounts, the next step is earning passive income.

If you use an automated investing app like Betterment or Wealthsimple, they choose the funds and buy shares.

When you use a self-directed brokerage like Robinhood, you have to decide what index funds or stocks to buy. If you’re not ready to make these decisions, maybe that’s a hint to use an automated investing app. This way, you’re at least invested in the market.

Reinvest Dividends?

Another decision you might have to make is whether to reinvest dividends.

At least once a year, most index funds and many stocks pay a dividend. Most brokerages give you the option to reinvest the dividends to buy more shares of that stock. Or, you can invest in a different stock or transfer the dividends to your savings account.

To maximize your compound interest, you might decide to reinvest the dividends. This is a free way to buy partial shares of stock. And these new shares will begin paying dividends themselves.

Schedule Monthly Investments

To keep the investment momentum going, schedule monthly contributions. At a minimum, aim to invest 10% of your income in your various investment accounts.

With index mutual funds, you can have your brokerage invest all of your money into the fund each month. If you prefer to invest in index fund ETFs (which usually have lower fund expenses than index mutual funds), Betterment and M1 Finance let you buy partial shares so all of your money gets invested each month. Remember, not every online broker lets you buy partial ETF shares.

For example, if you buy ETFs through an online broker such as Vanguard, you must buy full shares. If you invest $100 monthly and an ETF share costs $95, you get one share and the remaining $5 doesn’t get invested.

It’s important to note that you don’t have to schedule automatic investments to invest monthly. But, if you’re likely to forget to manually invest your cash, it’s a good idea to schedule recurring investments. This is what I do to make sure I never forget.

Making consistent investments on the same day(s) each month also keeps you from trying to time the market. Since you’re investing for the long term, today’s share price doesn’t matter as much as you think. Also, waiting for a “perfect” share price means you may never invest.

If you want to “dollar cost average” your investments, automatic investing makes this strategy easy. We’ll talk about dollar cost averaging in further detail below.

One reason why you might not schedule automatic investments is if you want to invest in different funds each month to maintain a balanced portfolio. Or, you invest in ETFs and individual stocks for which your broker doesn’t permit automatic investing.

Stock Market Alternatives for Beginner Investors

Index funds and the stock market are the best starting place for most beginner investors. There are two main reasons why. The first is the low minimum required investment. The second is that stocks are more liquid than some of the alternatives listed below, where your money might be inaccessible for up to five years.

But if you want to further diversify your portfolio, you can consider these investing ideas. You might like these ideas as a hedge against stock market volatility. While these investments can still lose money, they might post positive returns when the market has a down year.

Crowdfunded Real Estate

On the stock market, you can buy public real estate stocks and index funds. Conversely, crowdfunded real estate lets you invest in private real estate deals just like the rich do.

You can earn annual returns of between 5% and 12% with crowdfunded real estate. Your average annual return can be similar or slightly higher than investing in index funds. In most cases, the main trade-off is that you can’t withdraw your money fee-free for five years.

With a $500 initial investment, Fundrise invests your money in multifamily and commercial real estate. You don’t need to have any real estate investing experience to use Fundrise. The entire investing process is effortless because Fundrise picks the properties across the United States.

Read our Fundrise review to start investing in real estate.

Peer Lending

When you deposit money into a bank, you earn a small amount of interest. What you might not realize is that the bank earns that interest by lending your money to borrowers who take out loans.

Instead of letting the bank earn that money, LendingClub lets you be the bank.

You can invest in 3-year and 5-year personal loan requests that let you earn monthly interest payments from borrowers. If borrowers default on the loan, you lose your investment (it does  happen), but expect annual returns of between 3% and 8%.

To make peer-to-peer investing easier, LendingClub offers an automated investing tool. This feature spreads your investment across many borrowers to reduce risk.

Read our LendingClub review to learn more about peer-to-peer investing.

Invest in Business Loans

You can also invest in business bonds with Worthy for a 5% annual return. These loans invest in businesses with secured collateral. If the borrower defaults, Worthy can collect these assets to pay back investors.

Each loan has a 36-month investment term. However, you can make penalty-free early withdrawals. The lack of fees is a rare exception for crowdfunded investing.

Keep Your Money in a Bank Account

Continuing to keep your money in the bank instead of stocks or these other alternate ideas isn’t investing. Your bank deposits earn less than the inflation rate, which is 2% to 3% for most years.

But, for your emergency fund and spare cash, you want low risk and instant access. Therefore, consider keeping them in a high-yield bank account. Most local banks pay 0.10% annual interest, but online banks pay at or near 2%. On a $1,000 balance, you’d earn $20 in interest in a year. That compares to only $1 a year you’d earn on an account paying 0.10%..

And, if your bank charges account fees, you’re actually paying your bank to keep your money. Those fees might be more than the interest you earn if you have a small balance.

CIT Bank has some of the highest rates for online savings accounts. To earn an even higher yield, you might consider CIT’s money market accounts. For peace of mind, both of these accounts are FDIC-insured in the off chance that CIT Bank defaults.

FAQs About Investing for Beginners

When you have minimal investing experience, the whole investing process can be confusing. While the best way to learn to invest is through experience, these questions can help you avoid common investing mistakes.

How Do Stocks Earn Passive Income?

Whether you invest in individual stocks, index funds, or active ETFs, there are two ways you can make money.

One way is by asset appreciation. For instance, you buy 10 shares of stock at $50 and sell them for $60 each. You make $100 total, but don’t see this profit until you sell.

The other way to earn money on stocks is through dividends. Most companies and funds pay dividends on a quarterly or annual basis. This is recurring income you earn as long as you own the stock. You can either reinvest the dividends or use the cash for other purchases.

What’s the Difference Between Stocks and Bonds?

Stocks and bonds are two different ways to invest in a company. Stocks are the most common way. Each share you own gives you an equity stake in the company and gives you one vote at annual shareholder meetings. And, you can earn dividends on a quarterly or annual basis.

Regarding your shareholder voting rights, you can only vote if you own actual shares of the company. You don’t get to vote if you invest with index funds.

Bonds are considered less risky than stocks. This is because bondholders get paid first if a company goes bankrupt. You lend money to companies or the government. In exchange, you receive “coupon” payments (interest) from the borrower. Bondholders can’t vote in shareholder meetings.

Stocks have more earning potential, but they are riskier than bonds. As you near retirement, you should shift from owning more stocks to owning more bonds. For instance, you might own 90% stocks as a 20-year-old investor. But, you might own 60% stocks when you retire.

What Are Full Shares and Partial Shares?

Another term that can be confusing for beginner investors is full shares of stock. Until very recently, the only way to trade individual stocks and ETFs was to buy or sell full shares of stock.

With full shares, if a stock costs $50, you must have $50 cash to buy one share. You can’t get a partial share if you only have $40. You must wait until you have $50 to buy a full share.

In the past, only mutual funds offered partial shares. This is because they focus more on the amount of money you invest instead of the number of shares you want to buy. Some brokerages, including M1 Finance, let you buy partial shares of individual stocks and ETFs.

Partial shares make it easy because every single penny invests. That way, you don’t have cash sitting idle until you have enough to buy full shares.

Index Funds vs. Target Date Funds

In your 401k or self-directed brokerage account, you might see index funds and target date funds.

An index fund is a fund that holds individual stock shares. Target date funds are “funds of funds” that invest in several stock and bond index funds. If you don’t want to rebalance your portfolio yourself, target date funds may be good because they rebalance your portfolio over time. They’re designed to become more risk-averse as you near retirement.

Target date funds are similar to the automated investing approach that Betterment pursues. But, you need to compare target date fund expenses to using an automated investing app. You should also compare them to investing in the same index funds yourself if you have the time to manage your own portfolio.

Keep in mind that target date funds are convenient and can produce long-term wealth. But they might not have the same risk tolerance as you do.

What’s the Difference Between a Mutual Fund and an ETF?

Mutual funds and ETFs both let you invest in a basket of stocks or bonds. But there are a few differences in how each product trades.

Index funds and active funds come as both mutual funds and ETFs.

ETFs trade like stocks in real time, and the share price constantly fluctuates. You invest in ETFs by the share, and most brokers don’t let you buy partial shares.

But, ETFs usually have lower fund expenses than their mutual fund counterparts. This means more of your money gets invested instead of going toward paying investing fees. The more money you invest, the more shares you earn and the more you can earn in dividends.

Mutual funds only trade once a day after the market closes. However, you must execute your trade during market hours. You can buy partial shares of mutual funds.

The downside of mutual funds is that you may have to make a large initial investment of $3,000 to open a position. Once you open a position, you may only have to invest $1 or $100 for future share purchases.

Because ETFs are cheaper to trade and usually have lower investment minimums, they can be a better option than mutual funds for your personal investing accounts. The largest exception is your 401k since most still don’t offer ETFs.

Dollar Cost Averaging vs. Lump Sum Investing

There are two investing frequencies you can pursue when investing. For most investors, dollar cost averaging is the better option because you don’t try to time the market. And, you can invest small sums of money instead of large sums.

Dollar cost averaging is where you invest the same amount of money each month. For example, every month you invest $100 into an S&P 500 index fund. When shares are more expensive, you buy fewer of them. When they’re lower, you buy more. That keeps you from overreacting to market swings. It helps keep your investment momentum going.

Lump sum investing is making large one-time investments. For instance, you invest a Christmas bonus or money you’ve saved up for several months.

Investing a large lump sum may be wise when you’re buying individual stocks, because it can make the investment amount worth the $4.95 trade fee. Or investing a large lump sum may make sense when you have to meet a big investment minimum like $3,000 for a Vanguard mutual fund.

One risk for lump sum investing is the temptation to time the market. You might wait for a stock or fund price to dip before you invest. Most investors can’t predict how the market will perform from one day to the next. Before you know it, you never invest. Or, you invest at a market peak right before share prices drop sharply.

Summary

Investing for beginners doesn’t have to be difficult. The easiest and cheapest way to earn consistent positive returns is investing in index funds. If you’re willing to add more risk, you can eventually invest in individual stocks. Now, it’s time to start investing.

What are you going to invest in first? Which brokerage are you going to use? Tell us about it on our social media accounts.

24 Best Sites to Take Paid Online Surveys for Money in 2019

An easy way to make money online is by taking surveys. As with many things, some survey sites pay better than others. They may have more valuable rewards. Or, they even offer multiple ways to earn money.

Above all, it doesn’t matter what your background is, people from all walks of life make money just by answering questions.

Are you ready to make money from home by sharing your opinion? These are some of the best online survey sites that pay decent money.

Here are the top paid survey sites:

With 24 options, this post has a lot of information. To help you get started, we created a simple table comparing five popular sites.

Survey Site Pay per survey Payment Method Trustpilot Score
Survey Junkie $0.20 to $2 Gift cards or cash 8.7
Swagbucks $0.40 to $2 PayPal cash or gift cards 8.3
Vindale Research $0.25 to $50 Check or PayPal cash 8.1
Inbox Dollars Up to $5 Cash 8
YouGov Up to $1 Gift cards 7.3

We encourage you decide what is important to you. Like getting paid in cash or being able to access survey’s on a mobile phone. As you read the options, pick your top 5-10 and sign up for those.

Tip: Create a separate e-mail address when applying for survey sites. This will allow you to keep this money making hobby separate from your personal e-mail.

1. Survey Junkie

One of the first sites you should check out is Survey Junkie. They have over 3,000,000 members.

It’s one of the highest rated survey sites that you will find. They have many 5-star Trustpilot reviews and are a legit survey site.

Surveys vary in length and cover a variety of topics. Your opinion helps influence and improve retail products and brands.

Longer surveys pay more than shorter surveys. It’s also possible to earn points by completing profile surveys and referring friends.

Survey Junkie pays you with a point balance as low as 1,000 points. That’s about $10 in rewards. Available awards include PayPal cash or retailer gift cards.

Trustpilot: 8.7 out of 10

Read our full review of Survey Junkie here.

2. Swagbucks

For flexible earning options, Swagbucks is one of the best. In fact, it might be the largest “get paid to” site. Besides surveys, you earn points for many other fun things. And, you can redeem your points for cash or prizes. So far, they have paid over $195 million in rewards.

In minutes, you earn rewards points activities:

  • Taking surveys
  • Surfing the web
  • Playing games
  • Shopping

To earn points, one easy way is to download their browser search bar.  With this bar, you earn points each time you enter search keywords into your URL address bar.

Because they also have low redemption requirements, many people like Swagbucks. For example, you can get gift cards with a value of $1.  And, they often put gift cards “on sale.”  With these sales, you get gift cards for fewer points.

Maybe, you prefer cash payments to gift cards. If so, you can redeem your points for PayPal cash beginning at $25.

Since your time is precious, read our review on how to earn more Swagbucks.

Trustpilot: 8.3 out of 10

3. Vindale Research

With nearly $6,000,000 in payouts, Vindale Research is a large survey site. First, you must complete your profile survey. After this, Vindale will match surveys with your interests.

Like other sites, survey topics vary by the day. So, you need to check back often to find a survey you like.

But, you can expect to answer questions on these topics:

  • Fashion
  • Electronics
  • Automobiles
  • Favorite restaurants
  • Politics

In addition, you also get paid for many other activities. For example, you can read email, find reward codes, and even make money by watching videos. Vindale even pays you to take pictures of your reward checks! You can also earn $5 for every friend you refer too!

Vindale pays you via check or PayPal after you earn $50. As these surveys pay more than most, you can reach that balance quicker. And, you get a $2 welcome bonus after joining for free!

Trustpilot: 8.1 out of 10

4. YouGov

Founded in 2000, YouGov collects opinions from around the world. Be prepared; they ask your opinion on many topics. Maybe, you will get surveys about these topics:

  • Retail brands
  • Spending habits
  • Political viewpoints
  • TV programs you watch

Although its name infers this is only a political survey site, it’s not! Yes, there are political surveys. But, they are a minor part of the surveys you will answer.

Joining YouGov is free. Also, you can redeem points for gift cards for as low as $5.

You also receive a sign-up bonus of 2,000 points. With each survey, expect to earn 250 points each in 15 minutes.

Trustpilot: 7.3 out of 10

5. InboxDollars

InboxDollars is a flexible online survey site. They pay you to do what you already do online. Now, you simply go to InboxDollars first and start making money.

You can earn points for:

For easy cash, open the e-mails InboxDollars sends.  Even better, you get paid for testing products. After the test, you share a review to receive payment. And, some of the tests include playing new apps and games.

So far, InboxDollars has paid over 50 million dollars in prizes. They pay with cash or with gift cards.

For many, one downside is that the minimum payout is $30. In case you’re wondering, this is higher than most online survey sites. But, you do get a $5 sign-up bonus. And, you can save points quickly by using InboxDollar’s non-survey features.

Trustpilot: 8 out of 10

6. Springboard America

Springboard America is a survey site that doesn’t only pay you for your opinion. With each survey, you also enter into a $1,000 giveaway!

The company launched in 2009. As expected, you get points for each survey you take. The value of each survey depends on the length and survey topic. Most surveys offer between 50 and 500 points.

When you reach 5,000 points, you can redeem them for a $50 gift card. Some of the gift cards offered include:

  • Visa debit cards
  • Amazon gift cards
  • iTunes
  • Google Play

7. Panda Research

Panda Research pays you for surveys, reading emails, referring friends and more. You can earn up to $25 each month by reading their emails!

Sadly, the minimum payout is $50. If you’re not patient, join another survey site. With Panda Research, you get paid via PayPal on the 1st or 15th of every month.

Trustpilot: 6.8 out of 10

8. VIP Voice

As its name indicates, VIP Voice tries to make you the VIP when it comes to surveys. And, you earn points by sharing your opinion on products and services that you use.

One downside is that you don’t earn instant cash. So, you must redeem your points for sweepstakes and instant win games. Prizes include cash prizes, gift cards, and vacations. This can be a solid secondary survey site to join to win prizes.

9. American Consumer Opinion

American Consumer Opinion has more than seven million members. Combined, they have earned more than $30 million. Most noteworthy, ACO has a positive Better Business Bureau rating too. This shows a high degree of integrity.

With ACO, you can make money taking surveys and testing new products. But, surveys are the more common option.

You can take two different types of surveys. First, screener surveys pay from five to fifty points. Second, full follow-up surveys pay more. And, you receive an entry into the drawing for electronic gift cards.

Also, each point is worth one penny each. You can cash out after you earn 1,000 points for a $10 reward. Plus, expect a survey invitation several times a year. Although, to earn more, join a survey site with weekly invites.

10. EarningStation

For internet junkies, EarningStation gives you the chance to earn gift cards. Or, you can request PayPal cash.

To get paid, complete these tasks:

  • Complete surveys
  • Watch videos
  • Play games
  • Purchase Groupon offers
  • Open sponsor email
  • Invite friends

For fun, “Ernie” gives you daily activity bonus. To earn the bonus, you must visit at least ten days in a row.

You can request payment once you have $10 in rewards. And, it is free to join.

Trustpilot: 9.1 out of 10

11. National Consumer Panel

National Consumer Panel collects survey results for your shopping trips. In other words, they pay you to shop!

As always, becoming a panelist is free. And, you earn points for scanning barcodes of products you buy with the mobile app. If you don’t have a smartphone, NCP sends you a free barcode scanner.

For each barcode you scan, you earn points. And, you can redeem the points for cash or merchandise.

Don’t forget, National Consumer Panel also has weekly cash sweepstakes. Also, their quarterly sweepstakes award is $20,000. And, you get a free entry in every sweepstake when you take a survey.

12. MyPoints

Like Swagbucks, MyPoints pays you for completing many online tasks. Or, you can stick to the surveys. Although it’s nice to have options, it’s your choice.

Some unique ways to earn points include:

One reward option is a $25 PayPal gift card. Or, you can get $10 gift cards for your favorite stores and restaurants. For 1,500 points, you start getting gift cards. Right now, there are 59 different gift cards available.

Importantly, MyPoints has been around since 1996. And, they also have a large following with many positive reviews.

Trustpilot: 8.6 out of 10

13. The Harris Poll

To join a legend, look at The Harris Poll. They have been in the survey business for over 50 years! If you watch the news, you see results from Harris Poll all the time. Now, you can help be a voice of influence when you complete surveys.

Joining Harris Poll is free. And, they offer some exciting rewards. Besides surveys, you can also join focus groups. Sometimes, you can share your shopping purchases for pay too.

Surveys cover many topics ranging from social issues to market research. First, you earn HI Points with each survey you complete. Then, you redeem them for retail gift cards once you have 1,250 points. And, you get 75 points just for joining!

Unlike other survey sites, you also get 15 points even if you disqualify. Sadly, other sites won’t pay you if you don’t pass the screener.

And, Harris Poll enters you into bi-weekly and quarterly cash prize drawings. With each survey, Harris gives you free entries. Plus, you even get a sweepstakes entry for the surveys where you disqualified.

Trustpilot: 5.4 out of 10

14. Survey Savvy

Survey Savvy is another site that has really good payouts. The minimum survey payout is $1 and can pay up to $20.

If you want to share your browsing habits, Survey Savvy pays bonus points. This is with their Behavioral Research platform. For each connected device, you receive $5 per month. At the end of the year, you’re $60 richer!

Also, you can earn money for the people you refer. And, you earn points from the friends they refer. So, you make money from your friends of friends.

Survey Savvy is free to join! And, they have been around since 1999.

Finally, you can redeem points with $1 a reward balance. As a result, you can request payment every day!

Trustpilot: 5.3 out of 10

15. Nielsen Mobile and Computer Panel

Nielsen has been in the survey and market research business for over 90 years! Notably, Nielsen Mobile and Computer Panel is their newest tool.

Like Survey Savvy, Nielsen pays you to use your phone. This is the online version of being a “Nielsen family.” Nielsen also pays families for watching tv. They install a box and get paid to share their favorite tv shows.

Sometimes, Nielsen invites you to special surveys. These surveys pay bonus points.

If you link more devices to Nielsen, then you earn more points. With these points, you can enter sweepstakes entries.

To clarify, you do not get paid directly by Nielsen. To get paid, you have to enter their sweepstakes. They have weekly $1,000 sweepstakes and $10,000 monthly drawings. Each month, almost 400 panelists win $10,000 from the monthly drawings! So, if you like entering sweepstakes, join Nielsen.

16. CashCrate

CashCrate also allows you to earn money with many options. Today, two million people use CashCrate.

To earn points, do these activities:

  • Take online surveys
  • Test new products
  • Shop online
  • Refer friends

Yes, it is possible to earn a decent side income on CashCrate. And, teens at least 13 years old can join too!

Also, the refer-a-friend bonus is nice. First, you earn 20% of what your friends earn. Next, you get 10% of what their friends earn.

When your balance reaches $20, CashCrate sends you a paper check. And, you earn additional points by sharing a picture of your check on social media.

Trustpilot: 7.1 out of 10

17. Valued Opinions

With Valued Opinions, you earn up to $5 per survey. Besides the high pay, reward options include gift cards and airline miles.

In all, there are 14 different gift card options. Despite the small selection, you have good options. Maybe, you want to keep your points for the Amazon gift cards.

And, you receive your gift card when your reward balance reaches $20.

As always, it’s free to join.  After joining, you belong to a survey site with three million members!

Trustpilot: 7.9 out of 10

18. OneOpinion

It’s true, OneOpinion isn’t the biggest survey site. But, they have quality customer service and fast payments. In brief, you earn points by taking online surveys and testing products.

If you don’t qualify, you still earn 50 points. Similar to other sites, per survey payout depends on the length.

Once you earn 25,000 points, you can get a gift card worth $25. For instant payment, you can receive a digital gift code. With these codes, you can shop at your favorite stores right away!

And, joining OneOpinion is free.

Trustpilot: 6 out of 10

19. Google Opinion Rewards

To earn Google Play credits, do it with Google Opinion Rewards. With each survey, Google will pay you $1 per survey.  After answering the Google-focused questions, you get paid.

Maybe you need to share your opinion on logos. Or, maybe they ask about marketing promotions. Sometimes, you can get a survey about travel plans. After all, Google has many business ventures. So, you never know what to expect with a survey.

If you like short surveys, you will like this idea. Most Google surveys are shorter than other online survey sites. And, you get paid right away!

20. Test Spin

For fun, get paid to take surveys with Test Spin. And, you can get paid to test websites and products. Plus, you earn up to $10 per survey. And, focus groups pay up to $30. You can take all surveys and tests on your computer.

As long as you’re 13 years old, you can register for free.

Like other sites, you can only earn up to $600 each year. But, at least you can request Amazon gift card payment.

Trustpilot: 5.4 out of 10

21. NiceQuest

NiceQuest is free to join and rewards you with points. With your points, you get gift cards for stores and restaurants. And, you can redeem them for merchandise. With these options, NiceQuest pays the shipping costs.

And, you can also donate your points to charity. Finally, you can enter prize drawings with your points. With these drawings, you can win Fitbit devices, iPhones and other gadgets.

Also, NiceQuest sends surveys directly to your e-mail inbox. At all times, you can check their app for new surveys.

Trustpilot: 7.3 out of 10

22. PrizeRebel

Another multi-task site is PrizeRebel. To earn points, take online surveys. And, you can also get paid to test product. Or, you can watch videos for cash too.

For sure, signing up is easy. According to PrizeRebel, it only takes 10 seconds to join!

After you take surveys, you will earn points. Then, you can redeem your points for cash and gift cards. Although most gift cards cost $5, you can get a $2 Amazon gift card.

Right now, there are over 7.5 million members of PrizeRebel. Since 2007, they have earned over $15 million in cash and rewards.

Trustpilot: 7 out of 10

23. Product Report Card

If the name doesn’t give it away, Product Report Card pays you test products. Of course, you also get paid to take surveys!

It depends on the test, but you might be able to keep the product after the test! To get paid, provide honest feedback. And, you don’t have to pay to join Product Report Card.

After you sign up for a free account, you begin receiving invites in 24 hours. Plus, the signup process only takes 5 minutes!

When you’re ready to get paid, you have three options. These options include Amazon gift cards, free products and cash!

Trustpilot: 7.6 out of 10

24. Mindspay

Mindspay also pays you for surveys and product testing. And, it’s free to join and only takes a few minutes to sign up.

And, you can get up to $50 for each activity. Another way to earn is reading Mindspay emails. Each email pays up to $0.50.

Finally, Mindspay pays twice monthly on PayPal. Currently, the two paydays are the 1st and 15th each month.

Summary

Whether you’re a teen or working adult, survey sites want you. In 15 minutes or less, you can make extra cash. You choose when you want to take the survey. This is what makes online survey sites so flexible. So, pick a site and start making money!

Do you take surveys for cash or gift cards?

 

53 Legit Ways to Make Money From Home

Raise your hand if you want to make money from home. If you want to turn your dreams into reality, these suggestions can help. You’ll learn how to earn a side income or transition to a full-time salary.

People make money at home using these ideas and you can too!

Best Ways to Make Money From Home

The Internet has made it easier than ever to make money from the comfort of your own home. Since there are so many ways you can make money online, you might want to start here.

We’re first looking at how to make money without selling anything. Using your talents to help others comes in many forms.

1. Make Money Sharing Your Opinion

Online surveys are one of the most flexible side hustles. You name the time you want to spend answering surveys and get paid. This can be an excellent option even if you have 10 or 15 minutes to spare. That’s the average amount of time you’ll need for most surveys. Of course, you can take as many surveys as you desire each week.

The best survey sites that are worth checking out are Survey Junkie, Springboard America, and Vindale. Visit on weekdays to find the most invites.

You can join one or all of these sites. It depends on how many surveys you want about a variety of topics. Surveys can ask about anything. Topics include product reviews, political opinions and even your daily habits.

It’s possible to earn up to $75 per survey. Payment options include cash or gift cards. Some sites enter you into free cash giveaways too.

Surveys are easy, but they don’t pay the most. You should pursue another hustle to earn even more money.

2. Get Paid to Complete Tasks Online

If you want to get paid for your online activity, check out Swagbucks. You earn points for these activities:

  • Web Searches
  • Watching Videos
  • Opinion polls
  • Online Shopping

The entire family can make money with Swagbucks. You must be 13 years old to join. Plus, you can earn as much or little as you want depending on your schedule.

You will earn points (SBs) for each task completed on Swagbucks. You can redeem points for cash rewards or gift cards starting at $3. Some of the redemption options include Amazon gift cards and PayPal cash.

Swagbucks has paid more than $206 million to its members. More than 7,000 gift cards are awarded each day! In addition to Swagbucks, you might also consider joining Inbox Dollars. Inbox Dollars is a leading Swagbucks alternative.

Read this Swagbucks review to decide if it’s worth your time!

3. Test New Products

Companies will pay you to test new products. They may mail you products for you to test in exchange for your opinion. You can preview upcoming product launches. Product testing is a fun way to discover new products. Sometime, you will receive coupons for future purchases.

Two of the largest companies are Ipsos i-Say and Toluna. They offer thousands of tests every year!

It’s possible to test a variety of things from household items to beauty products. You may even be able to test online products such as websites.

4. Download New Phone Apps

If you enjoy being on your phone, pay attention. You can get paid to download sponsored apps and games. FeaturePoints will pay you to do that and to watch YouTube videos too.

After downloading and using the app, you will earn credits. You can exchange credits for gift cards. This prize can be as useful as cash.

Enter my referral code, C8MNU, during signup, and you’ll get 2,000 Fetch Points ($2.00 in points!) when you complete one receipt.

5. Test Websites

User Testing and What Users Do are companies that will pay you to test websites. To get started, you will need to download the testing software.

Then, you’ll record yourself with a webcam during the test. Clients want to see and hear you interact with their website. Being able to see you shows non-verbal language as well.

These sites will let you test between three and five websites each month. Expect to earn between $10 and $20 per test.

If you get invited to a live test, you can make at least $200 per test. These tests are longer, but you get to interact with the client in real-time.

6. Start a Blog

Blogging is one of my favorite ideas because of the passive income potential. It also opens doors to several other income ideas on this list.

A blog is your piece of internet real estate. You can create a portfolio to connect with future clients. Or, you can use it to share your thoughts with the world.

An excellent place to start your website is with Bluehost. It only costs $2.95 a month, and you can start creating content with 15 minutes! It doesn’t matter what you write about. Blogging is a legitimate way to make money from home.

In addition to doubling as a portfolio, you can earn passive income from your blog.

Affiliate marketing is where you partner with brands and services to recommend products. When people make a purchase through your link, you earn a small commission. You don’t sell anything; you only connect your readers with brands.

My friend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner makes over $100,000 a month from blogging. She shares her formula for success in her Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course.

7. Create a YouTube Channel

Our culture continues to gravitate towards video. You might consider starting a YouTube channel vlog.

From product reviews, funny cat videos, and how-to videos, people flock to YouTube.

By building a following, you can make money through affiliate marketing and ads.

8. Become a Freelance Writer

Whether or not you own a blog, you can make money by writing online. You can write for a blog or business about any topic and get paid for it.

The only two criteria are:

  • possess the ability to write effectively
  • be able to research the topic you’re writing about

You don’t have to be an English major to pursue this income idea.

Clients are always looking for freelancers on the platform Upwork. Or, you can pitch your services to blogs and websites using the tips in Earn More Writing.

Some are blog posts, copywriting, eBooks, and even corporate white papers.

Consider setting up a Contently profile so new clients can find you.

9. Write Resumes

Few people work with the same employer for their entire working career. That means they will need to submit a resume with each job application.

A resume gives potential employers a first impression of each applicant. To receive an invitation to interview, a resume and cover letter need to be impeccable.

Talent Inc. can help you get paid to write resumes on a part-time or full-time basis.

10. Design Graphics

If you’re a “picture person,” you can make money designing graphics and logos. Your clients may be website owners, eBook authors, or corporations.

Fiverr is a good place to start. Graphic designers can advertise their services for a variety of gigs starting at $5 per task.

11. Become a Virtual Assistant

Chances are, behind every large blog or website is a virtual assistant. These “unsung heroes” perform a variety of tasks including:

  • Schedule blog posts
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Manage social media accounts
  • Answer emails
  • Accounting/Bookkeeping
  • Customer service

You may do all of these mentioned above or only one of these tasks. It depends on the needs of the website and your interests.

Virtual assisting can either be a part-time or full-time position. Two places to start connecting with clients are Outsourcely and Time Etc.

You might be able to earn more as a Virtual Assistant by starting your own freelance business, like my friend Kayla. She earns $10,000 per month. She even started an online course called $10K VA to teach others to do the same.

12. Design Websites

Do you like building something from scratch? If so, you can get paid to design websites. Some of your clients might be companies or bloggers looking for their unique theme.

You can modify pre-built WordPress themes or use your own coding. Upwork and Fiverr are two places to get your name out there. Of course, your website will double as a piece of your portfolio.

13. Website Management

Established websites always need managers. You can make money managing the back-end of websites.

As a website manager, you will optimize certain keywords for higher search engine rankings. Plus, you’ll update plugins and back up data. You can also make sure the site remains user-friendly.

You can also offer consulting services on an hourly basis to help bloggers. This might be for those who want an “SEO audit” and are not ready for website management.

This is one job you can do 100% from home to help people across the entire globe.

14. Become an Online Proofreader

Authors, businesses, and bloggers all need an extra set of eyes. Being an online proofreader allows you to connect with writers and add a little sparkle to their work.

You do need an eye for detail and a command for English grammar to become a proofreader. You can proofread lots of different things, like eBooks, news articles, and transcripts.

Companies want to make their content the best it can be, and you can help them do that.

There are several different places to become an online proofreader. Start at Proofread Anywhere to learn the ins and outs of proofreading and land your first client.

The best part about being a proofreader is that you work at your leisure. It can be a part-time income stream in the evenings after work. Or, it can be a way for a stay-at-home parent or retired person to earn money from home.

You just have to be willing to find and correct grammatical errors. Proofreading is a flexible income stream. You can choose how many hours you want to work.

15. Transcribe Audio

Do you want to transcribe audio? This is an in-demand job! You can earn at least $20 per audio hour or more with TranscribeMe. If you have experience with legal or medical transcripts, you can earn even more.

How much audio you transcribe at once can also be at your discretion. You can transcribe short clips that are only a couple of minutes in duration. Transcribing longer audio is also an option for some clients.

To get started, you need an internet connection and a computer. If you like transcribing audio, buying a pedal can be worth the cost.

Want to learn more about how to transcribe audio? Check out Transcribe Anywhere!

16. Data Entry

If you are proficient at typing at least 45 WPM, you could work in data entry. Companies are looking for efficient data entry specialists.

DionData Solutions looks for home-based vendors for their database. You can also look at other freelancer platforms and company websites as well.

Data entry can take several different shapes and sizes. Your workload might consist of the following tasks:

  • Grouping data from multiple documents into a single document
  • Gathering names from LinkedIn to build a marketing database of leads
  • Processing mail-in rebates
  • Processing invoices
  • Entering medical data
  • Maintaining an Excel spreadsheet of income and expenses

What you do will depend on the needs of the business. For example, you may work for a corporation. Another option is to work for a self-employed project manager. You can help them keep up with day-to-day paperwork.

17. Medical Coding and Billing

You don’t have to work in a doctor’s office to use your medical knowledge. Healthcare is a large piece of the American economy. Many various medical providers and insurance companies have outsourced the coding and billing process. Using work-at-home people can help to minimize costs.

Aviacode can help you connect with remote work for medical providers.

In addition to medical-related data entry, you could become a remote medical transcriptionist. This job is a good idea if you have advanced knowledge of medical terms and want to transcribe the doctors’ audio.

18. Tutor Online

Tutoring sessions don’t have to take place at your local library. Now, you can tutor online with video sessions and even live chat.

You can tutor locally, but it’s also possible to teach students and adults online.

One tutoring site to check out is HAWO. With this platforms, you will be responsible for teaching English to children overseas. You can earn around $18 per hour plus bonuses and incentives.

In addition to that, you don’t have to create your lesson plans. Just show up and teach.

19. Teach a Foreign Language Online

If you enjoy interacting with people from different cultures, you can teach a foreign language online.

All you need is a webcam and microphone to teach over the internet.

Cambly and Open English will pay at least $13 per hour. You can be a tutor for English, Spanish, French, and several other languages.

20. Be an Online Translator

Foreign language tutoring is one way to use your skills. But, you can also be paid to serve as an online translator.

If you are bilingual, or fluent in a foreign language, companies will pay you to translate. You will translate their content from English into another language.

Abercap and WordExpress are looking for translators for media productions for several industries:

  • Law
  • Healthcare
  • Information Technology
  • Marketing

Using these websites will be the most lucrative if you are a native speaker or have experience as a translator. But, you can “get your foot in the door” at other websites.

21. Create an Online Course

We are all good at something, and others are always looking to learn new skills. Perhaps, you can teach them something they need to know and get paid for it!

There are several online learning platforms to share your skills. But, you might have the most success at Udemy since courses can sell for up to $200.

All courses are video-based. You can also include worksheet exercises to help your students.

Instructors create courses for many different topics. Some popular ones include:

  • how to play a particular musical instrument
  • computer programming
  • starting an online business
  • yoga classes

You can make a class on nearly any topic!

In addition to creating courses, you can take courses too. I take Udemy classes to improve my side hustle skills.

22. Invest in Crowdfunded Real Estate

You might not have the time, money, or knowledge to own rental property or flip houses. Say hello to crowdfunded real estate.

Now, you can enjoy the income potential of being a landlord without the headaches! With a $500 investment, you can open a portfolio at Fundrise. You directly invest in properties located across the United States. Historical annual returns are between 8% and 12% which is similar to investing in the stock market. The main difference is that you don’t have the daily market swings.

If you only have $10 to invest, you can invest in student housing with Rich Uncles. You can earn similar returns as Fundrise while diversifying your portfolio.

With any crowdfunded real estate site, only invest cash you don’t need for the next three to five years. You may have to pay a small penalty if you make an early withdrawal. It’s a small price to pay for becoming a real estate mogul.

Curious about crowdfunded real estate? Get started reading this Fundrise review.

23. Invest and Earn Passive Income

This income idea is a little different from the rest. You can earn passive income by investing.

You might invest for retirement with a 401k already. But, you can boost your non-retirement savings with other investments.

If you like to pick your own stocks, bonds, and ETFs, a well-respected brokerage is Ally Invest. Each trade is $4.95, which is as low as you can get for a brokerage while having access to research reports and charting.

If the thought of investing is overwhelming, you can also choose the automated approach offered by Betterment. This will let you earn passive income through hands-off investing.

Each month, you can schedule recurring investments with Betterment. They will invest in a basket of domestic and global ETFs. Selections depend on your age, investment goals, and risk tolerance.

24. Invest in Peer-to-Peer Loans

A relatively new investment idea is peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. P2P lending creates “micro-loans” to everyday people who don’t want to get a loan from a bank.

P2P lenders issue loans for many reasons. Some include credit card debt refinancing, business loans, or home repairs. Peer lending offers a higher return than your current fixed income or bond investments.

LendingClub is the largest peer lending platform. It has been around since 2007. Credit ratings vary from A to G, which is least risky to most risky respectively. This is just like the risk assessment rating for bonds.

Each note has an investment minimum of $25. You can be as risky or conservative investor as you desire. You can enroll in LendingClub’s automatic investing service for free. This will diversify your portfolio. It will give you the highest rate of return without excessive risk.

25. Use a Micro-Investing App

Another idea is to use a micro-investing app. This will help you put your spare change to good use.

Acorns and Stash are the two largest micro-investing apps. They allow you to invest a few dollars and earn interest.

For example, Acorns rounds up each purchase you make and invests the difference. You can earn additional cash back when you shop with their online partners. With spending round-ups, a $3.40 purchase becomes $4, and Acorns will invest the 60-cent difference.

For a 100% free investing app, I also recommend M1 Finance. I use it to buy partial shares of my favorite stocks and ETFs.

26. Switch Bank Accounts

Do you still have your money with a local bank? Instead of earning pennies in interest, earn dollars by switching to CIT Bank. Online banks don’t charge annoying bank fees, and you can earn 20 times the regular bank interest rate. Since they don’t have to maintain buildings, they pass the savings onto you with higher interest rates!

Three different online bank accounts earn interest each month:

For immediate access to your cash, choose a savings or money market account. For any cash you don’t need for at least one year, open a CD account. CDs offer higher interest rates on your long-term deposits.

27. Become a Customer Service Agent

Another potential income idea is being an at-home customer service rep. Many companies will hire seasonal reps during the Christmas shopping season.

Indeed and FlexJobs post the newest openings for year-round positions. This will give you a reliable income stream for all 12 months of the year.

28. Evaluate Search Engine Algorithms

Search engines like Google and Bing will hire humans to analyze their search algorithms. This helps to ensure only the most relevant content is ranking.

For example, if you’re Googling “funny cat videos,” you don’t expect to see a result focused on dogs or birds.

As a search engine tester, you can report the irrelevant dog video. Then the search engine will have it removed. This is one example of how search results have become more relevant compared to a few years ago.

Several groups hire search engine algorithm testers. They will pay you up to $700 a month.

Leapforce is one of the largest players in hiring home-based testers. You can use your computer or mobile device to evaluate results.

29. Get Paid to Exercise

Fitness apps like Achievement pay you to exercise! Achievement integrates with more than 30 Android and iOS apps.

Some of the healthy activities you get paid for include:

  • Tracking Steps
  • Sleeping
  • Healthy Eating
  • Social Media Shares
  • Answering Surveys
  • Joining Challenges

Achievement pays you via PayPal or direct deposit. Now, you don’t have an excuse not to exercise.

30. Lower Your Monthly Bills

Reducing your monthly spending has the same effect as making more money. I think of cutting expenses as an instant pay raise. One way we monitor our spending is with Ask Trim. This free app performs the following to save you money:

  • Negotiate lower monthly bills for cable tv, phone, and home internet
  • Cancel an unwanted subscription
  • Send low account balance alerts to stop overdraft fees

Trim is also rolling out tools to help you save money on insurance and electric bills.

Personally, Trim lowered my internet bill by $10 a month by applying a loyalty discount I didn’t know about.

Make Money Selling Items From Home

This section will focus on how to make money selling digital and physical products from home. These ideas will get your wheels turning. They can help whether you want to make money and declutter your house, or if you want to monetize a hobby.

Although you should sell whatever makes you money, you should first consider digital items. Selling digital items offers the most profit potential. You don’t have to pay shipping costs or buy material.

If you sell a physical product, several suggestions below only require you to upload a design. When you make a sale, the website prints and ships the item for you.

31. Sell Digital Items for Video Games

Video games are quickly changing from a hobby to a passion for many. And players don’t only spend money purchasing a brand new game. Many games and apps also require in-game purchases.

SecondLife is the perfect place to sell digital items. Anything you buy in real life is available in the game. So, you can design anything from clothing to race cars. When other players buy your items, you get paid real cash.

32. Design Clothing

CafePress is one of the leading sites that allow you to create an online shop. You can design t-shirts, sweatshirts, baby clothing, and even accessories like coffee mugs and phone cases.

All you have to do is upload your design and Cafepress will handle the printing and shipping when an item sells. Customers can request customized designs in addition to your pre-made work.

33. Sell Clothing Online

Another way to make money is by selling clothes online. Selling clothing can easily be an “evergreen” side hustle. Not only can you clean out your closet, but you could also flip clothes you bought for a bargain. After all, we all get dressed in the morning.

From personal experience, my top choices are eBay and Poshmark.

If you’re paying shipping costs when you sell an item, make sure you weigh it before you list it. We lost money on the first couple of sales because we didn’t calculate shipping. Hopefully, you can avoid this beginner mistake.

34. Sell Used Books

Whether you have used textbooks or riveting works of fiction to sell, people love to read. There are many different options to sell used books online.

My favorite is Bookscouter. They will quickly compare the prices of 42 vendors. This allows you to negotiate the best price in a matter of seconds.

Like clothing, you may decide to sell your unwanted books, or you may want to make it a steady side income. It just depends on how much time you want to invest.

If you have dreams of selling your own book, Amazon makes it easy to self-publish your Kindle eBook for free. Amazon even offers a print-on-demand service too. It’s never been easier to begin selling your works without a publishing house!

35. Sell Your Old Video Games

Connect with tons of video game buyers online. Sell both last year’s version of Madden or some old Gameboy Color games you played as a child. If own current video games you no longer need, you can sell them with Decluttr. The selling process is simple. You scan the product barcode and mail your items with the prepaid shipping label.

Selling video games online can be a lucrative side hustle. It allows parents to buy games to share their childhood memories with their children. Plus, players are always looking to buy the best games for less than retail.

36. Sell Movies and Music Online

Although many people stream their media these days, there’s something about having a hard copy of your favorites.

It’s also easy to sell your DVDs and CDs online. You can do it yourself on eBay and Amazon, or a specialty site like Decluttr. Selling your used movies and music online can be more lucrative than having a yard sale.

Tip: Bundle music and movies from similar artists or actors to save on shipping costs when you sell on eBay.

37. Sell Your Unwanted Items on Craigslist

You can sell almost everything on Craigslist. From unwanted clothing and books to used cars, and anything in between.

Craigslist can be a good option to sell those items that are too expensive to ship. Examples would be things such as used furniture, appliances, and kitchen gadgets. Also, sell items that still have cash value but no longer have a place in your home or garage.

To expand your reach, you should also consider listing your items on these 20 Craigslist alternatives.

38. Sell Unwanted Gift Cards

Do you have a drawer full of gift cards to restaurants, coffee shops, and stores that you’ll never visit? You could re-gift them, or you can sell them for cash.

Gift Card Granny makes it easy to list your gift card for sale. You can get paid in cash, or exchange it for a card you will use. Exchanging your gift card can make your card more valuable than simply selling it.

If you have access to a steady supply of gift cards or more than $2,500 in gift cards, you can apply to be a bulk seller. This will boost your profit margin and help you sell them faster.

39. Dropship with Shopify

Dropshipping doesn’t require you to mail any products. This is why it’s a popular version of retail arbitrage. A drop-ship business is where you are the “middle man” between a manufacturer and the customer.

The customer buys the product through your website or product listing on an e-commerce site, like eBay. Once the payment has been made, the warehouse ships the product directly to their front door. Your profit is the difference between the selling price and the manufacturer’s wholesale price.

For example, if a product is $30, you might pay $15 to buy the item and ship it. With these margins, you earn $15 on each sale.

The easiest way to begin is to create a website with Shopify. They have built-in tools to collect payments. Plus, you can import your product listings to various e-commerce websites. They work with sites, including eBay, Amazon, Facebook Messenger, and Pinterest.

Tip: Learn more about Shopify with their free online training!

If you want to sell your own products, a Shopify website will let customers buy items that you will mail to them. You can get discounted shipping rates on Shopify with their special partnership with the U.S. Postal Service.

40. Sell Handmade Goods

Etsy is the largest online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods. From homemade candles, crafts, clothing, and decor, Etsy can be your new favorite marketplace to connect with shoppers.

You should also try selling locally on Craigslist, Facebook, and eBay. Selling on several markets gives you maximum customer exposure.

41. Sell Your Digital Photos and Videos

If you like taking photographs, you can make money selling your photos online. News agencies, bloggers, and authors use stock images on a daily basis. They help make their articles “pop” and engage readers. Pictures can include scenes from your everyday life, places you visit, or images of nature.

As internet bandwidth speeds continue to increase, websites and their viewers can process more data-intensive graphics. Also, You can sell your videos for cash. More sites are including videos on their articles.

There are dozens of places to sell your digital media. The three largest databases are Shutterstock, Deposit Photos, and iStock by Getty Images. They will accept your images, videos, and infographics. On these sites, you can earn up to $28 per photo sold!

42. Shop with Ebates

Do you know that you can get cash back on every purchase? When you shop through Ebates, you receive 1% to 40% cashback at over 2,000 online stores. I use Ebates for my online shopping to get paid to shop.

If you do any shopping online, you will start earning cashback on each purchase made. The only additional step you need to take when shopping is visiting the Ebates site first. Or you can click the red button with the Ebates browser extension.

You can use items bought with Ebates to help supplement your side hustle. This idea can help you increase your profit by decreasing material costs.

Once your Ebates balance reaches $5.01, you get paid by check, PayPal, or gift card.

43. Participate in a Mock Trial

Before a lawsuit goes to court, lawyers will simulate a mock jury trial. This helps them try different arguments and predict the reaction of the jury.

Your jury decision won’t be the official verdict. But this can be a fun way to reenact your favorite Law and Order episodes and get paid for it. eJury cases consist of 50 jurors and pay $10 per case. You can participate in one case each week.

Make Money In Person Without Leaving Home

Online isn’t the only way to make hard-cold cash from home. Although the Internet has made it easier to work from home, you can still make money without the Internet.

44. Have a Yard Sale

Each Spring and Fall, you can host a yard sale to downsize your unwanted treasures. This is a good option if you want to sell items that are too expensive to ship.

It’s also a good idea if you don’t want to go through the hassle of listing each item online. Instead, you can sell them as a lot to a local neighbor. Plus, you can always sell online what doesn’t sell in person.

To advertise, you can usually list your sale for free in the local newspaper. You can also post your sale on Craigslist or another local shopping app.

45. Sell Farm Fresh Eggs

In our nation, there seems to a growing emphasis on locally-sourced food. As a result, you might be able to make money by selling farm fresh eggs.

Selling eggs is a potential income stream whether you live in a rural area or even in an urban area. Make sure your HOA will let you keep chickens in your yard before buying a coop. If you have the acreage, you might consider selling fresh beef, chickens, and pork as well.

To attract customers, you can place a sign in your front yard. You can also advertise with local apps like Craigslist and Facebook.

46. Operate a Produce Stand

This can be a great teen micro-business idea because local produce seems to be popular. You might be able to sell from your house, and at your local farmers’ markets to gain additional exposure.

Baked goods and specialty foods can be hot items at your produce stand too. Be sure to check your local and state laws regarding food sales first.

47. Open a Daycare

If you enjoy children and have space in your house, you can operate a home daycare. You can find families online at Care. This option can be convenient if you live in a neighborhood with working families. They can quickly drop off and pick up their children. Also, it may be cheaper for them than a traditional full-time daycare campus.

Home-based childcare can be an effective way to make money to pay your mortgage payment. If you stay-at-home with children of your own, it can be a good way to get paid to stay at home. Plus, your children will meet new playmates.

Before starting a home-based daycare, make sure you check with your local and state laws. You may need to obtain licenses or permits to operate.

48. Start a Doggy Day Care

You could open your home to pet sitting. Many pet owners prefer keeping their dogs and other animals at a house instead of a kennel. At many kennels, they may be locked up in a cage for the entire time.

Also, you can charge extra to walk dogs around your neighborhood every day they stay at your house.

Some dog-walkers earn more than $100,000 a year walking dogs while their owners are away at work.

Sites like Rover.com can be a good place to list your services. You can offer additional services like pet grooming to earn even more. As a result, the owners won’t have to visit another location to groom their dog.

49. Rent A Spare Bedroom on Airbnb

One of the most popular sites to book travel lodging is Airbnb.

As an Airbnb host, you can make money by letting travelers stay in a spare bedroom. You can even rent out a finished basement or a guesthouse that is not in use.

Airbnb can be a fun hustle. It’s great for empty-nesters, or 20-somethings wanting extra cash.

50. Take Up Woodworking

If you enjoy working with wood, convert your garage into a money-making machine. Whether you make furniture, toys, picture frames, turned bowls, or birdhouses, you can monetize your hobby.

It’s possible to sell your products to local passersby, online with Shopify, and also through apps like Craigslist.

51. Repair Automobiles

People need their cars repaired and are always looking for quality labor at the right price.

A home-based mechanic can take many different routes with their business. You can do basic oil changes and car detailing. Or they may also offer more complex repairs, like tune-ups, replacing brake shoes, and more. Although you need basic tools, you don’t need an expensive shop to perform most basic repairs.

It largely depends on what services you want to offer and the type of equipment you own.

Consider learning how to repair electric vehicles. You can stay one step ahead of your competition!

52. Cut Hair

A hair salon is an income idea that doesn’t require a lot of space. It doesn’t require a large financial investment either. You only need one large room to double as the waiting area and your workspace.

Since you work from home, you can schedule appointments at your convenience. This means you don’t have to cut hair all day as a regular salon might expect from an employee. Plus, there’s no commute.

53. Teach Music Lessons

If you have a piano in your living room, you can open up your house and teach your skills to the next generation. For nearly a decade, my wife has taught piano lessons from home.

One or two afternoons a week, students drive to our house, and she teaches them music. To boost your income, you can travel to the student’s house, or meet at your local community center. All in all, teaching music from home is easy. And, it can be taught from any common room in your house.

Summary

In short, it’s easier than ever to make money from home. Whether you freelance, answer surveys or launch a home-based business, the options are nearly endless.

By the way, the best part about all of these options is that you can do more than one!

Some of these ideas might already be part of your everyday routine. Now you know that there are people out there willing to pay you money for things you already do.

Have you ever tried making money from home before? If so, what did you do? Which idea excites you the most?

26 Best Places to Sell Textbooks (And Books) Online

Do you have old books lying around? Well, it’s time to decide which books to keep for your future use from the ones that will only collect dust.

Best Websites to Sell Your Textbook

Instead of walking down to your school bookstore, you might want to check these other places to sell textbooks as well as books to get more money.

1. BookScouter

BookScouter might be the best website to sell textbooks for the most money because it compares the prices of 38 vendors at once.

All you have to do is enter the ISBN number, you pick the highest buyback price, and then you ship it for free. Once they receive your book(s), you get paid.

2. Decluttr

Decluttr lets you sell textbooks, books, video games, CDs, DVDs, and your old smartphones. They will offer you a selling price for all your items and you can ship them for free.

You will get paid the day after your products arrive at one of Decluttr’s warehouses.

This is a good way to not only make some extra money from those textbooks you will never use again, but, you can also de-clutter your dorm room and even continue to use Decluttr in your working years by selling your old smartphones, tablets, and video game consoles.

3. Powell’s

If you live in the Portland, Oregon area, you can take your books to any of Powell’s bookstores to be purchased. Or, they will buy back your textbooks with free UPS Ground shipping from anywhere in the country.

Powell’s is another good option if you rare, vintage, or out-of-print books to sell. You can get paid with store credit or via PayPal.

4. TextbookRush

In addition to textbooks, you can also sell electronics, games, and movies at TextbookRush! They have more than 1 million textbooks listed for sale in many different subjects, so, chances are you can sell back your textbooks to TextbookRush.

You can also sell your books with their mobile app. Shipping is free and you can get paid with cash, PayPal, or store credit.

5. BookFinder.com

BookFinder.com has been in the textbook buyback business since 1997 and has received many positive accolades from major publications such as Forbes, The New York Times, and Lifehacker.

They are very similar to BookScouter by comparing the prices of several vendors but with a more antiquated looking website.

Shipping is free and they even buy textbooks back from Canada and the UK! To get started, just enter your ISBN numbers.

6. FirstClassBooks.com

Along with selling textbooks, you can also sell your graphing calculator at FirstClassBooks.com. You can list your books and they offer free shipping using the U.S. Postal Service or FedEx.

They will pay you by check or PayPal.

7. Chegg Books

Chegg accepts most textbooks as they sell and rent them to future students. This option might be a little more limited as you need to drop your books off at a UPS Store.

Shipping is free and they pay electronically within 10-15 days from the day you mail them away.

8. Cash4Books

Cash4Books has a 5-star rating from Trustpilot and has many positive reviews from previous sellers. You list your books online or scan the barcode with their mobile app.

If you like their price, your books will ship via Postal Service or FedEx. The shipping method depends on how many you are selling. As they are located on the U.S. west coast (Hillsboro, Oregon), they will process the payments quicker for those that live closer to their headquarters.

Payments are made by check or PayPal and take 13 days on average to process when you click the “sell my books” button. They are most likely to accept books published within the most recent 3 years and accept books from most genres.

9. CampusBooks

CampusBooks is another site that has been around about as long as the internet and is a pioneer in the textbook comparison niche.

You can sell nearly any book here, but, they won’t accept books missing supplemental material.

CampusBooks compares the prices from “dozens of buyback sites” to find you the best deal.

One tip they recommend is to sell August or January to get a higher price due to stronger demand.

Shipping is free and you can get paid with a check, PayPal, or store credit. They also have a mobile app to make selling textbooks easy.

10. ValoreBooks

ValoreBooks is another textbook comparison website that claims to compare the prices from hundreds of buyers. Sold books are shipped for free and you can be paid with check or PayPal.

If you are selling back multiple books to ValoreBooks, they only accept boxes that way 70 pounds or less. You will need to contact them for additional labels if you exceed that weight.

11. Sell Back Your Book

Sell Back Your Book buys your textbook directly from you. They are accredited with the Better Business Bureau and have paid millions of dollars in textbook buybacks. And, they have a mobile app that allows you to list your books quickly.

While they accept most books, their guidelines state they will not accept teacher or instructor editions, encyclopedia sets, or books without an ISBN.

Shipping is free with USPS Media Mail or FedEx Ground. You can be paid by check or PayPal.

12. Barnes & Noble

You might not think of Barnes & Noble as being in the textbook business, but, they will buy your used textbooks.

There is a $10 minimum to sell your textbooks with Barnes & Noble.

Orders are shipped via Postal Service. After receiving the book, they will pay you with check or PayPal.

They only allow you to enter one ISBN in at a time. If you have multiple books to sell back, it can take a few extra minutes to list them individually using Barnes & Noble.

13.  eCampus

eCampus can be a fun site to buy & sell your textbooks because of their rewards program that can save you money on future purchases.

They allow you to list multiple ISBNs and pay with a check, direct deposit, or store credit. You will get a selling price if you select store credit plus 1 eWard point per textbook sold.

There are other ways to accrue rewards points, but, 175 points earns a $5 eCampus gift card.

14. Textbook Recycling

Textbook Recycling is one of the few sites that accepts Instructor’s Editions of textbooks. They will only consider buying books, student or instructor, if the ISBN is listed in their database.

If the ISBN isn’t listed, they are not buying that book at the moment.

Shipping is free within the continental United States. There is a $1.75/lb. surcharge if you are mailing your books from Alaska or Hawaii.

Payments are made by check or PayPal. They are located in Moscow, Idaho and have been in business since 1997. Textbook Recycling proudly claims to have some of the quickest payment windows in the industry.

15. BookByte

Founded in 1999, BookByte is another textbook legend. They accept textbooks in good condition (minimal wear & tear) and acceptable condition (cover damages & torn pages if the book is still legible).

You might try this option for your more worn books as other textbook companies only buy books in good condition.

BookByte is based in Salem, Oregon and pays with cash, check, or PayPal.

16. Textbooks.com

Textbooks.com is one of the largest online sellers as they have more than 10 million books in stock. They also are near the top in offering top dollar for textbooks too.

Your quotes are good for 30 days and ship for free with UPS when you decide to sell. Once they receive your books, payment is disbursed with check or PayPal.

17. Rentbooks

You might not have thought about selling textbooks to a website that only rents textbooks, but, they have to build their collection somehow.

Rentbooks accepts just about any book you used in class from the actual textbook, workbooks, to the fiction and non-fiction novels you read to write that mid-term essay.

They even accept instructor’s editions, annotated instructor’s editions, working papers, study guides, and international editions.

Prices are guaranteed for 30 days and you are paid by check or PayPal.

18. CKY Books

Sell your textbooks, movies, and CDs at CKY Books. Shipping is free currently through FedEx, but there is a $20 minimum that must be met.

You can get paid by PayPal or check.

You might choose this buyback service if you live on the East Coast, as CKY Books is located in central Kentucky.

19. Amazon

Amazon is a leading seller of new & used books. They also sell & rent textbooks and are willing to pay you up to 80% of the purchase price.

If you don’t like Amazon’s trade-in price, you can always sell your books as a third-party listing. You can get paid with Amazon gift cards in addition to cash.

It’s possible to get a higher selling price by selling the book yourself than that offered on by a textbook buyback site.

Just keep in mind that Amazon will keep a small commission of approximately 15% and you are responsible for paying shipping costs. You do get a small shipping credit, but, it still might not be enough to offset the cost postage & packaging materials.

20.  Half.com

You might also consider selling your textbooks on Half.com. Their fees are usually lower than Amazon’s and you also receive a small shipping credit.

Selling on Half is a good option for books that other sites currently are not buying back or offering low rates. As with Amazon, you only get paid once somebody buys and you might find yourself in a pricing war if other college students list their books as well.

You can also consider selling on Half.com’s parent site, eBay, in an auction or Buy It Now listing.

21. CollegeBooksDirect.com

CollegeBooksDirect.com accepts books in good condition. You list your book starting with the ISBN and can get paid by check or PayPal. They currently accept over 440,000 titles and are one of the smaller textbook vendors.

22. TextbookX

TextbookX is similar to Amazon or Half.com. You list the book as a TextbookX seller and get paid when somebody buys it. The sales commission is 15% of the selling price plus $1.50. You do receive a small shipping credit to offset shipping costs.

Payment options include PayPal or store credit. You will receive a 5% bonus if you choose store credit.

23. Advertise on Campus

Your campus might have a bulletin board in the academic department, library, or student center where you can advertise your books. This can be a good option since professors often require the same textbooks the next time that class is taught.

By strategically pricing your books for less than the bookstore and online vendors, you can get top dollar for your books. And, it saves you the hassle of having to mail them off and waiting to get paid.

24. Student 2 Student

Student 2 Student allows you to sell your textbooks online or locally. When you enter a book’s ISBN, they will compare the buyback prices from several online vendors and you can sell it on your local campus as well.

When you sell locally, the service is completely free and the buyer pays you in cash at the time of purchase. This is basically the college textbook version of Craigslist.

25. AbeBooks

You might give AbeBooks a try if you have a rare or vintage book with no ISBN or are trying to sell an international edition. They will buy your textbooks directly from you and offer free shipping via FedEx.

26. FacultyBooks

This final suggestion has been in business since 1975. FacultyBooks is geared more for instructor’s books, they do accept student textbooks & study guides as well, as faculty members have books to sell as well.

If you worked as a TA to help pay your tuition, perhaps you had to buy these special editions to complete your employment requirements.

A few other sites on this list also accept instructor editions, but, you might get a better offer with FacultyBooks.

Summary

There are a few different options to sell your textbooks for the most money. You can try to list them yourself on-campus (without the bookstore) or as a third-party online seller, sell directly to a buyback company, or compare online prices from a buyback comparison website.

In most instances, you will make more money by bypassing your campus bookstore the next time you sell a textbook.

Have you sold textbooks before? If so, please let me know your experience in the comments below!

19 Easy Ways to Get Paid to Watch Videos in 2019

If you like to watch videos online, why not get paid for it?

There are actually several companies out there that will pay you to watch videos and TV.

Visit these sites to start earning money watching videos in your spare time.

Top Sites That Pay to Watch Videos

With 19 options, this post has a lot of information. To help you get started, we created a simple table comparing three popular sites.

Video Site Payment method Time to Process Payment Where to Start
Swagbucks Gift cards or PayPal cash Up to 24 hours via PayPal Sign Up
Inbox Dollars Cash 10 to 16 business days Sign Up
Perk.tv Perk Points, cash, gift cards Varies Sign Up

Take a look at the sites below to decide what is important to you. Each site has different options, like getting paid in cash, that you can choose from to start making money while watching videos.

How to Get Paid to Watch Videos

1. Swagbucks

One of the easiest ways to make money online is with Swagbucks. You will earn bucks for watching a variety of videos ranging from the world news, sports highlights, and other themed videos. It’s even possible to get paid to watch videos that are sponsored.

In addition to getting paid to watch videos, you can also make money surfing the web, taking online surveys, and even shopping online.

When you are ready to be paid, you can redeem your bucks for gift cards or PayPal cash. It’s your choice.

2. Inbox Dollars

Inbox Dollars also allows you to make money watching a variety of short videos on a daily basis. As one of the leading Swagbucks alternatives, you will also make money completing surveys, playing online games, performing web searches, and signing up for promotional offers.

You can also get paid each day to open sponsored emails sent from Inbox Dollars. You might also like this Swagbucks alternative because you get paid with cash and earn your first $5 just for signing up. So far, Inbox Dollars members have earned over $57 million in rewards!

3. Perk.tv

Perk is a sister site to Viggle and a better option if you want to make money watching short videos.

Some of the ways you can earn Perk Points include:

  • Watching movie and app trailers
  • Watching popular videos
  • Answering pop quizzes
  • Performing web searches on Perk
  • Shopping online
  • Downloading and trying out new apps

You can redeem Perk Points for cash, gift cards, merchandise, or to donate to charity.

In addition to earning Perk Points, you can also earn Perk Tokens that can be redeemed to enter sweepstakes.

Some of the potential prizes include cash rewards, gift cards, and electronic merchandise including video game consoles.

4. National Consumer Panel

National Consumer Panel is a joint venture between Nielsen and IRi that tracks people’s opinions on a variety of subjects. While NCP is primarily focused on tracking your shopping habits by scanning of products you purchase, they also provide video surveys to collect your opinion for advertising campaigns and product spots.

To get started with NCP, it is best to have an Apple or Android device. If you don’t have a compatible smartphone, National Consumer Panel will also send you a barcode scanner.

5. Watch Netflix

As the most popular subscription video streaming service, Netflix periodically hires “taggers” to watch and tag their programming to provide accurate recommendations to fellow subscribers.

All open positions are posted on the Netflix job board. Tagger positions are not the most financially lucrative and can require long hours. But, if you love to binge-watch content or watch anything Netflix has to offer, this can be a great opportunity.

6. Viggle

Viggle makes it easy to earn money watching your favorite TV shows. All you have to do is “tap the app” when watching TV or streaming on Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu. You will earn one per minute plus any bonuses.

Some shows offer a 10x bonus that allows you to earn 10 points per minute of viewing. To make watching videos fun, Viggle offers in-show games and opportunities to interact with your friends to earn even more points. Viggle will even offer extra points for watching new shows in addition to your current favorites.

To get started watching with Viggle, you will need an Android or Apple device. Points can be redeemed for gift cards, prizes, or cash with a prepaid debit card.

7. Watch YouTube Videos

Another video service that lets you watch a video on just about any topic is YouTube. Paid2YouTube will pay you to watch videos.

You earn money for watching YouTube videos posted on their website. To maximize your earning potential, take the time to rate videos, leave comments, subscribe to YouTube channels, and refer friends to join as well. After earning $10, Paid2YouTube will pay you via PayPal.

8. Nielsen Digital Voice

As many households are cutting the cable TV cord and streaming TV shows and videos online, the methods used to measure TV viewing habits have changed. Nielsen Digital Voice gives you the opportunity to tell the world what you watch on your computer or mobile device by downloading the Nielsen app.

In addition to earning rewards for watching videos, you will also get rewarded for your additional web activity as well.

You will earn rewards and also be entered into the monthly cash prize drawings. Nielsen gives away at least $10,000 each month, and over 400 members win smaller cash prizes. It’s also possible to earn additional rewards for participating in surveys.

9. Nielsen TV Ratings

If you still watch traditional television, you can also make money by becoming a Nielsen family. For decades, “Nielsen families” have been the primary influence for television show ratings as households track which shows they watch.

While this can be an exciting opportunity, participants are chosen at random, and there isn’t an application process. You will need to watch your mailbox for an invitation. If you are selected, they will pay you for your efforts.

Nielsen does invite more families during the “sweeps” season months of February, May, July, and November.

10. HitBliss

HitBliss allows you to earn rewards by watching commercial ads. They will pay you more if you personalize your ad experience to watch targeted advertisements and share your opinions.

Another reason HitBliss can be a good opportunity is that you can watch as many (or few) ads as you want. You can even skip brands and products that you don’t like. And, Hit Bliss lets you watch ads on multiple devices.

While you won’t get paid in cash with HitBliss, you can redeem rewards points for digital rewards including movies, TV shows, and music.

11. Slidejoy

If you enjoy interactive ads on your smartphone, give Slidejoy a try.

Slidejoy will display an ad when you unlock your phone on the passcode screen. Sliding your thumb right will dismiss the ad while sliding left will engage the ad and take you to the advertiser’s website to interact with the ad.

These ads can include watching YouTube videos, browsing the advertiser’s website, activating a digital coupon, or earning Google Play credits. To ensure fairness, you earn the same amount if you interact or dismiss the ad. You can also earn points for referring friends and linking your Facebook account.

For now, Slidejoy is only available on Apple and Android smartphones. They have plans to make Slidejoy tablet-compatible.

12. Success Bux

Success Bux is a relatively new rewards site that was created in 2012 but has already paid over $21,000 in rewards from over 134,000 registered members. There are several different “offer walls” to watch advertisements. And, you can even get paid to listen to the radio.

Along with earning money by watching videos and listening to music, you will also get paid to fill out surveys, surf the web, try out product, and refer friends.

Compared to the other “jack of all trades” make money online websites like Swagbucks and Inbox Dollars, Success Bux has a very low payment threshold. As soon as your account balance reaches $1.10, you can request PayPal payment.

You can conceivably get paid on a weekly basis because of their generous payment policy.

13. QuikRewards

Another site that allows you to make money watching videos and completing other online tasks is QuikRewards. Many people from the online community prefer QuikRewards because membership is open to residents of the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

In addition to watching videos, you can also sign up for additional money making opportunities including at least three daily surveys, reading emails, and a daily shopping opportunity that allows you to earn at least 25% cash back. You’re able to redeem points for PayPal cash and gift cards to your favorite restaurants and stores, including Amazon.

14. AppNana

AppNana pays you to download and test different apps. While most apps might pay you to play games, there are non-gaming apps and paid advertisements as well. You will earn “nanas” for each activity completed that you can redeem for Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, and Xbox gift cards.

15. CreationsRewards

CreationsRewards pays you to watch videos and also to shop online, take surveys, explore websites, play trivia games, and refer friends. The earnings opportunities are virtually limitless, and your rewards points can be redeemed for gift cards and PayPal cash. New members can also earn a $5 signup bonus.

16. Adfun

Adfun takes a different approach to making money online. You can earn points by watching videos, and you increase your earnings by sharing videos on social media for others to watch. The more friends you get to interact with the video, the more points it will net you.

The payment process is also unique with Adfun. You get paid by bidding and redeeming points for prizes. On select auctions, your chances increase if you get other friends to bid with you.

17. SendEarnings

SendEarnings is another popular website that pays you for watching videos online along with taking surveys, shopping, redeeming digital coupons, and searching the web. You will get paid in cash and can also earn your first $5 just for signing up.

As a side note, SendEarnings is owned by Inbox Dollars, another site recommended in this article that pays you to watch videos.

18. Become a Theatre Checker

If you like going to the movies, you can get paid to become a theatre checker with Market Force. While the technical position name is a Certified Field Associate (CFA), you can get paid to perform the following tasks:

  • Record advertisements before the feature begins
  • Count number of patrons
  • Retrieve box office information at the end of the business day
  • Review theater information including ticket prices, patron counts, sound and picture quality, etc.
  • Mystery Shop
  • Assemble promotional material
  • Poll moviegoers after the feature ends

Most assignments occur on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You will get paid to perform these tasks and will also be reimbursed the cost of your admission ticket. Market Force will also provide you a letter of authorization, so you do not get hassled for recording advertisements and conducting on-site research.

19. Become a Mystery Shopper with VeriTES

VeriTES is another company that allows you to become a mystery shopper and undercover evaluator at your local movie theater. They also provide open opportunities such as filming the trailers on movie screens before a feature begins and collecting ticket sales information on behalf of the distributor.

If you are tasked with filming the pre-feature trailers, you will most likely not be able to watch the actual feature as you have to bounce from screen to screen, but it can still be a fun experience.

Summary

You can get paid to watch videos from almost anywhere. It’s possible to make money from home or by visiting public places. If you have a smartphone, you can also make money on the go as well.

The flexibility of how you can earn money watching videos and movies is what makes this a fun and creative opportunity for anybody.

Have you made money watching television or videos? If so, let me know your experience below.

The 19 Best Coupon Apps to Save Money in 2019

You might think that the only way to save money at the store is to clip coupons from the Sunday paper or sign-up for a retailer’s e-mail list.

That’s far from the case. There are plenty of coupon apps that can save you money on just about any purchase.

Top Coupon Apps

To help you save the most money when shopping, here are the details of the nineteen most popular coupon apps.

1. Ebates

Ebates is more than just a coupon app. It allows you to get a small percentage back for your entire purchases ranging from 1% to 40% depending on the retailer, although the average cash back rate is usually between 3% and 10%.

Over 2,000 online retailers participate ranging from Wal-Mart, Target, Lowe’s, JC Penney, Macy’s, and many clothing brands. Basically, if you can buy it online, you can get cash back.

By linking your credit card to your Ebates account, you can also get cash back at over 30 stores when you shop in person.

You do have to initiate the shopping session on the app before checkout, but, you don’t have to send a copy of your receipt.

They also have a discount code section on the Ebates website with various codes you can enter at checkout to lower your total sales amount. Rewards are paid by check on a quarterly basis once you earn $5 cash back.

It’s free to join & you also have the opportunity to earn a $10 bonus credit after

You can read our complete Ebates review to find out more.

2. Ibotta App

Another popular app is Ibotta. Many people consider Ibotta the best coupon app for saving money on groceries and in-person shopping. This is more like your traditional approach to couponing.

Before going to a store, search the Ibotta app on your smartphone to see what deals there are and activate the digital coupons.

For example, you might be able to get $1 back by buying a particular brand of potato chips or bottled water. You activate the coupon, purchase the product, and receive a cash back credit in your Ibotta account.

Coupons are also available for all groceries regardless of brand. You might have the opportunity to save 50 cents on a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread. And, there are also coupons for non-grocery items such as clothing stores, restaurants, and even gas stations after scanning the copy of your receipt with a smartphone.

After earning $20 in rewards you can be paid with PayPal or store gift cards. New customers can also receive a $10 bonus by signing up here.

3. Honey

If you shop on Amazon, you have realized there are very few ways to get discounts. Honey makes it a little bit easier as this coupon app automatically enters every known discount code on the checkout screen to save you money.

And, it can even show you the lowest prices while shopping on Amazon.

Along with saving money at Amazon, Honey will also enter the best discount codes at most major discount retailers, department stores, and restaurants (including online pizza orders)!

4. SavingStar

SavingStar is a coupon app to help you save money at grocery stores with over 100 participating retail chains and 7 million users. You can save money on select grocery items by activating the offer before you checkout.

Some stores allow you to link your loyalty card to your SavingStar account and other stores (without loyalty cards) require a photo of your receipt.

You might also like SavingStar because they periodically offer additional cash rewards with their “One or Many” offers for reaching a certain spending target regardless of the items you purchase.

They also have a very low payout requirement of $5 that can be sent electronically or with a paper check.

5. Coupons.com

Coupons.com has an app where you can link coupons to your grocery store loyalty card. A second option is to print paper coupons that will give you instant savings at the checkout lane if you don’t want to wait several weeks to get your cash reward mailed to you or deposited electronically.

They also have a coupon codes section for several leading retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, and Shutterfly to save money online as well.

6. Shopkick App

Shopkick isn’t your typical coupon app. In fact, it’s different from most of the apps listed in this article because you can earn points just for visiting a purchase.

You will need to use your smartphone with this app and enable your Bluetooth location services. Shopkick awards your reward points called “kicks” that you can earn by visiting a store, scanning item barcodes, and making purchases. That’s three different ways to earn kicks.

You can earn points by visiting grocery stores and retail stores. For example, you can earn 100 kicks just by walking through the front door of your favorite electronics store. When it comes to redeeming your kick points, they are exchanged for store gift cards.

7. MobiSave

If you want instant cash rewards deposited to your PayPal account, try MobiSave. Cash rewards are deposited within 24 hours of submitting your receipt. Like the other coupon apps, you do have to activate the offers before checking out.

MobiSave works at any grocery store that provides an itemized receipt to show you bought bacon (any brand) to save 10 cents or a specific brand of shampoo to save $1.

8. Smart Source

Now you can cancel your newspaper subscription as Smart Source, possibly the largest weekly coupon circular, has their coupons online as well. You can filter coupons by product category or brand name.

It’s also possible to find local offers by entering your zip code.

Smart Source offers printable coupons and “Direct2Card” electronic coupons that upload to your store loyalty cards.

9. Red Plum

Red Plum is the other coupon circular you receive in your local newspaper on a routine basis. You can print or download coupons and find local offers to non-grocery retailers too. They also have a recipes section that can give you some cooking ideas to help maximize the value of the coupons you might choose to use.

10. RetailMeNot

RetailMeNot provides 500,000+ coupon codes to 50,000 stores. If you can’t find a discount code here, it probably doesn’t exist. When looking for coupon codes, you can enter the store name into the search bar or browse their exclusive offers and trending offers sections to find time-sensitive deals. To view a discount code, you have to click the “Show Code” button and the code will be uncovered.

An indirect way to couponing is buying discounted gift cards. RetailMeNot sells gift cards for 1% up to 25% off the regular price. In some instances, this is actually a better deal than clipping coupons in terms of money and time.

The gift card inventory & discount rates are always changing so it pays to check back often if you don’t find the exact gift card amount you are looking for today.

11. Grocery iQ

Grocery iQ is more than just a coupon app, you can also make shopping lists to ensure to you don’t buy an unnecessary item just because you have a coupon for it.

The list option they provide can help make sure you find coupons for as many grocery items as possible as Grocery iQ will recommend items & even save previous coupons you have used.

Most grocery customer loyalty programs are supported by this app. Coupons can be delivered electronically or printed at home. You can even synchronize your lists to be accessed from multiple devices.

12. Coupon Sherpa

Coupon Sherpa is the original mobile coupon app for in-store purchases. It allows you to print coupons, download scannable digital coupons, and find coupons based on your proximity to nearby stores. For digital coupons, all you need to do is show the barcode to the cashier and they will scan it. It’s like when your favorite store e-mails you a coupon & you bring up the e-mail on your smartphone to get the savings.

You can find grocery & retail coupons with Coupon Sherpa. That flexibility makes this a pretty flexible along with the fact that the savings are instant.

13. Groupon

To save money on experiences and visiting restaurants, you should check Groupon first for local deals. Groupon says you can save up to 70% on select deals and first-time users can get an additional discount for their first purchase (currently 25% off).

You can save some additional money at Groupon by visiting the site through Ebates coupon app (also recommended on this list) that also offers a cash back discount.

In addition to finding local deals, Groupon can help you save money on vacation activities across the globe and they also have a “Coupons” section to save money at multiple retailers with coupon codes too.

14. Living Social

If you liked Groupon, you can also give Living Social a try. It’s another great site to save up to 80% off on local attractions and events. Their selection is a little different than Groupon, for example, you can buy online merchandise at Living Social but can’t buy restaurant gift certificates.

Like Groupon, they also have a coupon codes section to save money at many online stores.

15. Walmart Savings Catcher

Just about every town has a Walmart and you can save money with the Walmart Savings Catcher app for in-store purchases. Simply scan the bar-code at the bottom of your store receipt within 7 days and Walmart will compare the prices you paid to those offered by other local stores. If they overcharged you, you get the difference back as a cash reward.

The savings only qualifies for most packaged groceries, paper products, and health & beauty items. If you use a coupon, Walmart will still credit you the difference from their regular price the competitor’s price. You can load the cash rewards on a Walmart gift card or Bluebird American Express card.

16. Target Cartwheel

Cartwheel is Target’s version of an in-store coupon app. It is more similar to the other coupons apps listed where you need to activate the offers before you checkout to save 5% to 50% on discounted items. After all, items have been scanned by the cashier, they need to scan the bar-code from your Cartwheel app to get the additional savings.

This app can be used in addition to regular Target and manufacturer coupons to save some additional money.

17. Amazon Coupons

While a few of the apps mentioned here will automatically enter all Amazon coupons into your cart at checkout, sometimes you want to browse the specials before you shop. Amazon Coupons lets you look at all the current offers from every shopping category.

As with certain products on the Amazon website, they are only available to Amazon Prime members. That holds true with select coupons too.

18. SnipSnap

SnipSnap is a coupon app that allows you to activate offers from stores or scan the bar-codes of paper coupons to store them electronically. When you are ready to checkout, you have the cashier scan the digital bar-code and accrue the savings at the register.

Another feature of SnipSnap is showing specials based on your current location. The app will display pinpoints of retailers and their specials. As you walk across the mall or drive to a different shopping center, a new set of coupons will display from the stores closest to you.

19. Yipit

Yipit helps you find the best daily deals and coupons. They will send you a daily newsletter for the best deals in your city. While Yipit has a large selection of cities to choose from, you will need to see if they provide deals for your metropolitan area. If you live in one of the cities they serve, you might use this as an alternative to Groupon or Living Social.

You can also get online coupons from Yipit. They scour several online coupon databases like Ebates, RetailMeNot, Coupons.com, etc. to find all the different discount codes. Yipit will also tell you what other apps have the same codes and if it worked for Yipit when they tried entering it.

Summary

You can still save money by clipping coupons from the newspaper and the mail. However, using coupon apps makes saving money a lot easier and quicker. Plus, all these apps are free to use.

All you need is a smartphone to get started and you can start saving the next time you visit your favorite grocery store or department store.

12 Best Online Mortgage Companies in 2019

One way to save money when buying a home is by getting a mortgage online. You can quickly compare the best rates from online mortgage companies. Then you can begin the pre-approval process to make a serious offer on your dream house.

Getting a mortgage online can be quicker and cheaper than visiting your local bank. You can save time because the application process is digital. Instead of driving across town to deliver loan documents, you upload them from home. The time savings means you can close a few days sooner.

Some online lenders also have physical offices, so you can still speak to a loan officer in person if you want. But you’ll still probably same time because you can initiate the process from home and upload the documents there.

Online mortgages can also be cheaper than local banks, too. This is because online lenders have fewer operating expense. As a result, they can pass on the savings to you with lower interest rates and closing costs.

As with any loan, it’s a good idea to get several rate quotes. Comparing rates helps you find the lowest one. By comparing rates online, you can get several quotes in a matter of minutes. With this trick you can save money and time.

After going through the entire loan process with a local bank myself, I would strongly consider using an online lender for our next loan. Having local access to a loan officer wasn’t as beneficial as expected. We gave them our documents and they passed them onto the corporate office.

Applying online would have saved us the time of scheduling meetings. And, we might have saved some money had we compared online rates, too.

Online Mortgage Companies to Consider

There are plenty of places willing to lend you money. But you might give these online lenders a look first. With any loan, make sure you compare rates from several lenders. On a $200,000 starting balance, a rate that’s 0.25% lower can save you $10,800 on a 30-year fixed rate term.

You can apply for both new home loans and mortgage refinancing online.

1. LendingTree

LendingTree is a mortgage broker that allows you to compare rates from multiple lenders for free.

LendingTree first asks a few questions to help determine what your personal credit history is and where you are in the house-hunting process.

For each quote you receive, you can see a breakdown of your estimated fees and monthly payment. What I like is that lenders show you different loan terms, like a 30-year and 15-year fixed rate term.

While you must still go through the pre-approval process with the lender you choose, you can save a large chunk of time by only visiting one website.

Why We Like LendingTree

You can quickly compare quotes from multiple lenders for free. For each lender, you can also see side-by-side quotes for 15-year and 30-year terms.

2. Sofi

You might know Sofi as a company for refinancing student loans. They also offer new mortgages and refinance mortgages.

It’s possible to get a loan with a 10% down payment. And, unlike with other lenders, you won’t have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) if you choose this option.

Another reason to consider Sofi is that you get a 0.125% discount if you already have a Sofi loan. This is another way you can save on the total cost of your loan.

As a Sofi member, you can also enjoy free career coaching and unemployment protection. If you lose your job, Sofi pauses your loan payments for up to 12 months. Your mortgage goes into forbearance status.

However, interest on your mortgage still accrues during this time. You can either continue paying the interest or roll it into the loan principal when payments resume.

Sofi is a good option if you have a thin credit record. It looks at your work history and future career prospects, as well as your financial history to determine your interest rate. Other mortgage companies might focus almost exclusively on your credit score. Sofi also considers your credit score, but it’s only one part of the big picture.

What We Like About Sofi

Sofi’s loyalty discount is a nice touch when you have multiple loan types. The unemployment benefits can also help if you lose your job. In addition, if you don’t plan on making a 20% down payment, not having to pay PMI is reason enough to consider Sofi.

3. Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans

Rocket Mortgage is one of the largest online mortgage companies. J.D. Power rates Quicken Loans as best overall in their 2018 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Survey.

With Rocket Mortgage, you can also secure your rate for up to 90 days, even if you’re still house hunting. Most online mortgage companies secure your rate for 45 days after you submit an official mortgage application. That’s enough time to complete the closing process after the buyer accepts your offer.

When you live in a hot real estate market, though, you might need more than 45 days to find a home and complete the closing process. Home mortgage rates are gradually rising, so securing a rate before you find a house provides peace of mind.

The 90-day RateShield Approval gives you more time to shop for homes. When you want to make an offer, Quicken sends the buyer a verified approval letter. If rates drop during the 90-day period, you pay the lower rate when your mortgage closes.

Also, Rocket Mortgage services 99% of their loans. Instead of ditching you after your mortgage loan closes to make a quick buck, they’ll take care of you for up to 30 years. That’s unusual for any mortgage lender, whether online or brick-and-mortar.

Why We Like Rocket Mortgage

Securing your mortgage rate for 90 days gives you more time to shop in a competitive real estate market. You pay the lower rate if rates go down during the 90-day period.

We also like the fact that you’re not handed off to a separate company for loan servicing after you take out a mortgage. The 2018 J.D. Power award is another reason to consider Rocket Mortgage.

4. Lenda

When you compare mortgage lenders, besides comparing interest rates, you also need to look at estimated one-time fees. These fees are how many banks earn their loan income before transferring your loan to a servicing company.

As a direct lender, Lenda offers competitive rates and tries to keep their loan fees to a minimum. In addition, Lenda uses Notarize to offer digital notary services. That can make the application process simpler by allowing you to use your webcam and microphone to sign documents.

We had to go into our bank to sign notarized documents in front of our loan officer.

At this time, Lenda only offers conventional home mortgages for your primary dwelling and investment properties. You’ll need to use another lender if you need an FHA loan.

Another downside is that Lenda only serves a handful of U.S. states.

Why We Like Lenda

Lenda is a direct lender, which means they issue the loan money themselves if they approve your application.

Also, with Lenda’s digital notary service, the entire loan process can occur online. If you need a mobile notary, Lenda dispatches one to your current location.

Read our Lenda review to learn more about their online mortgage application process.

5. Guaranteed Rate

Some online mortgage companies are online-only. If you still want to enjoy local access during the approval process, you can try Guaranteed Rate. It has more than 200 physical branches across the United States.

With their Digital Mortgage option, you don’t have to visit a local office to start the loan process.

It’s possible to get 15-year and 30-year fixed rate terms for conventional, FHA and VA loans. Adjustable rate terms are available if you can pay off your loan in seven years or less.

Why We Like Guaranteed Rate

You can apply online or visit a local branch. They offer conventional, FHA and VA loans for new purchases and refinancing. Applying online via the Digital Mortgage helps reduce the lender fees, too.

6. Costco Mortgage

You might have one more reason to join Costco. As a mortgage broker, Costco Mortgage caps lender fees at $650 for basic Gold Star members and $350 for premium Executive members.

For one of my LendingTree quotes, estimated lender fees were $1,433. Even with the basic Gold Star membership ($60 per year), paying $650 in lender fees is half that cost. Those savings can be the equivalent of one monthly payment.

Getting rate quotes is similar to the LendingTree process. You submit your information on the Costco website. Then, up to four lenders  provide a rate quote. Don’t forget to mention you’re a Costco member to secure the member discount.

It’s possible to get a Conventional, FHA, Jumbo or VA loan through Costco Mortgage.

What We Like About Costco Mortgage

With Costco Mortgage, you know upfront the maximum you will pay in lender fees. These are fees the mortgage company charges, such as application, underwriting and process fees. While you still have to pay third-party fees like title insurance and appraisal fees, you can save money.

Costco partners with notable national lenders, so you can get a competitive interest rate too.

7. Ally Bank

We already like Ally Bank for its industry-leading money market rates. You might also like its home mortgage rates. Those rates can be lower than other online lenders. As always, get quotes from at least two lenders to see which one is better for you.

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, Ally also offers Fannie Mae’s HomeReady program. This program helps low and middle-income households reach the dream of owning a home. You only need a 3% down payment (vs. 3.5% with an FHA loan). These loans can also be easier to qualify for than FHA loans because there aren’t any geographic restrictions.

What We Like About Ally Bank

Ally offers the standard fixed and adjustable rate mortgage terms. If you qualify for a Fannie Mae HomeReady mortgage, Ally can be a friendly lender.

8. PennyMac

Want to buy investment properties? PennyMac offers origination fee discounts on investment property loans. You can get quotes for your new primary residence, too.

In all, PennyMac offers these loans:

  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • VA
  • USDA
  • Investment property
  • Jumbo loans

After submitting an online application, you will talk to a team member on the phone to continue the application process. But, you can submit your documents online for a fast underwriting process.

What We Like About PennyMac

Well-qualified buyers might like exploring PennyMac’s investment property loan options. Its loan terms can be better than other lenders offer for buying rental property.

Tip: Consider buying single family rental homes from Roofstock.

9. Better

Better offers many different purchase and refinance mortgage loan types. One nifty perk is its  $1,000 price match. If another lenders offers a lower price in three days, it’ll pay you $1,000.

You can pre-qualify and lock in your rate within three minutes. After this first step, Better assigns you a loan officer to guide you through the process.

Also, Better tries to keep its fees to a minimum. Its agents don’t work on commissions, which means the lender fees should be lower than commission-based lenders.

After pre-qualifying, you receive a three-page report listing the different loan fees. Other online mortgage companies also offer this document. Go ahead and compare Better’s rates to other lenders to see which one has lower fees.

What We Like About Better

Better processes all applications online, but you can also call its customer support team for help. The $1,000 price match is another reason get a quote from Better.

We also like that Better has an easy-to-use website. It has plenty of videos to explain the confusing parts of getting a mortgage, too.

10. loanDepot

If you’re looking to refinance your home, consider loanDepot. After you refinance with them once, they will waive lender fees and reimburse you for the appraisal fee on any future refinances through them.

When we refinanced our mortgage a few years ago, the refinancing fees erased some of our interest savings. Still, as with all loans, you should compare interest rates and lender fees with other providers.

LoanDepot isn’t just for refinance loans, though. It offers purchase mortgages, too.

Like several other online mortgage companies, loanDepot agents don’t work on commission. Their duty is to choose the mortgage that’s the best option for your purchase.

Local branches across the United States offer in-person support as well.

What We Like About loanDepot

Not having to pay lender fees or appraisal fees reduces the costs to refinance your mortgage.

And, homebuyers from all 50 states can get a mortgage with loanDepot. We also like that agents don’t work on commission.

11. First Internet Bank

First Internet Bank has the best quote process I’ve seen. By entering your home purchase details into the rate checker, you can get a quote in about one minute. At least, that’s how long it took me.

The quote is one of the most comprehensive I’ve seen without submitting an actual application. I see a detailed list of lender fees and third-party fees that all fall into the closing costs category.

It’s important to note these are all estimated charges and you won’t get an accurate list of fees until the underwriting process begins. This uncertainty is standard with every mortgage lender. But, it’s nice to see an entire estimate without having to provide your contact information.

First Internet Bank offers conventional and FHA loans with fixed or variable interest rates.

It also does a good job of adding transparency to the online mortgage process. You can see its loan expert team on the website and even chat live with them.

What We Like About First Internet Bank

You can get a full quote estimate without having to create an account. And, you can chat with a loan expert.

If you happen to live in central Indiana, you can also apply for a home construction loan online.

12. USAA

If you qualify for USAA membership, you can’t ignore its online mortgage options. With its real estate rewards network, you get cash back based on the purchase price. For instance, buying a $250,000 house gives you a $1,250 cash back reward.

You can get a conventional or VA loan through USAA. In lieu of an FHA loan, you can get a “Conventional 97” loan if you’re a first time home buyer. You can qualify for this loan if you haven’t had one in the past three years. And, you only need to make a 3% down payment.

In addition to helping you find an agent, USAA also assigns you a real estate rewards advocate. Your advocate can help guide you through the mortgage and rewards process.

What We Like About USAA

USAA is a recurring favorite for military members and their families. The cash back rewards help defray any closing fees you pay.

Tips for Choosing the Best Online Mortgage Company

There’s a lot to learn when getting a mortgage and picking the best lender. Because you’re making a large purchase and potentially making payments for 30 years, choosing the wrong lender can cost you thousands of dollars in fees and interest.

Even paying 5% instead of 4.75% on a $200,000 starting balance for 30 years costs $10,000 more. You don’t feel the pinch when you only pay $30 more each month. But, you might cringe when you see the total interest paid estimates when you compare rates.

Compare Interest Rates to APR

When you get a mortgage quote, you will see two different rates: Interest Rate and APR (annual percentage rate). You probably need to pay more attention to the APR since that’s the more realistic rate. For example, one loan quote I have is a 4.875% interest rate and a 5.167% APR.

If I borrow $200,000, the annual interest rate is 4.875% for the life of the loan. The APR includes broker fees, closing costs and lender credits you don’t pay upfront

These add-on fees might be flat-rate or proportional to the amount you borrow. If you don’t pay these fees upfront, then you pay for them over the life of the loan.

To lower your APR, you can pay more of these add-on fees upfront. You might also consider buying points to reduce your interest rate.

Each point costs 1% of your loan balance. Most experts recommend only buying points if you plan on having your mortgage for at least six years. This six year mark is the breakeven point for most borrowers to start saving money from buying points.

As a side note, not every lender lumps the same expenses into the APR. Some lenders include more than others. To the best of your ability, try to get an itemized list with each lender quote. This gives you a more accurate projection of what your APR will be.

Consider Getting a Shorter Loan Term

Besides comparing interest rates and APRs for 30-year mortgages, also look at short loan terms. The most popular alternative is a 15-year mortgage. Some lenders also offer 10 and 20-year terms.

With shorter terms, you have a higher monthly payment and a lower interest rate. When comparing 15-year and 30-year loans, you’ll see you also pay a lot less total interest on a 15-year loan because you pay off the loan in half the time.

Here’s a sample quote I have for a $250,000 mortgage:

  • 15 years at 4.62% APR: $96,920 total interest paid
  • 30 years at 5.15% APR: $235,948 total interest paid

If you can afford a $600 higher monthly payment, getting a shorter loan term is well worth it. Even if you go with a 30-year mortgage, you can still make extra payments to repay your loan early and save on interest.

What’s the Difference Between Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval?

There are actually three different steps to the mortgage application process:

  • Pre-qualification
  • Pre-approval
  • Approval

To provide an initial quote, most online mortgage companies only require pre-qualification. This is to determine how much house you can afford, and the task takes less than five minutes.

You only give basic details like your household income and the purchase price of your home. During this stage, the lender doesn’t check your credit report.

When you want to submit an offer to buy a house, you have to get pre-approved. In this stage, the lender checks your credit report. You also have to submit proof of income to verify your application information. Based on this information, the lender can give you an official approval letter you can hand to the buyer. And you might be able to lock an interest rate.

After the buyer accepts your offer, the final stage is seeking official loan approval. In this step, the lender finalizes your loan amount and the actual interest rate and APR.

While you can get an accurate estimate when you pre-qualify or get pre-approved, the precise rate isn’t possible until you know the exact home purchase price and your exact down payment amount.

Improve Your Credit Score To Get the Best Rate

To qualify for a conventional mortgage, most lenders require a credit score of at least 620. For an FHA loan, you only need a 580 credit score. Having a higher score when you apply improves your approval odds. And, you may qualify for the lowest current interest rate.

Also, don’t apply for any new credit if you’re currently applying for a mortgage. Otherwise, you may have to restart the underwriting process to determine if you still qualify for your initial rate quote.

You can check your credit score for free on Credit Karma from two different credit bureaus. However, if you’re not sure if your score is high enough to qualify for a mortgage, it’s worth paying for a one-time score from FICO.

You can purchase a mortgage-specific score from one credit bureau ($19.99) or all three ($59.99). To get the most accurate picture of your credit, spring for all three, as the credit report from each bureau may be slightly different.

If your score needs a little help, consider creating a “credit builder account” using Self Lender. Each month, you lend money to yourself.

Your monthly payments deposit into an interest-bearing bank CD account. Those payments show up on your credit report. When your loan term ends, you withdraw the cash.

Self Lender reports that some users have seen their score increase 40 points in six months. This is possible because Self Lender reports your monthly payments to the three credit bureaus.

Have you applied for an online mortgage? Which company did you use?

21 Best Companies to Consolidate Your Credit Card Debt

Refinancing credit card debt is one of the best steps you can take to get out of debt. Chances are, your credit cards have a high interest rate.

By refinancing to a lower interest rate, more of your monthly payment goes to the balance instead of the banker’s pockets.

As a result, you can become debt-free sooner.

When you refinance you can enjoy these benefits:

  • Fixed monthly payments
  • Potentially lower interest rates
  • The choice of canceling your credit cards to prevent more debt

As you pay off your debt, you will gradually see your credit score improve. And you will have more disposable income as your monthly payments disappear.

The Best Companies for Refinancing Credit Card Debt

Before you get loan quotes from one of these lenders, get your free credit score. After you know your score, it’s time to see what your new rate will be.

When getting a quote, lenders will ask your loan purpose. If the option “credit card refinancing” is available, choose that one.

Otherwise, look for a “debt consolidation” or “personal loan” option. The more precise you are, the more accurate your repayment terms will be.

Getting free rate quotes doesn’t affect your credit score. But if you decide to refinance with a lender, they will pull your credit score when you officially apply for credit.

1. Even Financial

Compare interest rates from multiple lenders in a single query with Even Financial. You can borrow up to $100,000 for 84 months. For credit card refinancing, this is one of the highest borrowing limits you will see.

The good news is that if you don’t need to borrow 100 grand, you can still get a loan for $1,000. As of December 2018, interest rates start at 4.99% APR with a 24-month loan.

To get an instant quote, you must provide these details:

  • Your credit score
  • Desired borrowing amount
  • Loan purpose
  • Personal contact information

If you don’t know your credit score, you can get your score for free through Credit Sesame.

2. LendingTree

While you can get separate quotes from each lender, LendingTree provides free quotes from five lenders with a single request. You simply state how much debt you have to refinance and you receive instant quotes.

The offers show your loan interest rate, loan fees and your estimated monthly payment. Once you find an offer you like, you start the application process on the lender’s website.

You also won’t pay extra fees by getting your quote through LendingTree.

3. LendingClub

A relatively new way for refinancing credit card debt is LendingClub. They are a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform where individual investors lend you their money. For instance, investors invest in your loan instead of the stock market. Such a creative idea, right?

If you have “average credit’ of at least 640, your approval odds and interest rate can be better than getting a personal loan from a regular bank. You pay a one-time origination fee but won’t pay any prepayment penalties or application fees.

LendingClub lets you borrow up to $40,000 in either three or five-year repayment terms. Unlike a regular bank, you must wait for investors to fund the loan request before you receive it. But you can receive your loan in as little as seven days.

LendingClub is the largest peer lending platform. However, more investors may be willing to fund your request.

But on smaller platforms, there may not be enough investors interested in funding your loan. So this means you might only get a partial loan. Or you could re-apply and hope for better results.

Here is another reason to consider LendingClub. You can apply for refinancing with a minimum 600 credit score. Other lenders might require your score to be least 700 to qualify for a loan.

4. Tally

For free, Tally (Currently Only On IOS) analyzes your current credit card balances. Then they help you choose the best repayment option.

Sometimes, the best option is to keep your current balances on your credit cards. This can be the case if you don’t qualify for a lower interest rate. Or if you have to pay a high origination fee to refinance.

In this situation, Tally makes a payment plan for you. Then they send payments to your credit card companies.

But when refinancing is cheaper, Tally provides a line of credit with interest rates comparable to other lenders. In fact, you might save money because they don’t charge loan origination fees like most lenders.

One downside for Tally is that it’s only available in 19 states and the District of Columbia. If you don’t live in one of these states, you can join the waitlist. But instead of waiting, we recommend refinancing with another company below.

Read our Tally review to learn more about paying off your credit cards fast.

5. Credible

Credible is one of the easiest ways to consolidate your credit card debt quickly. They are a loan comparison site that provides at least three lender quotes from peer lending platforms and online banks. You can request to borrow up to $100,000 through Credible’s lending network.

Remember, the sooner you refinance, the more money you save. Rate shopping takes time, but Credible speeds up the comparison process.

For example, Credible lets you refinance your credit card debt with interest rates as low as 4.99%. If you currently pay 15% or 20% interest with your credit card, imagine the savings.

6. Payoff

You might prefer working with a company that specializes in refinancing credit card debt. Payoff offers their signature “Payoff Loan” when you have between $5,000 and $35,000 in unpaid balances. Your repayment term can be between two and five years.

Each month, Payoff provides your updated FICO credit score. Your FICO score isn’t quite the same as your free VantageScore credit score.

FICO is the credit score lenders look at to provide a firm credit offer when you apply for a new loan. Without Payoff, you almost always have to pay to see your FICO score.

Another benefit Payoff offers is job loss support. If you lose your job, contact Payoff and they will work with you on creating a flexible repayment plan. Very few lenders offer similar support in tough times like these.

One final reason to consider Payoff is if you prefer writing a check to make your monthly payments. Other lenders charge an extra fee each month if you mail your payment.

7. SoFi

Another one of our favorite companies for refinancing credit card debt is SoFi. Most lenders don’t charge application or prepayment fees. But they will charge you a one-time origination fee. And it will usually range between 1% and 6% of the loan balance.

However, SoFi doesn’t charge an origination fee.

Also, by enrolling in AutoPay, you get a 0.25% interest rate discount. Although SoFi doesn’t charge any upfront fees, you should still compare their loan APR to lenders that do charge an origination fee. Sometimes, lenders “bake in” the fees by charging a slightly higher interest rate.

To consolidate your debt with SoFi, apply for a personal loan. Then deposit the loan amount into your credit card accounts.

Like Payoff, SoFi also offers unemployment protection. They help you find a new job. And they place your loan into forbearance until you get back on your feet. During this time, you may still be responsible for paying the monthly interest payment.

Here’s one final witty way you can pay off your credit cards faster. Referring your friends to SoFi. Once you join SoFi, you and your friend earn a bonus if they get a SoFi loan.

In total, SoFi will give you up to $6,000 if you refer 20 friends. Imagine the dent that would put into your debt balance.

8. Upstart

Founded by ex-Google employees, Upstart is a lending pioneer. Young professionals with minimal credit history should consider Upstart. Instead of only using your credit report, Upstart considers these factors too:

  • Work history
  • Field of study
  • Future potential salary

Being in a lucrative career field means you can get a lower interest rate than other lenders offer. This detailed underwriting process makes Upstart unique.

Besides credit card debt, you can also refinance student loans. Or consolidate other personal debts.

With Upstart, your balance can be up to $50,000. Three-year and five-year loan terms are your two options. It takes two minutes to see if you qualify. If so, Upstart sends you the loan funds the next day.

9. Best Egg

With Best Egg, you can refinance $2,000 to $35,000 of credit card debt. If you also get quotes from a loan comparison site like LendingTree or Even Financial, you might see a Best Egg quote too.

Their credit card refinance rates start at 5.99% APR with a minimum 700 FICO score and an annual household income of $100,000. To get the best rates, choose a repayment term of 5 years or less. Otherwise, your interest rate and origination fee will be higher.

10. Prosper

You can get a debt consolidation loan from Prosper with a $2,000 to $40,000 balance. Like other lenders, you have either three years or five years to repay the balance.

Loan rates start at 6.95% APR. You can get an instant rate quote by providing your basic personal information. And you won’t pay any prepayment or early payoff fees either.

11. Upgrade

Fixed interest rates and 36-month or 60-month terms are what to expect from Upgrade. You can also get a loan balance up to $50,000. And you won’t pay a prepayment penalty with Upgrade.

After you’re approved, the money lands in your bank the next day. So you can literally start saving money right away!

If you prefer to mail your payment to Upgrade, you won’t pay an extra fee. Other online lenders charge a fee for mail-in payments. Of course, electronic payments may still be the best option with Upgrade. Yes, they offer an auto-pay discount too.

With a $1,000 borrowing minimum and an APR as low as 6.99%, Upgrade is one of the most affordable lenders.

12. LendingPoint

If you have “Near Prime Credit” with a 600s credit score, peer lending platforms can be a more affordable option than a regular bank. LendingPoint is one online bank that’s an exception to this rule. They offer credit card refinancing loans between $2,000 and $25,000.

However, prepare to repay your refinance loan at a slightly faster rate than other lenders.

LendingPoint loans are only 24 to 48 months in length. If you need five years to repay your balance, choose a different lender. See if you can afford the more aggressive repayment schedule. If so, LendingPoint might offer a better interest rate than peer lending platforms.

Since LendingPoint is a direct lender, they offer next-day loan disbursement after approving your loan. As a result, you can receive your loan funds sooner than a peer lending platform.

Tip: Boost your credit score by lending money to yourself with Self Lender.

13. PersonalLoans.com

Another loan comparison site is PersonalLoans.com. You can get quotes from multiple lenders for loan balances between $1,000 and $35,000. Depending on how much you refinance, you have between 90 days and six years (72 months) to repay the loan in full.

The PersonalLoans lender network consists of peer lenders and traditional banks. It’s possible to get approved for financing with a 580 credit score. Also, you need to earn at least $2,000 in monthly income to be considered by lenders.

14. LightStream

When you prefer using a national bank, try LightStream. This online division of SunTrust Bank offers debt consolidation loans starting at 6.14% APR with autopay. To get this low rate, you need to borrow at least $10,000. But LightStream begins issuing loans with a $5,000 balance.

It’s possible to receive your cash the same day you apply to refinance. For this to happen, submit your application by 2:30 pm Eastern Standard Time.

And don’t forget to enroll in AutoPay to get a 0.50% rate discount.

If another lender offers a better interest rate than LightStream, they will beat their rate by 0.10%. As you see, rate shopping has its advantages to save you extra money.

15. FreedomPlus

If your balance is at least $7,500, FreedomPlus offers competitive rates. Rates start at 4.99% for a two-year term. FreedomPlus approves most loans within three hours. And you can receive your funds within 48 hours.

For extra flexibility, FreedomPlus let you choose your payment due date.

To apply for FreedomPlus loan, you must meet these three minimum requirements:

  • 640 credit score or higher
  • An annual income of $34,000 or higher
  • A debt-to-income ratio below 40%

When you qualify, you can get a loan with a two to five-year repayment term. And you can get an extra rate discount when you add a co-signer. But to get the discount, they must have at least $40,000 in retirement savings.

16. CashUSA

CashUSA provides you with access to a network of lenders. So this is a preferable option if you have less-than-perfect credit. That is a credit score in the 500s or low 600s.

You can get loans up to $10,000. This isn’t a high borrowing amount. But your approval odds can be higher if you earn a limited income as well.

To submit your loan request, you must have these traits:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Steady monthly income of at least $1,000 after taxes
  • Have a personal checking account
  • Ability to provide work and home phone numbers, plus a valid email address

CashUSA is a loan comparison site but doesn’t charge any fees for their service. They connect you with potential lenders and earn a referral bonus when the lenders approve your application.

Your repayment term can be as short as 90 days or up to 72 months. How long you have to repay depends on the loan balance. And to some extent, your credit score and monthly income.

17. Discover

One of the best online banks is Discover. When Discover approves your application, Discover offers to pay off creditors directly. They save you a step and send the money directly to the credit card company.

Other lenders only place the money in the bank account. Then you’re responsible for sending the money to the credit card company to pay off your balance.

Also, you won’t pay an origination fee. And repayment terms range between three and seven years. Their starting interest rates of 6.99% are competitive. And they have zero prepayment penalties.

Finally, Discover provides a free FICO credit score, just like Payoff.

18. Avant

Avant offers loans for borrowers with average credit. Average credit is between 600 and 700. You can borrow between $2,000 and $35,000. And you still pay less interest than your current loan interest rate.

But their lowest interest rate is 9.95% APR. So you’ll only want to consider this loan for your credit cards. Your new rate can be 5% to 10% lower with Avant.

Besides lower interest rates, Avant also offers next-day deposits. To do so, they need to approve your application by 4:30 PM Central Standard Time.

Other lenders offer next-day deposits too, so pick one with the lowest rate. However, other lenders might take up to seven days to deposit your cash. If you pay the same interest rate with these lenders, why wait a week?

19. Marcus

A relatively new online bank and lender is Marcus by Goldman Sachs. Credit card consolidation loans start at $3,500 with a maximum borrowing amount of $40,000. You will need a credit score of 660 or higher to qualify for a Marcus loan.

You also won’t pay any loan fees that other online banks and peer lenders tend to charge.

Besides competitive loan rates, Marcus also offers high-yield savings accounts. Your savings can earn more interest while you save money by lowering the interest rate on your credit card debt. That’s a win-win solution.

20. OneMain Financial

You might prefer using a local bank to refinance credit card debt. OneMain Financial lets you start the refinance process online. Then you bring your proof of identity and income statements to a local branch.

But with online-only lenders, the only way to send your supporting documents is a digital scan.

One advantage of using OneMain Financial is that you can receive your funds in-person after signing the closing documents. But they can also use direct deposit for your bank account.

21. Peerform

Peerform is another P2P platform that can be cheaper than a bank. Sometimes, this is your best option with a 600 to 700 credit score. Credit card refinancing loan amounts range between $4,000 and $25,000.

With any peer investing platform, the application process can take longer than using a bank. You must wait for investors to fund your loan. Sometimes, it can take two weeks for investors to fund your loan fully.

To apply, your FICO credit score must be at least 600 points. If your score is less than 600, Peerform automatically declines your application.

Tip: Check your FICO credit score with MyFICO.

Tips for Refinancing Credit Card Debt

Refinancing credit card debt isn’t hard. But the process might be confusing at first because you have several options. This section helps you figure out the best way to refinance credit card debt.

How to Refinance Credit Card Debt

Unless you can repay your debt in a year, it’s usually best to refinance by getting a debt consolidation loan.  When getting a quote, choose “credit card refinancing” if the lender provides that option.

These loans are the same, but being specific helps the lender know you’re only using the money for credit card debt.

With a debt consolidation loan, you might also include medical debt, car loans, etc.

Find the Lowest Interest Rate Possible

First, you must get a loan with the lowest interest rate possible. To get the lowest interest rate, compare these two factors:

  • Choose the loan with the shortest repayment term – two years vs. five years.
  • Borrow as little as possible. For example, maybe you only borrow $5,000 instead of $15,000.

Most lenders offer the best interest rates when you borrow fewer dollars. One exception is LightStream who usually offers their best rates when you refinance at least $10,000.

To borrow as little as possible, try to come up with money to pay toward your debt. If you don’t have any extra cash laying around, sell any items you own and don’t need.

Maybe these are items you still pay interest on. So when you make a sale, put the entire amount towards your debt balance.

Reducing your balance before you refinance can give you more loan options. Having to refinance less means you might be able to get a lower interest rate. Lenders base your interest rate on the loan amount and how many years you need to repay.

Apply For a Loan

After comparing different loan offers, it’s time to apply for the best one. When you submit your application, the lender conducts a hard credit pull to see your entire credit report. This is necessary to either approve or decline your loan request.

Use the Loan Funds to Pay Off Your Credit Card Balance

After the lender approves your loan request, they deposit the money into your bank account. So it’s up to you to send the money to your credit card company.

Some lenders will send the money directly to your credit card company, but this is uncommon.

After transferring the money to your cards, your credit card balance is $0. Your credit cards become in “current” status once again and are balance-free. Now you send your one monthly payment to the bank instead.

Each month, the lender reports your monthly payments to the credit bureaus. Your credit score improves as you establish a payment history and reduce your debt balances.

But at this point, use caution. You’ll need to determine not to use your credit cards. Keep them at a zero balance. Transferring your credit card debt doesn’t eliminate it. And it won’t help if you rack up more credit card debt!

How Much Can You Save Refinancing Credit Card Debt?

Is it worth the hassle to refinance your debt? The answer depends on how much money you can save.

Here are two quick scenarios to show how much money you can save. Let’s assume you have $15,000 in credit card debt. And it has a 15% interest rate.

Option 1: Make the minimum monthly payment

To be clear, with this option you don’t consolidate your debt. Also, this example assumes you don’t add to the balance amount.

Your estimated minimum monthly payment will be $337 for the next 376 months. That’s 31 years of payments! And you pay $18,229 in total interest. Remember, your original $15,000 balance becomes $36,458. In other words, twice your original balance amount.

Option 2: Consolidate Your Debt for 5.99% Interest

This option is a two-year loan and 5.99% interest. You make higher payments each month, but only pay about $1,000 in interest. That’s a savings of $17,000 when you consolidate debt! Even if you need to get a five-year loan, you can still save money.

To see these savings, you need a two-year loan with a $655 monthly payment. It might seem hard at first, but pinching pennies for two years is worth the reward.

This is only an example. You need to use your figures to see how much you can save. Use a debt consolidation loan calculator to see your savings. Once you see how much you can save, you might feel more apt to get a loan.

Only Consolidate Your Credit Card Debt When…

In most cases, you save money when you refinance debt. But there are exceptions to every rule. Only refinance when you will pay less in interest and fees than keeping the balance on your credit card.

Before you accept the first loan offer, look for the total loan costs. Most quotes show how much you pay in interest and fees. And don’t forget to compare lender quotes to find the best offer.

As a side note, only accept an offer if you can afford the monthly payment. Lower interest rates don’t always mean smaller payments. Since you have a repayment deadline to meet, you may need to make large payments to stay on track.

If you can’t afford large payments, you can get a longer loan term. You have a smaller monthly payment. But you will pay more in interest because you’re in debt longer.

Regardless, pick a loan that allows penalty-free extra payments. No hidden fees can be as vital as lower interest rates. So as your income grows, you can make extra payments. You won’t pay any prepayment penalties.

Well Kept Wallet’s starter budget can help you maximize your monthly spending and saving. This budget can help you find money for larger monthly payments.

Maybe you can’t afford the payments on a two-year loan. But with a budget, you might be able to get a three or four-year term instead.

What Legit Companies Look Like to Consolidate Your Credit Card Debt

There are dozens of companies that can refinance or consolidate your debt. Maybe they even call you or send a postcard in the mail. They might be legit companies, but be careful. They might not be working in your best interest if they have hidden fees.

You should look for a company that doesn’t charge these fees:

  • Application fee
  • Early payoff penalties
  • No temporary or “teaser” interest rates

Many lenders don’t charge a loan opening fee. Some lenders call this an origination fee. If they charge this fee, it can be up to 6% of the opening balance. Always read the “fine print” for any lender before you accept their offer.

Fixed Interest Rates vs. Variable Interest Rates

In most cases, you should apply for a fixed interest rate loan first. You pay the same interest rate for the entire loan term. Even if interest rates rise, your rate stays the same.

With variable rate loans, your payments increase if rates rise. Make it easier, secure a fixed rate today. You will know exactly how much to pay each month until you pay the loan in full.

Only get a variable rate loan when you can pay off the balance in one year. For most people, it’s better to hedge your bets and choose a fixed rate loan.

You’ll still save money compared to your original interest rate. And you’ll have the extra peace of mind that comes with a fixed interest rate.

Some lenders only offer fixed interest rates. This makes the loan process easy since you only have one option. In this case, you just have to decide on how long the loan term needs to be.

Avoid These Types of Companies

You want to avoid debt relief and debt management companies. There are legit companies in this sector, but they can be expensive.

To save money, consolidate your debt yourself. Yes, doing it yourself takes effort. But give it a try first with the companies we recommend.

Debt management companies charge a monthly fee between $50 and $100. These companies will negotiate lower rates for your credit cards and other loan debt. And they will help you apply for a debt consolidation loan.

So they do help you. But in truth, you can do both of these tasks yourself.

For the convenience, these companies are better than nothing. If it’s the only way to consolidate your debt, do it. Having someone else make a plan for you to get debt-free is better than staying in debt.

You might also consider these companies if you have sub-prime credit. That is a credit score below 580. Most banks won’t lend you money with a credit score below 580.

Debt management companies can lend you money to refinance credit card debt at a lower interest rate.

If you go this route, verify the company is legit. Ask the National Foundation of Credit Counselors. For many, this is the leading agency for credit counselors.

What to Do When You Consolidate Your Debt

This is not a “get out of jail free card” to borrow more money. You must still repay your current balance. The only difference is that you’ll pay less in interest.

These three tactics below will help you stay on track.

Follow the Debt Snowball Method

To repay your debt faster, you should pursue Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps. His debt snowball strategy focuses on paying the smallest debt balance first. If you have two identical balances, choose the highest interest rate first.

Sell Your Unused Items for Extra Payments

The lenders we recommend won’t charge you an early payment penalty. So challenge yourself to pay off your debts sooner by making extra payments.

An easy way to do this is to sell your unused items. Use the proceeds to make extra monthly payments.

The sooner you make an extra payment, the less interest you pay overall. Even if it’s only an extra $20 a month, it’s still progress.

To help us get out of debt, I sold my $20,000 car. Then I replaced it with a $4,000 vehicle. The extra cash was used to pay off debt. You can also find some extra cash by selling some of these items:

Make Extra Money with a Side Hustle

When selling your used items isn’t enough, you can start a side hustle. You can earn extra cash with your knowledge and muscle!

The beauty of side hustles is that they are a source of recurring income. You work as much or little as you want with side hustles. So flexible gigs let you can balance work and family too!

Other Ways to Pay off Your Credit Card Debt

In some cases, it doesn’t make sense to consolidate your credit card debt. These are three cases when you shouldn’t consolidate or refinance:

  • The interest rate is not lower
  • Loan fees negate any interest rate savings
  • You don’t have enough debt to consolidate

But this doesn’t mean you must continue making the minimum monthly payment. Below are a few ways you can save money without refinancing.

Negotiate a Lower Interest Rate With Your Current Lender

If you have a history of on-time payments, you might be able to get a lower interest rate. Credit card companies don’t want to lose your business to another lender.

Call the credit card company and ask for a lower rate. For instance, you pay 15% instead of 20% APR.

In some cases, they might reduce your rate for several months. This can be enough time to repay your balance in full.

And it’s less hassle than applying for a loan and having to transfer funds.

Sign Up for a 0% APR Credit Card

This is also called a “balance transfer offer.” You will pay a balance transfer fee of up to 3%. But your balance doesn’t accrue interest for several months.

A credit card with a 0% APR can save you big money too! You won’t pay interest during the promotion period. So you can transfer your current balances to the new card and enjoy interest-free payments.

Just make sure you can pay off the balance before the 0% interest ends. For most cards, you have between 12 and 18 months.

After the promo period ends, you pay the regular interest rate again. So only choose this option if you are responsible with credit cards.

We still prefer refinancing credit card debt with a debt consolidation loan when you need several years to repay your balance.

But this can be a cheaper option if you have a small balance.

Pull From Your Savings

Avoid the 3% balance transfer fee and opening yet another credit card. You can borrow money from yourself. And no credit check is necessary either.

If you have money in your savings account, make extra payments.

Then repay yourself in the coming months with interest-free payments. This is the tactic my wife and I took to make the final payments on our loans. The money we saved by getting out of debt sooner exceeded the interest we would have earned.

But when using your savings, don’t tap your emergency fund to pay off your credit card debt.

How Does Refinancing Credit Card Debt Affect Your Credit Score?

Another question you might have is how refinancing credit card debt affects your credit score.

When you apply for a loan, the lender pulls your credit report and credit score with a hard pull. As a result, your credit score will drop a few points. But it will soon improve for these reasons:

  • Your credit card balances go to $0
  • You make fixed monthly loan payments that the lender reports to the credit bureau
  • Your debt-to-credit ratio drops as you repay the loan balance

So after the initial credit score ding from opening a new credit account, your score will improve.

Summary

In brief, the sooner you choose to consolidate your credit card debt, the more cash you save. Lowering your interest rate will save you a lot of money. When possible, make extra payments. Then you will be debt free and see your credit score grow at the same time.

How do you plan to eliminate your credit card debt? Let us know.

Disclaimers

For example, a three-year $10,000 loan with a Prosper Rating of AA would have an interest rate of 5.31% and a 2.41% origination fee for an annual percentage rate (APR) of 6.95% APR. You would receive $9,759 and make 36 scheduled monthly payments of $301.10. A five-year $10,000 loan with a Prosper Rating of A would have an interest rate of 8.39% and a 5.00% origination fee with a 10.59% APR. You would receive $9,500 and make 60 scheduled monthly payments of $204.64. Origination fees vary between 2.41%-5%. APRs through Prosper range from 6.95% (AA) to 35.99% (HR) for first-time borrowers, with the lowest rates for the most creditworthy borrowers. Eligibility for loans up to $40,000 depends on the information provided by the applicant in the application form. Eligibility is not guaranteed, and requires that a sufficient number of investors commit funds to your account and that you meet credit and other conditions. Refer to Borrower Registration Agreement for details and all terms and conditions. All loans made by WebBank, member FDIC.

Loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 6.99%-35.97%. All loans have a 1% to 6% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36 month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your bank account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early.

Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days. All loans made by WebBank, member FDIC.

All loans available through FreedomPlus.com are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loan and rate terms are subject to eligibility restrictions, application review, credit score, loan amount, loan term, lender approval, and credit usage and history. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Loans are not available to residents of all states – please call a FreedomPlus representative for further details. The following limitations, in addition to others, shall apply: FreedomPlus does not arrange loans in: (i) Arizona under $10,500; (ii) Massachusetts under $6,500, (iii) Ohio under $5,500, and (iv) Georgia under $3,500. Repayment periods range from 24 to 60 months. The range of APRs on loans made available through FreedomPlus is 4.99% to a maximum of 29.99%. APR. The APR calculation includes all applicable fees, including the loan origination fee. For Example, a four year $20,000 loan with an interest rate of 15.49% and corresponding APR of 18.34% would have an estimated monthly payment of $561.60 and a total cost payable of $7,948.13. To qualify for a 4.99% APR loan, a borrower will need excellent credit on a loan for an amount less than $14,000.00, and with a term equal to 24 months.  Adding a co-borrower with sufficient income; using at least eighty-five percent (85%) of the loan proceeds to directly pay off qualifying existing debt; or showing proof of sufficient retirement savings, could help you qualify.

All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage and history. The APR ranges from 6.95% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6%; the average origination fee is  5.2% (as of 12/5/18 YTD).*There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer.

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