I know what you might be thinking, you can truly get money for free?
There’s always a catch, right?
What do I have to sign up for?
How many hoops do I need to jump through to get $1?
Check out this list of ways to get free money, no surveys included!
The best part is you can save and invest this money to make it worth much more in the future. So, don’t discount any free money you can get, especially if it was something you were planning to do anyway.
1. 401K match at work
The holy grail of free money, seriously! If you are offered a match on your retirement contributions at work and you are not taking them up on it, I highly recommend you take a closer look at your finances and adjust whatever you need to, to make sure you get this match!
When I last changed jobs, I was automatically enrolled in a 401K and had the option to opt-out if I didn’t want to contribute. I’m not sure I can think of any reason not to at least put in the minimum you need, to get the free money match your company offers.
Anywhere between 4%-6% is a pretty typical match. Sometimes the specifics may indicate they match up to 50% of 6% = a total of 3%; or 50% of 8% = a total of 4%. Employers do this to increase the amount of money you put in before they put in. So instead of you Put in 3% and they match with 3%; they may make you put in 6% and match 50% of that or 3%.
Especially as you’re starting a new job, that’s the perfect time to enroll right away, not only will you get the match as soon as possible, but you haven’t seen what your net paycheck looks like yet, so you likely won’t even miss the money.
2. Check your benefits to see if your company matches any HSA money
An HSA or Health Savings Account offered through your employer is a great way to assist with medical expenses throughout the year. And it has so many benefits over an FSA. For example, the money stays with you year after year. You don’t have to spend all of the money in the calendar year you put it in your account, etc.
Plus, many employers will match a certain portion of your HSA money each year. Keep your ears open during your benefits meeting or ask HR and find out your options. You just may be able to score a few hundred dollars or more in free money!
3. Flexible Spending Account for childcare
Keeping with the work benefits theme, don’t leave FSA For childcare money on the table! If you are a parent who takes you kid(s) to a daycare or center and you are not using childcare Flexible Spending Account, start immediately! AS of 2020, you can elect up to $5,000 annually to go into your FSA childcare account.
Depending on the cost of childcare in your area and how many children you have in daycare or a center, this may be exhausted within the first few months. But the tax benefits are huge. The $5,000 is taken out before taxes saving you instant money!
You can elect to submit receipts throughout the year to get paid back from each paycheck. Or, wait until the end of the year and request the money at once. It’s really easy free money to take advantage of now.
4. Use Rakuten before every purchase you make
I’m sure you’re familiar with this cashback website. Rakuten (formerly Ebates) has commercials on TV and everything! It’s so simple, visit Rakuten.com before you shop online. Visit a store using Rakuten’s portal and you’ll receive cashback on your purchase. It really is that simple.
If you’re not using Rakuten each time you shop online, or you forget to use it, you’re missing out on some serious, and seriously easy cash in your pocket!
Depending on how often you shop, the savings add up. I checked my account today and my Lifetime Cash Back is at $999.87 since I started using them in November, of 2012! In 7-1/2 years as of this writing, I have earned nearly $1,000 in cash by doing my regular shopping. Cha-ching!
Related: Check out my Rakuten Review to learn more
5. Don’t forget about grocery saving apps
Free apps like Ibotta and Fetch are also easy ways to save money from your grocery receipts. Simply add “scan my receipt” as part of your grocery shopping activity.
For example, when you get home, you put all the groceries away, then break out your receipt and phone. Simply scan your receipts using one of these apps to save money.
Fetch Rewards is the one grocery saving app I would recommend you start with simply due to ease of use. There are no hoops you have to jump through. Simply download the app, scan your receipt, and earn cash. Sign up and enter my referral code M2CNU and you’ll get 2,000 Fetch Points ($2.00 in points) when you complete one receipt.
Technically you earn points that can be turned into gift cards, but the gift cards are for legit places like Amazon. So they are as good as cash in my book.
Ibotta is easy to use as well but does require slightly more effort by selecting the specific cashback offers you’re trying to redeem. Earn $20 and cash out. It’s that simple and so easy.
6. Get free interest money from your savings account
Interest rates have been dropping lately, but you can still make at least a little free money from a high yield savings account over a traditional savings account.
I personally use Marcus by Goldman Sachs which is sitting at a 1.3% interest rate as of the time of this writing. I also bank with Chase and have some money in a Chase Savings account. The current rate there is 0.01%.
So, for example, if I had $1000 in each account. At the end of the year in Marcus, I’d have earned $13 in interest; with Chase, I would have earned $1. Yes, neither is a huge amount of money, but id’ rather have earned $13 than $1 any day.
Check out where your money is sitting and the interest rate of each account. Consider moving any of the lower interest rate dollars into something of higher interest and earn more while it sits there.
7. Acorns get a free $5 just for signing up
I started an Acorns account a few years ago to begin saving for an epic 40th birthday trip I want to take in a few years. I knew I would need a lot of money and I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to come up with the budget. So, I started using Acorns to invest small dollars for me over a few years.
I use their round-up feature to round up specific purchases made on my credit card and debit card. I also invest $20 monthly. I am amazed to see over $1400 sitting in that account in 2 years and not even notice the money is gone from my checking account. Plus, you can get a $5 bonus just for signing up.
So, start saving more today, and get free money using Acorns!
8. Open a new bank account or credit card
You probably get junk mail for this all the time. $300 free if you open a new checking account or something similar. Now I’m not saying to open one without needing to or reading the fine print.
Many banks will make you have regular deposits into your new account or have a minimum amount of money or a minimum amount of time you need to have it open. But there is free money for you if you look around at different banks offering cash for opening a new account.
Or if you happen to be in the market for a new credit card, there is free money you can easily get by opening a new card.
9. Get $5 for investing with Stockpile
Stockpile is an investing app for new or beginner investors. It’s easy to use, allows you to start investing with minimal dollars, and allow you to purchase fractional shares of stock which is pretty cool. It’s also easy to gift stock to someone else. That’s what prompted me to open my first Stockpile account a few years ago.
For my nephew’s 3rd birthday. I knew he would be getting a ton of presents and the last thing he needed was more stuff. So, I opened a Stockpile account for him and purchased a partial share of Amazon.
Not only is his closet/room not cluttered with another outfit he won’t wear or toy he won’t’ play with, but he’s young enough to see this small dollar amount compound over the years, making it much more valuable in the future.
10. Get free stock with Robinhood
It’s true, if you open a Robinhood account you’ll get one free stock. Robinhood is similar to Stockpile and is a great app for those who want to try investing. The free stock you receive is random, and what you receive and will only be worth a few dollars likely to start, but you never know!
Plus, Robinhood is a great app to use if you are just starting with the stock market and investing. It’s easy to use, has low fees, and just started offering fractional shares of a stock like Stockpile offers.
What can you do with this free money?
None of these free money opportunities will make you rich. You could have a nice night out on the town after taking advantage of a few of them. Or, my recommendation is to invest them in the stock market.
Especially if you’ve already opened an account like Robinhood or Stockpile. If you do your research on index funds, such as VTSAX for example, you could end up with much more free money in the future having the interest compound over time.
So finding ways to get free money is the first step. But make a plan with what to do with that free money to make it work FOR you!
Free money is free money. If it truly doesn’t cost you anything but a little bit of time, it might be worth cashing in on one of the options above. Just don’t let the “free” money entice you to spend money or commit to something you aren’t able to come through on.
Other ways to save money: