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Useful Resources for When Money is Tight or You're Low on Cash

Are you short on cash and are looking for different ways to meet your financial needs? Here are useful resources for when money is tight or you're low on cash.

Although the average amount of personal savings was $62,086 in 2022, almost 20% of Americans didn't save any money in 2021. Even worse is, 25% of Americans have no emergency fund at all.

You might have some savings to fall back on, but you're still low on cash. This can be nerve-wracking, as an emergency can significantly set your finances back.

Luckily, there are many resources for money, especially if you get creative. As a result, you'll be able to pay your bills and avoid massive debt.

Here's a thorough guide on how to save money and earn it too.

Use Coupons and Rebates

Stop throwing away those leaflets you get in the mail you call "junk". Take a second to thumb through them, and you'll realize that they have tons of useful coupons and rebates on things you buy regularly. Set aside an hour or two every week to cut these out and then put them in an envelope to bring them along when you go shopping.

If this sounds too tedious, then rest easy knowing that there are websites and apps that do this for you. Just make sure to have these open when shopping online, or to print out the relevant coupons before you go to physical stores.

Sign up for Loyalty Cards

Previously, you may not have bothered with signing up for loyalty cards since you think you won't go to a store often. But that's a mistake, as that's a lot of "lost" money!

In most shops, it's free to sign up for loyalty cards. And when you do, you can swipe it every time you make a purchase, which racks up points. You can then redeem these points for discounts and even cash back.

When you're signed up for loyalty cards, you'll also receive exclusive discounts and offers. So take a few minutes to send in an application; it'll be worth it when you get hefty discounts when shopping for groceries or other necessities.

Shop Around

Don't grab the first product you see in a shop without doing some research first. What may look like a fantastic price might be mediocre, and a store just a stone's throw away might offer the same thing for 20% less.

It can be helpful to walk through major stores and note how much your necessities cost at each. Try to lump your shopping at the place that has the lowest prices, but it's ok to spread it out across two or even three stores.

On the other hand, you should shop around smartly. Don't drive across town to five different stores just to save 10 cents on each product, as the time and gas used won't be worth it.

Use Credit Cards Wisely

Credit cards can be a godsend when you don't have cash in the bank but need to buy things. It can mean the difference between having your electricity shut off or keeping the lights on.

Credit cards can also be great because many offer rewards programs. Every time you swipe your cards, you'll earn points, which you can then use to get cash back.

But be careful not to charge your cards too much, especially if you can't afford to pay the minimum balance. If you can't pay the minimum balance off, you'll be hit with a late fee, and your credit score will be lowered. This can make it more difficult for loan approvals in the future, and you won't get good interest rates.

Also, on average, an American credit card has an interest rate of 14.51%, and yours may have higher APRs. If you don't pay off your balance, you'll keep accruing interest, which grows your debt.

If it's too late and you already have massive credit card debt, you can always get credit counseling services. These professionals will come up with a personalized plan to help you tackle your debt and get your life back on track. This usually involves consolidating all your debt into one low-interest loan, so payments are easier to make.

Reduce Energy Usage

You might not realize it, but your house can be a huge drain on your wallet. If you like to keep it toasty in the winter and chilly in the summer, then it's time to rethink things. Not only is this bad for the environment, but it also drives up your utility bills.

To lower your heating bills, try turning down the thermostat and taking shorter showers. You should also make the small investment of draught-proofing your property, as well as insulating your pipes.

To keep cool in the summer, use fans instead of the AC, and ventilate your house well. Draw the curtains when the sun's at its strongest, so it doesn't create a greenhouse effect through your window panes. Once the sun's gone down, you can open the blinds to get better air circulation.

If you can afford it, switch to energy-efficient appliances. You'll see a drastic difference in your utility bills right away, so they'll pay for themselves immediately.

You can enter your zip code on Energy Star's site to find rebates and special offers that'll make these appliances more affordable.

Reconsider Your Auto Insurance Policy

Many drivers are overcharged by their auto insurance companies, so it's time you check out other options.

But don't waste time by manually checking competitors. Instead, use a comparison site so you can see right away what your cheapest options are and what's covered by those policies.

By switching companies, you can save up to $1,000 a year. And you might even get better coverage than you're getting now.

Make Online Referrals

Do you use an online service that you love? Then share the love by referring your friends.

Most websites and apps will have a referral program that'll give you a discount or even cash for referring X amount of people. Some even give your referrals discounts too, so everyone stands to benefit.

Sell Items Online

Selling items online is an outstanding way to clear out things you don't need anymore and get some extra cash out of it too. You never know if you'll find a popular and/or collector's item that'll fetch you a nice price.

You can even sell handmade items on platforms. Depending on your skill level, how popular your art is, and how you market it, you may even make a killing doing this. Make sure you take the time to write good product descriptions and take clear and appealing photos to increase the chances of your art going viral.

Do Product Testing

Do you have a curious mind and good attention to detail? Then product testing can be a good way to make some money.

With this gig, companies will send you their products. You'll then give them a try and provide constructive feedback about what you did and didn't like. They may also ask you to leave a review on their website so other consumers can see that you like their product.

Otherwise, the companies will take your feedback and tweak their products if necessary. Your opinion (along with the opinions of others) may be what it takes to take something from good to excellent! So not only will you get paid for sharing your thoughts, but you can feel like you've actually made a difference.

Take Surveys

Taking surveys is another way to voice your opinion and get paid for it. Brands want to learn what their target audience is thinking so they can better serve them, so you may be just who they're looking for.

Because target demographics can be very niche, it can sometimes be frustrating because you won't fit the criteria. But after sifting through numerous surveys, you're bound to find some that are real gems since you're the perfect candidate for them.

What's great is you can take these surveys on your computer or mobile device. This flexibility means you can fill out the paid surveys at home in your PJs or during your lunch break at work.

Sign up for Paid Clinical Trials

Do you want to help the medical industry advance while getting paid for it? Then try signing up for paid clinical trials. There are several ways you can benefit from this, besides the income side of things.

For one, if you have a medical issue that's costly to treat, clinical trials can ease that burden. You can actually be in the green instead of the red, even with your medical problems. Also, these trials may provide a cure or at least medications that significantly improve your quality of life.

Otherwise, if you're a healthy individual, contributing to science is a noble thing to do. Plus, you never know if you'll develop issues in the future, so advancing the medical field now benefits everyone, including you.

Make Passive Income

If you're already busy with a full-time job (or two), you might think there's no way you can make some extra money. But what if we told you that through a little effort, you could make some passive income? This is where you have to do very little (or even nothing) to have revenue coming in.

With some initial hard work, such as recording tutorials, writing eBooks or blogs, or investing in stocks or cryptocurrency, you can then leave these things to make money without you having to actively do anything.

If you're creating content, then it can be especially helpful if you keep things evergreen. That way, you don't have to keep editing your content to keep up with the times.

For instance, if you're writing a food blog, then entries about national foods can be good, as they won't change. People can search these terms for years and get relevant and accurate results. On the other hand, if you write about the top local restaurants for 2022, then you'll have to update the list every year.

Utilize Essential Community Services

When you're really in a bind, then call 211. This is a free and confidential service provided by United Way that helps you find local resources.

When you dial 211, you'll be connected with staff and volunteers who can help you with paying your rent, finding food, getting a job, or locating other needed resources. It can be daunting to reach out for help, but these services are out there for people like you who are in a tough spot. Trust that you'll be met with kindness and compassion.

Apply for Grants

People often find themselves between a rock and a hard place when they earn barely enough to be above the poverty line. They no longer qualify for a lot of social assistance, but still struggle to make ends meet.

If this sounds like you, then the good news is, there are grants you can apply for. For instance, there's Modest Needs, a charity that gives grants to people who are in danger of slipping into poverty.

You might have to look around to find these resources, but once you do, it can be a huge financial relief.

Use These Resources for Money to Help in a Pinch

Knowing great resources for money can make life less stressful when you need some cash. From using coupons and rebates, to utilizing essential community services and applying for grants, various choices are available to prevent you from draining your bank account. And you might even be able to put some cash into your savings too!

So feel free to share this article with your friends and family, because you never know if they're having financial struggles too. They're sure to appreciate these tips that'll help them rustle up extra cash!

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