9 smart money moves to make before the year ends

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Take the time now to make some smart money moves and you’ll set yourself up to be more financially secure not just in 2022, but for the rest of your life. Below are nine steps you can take right now to change your financial picture for the better.

1. Apply for term life insurance

Life insurance is a must, especially if you have children. If you want to make sure that your kids and loved ones are taken care of in the event that you’re ever not around, then buying life insurance should be the first thing you cross off your list.

The best part is that if you choose the right company, it doesn’t need to be time-consuming or expensive. I personally recommend buying life insurance through Bestow because they make it easy to buy a policy without bloodwork or a medical exam. A healthy 30-year-old non-smoker could get a $50,000, 10-year term life insurance policy for as little as $10 per month.

2. Apply for disability insurance

Once you have life insurance, you can protect your family even further by purchasing disability insurance that will replace a portion of your income (usually up to 60% of your pre-tax pay) if you are ever injured and can’t work. Many employers offer disability insurance, so if yours does and you haven’t taken advantage of it, get on that! If your employer doesn’t offer disability insurance, you want additional coverage on top of what they offer. If you’re self-employed, you can purchase a private policy. 

If you’re looking for a private policy, I recommend you check out Breeze. For as little as $9 a month, you can count on monthly benefits ranging from $500 to $20,000. Learn more about disability insurance in this post.

3. Apply for renter’s insurance

Whether you rent an apartment or a house, you need renter’s insurance to protect your belongings. Renter’s insurance is designed to protect the things in an apartment or house you rent: furniture, electronics, clothes and valuables like jewelry and collectibles. 

Some landlords require renters to carry renter’s insurance, but even if yours doesn’t, it’s a good idea. According to USAA, the average two-bedroom apartment contains property worth approximately $27,000. Without renter’s insurance, a robbery, fire or countless other scenarios could leave you footing the bill to replace everything yourself. 

You can search for a renter’s insurance policy at Lemonade, which offers plans starting at $5 a month for basic coverage.

4. Create a budget

No matter how good your intentions are or how much you want to improve your finances, if you don’t know how you’re spending your money, you can’t reach your goals. If you don’t already have a budget, you need to create one to guide your spending. 

Budgeting doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, there are a lot of apps nowadays that can help you create a budget and track your spending pretty efficiently. Two of my recommendations are You Need a Budget (YNAB) and Truebill. YNAB is an app that lets you create a budget and set specific financial goals for yourself, whether that’s saving for a big purchase, paying down debt, building your savings, or something else entirely. Truebill is a little different in that it tracks your spending in order to identify subscriptions that you can cut to free up money for other uses. Both are powerful tools to get you where you want to go!

5. Sell stuff you don’t want or need 

Virtually all of us have things lying around the house that we don’t want or need anymore, but that we never actually get rid of. Instead of letting that garbage clutter your home, why not sell it to earn money that you can put to use hitting your other financial goals? Whether it’s goldsilverdiamonds, an old engagement ringcoin collection or even a wedding dress, there’s likely a buyer out there for you.

With gold near historic highs, now is a great time to think about selling your old or broken gold jewelry, coins, dental scrap, etc. When it comes to selling your gold, I recommend CashforGoldUSA, an online gold buyer known for paying top dollar within 24 hours of receiving your gold. As a plus, it has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

6. Start an emergency fund

A 2019 report called The Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households” conducted by the United States Federal Reserve found that roughly 40% of Americans wouldn’t be able to cover an unexpected $400 expense. These same people said that they would need to turn to credit cards, payday loans or help from a friend or family member to pay the bill. 

Set a savings goal of $500 in a dedicated savings account that is only for emergencies. Then work on building that up to $1,000, and then $2,000. Keep going until you’ve got between three and six months’ worth of expenses set aside. This will keep you covered in the event that you ever lose your job, need a car or home repair, face a medical emergency, or need to bail yourself out of jail in Guatemala (ha!).

Not sure where you should keep your emergency fund? Money market accounts (MMA) typically pay a higher interest rate than regular savings accounts. Steady is our recommended way to find a quality side gig. The app has been used by more than two million to find jobs, earn bonuses and manage finances.

7. Pay down high-interest debt

Once you’ve built up your emergency savings, turn your attention to paying down the high-interest debt that’s eating into your wealth. Credit cards, personal loans and auto loans are all considered “bad debt” that tend to have high-interest rates, drag down your credit score and make it harder to build wealth. Prioritize paying those bills off before turning your attention to things like your mortgage or student loans. 

If you’ve got credit card debt, an effective strategy for paying down that debt is to open a 0% balance transfer card and consolidate your debt. These are a special type of credit card that don’t charge you interest on your balance for a certain period of time, anywhere from six to 18 months, depending on the card. This can be a gamechanger in your journey toward a debt-free life. 

8. Open a retirement account

Once your short-term savings are firm and your debt is being managed, start planning for longer-term goals, including retirement. The good news is that there are a lot of different types of retirement plans to consider. If you’re currently employed, you may be eligible to participate in a 401(k), 403(b) or SIMPLE IRA offered by your employer. As a bonus, many employers match a certain percentage of your contributions each year, which is essentially free money. But even if you’re self-employed, you have options in the form of an IRA or SEP IRA. 

We recommend robo-advisor Ellevest, which focuses exclusively on serving women by helping them start investment portfolios, grow wealth and create a free financial plan. 

Ellevest’s Essential plan costs $1 per month, which includes access to:

  • A personalized investment portfolio that is tailored to your unique financial situation and goals
  • $0 minimum
  • Access to online workshops, email courses, on-demand webinars and video resources to help you learn about finances and career advancement
  • Access to an FDIC-insured Ellevest Save account
  • A 20% discount on one-on-one coaching sessions with financial planners or career coaches

Learn more about investing: How to start investing for women

9. Invest in your other goals

If you’ve crossed off everything else on this list and still have some money to put to use, a brokerage account will help you save for other investment goals: a down payment for a house, your child’s college education or starting a business. Here, too, I recommend Ellevest as my top choice for a brokerage account. 

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50 ways to make an extra $100 a day

    50 ways to make an extra 100 bucks a day

    Busy but kind of broke? Join the club.

    The internet is full of lists about ways to make $100 a day in passive income, but if you’re not prepared to sell an organ or become a Wall Street wolf overnight, a lot of those lists won’t do you much good.

    For those looking to make money online, on the bus to work, or even laid out on your couch, there is a slew of options at your disposal. And they don’t even involve you spamming your former high school classmates’ inbox desperately trying to sell overpriced hair products or yoga pants for dubious online companies.

    From becoming a virtual assistant to teaching online and selling physical products to creating sponsored social shares, there are plenty of opportunities to make passive income every month.

    Here’s a roundup of easy ways to earn a hundred dollars a day in your spare time without losing your dignity or kidneys.

    Jcomp / istockphoto

    DepositPhotos.com

    Survey sites like Swagbucks will help you get paid if you already spend a lot of time online. Many Swagbucks users make $1 to $2 a day by taking surveys, shopping online, and watching videos. The app offers a myriad of ways to earn cash back through gift cards or PayPal.

    Swagbucks

    InboxDollars is another app that’ll pay you to play games, take surveys, watch videos, or do various other tasks. Next time you’re scrolling mindlessly through social media or watching a show, go to InboxDollars so you can get cash back on the side.

    IndboxDollars

    Survey Junkie connects you with brands and companies looking to get your opinions on a variety of subjects. This app will pay you to take surveys or even join focus groups depending on your demographics and interests.

    Survey Junkie

    Survey Rewardz also partners with companies to survey users and provide them with valuable marketing information. These companies pass along a small cash back reward to those willing to answer survey questions.

    Survey Rewardz

    This group has been pairing companies with users for over 20 years. With millions of survey takers to date, the site will pay for your feedback. Its partner companies will then use the survey results to inform its marketing decisions. You could easily make a hundred dollars a day simply by giving your opinion in your spare time!

    American Consumer Opinion

    Alliant Credit Union

    Next time you go to the store, be sure you don’t skip on the receipt. Earn passive income by downloading the app, scanning your receipts, and saving up cashback and other perks from your favorite stores. You can use these rewards in-store and online.

    Ibotta

    You can get cash back rewards from many credit cards, debit cards, and loyalty programs. Check with your card holders to see what offers are available. You can also check your app store to find out if the stores you visit online or in-person the most offer royalty rewards.

    DepositPhotos.com

    If you need help finding cashback and reward offers, Rakuten is the place for you. Use their mobile app or website to help you earn cashback and other rewards for the sites you already shop on. Getting paid is easy. Just connect Rakuten with your PayPal account to cash in your rewards. This is an easy way to earn extra income every day.

    Rakuten

    Pay your bills online with Trim to make sure you’re taking advantage of savings without doing the work. Trim automates the savings process by negotiating bills, fees and even canceling old subscriptions. You don’t do any of the work; just sign up for a subscription and let experts do the work for you.

    Asktrim.com

    BillShark is another great way to negotiate bills and fees. Just download the app, upload your TV, cable, internet, phone, or other bills and let experts negotiate lower fees on your behalf. The best part? If BIllShark can’t lower your bills, they don’t get paid. You’ll easily make $100 extra bucks or more with how much you save on bills.

    BillShark

    Before making your next online purchase, be sure to download the Honey app or browser extension. Honey scours the internet for coupon codes to save you money on your purchases. Even if they don’t find a discount code for you to use, you can earn Honey points to make extra cash via gift cards from Amazon, Target, Walmart, and other retailers.

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    DepositPhotos.com

    While you may not make money off YouTube immediately, you can build up your subscribers and view counts so you can start putting advertisements on your videos. You can also get tips from users if you do live streams.

    DepositPhotos.com

    Can you match $100 a day by playing video games online? Many streamers make more than that in tips from viewers in just a few hours of streaming on Twitch. Not a gamer? Stream musical performance, how-to videos, workout classes, and more. You can get paid to do the things you love or even teach others to play an instrument or learn a language. Audience members who like your live streams can donate tips to you, which you can cash out at any time.

    DepositPhotos.com

    If live-streaming isn’t for you, you can become a Twitch moderator. While not all moderators are paid, many streamers are at least willing to share their Twitch tips with moderators who keep the inappropriate language out of their chats or answer audience members’ questions.

    Related: Do you have what it takes to be a Twitch moderator?

    Markiplier/ Twitch

    Many successful live streamers or YouTubers don’t have time to edit videos themselves. If you know how to edit videos, you can help content creators get their videos out sooner while also making extra income.

    BartekSzewczyk / istockphoto

    Good at photoshopping? Make passive income by creating the cover image for Youtube or videos on demand (VODs). These thumbnails are simple yet catchy images that show viewers what their video is about. Many content creators are willing to pay for anyone willing to help them make an eye-grabbing thumbnail.

    NikkieTutorials / YouTube

    Content creators may offer exclusive emoticons or emotes to viewers who pay to be subscribers or members of the YouTube or Twitch channels. If you know how to make basic emotes, you can make quick money by working with content creators to make one-of-a-kind emoticons that fans can use in live chats.

    DepositPhotos.com

    If you’re good with a camera, you can upload your photos to various stock photo websites, such as iStock or Deposit Photos. While each site will have different rules regarding how you get paid, you can get credit for your photos. You’ll easily add $100 or more to your passive income revenue by selling stock photos.

    Deposit Photos

    More and more small businesses are relying on their own sites for eCommerce and spreading brand awareness. However, many owners need help designing their site. If you know basic coding and are familiar with popular hosting sites, such as Weebly or Squarespace, you can take on clients on a freelance basis to make some side cash.

    Depositphotos

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    This option will let you clear out your home and fill up your bank accountant. While designer and well-known brands will fetch you more money online, Thredup and Poshmark also accept non-designer items. The cashout for non-designer items may be lower, but the savings can add up over time.

    H E N G S T R E A M on Unsplash

    Do you have digital artwork or prints you’re looking to sell?


    Jump on the nonfungible tokens (NFTs) bandwagon and convert your artwork into profit. Many artists are making $100 a day or more by selling their art as NFTs. There are plenty of ways you can hop online to learn how to use NFTs if you’re not already familiar with how they work.

    Sergey Shulgin / iStock

    Not ready to make an NFT?


    Sell your physical crafts or other goods through popular craft sites like Etsy. Since the pandemic, the demand for local or small business-made artwork and jewelry has increased. You can capitalize and make quick money on your talent by creating an online marketplace.

    etsy

    If you have gently used technology, furniture, or other goods, hop on eBay or Amazon so you can sell to buyers looking for a bargain. If you own your own business, you can even create an official store through these popular sites so you can reach an even broader audience.

    DepositPhotos.com

    For less valuable goods, use Craiglist, Facebook Marketplace, Letgo, or other sites that match local buyers with sellers. You can move clothes, yoga mats, planters, and more quickly and even arrange socially distanced pickups.

    Depositphotos

    Vladimir Vladimirov

    Turn your love for yoga, pilates, workouts, dancing, or more into a fun way to share your passion with others and get paid. Many people are willing to sign up for digital workout classes for a flat price or a suggested tip. You can simply share a Zoom link for a fee or use Twitch, YouTube, or even live stream through Facebook.

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    For those who have beefed up their home gyms during the pandemic, a personal trainer can be a great way to turn their pandemic panic buy into a way to actually go through with their plans to reach fitness goals while stuck at home. Make quick money online by walking through workout routines, warmups, and how to use gym equipment so others can safely learn to work out from home.

    DepositPhotos.com

    Have extra fitness equipment? Rent out your dumbbells and equipment to others who are trying to get into shape. You can help and make good money by renting out equipment when you’re not using it.

    depositphotos.com

    Help others sort out sustainable diets from trendy ones. Many people need assistance planning out meals, determining if going keto is right for them and answering other nutrition-related questions. You can also offer meditation and motivational classes too. You could easily make a hundred dollars a day with this side gig!

    DepositPhotos.com

    Love cooking? Help others find their passion for food by teaching them how to find deals, plan healthy meals and snacks, and find recipes that work for their dietary and nutritional needs and goals.

    Tijuana87

    If you love cooking, you can always take meal planning a step further and prep the meals yourselves. Many people are looking for local alternatives to national meal prep companies. Make extra money by sharing your favorite meals with others. You can offer different plans depending on your future clients’ nutritional needs and how many meals they’re looking to buy. Just be sure to follow good kitchen hygiene.

    DepositPhotos.com

    Maria Symchych-Navrotska / istockphoto

    Many professions require listening to recordings and transcribing them in full. If you’re willing to transcribe these recordings, you can get paid handsomely for your efforts. Use sites like Fiverr or dedicated transcription agencies to sign up and take on clients on a freelance basis to make more money every month.

    fizkes / istockphoto

    With the rise of online learning during the pandemic, many students from K-12 to college need extra help as in-person tutors become scarcer. Teaching English online is especially in demand. You can sign up to work with an agency that offers tutoring services or advertise to friends and family yourself to build up a client base. The hourly rates will vary depending on which service you sign up with.

    Yelena Khayrullina / istockphoto

    News organizations, offices, and many other professions all need help filling writing and editing roles. If you have a knack for grammar, you can freelance from anywhere in the world. Make good money from freelance gigs on LinkedIn, Indeed, Fiverr, and even social media posts from independent workers or small businesses asking their followers for help filling these roles. If you love writing, you could also start your own blog and use affiliate links to start making money on your own time, too!

    negativespace.co

    If you have an upbeat personality and enjoy talking to people, many companies are looking for customer service reps who can work from home. There are plenty of options, from large corporations to local businesses, if you’re willing to work odd hours and help people solve their problems or answer questions about a business or product. If you’re willing to work a few extra hours a week as a customer service rep, you can easily make an extra $100 a day without ever leaving your couch. The average hourly rate may vary, but you can make good money with this job no matter your schedule.

    DepositPhotos.com

    Do you have experience in leadership, marketing, getting the most out of tax refunds, or a variety of other in-demand topics? Then the chances are high that there’s a market for your advice or expertise. Many entrepreneurs are selling their expertise through webinars that are either live or prerecorded. You can make money quickly by hosting them through Zoom, Facebook, your personal website, or various other sites and either ask for a flat fee or tip for access to your webinar.

    Ridofranz/istockphoto

    As more people adjust to working from home, the demand for virtual assistants has increased. If you’re good at managing schedules, ticking off to-do lists, and helping people get through their day, you could sell your services as a virtual assistant.

    fizkes / istockphoto

    Many people are willing to pay you for feedback on their website or physical product from tech startups or professionals revamping their portfolios. Whether you have an eye for good website design or comparing products, you can get paid through sites like UserTesting.com for your feedback.

    AAUB / istockphoto

    If you already spend most of your time on social media, you can capitalize on your free time by getting paid as a social media manager. This could involve creating posts, targeting certain audiences, affiliate marketing, building up followers, posting photos, or creating several other posts that will engage a business’s targeted audience and increase its brand recognition.

    DepositPhotos.com

    DepositPhotos.com

    Going out of town and not taking your car? Rent it on a site like Turo to make quick money and easily earn $100 a day. The company will connect you with nearby candidates who want to rent a car. You can set the price per an allotted period of time and even a fee to cover insurance costs.

    DepositPhotos.com

    Anyone who owns or rents a coveted parking spot can rent them out for a fee through SpotHero. This can be an especially lucrative way to make money every month if you have a parking spot in a cramped city or another area with few parking spaces to go around.

    undefined undefined / istockphoto

    Spacer is another great alternative for anyone with a parking space or spare garage to rent out. It’ll be especially easy to make a hundred dollars or more if you’re looking to rent for a month or longer since Spacer connects users wanting to rent monthly with those looking to rent through the site.

    DepositPhotos.com

    Cameras, film equipment, audio equipment, and more are in high demand but can be expensive to purchase. If you have any equipment you’re willing to rent out for some passive income; you can make money off sites like ShareGrid and KitSplit.

    DepositPhotos.com

    When you’re not traveling the country in your RV, rent it out on RVShare to make extra cash. Since the pandemic, demand for RVs has skyrocketed, making it the perfect time to put your camper on the market and earn some passive income off it.

    Pekic

    Selling physical products, like clothes, online can take more time, but it’s still an easy way to earn passive income and make an extra $100 fast. Clothes for special occasions can rack up and take up space in your closet. You can rent expensive tuxedos, dresses, and other items online through StyleLend, RentMyWardrobe, and other sites.

    DepositPhotos.com

    Going out of town? Rent out your space on Airbnb. Depending on where you live, your home, apartment, or condo could get high dollar amounts, especially if it’s around the holidays or peak vacation times.

    DepositPhotos.com

    pixelfit

    If you play games on your phone anyways, download Mistplay.

    The app helps you earn points that you can cash in for gift cards to your favorite places. You can even add your friends on Mistplay and compete in challenges with them while earning extra money every month.

    Depositphotos

    Swap out your regular solitaire app for Solitaire Cube so you can start making money in your spare time. If you’re a casual solitaire fan, you can play in the Practice League and work your way up in the leaderboards. Anyone who places in the top three of the boards will win prizes through Solitaire Cube.

    Depositphotos

    Looking to discover new games? Connect with Bananatic to download free games. You can play or test out new games, gain banana coins and cash them in for various prizes, including game skins, steam wallets, pay safe cards, and more. This is a great way to earn extra money every month.

    pixdeluxe

    Play bingo in Blackout Blingo, formerly Blackout Blitz, to earn rewards and cash. The bingo game has already garnered the attention of over 5 million players. You can play on your android, iPhone, or iPad anywhere and at any time.

    DepositPhotos.com

    Nielsen is a global marketing agency that offers various ways you can get paid for your opinions, testing products, and even playing games. Join their Nielsen Panels, Nielsen Families, or other research groups to earn cash for your opinions on games, movies, TV shows, products, and more.

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