Did you know your water heater uses around 20% of your home’s energy? Smart thermostats and lights are popular home additions but don’t forget smart water sensors. Tap or click here to save money with smart water management.
Who doesn’t appreciate more money? Whether it comes from savings or good decisions, a little extra can go a long way.
Here are five ways to keep your money safe while lining your pockets.
1. It’s good to give, but be careful
Reputable charities and non-profits rely on donations to do their good work. Unfortunately, scammers are using this to their advantage. Even worse, sometimes the charities themselves are crooked.
Charity scammers lie about who they’re affiliated with and how your contribution will help. Watch out for vague sentimental claims and those that won’t get into specifics.
Here are signs a call is coming from a legitimate charity:
- They can only call during specific times. You won’t hear from them before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- They have to disclose their name and purpose. They have to tell you the name of the charity and they’re calling to seek a donation.
- They can’t use a robocall or prerecorded message to reach you unless you are a member of the charity or a prior donor ― and even then, they must offer you a way to opt out of future calls.
- The caller ID on your phone has to show the name of the charity or fundraiser, along with a number you can call to ask to be placed on the charity’s do not call list.
Keep the following in mind when dealing with any charity:
- Safeguard your information: Never give out personal data if you don’t know the sender of a text or email or caller and can’t verify their identity.
- Do your research: Before donating money, search for the charity online and look at ratings or reviews.
- Use these resources: Charity Navigator and CharityWatch offer reports and ratings about how charitable organizations spend donations.
- Crowdfunding campaigns aren’t always honest: When coming across a crowdfunding effort, try to find out who is behind the charity drive and do as much research on the person or cause as possible.
- Watch how you donate: Never donate to any charity that insists on gift cards, wire transfers or cryptocurrency. If they are legitimate, any form of payment should be sufficient.
- Don’t give in to pressure: If the caller pushes you to act quickly, hang up. Speak to a relative or friend about the situation to get perspective.
- Tell someone: If you think you’ve been scammed over the phone, file a police report and report the scam to the FTC.
2. Be very careful with cryptocurrency
Bitcoin hit an all-time high last year and has decreased considerably since, from something close to $70,000 to about $16,000. The concern over the market leader affects thousands of cryptocurrencies below it.
FTX filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 11, taking down sister firm Alameda Research and over 130 affiliated companies with it. The crypto market is hurting.
Before we dive in, this is not financial advice. Cryptocurrency is inherently risky, and you should never invest money you are not willing to lose.
Here are some tips to follow:
- Public figures make bold statements that cause surges and tumbles in the crypto market. Don’t invest based on advice from a celebrity or influencer. Do your own research and leave emotions at the door.
- When the market’s on a downward trend, it’s an excellent time to evaluate your long-term goals. Do you have an exit plan to take out some or all of your profits? Are you in it for the short term or long term? Reflect on your investment and why you started it to help make the right decisions during a downturn.
- Dollar-cost averaging will lower your exposure to market swings and eliminate the guesswork of constantly trying to gauge the market’s mood. It also removes the temptation to invest based on emotion. Tap or click here for more information on dollar-cost averaging.
- Never invest more than you can afford to lose. You shouldn’t miss a house or car payment because your crypto investment isn’t doing well.
If you want crypto advice you can trust, check out Kim’s eBook CryptoCurrency 101, which includes everything you need to know to start buying, using and making money.
3. Sell your stuff
Get a head start on spring cleaning and make some money while doing it. Search your closet, basement, garage and attic. Dig through those unpacked boxes from your last move or the ones you put in storage when your kids moved out.
Look for old/vintage baseball cards, books, clothing, coins, smartphones and video game consoles and accessories. Nostalgia and collectibility are the names of the game here. An old iPhone that can’t connect to modern networks may seem useless, but someone out there wants it up on their Apple keepsake shelf.
You have a myriad of platforms to sell items on, including eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Offerup, Mercari, Poshmark and Decluttr, to name just a few. Here are some tips to get started selling your stuff:
- Describe the item’s condition accurately: Look for imperfections like stains, shelf wear, scratches and repairs. Be clear in the listing description, or you can face returns and negative reviews.
- Take good photos for your listing: You can do this with your smartphone and some good lighting. Use a contrasting background to make the item stand out. Take pictures from every angle and don’t forget to show imperfections and damage.
- Look for similar listings: Check eBay listings for your video game console to get an idea of pricing. Select Sold Items in the sidebar to view listings that actually sold. This way, you can avoid the sky-high listings that won’t make it anywhere and view the ones that people spent money on.
- Ship it the right way: If your book sells, use eBay’s media mail option to save on shipping costs. Make sure to carefully package and ship it to avoid conflict with your buyer.
4. Get paid for jury duty
Jury duty is something many people try to avoid, but don’t be so quick to dismiss this civic duty.
OnlineVerdict is a mock-trial website that pays you to participate in online cases. Cases vary and take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to review. Cases pay, on average, $1 per minute for your time, so between $20 and $60 per case.
5. Rent out your property
Airbnb and Vrbo are big names in home rental platforms, but not everyone needs to rent an entire house.
People need temporary spaces for photoshoots, birthday parties, workshops, meetings and any event or activity you can imagine. You can rent your area whether you have a spare room or a nice backyard.
Some popular options are Peerspace, Giggster, Home Studio List and Swimply. You can rent your space for a few hours or a few days/weeks, and you set the rate you’re comfortable with.
You may also like: 15 out-of-the-box ways to make extra cash from anywhere
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