When money is tight, it’s easy to feel trapped and helpless and hopeless.
There’s no escaping it: You finally pay off a big bill, and the next one shows up in your mailbox. You turn to credit cards to stay afloat, but those bills pile up, too. And just when you think you’re in the clear — BOOM. The rent is due.
Don’t despair, though. That does you no good. Here are seven resources that can give you some relief when you feel like your wallet is stretched as far as it can go.
1. Ask for Some Help — Even If You’re Not Used to Asking
Times are tough. If you’re in a bind, start by reaching out to 2-1-1, a confidential service that’s funded by the United Way. It’ll help you find the resources you need to secure affordable housing, make rent or pay utilities.
To use the service, head to 211.org and enter your location. It’ll show you services in your community and give you a number to call.
Another option: You could look into applying for a grant. Take, for example, Modest Needs grants, which are designed for workers just above the poverty line who are ineligible for most other forms of social assistance.
We know asking for help is hard, but when you’re really in need, these resources are here to help you get back on stable ground.
2. Ask This Website to Help You With Your Credit Card Bill
Are you currently struggling to pay your bills? If that’s the case, then we bet your credit card balance isn’t looking so great either. But there are companies that’ll help you take care of it.
Here’s the truth: Your credit card company is ripping you off with high interest rates, and it’s getting rich off of you. But a website called Fiona wants to help.
If you owe your credit cards $100,000 or less, Fiona will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.
The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates, you’ll get out of debt that much faster.
Plus, no credit card payment this month means money is immediately freed up.
Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call your bank, either. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.
3. Cancel Your Car Insurance
How would you feel if you found out you were wasting nearly $900 this year?
There’s an app called Jerry, and it can tell you if you’re paying too much on your car insurance. In fact, Jerry says it finds that people, on average, are overpaying by about $887 a year.
Once you’re with Jerry, you’ll never have to worry about shopping around for insurance again. From now on, Jerry will automatically do that for you. Also, it won’t cost you anything — it’s all free.
And if you’re worried about ditching your current policy, know you can back out at any time, even before your policy runs out. In fact, by law, insurance companies have to give you a refund for the remaining unused days on your policy. If there are any cancellation fees involved (these are usually small), Jerry will let you know.
To find out if you’re getting ripped off, fill out the online questionnaire. This should take less than two minutes, then Jerry will take care of the rest.
4. This Research Company Will Pay You up to $225/Month to Watch Videos
You probably don’t have time for a second — or even third — job, but we found a more effortless way to earn some extra cash this month.
A research company called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward.
It’s possible to earn up to $225 a month without having to get another job.
Unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards. It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.
It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately get a $5 bonus to get you started.
5. Get Free Scratch-Off Tickets Without Going to the Gas Station
Hitting a big jackpot could solve a lot of your problems right now.
It’s tempting to buy those scratch-off tickets from the gas station. But that’s not the best use of your money when you’re in a bind.
Instead, try playing for free using an app called Lucktastic. Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $1 to $10,000 in cash or gift cards to popular retailers.
The Penny Hoarder talked to single dad Oneil Campbell, from Boston, who was shocked when he won a $5,000 Lucktastic prize.
The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free. It’s not guaranteed money, but at least Lucktastic is free to play. And hey, somebody’s gotta win.
“I didn’t see that one coming,” Campbell says with a laugh. “I really didn’t. This is something good that happened to me at the right time — when I can really use it.”
6. See if the Government Has Unclaimed Money For You
State treasuries throughout the U.S. have more than $43 billion in unclaimed funds, according to The New York Times. Just sitting around! Waiting for you to come play lost and found.
To take matters into your own hands and see if you have any unclaimed money floating around, check with the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
Penny Hoarder reader Kelli Howell performed a quick search and found unclaimed money in her husband’s name. He was entitled to $56 from a “matured insurance policy.”
Sure, it’s $56, but that’s not bad for an unexpected check, right?
7. Cut Your Cell Phone Bill in Half
Cell phone bills are so expensive. In fact, it might be one of your most expensive monthly bills.
But with discount carrier Twigby, you could cut your bill by more than 66%.
It worked for Zak Wilson. He’d been paying Verizon Wireless about $180 a month for two lines. So he tried Twigby. For both phones, he’s now paying $60 a month.
With Twigby, you get to build your plan. Each plan comes with unlimited texts, then you choose how many minutes and how much data you need each month. Plans also include free Wi-Fi calling and texting.
Twigby uses both the Sprint and Verizon networks for its coverage. Plans start at just $9, and you can bring your own phone. Plus, new customers get 25% off the first 6 months of service.
Woman’s World has partnered with The Penny Hoarder to bring you expert money saving tips like these.