So, you’re finally vaccinated against COVID. Congratulations! It’s a good feeling, isn’t it?
Now that you’re vaxxed, you can think about starting to return to something like normal life. You know, the way it was in the Before Times, before you ever heard that cursed word “coronavirus.”
But before you do that, think about vaccinating yourself from bad financial decisions, too. You’ve cut back on a lot of unnecessary spending last year. Now’s not the time to get sloppy and fall back into your old spending habits.
Put the mask back on your wallet for now, and consider these six tips for maintaining your financial health:
1. Don’t Overpay for Online Purchases
The pandemic moved more of our shopping online, and that might be permanent to an extent.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert when you’re shopping online and you’re about to overpay? That’s what this free service does.
Just add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including Walmart, eBay and others to see if your item is available for cheaper. Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price-drop alerts and even see the item’s price history.
Let’s say you’re shopping for a new TV, and you assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop up letting you know if that exact TV is available elsewhere for cheaper. If there are any available coupon codes, they’ll also automatically be applied to your order.
In the last year, this has saved people $160 million.
You can get started in just a few clicks to see if you’re overpaying online.
2. Stop Wasting $489/Year on Car Insurance
With our financial margins so tight over the pandemic year, a lot of us took action to trim our monthly bills.
On that note, when’s the last time you checked car insurance prices?
You should shop your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money. Let’s be real, though. It’s probably not the first thing you think about when you wake up. But it doesn’t have to be.
A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options — and even discounts in your area.
Using Insure.com, people have saved an average of $540 a year.
Yup. That could be $500 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.
3. Get Paid Every Time You Buy Groceries
It’s a little easier going to the grocery store these days. It makes us less paranoid now.
Still, groceries account for a good chunk of your budget. You may as well earn a little money back while your groceries are being bagged up.
A free app called Fetch Rewards will reward you with gift cards just for buying essentials like toilet paper and more than 250 other items at the grocery store.
Here’s how it works: After you’ve downloaded the app, just take a picture of your receipt showing you purchased an item from one of the brands listed in Fetch. For your efforts, you’ll earn gift cards to places like Amazon or Walmart.
You can download the free Fetch Rewards app here to start getting free gift cards.
Over a million people already have, so they must be onto something.
4. Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company
Credit card debt is the most expensive kind of debt you can have, and your credit card company is just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates. But a website called AmOne can help you fight back.
If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne 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 (AmOne rates start at 3.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.
It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $50,000 online. You do need to give AmOne a real phone number in order to qualify, but don’t worry — they won’t spam you with phone calls.
5. Always Have an Emergency Fund
This past year has taught us the hard way that everyone should have an emergency fund. You never know when you might lose your job or suffer some other catastrophe.
You need a place where you can safely stash your savings away — but still earn money on it. Under your mattress or in a safe will get you nothing. And a typical savings account won’t do you much better. (Ahem, 0.06% is nothing these days.)
But a debit card called Aspiration lets you earn up to 5% cash back and up to 16 times the average interest on the money in your account.
Not too shabby!
Enter your email address here to get a free Aspiration Spend and Save account. After you confirm your email, securely link your bank account so they can start helping you get extra cash. Your money is FDIC insured and they use a military-grade encryption which is nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
6. Make Sure You Have Life Insurance; Rates Start at $5/Month
There was a surge of interest in life insurance during the pandemic, as more Americans realized they probably need it. Overall, Americans bought about 10% more life insurance policies in 2020 than they did in 2019 — the largest increase in nearly two decades.
Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone? How will they pay the bills? Send the kids through school?
For many people, social distancing mandates and fear of infection have prevented them from going to a doctor for an in-person exam. That’s leading more people to seek out no-exam life insurance like the kind offered by a company called Bestow.
Your application can take minutes, and rates start at just $16 a month. The peace of mind knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.
If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without a medical exam or even getting up from the couch, get a free quote from Bestow.
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He’s vaxxed.