This post is was originally published on The Penny Hoarder

We’ve all done a million different things to make money, right?

Personally, I’ve written articles, bagged groceries, cooked cheeseburgers, donated plasma and walked dogs to earn cash. And when it comes to saving money… well, I’ve had to fool myself into saving any money instead of just spending it all.

If you need money at the moment, have you done everything you can to make and save a bit more cash? Everything? Really? Are you sure?

Because I’ve rounded up eight quick ways that I’m betting you haven’t tried yet.

8 Simple Moves to Make When You Need Money

Here are a few tricks to try next time you need money.

1. Open a Separate Bank Account

Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Operating everything out of one checking account can make your finances muddy and contribute undue stress to your money management.

To simplify, open a second account for a dedicated purpose. One of our favorites is Aspiration’s Summit Checking Account — there are no fees, and you’ll earn up to 100 times the interest rate of other banks.  

This online-only checking account comes with a debit card and free ATMs, so you can easily access your money when you need it. Use it to split your income:

  • Automatically deposit a portion of your income into your existing bank account, and use that to cover basic expenses like rent and bills.
  • Deposit what’s left into your Summit account to use for fun stuff, like eating out, shopping or going on vacation.

2. Protect Your Identity

A puppy is held as the owner of the dog checks things on her laptop.
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

If you’re like most of us, once you have your money under control, you don’t want to lose any of it — especially not to scammers or an identity-protection service that prevents scams.

We recommend using a free site like Credit Sesame to keep tabs on your finances. It’ll send you an alert by email or text if someone tries to apply for credit in your name. Plus, it offers $50,000 of identity-theft insurance and fraud assistance if someone does steal and use your information.

Think you’re invincible? So did freelance writer Jamie Cattanach. When she was 18, someone opened an AT&T account in her name. She assumed it wasn’t hers, so she didn’t acknowledge the bill — until debt collectors began to call.

Before driving face first into a total credit nightmare, you might as well keep tabs on your stuff — especially if you can do it for free.

3. Declutter Your Space

A woman gets piles of clothes ready to sell.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Start taking a good hard look at your belongings. What do you actually need?

  • Clothes: If you have clothes you haven’t worn in the last year, why do you hang onto them? Try selling them to folks in your area through the online marketplace Letgo. It takes about five minute to list an item, and it’s free.
  • Technology: Begin with your overcrowded entertainment center, likely full of outdated music and movies. Consider selling these items to Decluttr. It’ll buy your old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, video games, and even cell phones and tablets. Shipping is free, and Decluttr pays you within 24 hours of retrieval.
  • Books: Bookshelf collecting dust? We love books as much as the next person, but see if your treasures are worth anything by simply searching their ISBNs at Bookscouter. The platform searches dozens of buyback sites to see where you could get the most money.

4. Start Investing for the Future

A woman checks out the Stash app on her iPhone.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Outside of your retirement plan, what are you doing to grow your money?

Investing in the stock market can be a smart way to make your money work for you — but it often feels restricted to a few wealthy elite.

Stash is different. This app lets you start investing with as little as $5 and for just a $1 monthly fee (first month is free) for balances under $5,000.

Stash curates investments from professional fund managers and investors and lets you choose where to put your money. But it leaves out the complicated investment terms.

You just choose from a set of simple portfolios reflecting your beliefs, interests and goals.

Bonus: Right now, The Penny Hoarder is teaming up with Stash to fund your first investment — so you’ll get a $5 bonus to get started!

5. Start Saving More

A pile on money rests on a table in a man's home.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Not to be a total pessimist here, but many of us aren’t the savviest of savers. We’re almost convinced this is just part of the human condition — that maybe we’re born with it.

We’ve got good news, though. Some simple tricks can help you gradually build a stash of cash.

That’s where micro-savings apps come into the picture — like Stash.

With its Smart-Save feature, Stash users can automatically tuck money into an emergency fund (or a vacation reserve) without thinking.

Let us walk you through how it works:


  • Sign up for Stash in about two minutes, tops. Plus, you’ll get a $5 bonus just for opening your account!


  1. Connect your checking account to the app.
  2. Smart-Save does the rest, analyzing your available funds, spending and income to calculate exactly how much you can afford to save.
  3. Watch the automated savings build.

If you’re tight on money one week, you can easily turn off the automated feature. Or if you need to tap into your savings, you can withdraw at any time.

Plus, it’s nice knowing Stash will never cause you to spin into overdraft. If your balance is low, Smart-Save won’t initiate a transfer.

Sneak a peek at Stash’s Smart-Save feature — then try to say that five times fast…

Please note, the Smart-Save feature is not a savings account offered by a bank. Smart-Save is a feature that may be turned on and connected to the checking account that is linked to your Stash Invest account.

6. Optimize Your Credit Cards Rewards

A woman grocery shops at a grocery store.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

If you’re not using a rewards credit card to pay for the basics, you’re missing out on free money.

(One ocaveat here: This only works if you pay off that credit card balance every month to avoid paying interest.)

Credit card rewards programs can be confusing, though, because each card gives you different rewards for different purchases. Managing all your points and rewards can be a challenge, especially if you’re juggling more than one card.

To get the most out of your rewards cards at the checkout counter, try using Birch. The free app keeps track of your spending and helps you maximize the rewards you’re getting, whether it’s travel rewards or cash-back.

Birch plugs into your bank account and credit card accounts (with high security) and analyzes your spending habits. It recommends which cards you should sign up for and which you should use for your most frequent purchases.

For example, it might suggest you buy products at your favorite grocery store with a specific card in order to rack up the most points or cash back.

7. Earn Rewards for Making Good Financial Decisions

A woman smiles as she looks at her phone in a park in Tampa, Fla.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

This app kind of rules them all: MoneyLion is an all-in-one app for managing your personal finances.

Basically, it offers the financial services you’d typically get from three or four different banks or providers, and they’re all bundled into one place.

MoneyLion connects with all of your bank, credit card, student loan and other financial accounts. Based on your income and spending patterns, it offers personalized advice to help you save money, reduce your debt and improve your credit.

Targeted at the financial middle class, MoneyLion offers rewards to help you develop healthy financial habits. The rewards program gives you points for taking actions like:

  • Connecting a bank account.
  • Signing up for credit monitoring.
  • Paying your bills on time.
  • Keeping your credit utilization low.

You can redeem the points for gift cards. It’s like giving American Express-style rewards to middle-class customers who may not have a points-earning credit card.

8. Streamline Your Prescription Refills

Multiple prescrptipn medication lay on a table.
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Nothing is more frustrating than getting home from the grocery store and realizing you forgot to pick up your prescriptions. You know, the ones that have been sitting there for two weeks.

Then you worry the pharmacy is going to put them back, so you have to make a special trip back to the store the next day.

To save you the trouble, some companies actually deliver prescriptions right to your door — and can save you money.

Try Phil, an online prescription refill service.

After you sign up, Phil contacts your pharmacy, doctor, your insurance company — whomever it needs to talk to — and handles the rest. Each month, it’ll deliver your prescriptions to your doorstep. You’ll still have to pay for them, but delivery is free.

Mike Brassfield ( is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He’ll never have enough money.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.


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