In any normal year, getting $600 just for being alive in this country would be awesome. But after almost an entire year of catastrophic death records, horrible unemployment and the destruction of small businesses… $600 feels like a slap in the face.
But since our government representatives can’t seem to find a decent number to agree on that would actually help us, we need to make this pity cash worthwhile.
These are some of the best ways to use your “stimulus” check to improve your financial footing.
1. If You Need It For Essentials, Do That First.
First — and more importantly — take care of yourself and your family. While we know $600 isn’t very much in times like these, it’s at least something to help pay the rent or buy groceries.
The tips below can help you turn the $600 into more, but they aren’t immediate pay-offs. If you need to pay your bills, a long-term investment may not be the right choice for you right now.
2. Act Like a Billionaire And Get Rich Off Your Investments This Year, Too.
It’s no secret the rich got richer in 2020 because of their investments. But there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make money like them, too. One way to do it is by investing in the stock market with some of your stimulus money.
If you feel like $600 (or part of that $600) isn’t enough money to start investing, you’re not alone. But guess what? You really don’t need that much — and you can even get free stocks (worth up to $200!) if you know where to look.
Whether you’ve got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood.
Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.
What’s best? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $2.50 to $200 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.
3. Pay Off A Chunk Of Your Credit Card Debt
Better yet, get a personal loan to save yourself from the insane interest rates your credit card company is charging you. Because if you have credit card debt, you know. The anxiety, the interest rates, the fear you’re never going to escape…
And the truth is, your credit card company doesn’t really care. It’s just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates. But a website called AmOne wants to help.
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.
AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
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.
4. Focus On Your Family’s Future And Turn It Into $1M One Day
Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone? Chances are your checking account balance won’t last forever.
Here’s the thing: You should keep a healthy amount of savings in the bank, but if you want to give your family up to $1 million, use something called term life insurance. And by using just a small amount of your stimulus money every month, you can ensure your family is taken care of.
We suggest a company like Bestow. Maybe you’ve considered this before, but thought it was only for rich or older people. But we’re hearing that people are getting it for as little as $16 a month.
You can take advantage of Bestow until you’re 54 years old, but the sooner you take care of this, the cheaper it could be.
You don’t even need to leave your house to get a free quote from Bestow — it takes minutes. Instead of leaving your family with what’s in your checking account and a bucket of worries, they’ll be able to afford the life you’ve always wanted for them.
5. Keep It Safe And Earn Some Extra Money With A Sign-Up Bonus
Having a safe place to keep your stimulus money is important. And if you can put it in an account that will give you money just for signing up, plus high interest earnings, that’s a major win.
How does an extra $100 on top of that $600 stimulus check sound? For free? Seriously. We found a company that will give you $100 just for opening a new debit card. It’s called Aspiration.
Sure, a lot of debit cards offer sign-up bonuses throughout the year, but they often require you to jump through hoops with minimum requirements that feel impossible to hit.
But Aspiration makes it simple. To earn your $100, here’s all you need to do: Open your Aspiration account and deposit at least $10. Then set up and receive three direct deposits of at least $500 each from your paycheck or government benefits. That’s it! Then just wait for your check.
Even better? Your debit card gets you up to 10% cash back on your purchases. And your money will earn 16x more interest than an average savings account.
Enter your email address here, and link your bank account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
6. Max Out Your 401(k) And Reap The Rewards When You Retire Early
Setting aside money from your paycheck to put into your 401(k) is literally one of the smartest things you can do for your future. And if your employer matches each contribution, that could mean hundreds of thousands of extra dollars in your account when you retire. It’s free money!
But if you can’t take advantage of this employer benefit because you need all of your paycheck every month, a company called Lendtable will give you the cash.
We know it sounds too good to be true. But if your employer has a 401(k) match program, this is money they already have earmarked for you. By using Lendtable, you’ll be able to unlock that free cash.
Let’s say you make $50k a year and your employer matches your 401(k) contribution up to 4%. If you put $0 in your retirement account this year, you get $0 from your boss. If Lendtable gives you the 4% of your salary your employer is willing to match, you get $2,000 from your boss, minus Lendtable’s share of the profit. (This comes from the extra money you’ve earned, so there’s no sacrifice on your part.)
It takes three minutes to answer a few questions about your eligibility and sign up for an account.
Once you’ve gotten your full match amount from your employer, Lendtable will take the money they lent you back, plus a small share of your profit. If there’s a penalty from your retirement account provider for taking money out, Lendtable will cover that, too.
The risk for you is basically nonexistent, so not taking advantage of your employer match with Lendtable’s offer would make Future Millionaire You bow your head in shame. Get started here.
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.