When it comes to making money online, there are many options available to you if you conduct research carefully. Some of these earning opportunities can be enjoyed with just your computer or smartphone and a strong internet connection. What are some of these opportunities?
This complete guide is going to focus on three (3) of them, and they include, Coupons, Paid online Surveys, and Free Gift Cards.
Another important point that we are going to address in this guide is how you can manage your Personal Finance. After making all the money you can online, if they are not properly managed, you might benefit little or nothing from them.
One thing that these three (3) money-making methods have in common is that the jobs or tasks can be done from anywhere, just make sure you have your computer and an internet connection.
So without wasting much time, let’s get into how you can earn money with coupons, online paid surveys, free gift cards and manage your finances while you are at it.
- Paid Online Surveys
- Free Gift Cards
- Personal Finance
- What is a Coupon
- Types of Coupon
- Where can I get Coupon Codes
- How to get a lot of Coupons for Free
- What is Coupon Code
- How do Coupon Codes work
- How to Use Coupon Codes
- Where to Sell Coupons
What is a Coupon
A coupon is a promotional tool in the form of a document or electronic graphic that can be redeemed for a discount when purchasing goods or services.
Coupons are generally issued by manufacturers or retailers to the consumer and may be distributed through direct mail, apps, social media, or other marketing means. A coupon will feature a specific savings amount or other special offers to persuade consumers to purchase specific goods or services or to purchase from specific retailers.
Read Also: A Few Tips For Selling Coupons On eBay
Coupons have become an important and required part of retail. Customers are demanding for them now from every retailer. Coupons were originally created as a tool for manufacturers to direct the purchase decision of a customer in a retail store. Here are some statistics for you on coupon usage.
Types of Coupons
Store coupons are coupons issued by a specific store, rather than by the manufacturer. While manufacturer coupons tend to be percent-off deals, store coupons tend to be dollar-off coupons.
Where Can You Find It?
Store coupons come in either printable or digital forms, which you can find on the store’s website or store app.
You can also find store coupons in newspapers, in other weekly ads and newsletters, or inside the store itself. Often times, stores will distribute store coupons for a certain product in the very aisle that the product is sold.
The following stores offer coupons.
Which Coupons Stack With It?
Store coupons can stack with many different types of coupons. These include loyalty program discounts, manufacturer coupons, Catalinas, or rebate app offers.
Store coupons usually cannot be stacked with the exact same store coupon, and they cannot be stacked with Catalinas that are store coupons.
Remember, only one store coupon can be used per individual item!
Manufacturer coupons are issued by the product’s brand or manufacturer.
When you use one of these coupons at an individual store, the store is reimbursed for the discount. As such, the store does not lose any money when you use the coupon.
There are usually limits to how many manufacturer coupons you can use at once. Generally, one manufacturer coupon can be used for a single item or product. Some coupons limit you to using only four or fewer of this type of coupon in a single transaction.
Where Can You Find It?
You can find manufacturer coupons in a variety of places. These typically include hard-copy options such as newspapers and local newsletters, as well as digital sources, such as brand websites and apps.
Digital manufacturer coupons can sometimes be printed out and brought with you to a store, or they can be used more quickly online.
Which Coupons Stack With It?
Store coupons, Catalinas, loyalty program discounts, and rebate app offers can all be stacked with manufacturer coupons. Please note that you usually cannot stack manufacturer coupons with each other.
Newspaper coupons like the name imply come from newspapers.
If you’ve ever had newspapers delivered to your house, then you’ve likely noticed a packet of coupons folded into the rolled-up paper.
These coupons are usually manufacturer coupons. However, there is a chance that the paper will include store coupons as well.
Where Can You Find It?
The most obvious place! Inside one of the national newspapers that you may commonly subscribe to.
You can also find newspaper coupons inside local newspapers and newsletters, including newsletters that are distributed for free in community centers.
Additionally, many coupon-clipping services deliver newspaper coupons.
Which Coupons Stack With It?
You will need to read the fine print on the newspaper coupon to be sure they’re stackable. Nonetheless, most newspaper coupons can be stacked with loyalty program discounts, Catalinas, and rebate app offers.
Printable coupons are coupons that you find on a computer, print out onto paper, and bring to the store with you. These coupons can be manufacturer coupons or store coupons.
Where Can You Find It?
You can find printable coupons on brand websites, store websites, and even on social media pages. Coupon websites such as Coupons.com will also distribute printable coupons.
Which Coupons Stack With It?
What you stack with a printable coupon depends on whether it is a manufacturer coupon or a store coupon. Generally speaking, printable coupons can be stacked with Catalinas, loyalty program discounts, and rebate app offers.
If your printable coupon is a manufacturer coupon, then it can be stacked with other store coupons and vice versa.
When it comes to different types of coupons, digital coupons are the most popular. These coupons cannot be printed out and can be both store coupons and manufacturer coupons. Digital coupons can be used through a store’s app or, sometimes, their loyalty card.
Where Can You Find It?
You can find digital coupons on brand websites, store websites, and even on social media pages. Digital coupons can also be found on a store’s app.
Which Coupons Stack With It?
In general, digital coupons can be stacked with Catalinas, loyalty program discounts, and rebate app offers. They usually cannot be stacked with printable coupons.
Remember to check whether it is a manufacturer coupon or a store coupon. As mentioned, manufacturer coupons cannot be stacked with other manufacturer coupons, and store coupons cannot be stacked with other store coupons.
Loyalty Program Promotions
Today, many stores have a loyalty or membership program, which allows you to earn points whenever you make a purchase. They can be used to save money on future purchases at that same store.
Be sure to join the loyalty programs for the stores that you currently shop at! You can use your loyalty card or your phone number at the register to earn points and cash-in on savings.
Where Can You Find It?
Most stores have loyalty programs, so ask at the register the next time you visit.
Drugstores such as Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS are stores with popular loyalty programs, as are retailers such as Kohl’s and Target.
Which Coupons Stack With It?
Manufacturer coupons, store coupons, and rebate apps will all stack with loyalty programs. As always, be sure to read the fine print on any coupon, just in case it is an exception to the rule!
Where can I get Coupon Codes
With the high demand for coupon codes, a lot of retail manufacturers and even websites are making them available to customers. Below are some websites where you can get coupon codes.
As you can probably tell from the name, this site offers coupons, but it specializes in aggregating promo codes. The “Trending Now” feature makes it quick and easy to locate top codes.
If you’re looking for grocery discounts, Coupons.com is a great resource. The site displays store loyalty coupons as well as coupon codes and card-linked offers attached to cash-back programs.
You’ll be able to find coupons for more than 4,000 retailers on Brad’s Deals. If you saw a deal you plan to take advantage of and you want to view it later, the site allows you to save your favorite stores and deals.
And if you don’t have time to look for promotions, you can be alerted about upcoming deals when you sign up for Brad’s Deals newsletter.
Passion for Savings
This website features deals in addition to freebies and general tips on how to save money. Printable coupons are also available.
If you want the latest information on available coupons and sales, then Slick Deals is the site for you. You can search for coupon codes and printable coupons for a variety of retailers.
Deals are curated by deal editors as well as a community of site users who find and share news about bargains. All deals are rated and reviewed, so you can rest easy when it comes to quality.
How to get a lot of Coupons for Free
Although the websites above provide coupons, if you want more coupons you need to put in some efforts.
For example, more coupons mean more savings at checkout. It’s simple enough math, but how do you get your hands on more coupons? We have provided 5 ways to do that below.
Buy more Newspapers
There’s no rule that says you can only buy one newspaper. So, when you discover a good coupon inside, go ahead and pick up an extra one (or five). Some stores discount their unsold Sunday papers on Monday, so you’ll get those extra coupons for even less money out of pocket if you track down a store that does this.
Collect unwanted Newspaper Coupons
People often leave unwanted portions of their newspapers behind at coffee shops, restaurants, bus stops, and anywhere there’s a waiting room. Keep your eyes open for the opportunity to take these home. If you have friends and family who work in such establishments, see if they’d mind saving the old Sunday papers for you.
Sign up for Newsletters
If you are devoted to a particular product or brand, check the company’s website to see if they have a free email newsletter that you can sign up for. Subscribers are often rewarded with special coupons, promotions, and freebies.
And it’s not just the big national brands that do this. Make a list of all the local stores and restaurants that you like to shop at. Then, see if they have a newsletter that you can sign up for.
Call Companies for Coupons
Take a look at your favorite products and find the toll-free number listed on the label. Then, give those companies a call, and ask if they have any coupons that they can send you. While you’re at it, check their websites, too. They may have printable coupons, a loyalty app, or a newsletter you can sign up for.
Install Coupon Apps on your Phone
Turn your phone into a source of savings by downloading a few coupon apps. Just have the cashier scan your phone at checkout, and your coupons will automatically be deducted from your total.
This is a great way to get coupons if you don’t have the time or energy to clip coupons, or don’t want to spend a bunch of money on printer ink.
Some apps you can install to get these coupons include.
- Coupon Sherpa
What is Coupon Code
Coupon code is also known as a promo code and these codes are similar to printed coupon codes to get the promotional discount on selected or entire product range to save money. By offering voucher codes, retailers earn loyal customers to increase sales.
Discount codes work in different ways. Some offers allow you to save on the final bill while other offers give you a discount on individual products. Promo codes also give you savings in the form of cashback or reward points to save money on the next purchase. What a coupon code is offering to you depends on the strategies of business managers.
How do Coupon Codes work
As every coupon code is different from others, so it comes with various restrictions to offer you saving and profit to retailers. Coupon codes come with terms and conditions, so please read them carefully to avail the maximum discounts.
Every voucher code has a validity time, i.e., expiration date or limited use. Few of the promo codes are limited to loyal or new customers, so keep your eyes open to get amazing discounts and save money.
How to Use Coupon Codes
After gathering all these coupon codes, they will be of no use if you do not know how to use them. But the good news is that these coupon codes are easy to use.
First, you have to add products to your cart, then look for an option to enter a promo code or voucher code. Enter the promo code in the given box and click apply. A discount will be applied to your order total. Finally, you can pay less for your shopping.
As today, every online shopping site has an option to use discount codes because they know the value of the customer and has an article in the help section to educate customers – how can they use coupon codes to avail discount.
Amazon India and Foodpanda are the two largest online marketplaces in their niche and offer discount codes every day to increase sales and earn loyal customers by making them satisfied with products, services, and discounts. Such sites are a one-stop destination for discount lovers where you can get Amazon Coupons as well as Foodpanda coupons to save money for more shopping.
Where to Sell Coupons
The increasing demand for coupons has provided a great earning opportunity for individuals. Even without using an affiliate program, you can still make money from selling coupons.
Below are the top 5 websites you can sell your coupons.
Selling digital products through the e-commerce platform Sellfy allows users to post a simple link on a website, social networking feed, or an email. Offering coupons and promotional codes without investing in your own website or storefront is less complicated using the Sellfy service.
There’s little that can’t be found on eBay, and coupon codes are no exception. Whether you’re interested in purchasing a few promotional codes to save some money on an item you intend to buy or selling promotional codes that you already have on hand, you can get started on eBay.
Setting up a store through Bigcommerce allows you to give coupon codes away for free. It also lets you sell them as digital products through a store powered by the site.
E-junkie is an e-commerce site that facilitates sales for merchants and simplifies the process of locating specific products for consumers. You can buy and sell a variety of promotional codes here.
As one of the most popular e-commerce sites on the web, PayLoadz is an ideal stop for merchants and consumers alike.
Hosting your own promotional codes or purchasing them to bolster your own website’s traffic is quick and easy because the PayLoadz site is easy to navigate. It has a clean interface and accepts PayPal and Google Checkout payment processing options
Whether you are using coupons for household use or trying to sell and make money from them, coupons provide a lot of opportunities for you. The above information can guide you in exploiting them.
Another earn opportunity we are going to discuss is online paid surveys. Let’s begin.
Paid Online Surveys
- What is Paid Online Survey
- How Paid Online Surveys work
- How Paid Online Surveys started
- How much you can Earn
- 10 Best Survey Websites to Make Money in 2020
- Types of Survey you can take Online
- How to Get started with Paid Online Surveys
- Online Surveys that pay Cash
- How to Maximize your earnings with Paid Online Surveys
What is Paid Online Survey
An online paid survey is a type of survey where the survey respondents are rewarded for giving their honest responses or opinions.
In exchange for your honest thoughts on a product or service, online paid surveys may be an extra source of income for you. Since companies need to understand consumers’ reactions towards their product or service, doing market research, and getting feedback from them is very important.
Paid surveys act as a bridge between these two ends. With just a few minutes of your time to obtain your opinion, you can already receive payment, products, free items, or other types of rewards. Here is how paid online surveys work.
How Paid Online Surveys work
Paid online surveys are pretty straightforward, you start by signing up with the website handling the survey. Once your account is ready, they will recommend survey panels that are currently looking for participants and are available to you.
These surveys are then sent to your email and you will be notified to take it. Once you have completed the survey, the reward-based on whichever survey you had participated in will be sent to you. And that is how you earn. Another question that might come to mind is, how did paid online surveys start in the first place?
How Paid Online Surveys started
Market research by different brands made it necessary to go into paid online surveys. The surveys help brands to get closer to their target customers.
It works side by side with the rapid changes made in demand and technology these days, to make sure every voice is heard and to understand how successful or poor a product is. With everything going online now then, market research also followed the trend through online paid surveys as a platform.
Online paid surveys are a way to actually get real feedback from people who want to be honest in exchange for getting paid or receiving rewards. It is a more reliable way of knowing what is in the minds of the people since they can get something good out of it.
There are many factors that affect your earnings when taking online surveys, like how many you complete, how consistent you are and your demographic information.
How much you can Earn with Paid Online Surveys
How much you can make depends on which companies you sign up with, how many surveys you take, and which demographic you fit. If you’re in an often-surveyed demographic, you may get more opportunities to make money, thus upping your survey earning potential.
But it is good to note here that you’re not going to make a fortune taking surveys online, but you can make some extra money for fun, for paying off debt, or for investing.
Monetary survey rewards vary from less than $1 to more than $20, though they’re usually on the lower end of that range, $1 to $5. If you can take several a day, you can earn quite a bit of money in a month.
Some companies don’t give you cash. But they may help you save money by offering you free products, often full-size products, that you need to test for the survey. Of course, this can be a great way to get free household products, personal care products, diapers, and other things you use regularly.
While other companies will enter you into sweepstakes drawing when you take a survey. The more surveys you take, the more chances you have to win.
These can be a little frustrating since you don’t necessarily get a reward right away. But they can pay off with some great prizes, including gift cards, products, and cash.
Another way you can get paid is through referrals. For example, some companies like Swagbucks, also offer prizes, points, or cash for referring others to the service, so this is another aspect of survey-taking to check out.
In all of this, the most important thing is that you can use surveys to make money when you would otherwise not be doing anything. You’re certainly not required to take any surveys that land in your inbox, but you can do so if you find 10 or 15 minutes where you would otherwise be checking Facebook or Tweeting.
As we proceed, we will see different survey websites and how much you earn from them.
10 Best Survey Websites to Make Money in 2020
1. Survey Junkie
Survey Junkie is a big leader in the survey industry, with a BBB rating of B. The company has been in business since 2011 and serves more than 10 million members.
Survey Junkie is best known for the basics and mainly offers paid survey opportunities. This site tracks earnings in the form of points. Every 100 points equals $1 earned, and it takes a minimum of 1,000 points (or $10) to cash out via PayPal or with e-gift cards.
The site does offer some users the chance to earn money testing products, participating in online or in-person focus groups, or via phone surveys. It pays between $5 and $150 per task, but that option is extremely limited at this time.
Start making money within five minutes when you sign up and complete your profile. Most of the surveys are fairly easy to complete. You also won’t be forced to sign up for something or buy anything in order to complete a survey.
2. Survey Savvy
One of the great things about Survey Savvy is that they really do offer a great variety of surveys to choose from, so you won’t simply be talking about the consumer goods that you buy on a day to day basis.
They have surveys on topical issues and about politics in general, but don’t worry you don’t have to be a political animal to be able to complete the survey – you just need to have an opinion. Another thing I really appreciated about survey savvy is that their surveys are short and snappy, and you can complete them within ten minutes or even less. That means you can quickly earn the points that can then be exchanged into folding cash.
3. Vindale Research
Vindale Research, another well-established company, has been around for more than 12 years. It has paid out more than $5 million to its members and offers some of the highest-paying surveys in the industry.
Vindale Research specializes in creating reports for its clients using member surveys.
The most common surveys through Vindale pay between $0.50 and $2.00 each, and can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to complete. You can get a $1 bonus when you sign up and complete your profile on Vindale.
Vindale Research also offers surveys that pay up to $50 each, though these high-paying surveys are in short supply and target specific demographics. They also take longer to complete.
When you complete surveys on Vindale Research, your earnings accumulate in cash. There is no point system to learn. This allows you to easily track your earnings so you can see how close you are to the $50 minimum payment threshold.
It can take a while to reach the $50 minimum payment threshold. If you are a member of multiple sites and are taking only the higher-paying surveys, you can expect to cash out every few months or so.
Other paid opportunities include participating in panels and watching videos.
Like Swagbucks, MyPoints is owned by Prodege, LLC, which holds an A+ rating with the BBB. MyPoints has been in business since 1996 and has since paid out more than $236 million to its 10 million members.
MyPoints lets you take online surveys for money, but the site also has other paid gigs. These include shopping online and in-store, printing and redeeming coupons, watching videos, playing games, and booking travel accommodations.
All of your earnings through MyPoints accumulate in points. You can claim a $3 gift card once your account reaches 480 points. Or for 15,800 points, you can get a $500 gift card.
Note that points may stretch farther depending on where you redeem them. Redeeming points for a prepaid Visa card requires a minimum of 1,500 points and is worth 150 points per dollar, or $10.
MyPoints gives $10 Amazon or Visa gift cards to new users. You’ll need to spend $20 or more using MyPoint shopping to redeem this bonus.
5. Survey Club
Survey Club has been offering online paid surveys since 2005 and in the fast paced every changing world of the web that’s a reassuringly long amount of time. They are a bit of an acquired taste, in that they specialize in long, detailed surveys for high-end clients rather than the quick and cheerful consumer surveys that you may be more familiar with.
Whilst this does mean that you may have to commit a bit more time, it does mean that if you have the patience to persevere with them they pay more money than most survey and reward sites.
6. American Consumer Opinion
American Consumer Opinion (ACOP) is owned by Decision Analyst, Inc. which has been in business for more than 41 years. The BBB gives this site an A+ rating.
When you sign up for an account with ACOP, you can start your first paid survey in under two minutes. Your first survey pays five points and includes questions regarding your demographic information like marital status and education level. If there are surveys available, you will see them listed in your account.
ACOP keeps things simple and offers nothing more than surveys for money. The company accumulates your earnings in points, and you’ll need to earn 1,000 points or $10 to cash out.
One of the most popular sites, and rightfully so, Swagbucks offers traditional surveys as well as a range of additional ways to make cash. Filling out surveys for money will reward you with points called Swagbucks which can be cashed out through PayPal, or redeemed as gift cards for shops including Amazon.com. As a sweetener, they’ll even give you $5 just for signing up.
Swagbucks remain popular as they are a reliable site, offering novel ways to earn rewards, including playing games and watching videos. Completing polls and surveys for money takes around 10 minutes each and can make up the bulk of your time on the site.
You won’t always qualify, and getting to a late stage in a survey application process and then finding out you’re not qualified can be pretty galling. The slickly designed website is straightforward and pleasing to use and also allows you to make money on your shopping by offering a range of affiliate links.
By simply clicking on the Swagbucks link and shopping at sites including Amazon, Walmart and Nike, you will earn points, as those companies are paying Swagbucks to link to them, and you get a share of their fee.
8.Global Test Market
Global Test Market’s tagline is that they are ‘a rewarding experience’, and their position inside our paid survey sites top 20 shows that’s pretty much the truth.
From the moment you click on the site you’re greeted by a video showing you how it works, and how you can earn. It’s a nice, reassuring touch, so you won’t have to worry whether this is a legit site or not.
Surveys available cover a broad spectrum, from household shopping to restaurants and motor cars, so you’ll be able to find something you want to fill in and something you’re eligible for. In 2014 they paid out around thirty million dollars, and it’s easy to gain a share of that money.
To get paid to take surveys, you’ll need to complete the initial screening. You’ll have to answer questions about things like your education level, work status, and the number of children.
You will then answer questions based on recent events like whether you’ve taken your pet to the vet or watched a movie in theaters. Opinion Outpost will ask duplicate questions along the way to make sure you are answering honestly.
Most surveys are worth three to 30 points. When you reach 30 points, you can use them to unlock games on Alawar.com. You can also join the MileagePlus Program to use your points toward travel credits. You’ll need at least 105 points to receive 300 Award Miles. You can also cash out for $3 Amazon gift cards or $10 iTunes or App Store gift cards, or a $10 PayPal credit.
Survey Time might not have a high payout rate, exactly $1 per survey, but it does boast with a high number of surveys every day.
It is simple to use and mobile-friendly, which means that you can get all your surveys on your phone or tablet without downloading any additional apps.
Also, you can cash out after each survey to your PayPal account, so there is no worry about hitting any thresholds with this panel. New surveys are added on a daily basis, and some are amusingly quirky.
Types of Survey you can take Online
Focus Group Approach
Here is another traditional survey method that also works well through the email channel. For some time now companies have been conducting interviews with people from different sex, age, and various demographic groups to gather opinions.
This approach can be used to obtain feedback from different segments of your audience. These focus groups are good for uncovering trends in how subscribers’ shop and what they prefer.
As the name implies, these surveys present questions that are left open – they can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. These questionnaires can help you gather a lot of information, including how your audience feels about your products or the market in general.
Because these surveys tend to be more time consuming, using this approach means you have more work to do.
This technique is a survey method companies have used for years to introduce new products to consumers. You could use it in a similar manner.
For example, if they see that a visitor has browsed a certain product page, they can compose a little questionnaire to ask them what they think about the item and whether or not they’d buy it. Being that email is a one-to-one channel, this method could be perfect in the right situation.
How to Spot Bad Survey Companies
Although there are lots of legitimate survey companies online, this is also a good market for a scam. Some companies will sell your profile information, which can be quite personal, for profit.
Also, never, ever pay a survey company upfront. This is a scam designed to get to your money without giving you anything in return.
Remember, companies need the information they get from surveys, and they’re willing to pay to get it. So legitimate survey companies will share the wealth by paying you, not by asking to be paid.
How to Get started with Paid Online Surveys
The following points will help you get started and be better equipped to make money from paid online surveys.
Make your research
Doing your homework and checking reviews to ensure that the sites you’re interacting with are legitimate will help to protect you from any dangerous scams. Remember that no legitimate survey club will ask you to pay for a membership.
Sign up for multiple sites
A lot of survey websites only allow you to take a certain number of paid questionnaires each day. This means that your earning potential will be limited. Signing up for more than one survey panel and multiple sites will give you more survey opportunities, which translates to more cash rewards.
Use an extra email address
Use a different email address to sign up for your survey sites, as this will help to ensure that you don’t end up with a cluttered inbox.
Provide honest feedback
The better the feedback that you give; the more companies will want to access your insights for future questions. Try to be as informative as possible with your answers.
Check for customer support
Make sure that you can access the support you need whenever you have problems with things like getting payments sent to your account.
Online Surveys that pay Cash
As we have mentioned above, online surveys come in different methods. However, some individuals might prefer to be paid in cash. If you fall into this category, the following companies are ready to pay you in cash after you complete your survey.
Swagbucks has been one of the best sites that pay you for taking surveys, watching movies, playing games, & more. Each task pays in points that can be redeemed for cash and gift cards for your favorite stores. In addition, you can earn rewards for searching for things on the web. Open to residents 13 years of age or older in the USA, UK, Canada, Germany, France, India, Australia, and Ireland
2. Survey Junkie
This company looks for people who can share their honest feedback and get paid for it. Survey Junkie is one of the few survey panels that pay directly with CASH, so no points are needed to redeem your funds.
3. Paid Viewpoint
Paid Viewpoint has become one of the most trusted survey panels among many. Members will earn money for taking short, simple surveys. You will even earn money for the screener survey, which is rare among most companies. The trick to earning more is increasing your trait score. Once it reaches over 7,000, you are able to earn more per survey. Members are paid cash via Paypal.
4. Pinecone Research
This company is by far the best survey panel out today. Members are rewarded for taking online surveys, testing products, participating in focus groups and more. Pinecone Research typically pays around $3.00 per survey. Pays cash via check. Open to US, CA, UK, and Germany
5. Cash Crate
Cash Crate offers a variety of ways to make money, and surveys are one of them. Signing up is quick, simple, and free. Once you sign up, you must receive an email invite in order to participate in surveys. Most surveys pay around $1-$5 each. This site pays in cash via check once you have accumulated at least $20.
iPoll give members a chance to give their feedback about various products or services. This is another great survey site that gives you a chance to tell a little about yourself and matches you with the best survey opportunities. Best of all, you receive $5 just for signing up so what do you really have to lose. Completely free to participate.
7. Survey Spot
Surveyspot is a legitimate survey site where members earn points for taking online surveys and testing products. You will earn points for each survey completed. Points are redeemable for cash via (Paypal) and Amazon gift cards.
8. My Survey
MySurvey is a popular survey community always looking for new members to take online surveys. Members earn points for each survey successfully completed. Points can be redeemed for cash via Paypal, gift cards, and store certificates. Age 16+.
Mindswarms pays top dollar for participating in research studies. Members will participate in a webcam study for about 15-20 minutes. Each study pays $50 via Paypal. Mindswarms also has a mobile app for taking surveys on the go.
10. Darwins Data
Darwins Data has been around for a long time. They are definitely one of the best-paid survey sites where members take surveys by watching videos about legal disputes. Rewards are cash and Amazon gift cards worth $5 for each survey completed.
How to Maximize your earnings with Paid Online Surveys
There are a number of things you can do to maximize your earnings when taking surveys for money.
Choose several sites
You don’t have to sign up with hundreds of survey sites to earn some cash. Focus on the best options like Swagbucks, Vindale Research, and Survey Junkie.
Fill out your profile completely
Completing your personal profile on each survey site allows the company to match you with relevant offers. Most companies require your name, relationship status, occupation, and other demographic information.
Update your personal profile if you have a life change. Things like a new baby, new pet, or change in smoking habits could change your status for upcoming surveys.
Watch the time
Keep track of the time spent completing surveys. You’re not likely to earn a high hourly rate completing easy surveys, and it can be a mind-numbing task.
If possible, do surveys when you have small windows of time, like when you’re standing in line to fill a prescription or waiting for a meeting to start. Complete a few here and there instead of doing the surveys for hours on end.
Don’t fly through surveys, ignoring the questions to complete them faster. Read each question and respond honestly. Survey sites compare answers and can disqualify users who appear to be inconsistent in their responses.
Check for free offers
Some survey sites have a “free offers” section where you can earn points for signing up for free trials or newsletters.
Follow survey sites on social media
Watch for exclusive bonus opportunities throughout the day, and pay attention when better-paying opportunities pop up. Following these survey sites on social media may provide tips on earning more.
Take the highest paying surveys first
If you sign up with multiple websites, you might receive dozens of surveys to choose from. Take a few minutes to estimate your earnings per hour before you start a survey. You may be able to make more by picking the highest-paying opportunities first.
Refer friends to your favorite site
Send friends and family members your unique referral link so they can try surveys or offers for themselves. When they use your link, you’ll earn additional cash or bonus points.
You can share your personal link on your social media sites or email it to people you know.
Online surveys are the perfect side hustle for someone looking for an easy gig to do while at home or on the go. If you are uncomfortable sharing personal information or want to earn a high hourly rate, you should consider a different option.
But if you do want to give online surveys a try, be realistic about how much you’ll make. Manage your time wisely so you’re maximizing your earnings, sign up with multiple sites to receive the best opportunities, and research the company before registering.
Just in case sharing your opinion online to earn cash or getting coupons doesn’t work for you, there is still another way you can earn money online. Another earning opportunity on our guide is free gift cards.
Free Gift Cards
- What are Free Gift Cards?
- How do Free Gift Cards work?
- Why are Gift Cards better than Cash?
- Types of Gift Cards
- 10 Best Gift Cards
- How to Earn Free Gift Cards Online
- Best Apps to get Free Gift Cards
- Free Gift Card Generator
What are Free Gift Cards?
Free gift cards are simply preloaded debit card that allows the cardholder to use it for the purchase of goods or services. Some gift cards can only be used at select retailers, but some can be used anywhere that accepts major credit cards. Some gift cards may also be reloadable, which provides the cardholder with the ability to add funds to the card and continue using it.
How do Free Gift Cards work?
Gift cards are a form of prepaid debit cards loaded with funds for future use. Many gift cards will have a minimum and maximum initial loading amount. A common minimum is $10, and a common maximum is $500. In some situations, they can be used to pay for a portion of purchase with cash, debit, or credit used to balance the expense.
As a precaution to mitigate the risk of losses, many gift cards can also be registered online—a procedure that allows the remaining balance to be tracked and frozen if a card is lost. In this way, some gift cards are safer than cash.
Why are Gift Cards better than Cash?
Gift cards are big business, gift cards are becoming more popular gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, and even weddings and baby showers. In short, if there’s an occasion to give a gift, it’s likely at least someone will choose a gift card.
A study done by the Incentive Federation consistently indicated that merchandize and travel-related incentives were more attractive than cash – and in the merchandize category, gift cards were the most popular award items.
Roughly 3 out of 4 respondents agreed that they could build a more exciting and memorable program using merchandize and gift cards than they would using cash.
Gift cards provide a certain level of flexibility and versatility of cash without the downsides.
There are 10 core reasons why gift cards are more superior to giving cash incentives – they are as follows:
- Trophy Value – A gift card purchase is more memorable and creates a lasting reminder of their achievement
- Viral Value – The employees will tell each other how they spent their gift cards
- More Discrete – It’s more polite to mention non-cash awards. It is viewed as more socially acceptable to discuss
- True Gift Perception – Gift cards are not viewed as a part of a compensation plan. Cash is quickly viewed as compensation and disappears into the family budgeting.
- Universal benefits – Gift cards combine the benefits of merchandize with the benefits of cash. People prefer to have a choice on how to use their awards.
- Guilt-free Spending – Recipients do not feel guilty about treating themselves.
- More Likely to Improve Work Performance – Studies show that cash does not improve work performance.
- Family Support – Due to the family often being involved in the selection of the awards – they are more likely to support the participant’s goals.
- Pleasing the Loved Ones – There is a stronger motivation to earn an award for one’s significant other or their children.
- Long-term Positive Feelings Towards Organization – Gift cards can reinforce positive associations with sponsoring companies
Types of Gift Cards
Retail Gift Cards
Retail cards are generally sold by retailers and restaurants. The gift card can, however, be redeemed only at those particular merchants/stores and restaurant chains. These cards are often referred to as closed cards, owing to the restricted use of the card.
Bank Gift Cards
Open-loop or network cards, as they are also referred to, are issued by banks and credit card companies. These cards can be redeemed by different establishments that use their service. Bank cards carry the logo of the card network and look a lot like credit cards.
10 Best Gift Cards
WalletHub looked at the best gift cards this year, factoring in the five measures: popularity, buyer discounts versus the value of that card on major gift card exchanges, resale value if the recipient doesn’t want the card, the shopping experience at that retailer and the shipping cost to send that gift card.
Here are the 10 best gift cards, according to the survey:
- Victoria’s Secret
- Amazon (also the most popular gift card this year, according to WalletHub)
- Best Buy
How to Earn Free Gift Cards Online
Earning free gift cards is not as difficult as you might think, you just need to join some websites and carry out some simple tasks online.
If you are looking to build your inventory of free gift cards, these are a few easy ways that you can start doing today.
1. Take Paid Online Surveys
Paid online surveys are typically conducted by market research companies that use data accumulated through user responses to improve their products, services, and marketing. This information is very valuable to the companies who seek it out, so they are willing to pay for it.
The platforms that provide these services are usually owned by consumer, marketing, and data analytics firms that have been hired by brands and manufacturers to collect data from consumers who are relevant to their product or brand.
These platforms provide you with access to an aggregate of user surveys and offer you the ability to turn the payments you receive directly into gift cards of your choosing.
These surveys are conducted completely anonymously, so you don’t have to worry about your privacy when sharing basic information. A market research survey will never ask you for your name or address.
During our discussion on paid online surveys, we mentioned some websites that you can take these surveys and get your reward.
2. Credit Card Rewards
This is a method that must be used with caution but can provide good returns if used correctly.
First, if you don’t already have a card that offers a relevant rewards program, you can sign up for one, but don’t do so at the detriment of your credit score. If you aren’t in the market for a new card or can’t afford to take one on, don’t!
Second, don’t overspend. Rewards are a nice perk, but they won’t offset reckless spending. Don’t buy things you wouldn’t have otherwise just for the sake of earning rewards.
To maximize the benefit you receive from credit card reward programs, you should pay your balance off in full each month. Carrying a balance will result in interest charges and fees that will eat away at your bottom line.
3. Scan Your Receipts
If you keep your receipts and don’t mind sharing them with a third party, this is another great way to earn some rewards.
The companies that offer payment for a copy of your receipts generally make money through referrals, meaning they receive payment for directing customers towards a specific brand or product.
There are also coupon apps that retroactively provide you discounts when you submit a copy of your receipt. Either way, you get paid and the process is fast and simple. If you can take a picture with your smartphone, you can earn rewards with your receipts, you don’t even need to make a purchase through the platform.
If you want to maximize your rebates, check out the platforms to scope out the best rates and keep an eye out for deals on purchases you were already planning to make. Don’t let a deal entice you to spend extra money on unnecessary purchases as this ruins the purpose of earning free gift cards.
4. Cash Back Programs
Wouldn’t you love to be paid for the shopping you already do online? With these platforms, you can earn money back on every purchase you make, with the amount you’ll receive determined by how much you spend. If you’re already a regular online shopper, this is an easy way to earn, and it can be pretty lucrative!
Companies that pay you to shop are usually affiliates of the shopping platforms you use, meaning they make a commission off every purchase made on a retailer through their platform—and with cashback shopping, you get a piece of the revenue your purchase generates. Here are some companies you can benefit from.
Even if you haven’t heard of it, you probably already know Rakuten, it used to be known as Ebates. When you shop with Rakuten, you can earn up to 40% cash back on your purchases online, which is one of the highest returns by far.
Shopping and earning with Drop couldn’t be simpler. Complete the quick and easy sign-up process, link one or more of your credit cards or accounts, and shop! Any time you make a purchase with one of your linked payment methods at a participating retailer like Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Costco, Whole Foods, and others, you’ll get paid for your purchases. After you’ve earned $5, you can cash out for free gift cards or other rewards.
With ShopKick you earn “Kicks”, their branded equivalent of points, for browsing shops online, visiting your favorite stores, and on any purchases you make. You also qualify for discounts and special offers at a huge number of retailers when shopping through or with the app.
The Kicks you earn can be traded in for free gift cards or directly for additional merchandise at all the places you love to shop, and you only need to earn $2 before you cash in!
Dosh is very similar to Drop, with a higher withdrawal minimum. Link your cards and shop at any of their thousands of top participating retailers and earn money back on every dollar you spend.
You can withdraw your money in cash or gift cards after you’ve earned $25 on the platform, which isn’t hard when you’re earning on every dollar spent at places like Walmart, Sam’s Club, Target, Walgreens, Forever 21, Sephora, and Pizza Hut.
BeFrugal offers its users as much as 40% cashback on all the purchases they make through their selection of over 5,000 qualified online retailers.
If that wasn’t enough to pique your interest, when you sign up with the platform you will also get coupons and deals delivered directly to your inbox to help you save even more, and you can still collect cashback on purchases made using the offers.
With its high cashback rates, comes a high minimum withdrawal of $25 which can be paid out in gift cards or as a direct deposit to your bank account.
5. Watch Videos Online
There are lots of less traditional ways to earn rewards and free gift cards, did you know you can get paid to watch videos online? Yes! It never hurts to have multiple streams of income, even if that means watching some videos online. The websites below helps you to watch videos and get free credit gifts
That’s right, you can even get paid for watching videos through Swagbucks. Of course, there is a slight catch, the videos are pre-selected, so you can’t just go on a YouTube binge and get a bunch of free gift cards.
But there are videos in a ton of categories including entertainment, home, games, and travel, so it shouldn’t be hard to find something that interests you! Between the movies and videos, Swagbucks provides, you can earn $5 each day just by running the content in the background during your daily activities.
With MyPoints you can earn by watching videos through your desktop web browser or their custom video app. They don’t offer support for Safari yet, but all of the other major browsers are supported.
Depending on your dedication and the amount of free time you have, you could be bringing in as much as $225 per month just watching videos through InboxDollars. You only earn a cent or two for each video you watch, but bonus payouts are frequent through the “Spin to Win” tickets you earn while you watch.
How to Get Free Gift Cards Online without Completing Offers
Earn points on a Rewards Card and redeem for GCs
I’ll be the first to admit that your mileage may vary with this technique, but there are certainly a few people out there who have learned how to make it work.
If you sign up for a Rewards card (and just about everyone offers them nowadays, even Amazon) then you can potentially be earning cash back on every purchase you make.
This is a good way to recoup some losses from your spending.
But there is, of course, one major catch…
You have to pay off every month or else you’ll pay more in interest than you gain as points. It is a good method, but you shouldn’t pursue it if you’re not in a fairly stable place, financially.
Falling behind on your Rewards card payments would be a detriment that would far outweigh the initial benefits.
Become an Influencer
You’re probably noticing that brands like to work with bloggers and social media experts to reach out to more people.
Another name for those who connect with brands is “influencer” because they essentially have influence on others who follow them on social media or read their blogs.
There are a variety of influencer networks on the internet where influencers can easily connect with brands who need their help. As an influencer, you might receive free products, cash, or even gift cards for sharing your thoughts about products or services you’ve tried.
An excellent network to try first is Influenster, which sends out boxes of goodies throughout the year to influencers. Most boxes contain products to try, but some even include free gift cards just for your help.
Enter Giveaways and Sweepstakes
Giveaways and sweepstakes are like the blog version of Twitter parties. Blogs all over the web host giveaways of prizes that take no more than a few minutes to enter.
One of the most popular prizes is a gift card in addition to a brand’s product or service.
Because most bloggers and brands know that gift cards are what draw in the attention of others, making it more likely that people will want to enter the giveaway and possibly read their posts.
GiveawayMonkey is an excellent site that lists giveaways from all over the web. You can also visit your favorite blogs to see if they have any giveaways!
Use Mobile Apps
Play or download new games and earn gift cards. Mobile apps like AppLike and AppNana pay you to try out new games by installing them on your mobile device.
They’ll give you points for doing so, which you can redeem for gift cards when you earn enough.
There are several other apps that pay in gift cards, too, and don’t require you to take surveys or complete offers:
- Google Opinion Rewards
Shop Online with Cash Back Sites
If you’re a frequent online shopper, you won’t want to pass up all the rewards you could be eligible for when you shop with cashback sites.
Ebates is one of the best, giving you cashback for purchasing items from partnered retailers. You can even get a $10 Walmart or Ebates gift card for free, just for signing up.
All the cashback you earn goes into your Ebates account as a cashback balance. When you get $5.01 in your account, you can redeem it for a check, PayPal, or a charity donation.
Of course, you can use your check or PayPal cash to pay for anything you want, just like a gift card. There are plenty of other similar sites that pay out with gift cards, like MyPoints, BeFrugal, and TopCashback.
Best Apps to get Free Gift Cards
There are quite a few sites out there where you can earn points to buy gift cards, mostly by spending your spare time on stuff you’d probably be doing anyway, such as looking at pictures, watching ads, and playing games.
Many of these services also have free smartphone apps you can use to earn points when you’re away from your computer – arguably a more convenient setup for a lot of reasons – and some of the apps even have perks that make them significantly more useful than the websites they’re based on.
We’ve listed 5 of the better smartphone apps you can use and get free gift cards. Check them out and see if anything sounds interesting.
As you would have already discovered from this guide, Swagbucks is a popular rewards service where you can get paid for watching videos, searching the web, and doing all sorts of other commonplace activities.
The rewards currency is called (unsurprisingly) Swagbucks, and the exchange rate varies depending on which gift cards you’re purchasing.
For example, a $15 Banana Republic gift card costs 1,350 Swagbucks, while a $15 Amazon card costs 1,500. The site offers cards from quite a few popular online retailers, including Walmart, Target, and eBay.
Although surveys are the main attraction on this rewards site, you can also earn money for playing games and watching videos.
The gift card selection is pretty slim, but they have most of the major retailers on their list, including Walmart, and Amazon.
From what I can tell, Inbox Dollars doesn’t use any kind of points system. Instead, completing tasks gradually adds cash to your account, which you can then transfer directly to a gift card of your choice. Unfortunately, you have to earn at least $30 to request a payout.
This service will give you points for shopping online, searching the web, and watching videos. Instead of a traditional smartphone app, they have an excellent mobile version of their website which will automatically load when you open the page using one of your portable devices.
InstaGC’s selection of gift cards is massive. The list is more than 10 pages long and includes popular brands like Walmart, 1-800-Flowers, and Advance Auto Parts, just to name a few. The redeem rate is exactly 100 points per dollar.
This popular service has received good press from big media sites like MSN, Business Insider, and The Huffington Post.
You’ll find most of the typical activities you find on rewards sites, including surveys, games, and videos. You only need $1 to redeem, which is significantly lower than most other services, and you can opt to take your payment as a cash deposit or buy a gift card.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much information available to non-members about exchange rates or the gift card brands available.
When you log in here, you’ll be confronted with a list of tasks, each of which will earn you a certain number of points.
New tasks are added periodically and there seems to be quite a lot of variety. I saw a task that involved watching videos for a media site, and another that required you to sign up for the Atkins Diet email list.
They have a decent selection of gift-cards available (Amazon, Redbox, and Walmart were all prominently displayed) but they don’t actually show the dollar amounts for the gift cards, which is pretty confusing.
For example, the site shows that an Amazon gift card costs 335 points, but there’s no mention of whether that’s for a $3 Amazon card or a $5 card. Still, despite this issue, the service seems to be pretty easy to use and they have a nice, simple interface.
Free Gift Card Generator
Free gift card generators enable you to generate some of the premium or high-value codes by completing some easy tasks online. One of such task might be to install some apps for free.
For example, on GiftCoup.com, generating gift cards is not difficult. It can be done on their website just by a few clicks, and the whole process might not even take a minute before it is done.
This process is 100% legit. You can participate in the giveaway to win free gift cards worth 10, 25, 50 or 100$. Complete various actions, tasks and get rewards!
Products and services such as music videos, tablet games, music podcasts and computer games can all be purchased for free using the gift cards generator.
The codes can as well be used for shopping. Get free gift card code and redeem for anything you want. One amazing thing about making use of this gift card for shopping is that all you want to buy can be purchased at a cheap rate provided the amount of money on the card is sufficient for a particular product.
These free gift cards are actually a reward code that you receive when you fill in certain offers/surveys or install some applications.
Many people have asked about the maximum number of codes that can be generated. Well, this free gift card generator allows just two codes per IP can be created in 24 hours.
A code often consists of lowercase letters, uppercase letters, and also numbers. You also need to know that the parameters of each code cannot be customized. Every gift card can only be used once and cannot be retrieved after it has been deleted.
- What is Finance
- What is Personal Finance
- Areas of Personal Finance
- Types of Personal Finance
- Sources of Personal Finance
- Why Personal Finance is Important
- Other Types of Finance
- How to Manage Personal Finance
- Rules of Personal Finance
What is Finance
Finance is the allocation of assets, liabilities, and funds over time, process, mediums to reap the most out of the activity. In other words, managing or multiplying funds to the best in interest while tackling the risks and uncertainties. Finance is majorly divided into three segments: Personal Finance, Corporate Finance, and Public Finance.
What is Personal Finance
Personal Finance is the financial management which an individual or a family unit performs to budget, save, and spend monetary resources over time, taking into account various financial risks and future life events.
It encompasses budgeting, banking, insurance, mortgages, investments, retirement planning, and tax and estate planning. It often refers to the entire industry that provides financial services to individuals and households and advises them about financial and investment opportunities.
Here is another angle to personal finance. It also involves meeting personal financial goals, whether it’s having enough for short-term financial needs, planning for retirement, or saving for your child’s college education.
It all depends on your income, expenses, living requirements, and individual goals and desires—and coming up with a plan to fulfill those needs within your financial constraints.
But to make the most of your income and savings it’s important to become financially literate, so you can distinguish between good and bad advice and make savvy decisions.
Areas of Personal Finance
As you can see from the image below, the main areas of personal finance are income, spending, saving, investing, and protection. Each of these areas will be discussed below.
Income refers to a source of cash inflow that an individual receives and then uses to support themselves and their family. It is the starting point for our financial planning process.
Common sources of income are:
These sources of income all generate cash that an individual can use to either spend, save, or invest. In this sense, income can be thought of as the first step in our personal finance roadmap.
Investing relates to the purchase of assets that are expected to generate a rate of return, with the hope that over time the individual will receive back more money than they originally invested. Investing carries risk, and not all assets actually end up producing a positive rate of return. This is where we see the relationship between risk and return.
Common forms of investing include:
Investing is the most complicated area of personal finance and is one of the areas where people get the most professional advice. There are vast differences in risk and reward between different investments, and most people seek help with this area of their financial plan
Spending includes all types of expenses an individual incurs related to buying goods and services or anything that is consumable (i.e., not an investment). All spending falls into two categories: cash (paid for with cash on hand) and credit (paid for by borrowing money). The majority of most people’s income is allocated to spending.
Common sources of spending are:
Credit card payments
The expenses listed above all reduce the amount of cash an individual has available for saving and investing. If expenses are greater than income, the individual has a deficit.
Managing expenses is just as important as generating income, and typically people have more control over their discretionary expenses than their income. Good spending habits are critical for good personal finance management.
Saving refers to excess cash that is retained for future investing or spending. If there is a surplus between what a person earns as income and what they spend, the difference can be directed towards savings or investments. Managing savings is a critical area of personal finance.
Common forms of savings include:
Savings bank account
Checking bank account
Money market securities
Most people keep at least some savings to manage their cash flow and the short-term difference between their income and expenses. Having too much savings, however, can actually be viewed as a bad thing since it earns little to no return compared to investments.
Personal protection refers to a wide range of products that can be used to guard against an unforeseen and adverse event.
Common protection products include:
This is another area of personal finance where people typically seek professional advice and which can become quite complicated. There is a whole series of analysis that needs to be done to properly assess an individual’s insurance and estate planning needs.
Types of Personal Finance
Two of the main types of finance include:
- Debt finance – money borrowed from external lenders, such as a bank
- Equity finance – investing your own money, or funds from other stakeholders, in exchange for partial ownership.
It is possible to have both types of finance in your business.
Sources of Personal Finance
The main sources of debt finance are:
- Financial institutions – banks, credit unions and building societies. Finance can be provided as loans, overdrafts and lines of credit.
- Retailers – purchasing goods for your business through store credit via a finance company. Store cards can attract high-interest rates; however some retailers offer an interest-free period.
- Finance companies – most finance companies offer finance products via a retailer. Financial companies must be registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
- Suppliers – trade credit allows you to delay payment for goods.
- Factor companies – also referred to as debtors finance. Factoring is when a business sells its accounts receivable (invoices) to a third party (called a factor) so that it can receive cash without waiting the 30 or 60 days for customer payment. Customers pay their invoices directly to the factor company. The cost of providing this service will vary between companies and it is important for you to research these costs before entering into any agreement.
- Invoice finance – essentially the same as factoring, however invoices are paid to your business and customers are not aware of your arrangements with the financier.
- Peer-to-peer lenders – matches people who have money to invest with people looking for a loan. Loans may need to be repaid within a certain time period and interest rates may vary according to the level of risk.
- Family or friends – may offer you money as a loan. To avoid misunderstanding it is important to have a formal written agreement specifying the terms of the loan, repayment requirements, and terms of interest. Seek legal advice to draw up the loan agreement.
The main sources of equity finance are:
- Personal finances – self-funding your business from personal savings or sale of personal assets.
- Venture capitalists – professional investors that invest large funds into businesses (as equity) with the potential for high growth and profit.
- Family or friends – may provide funds in return for a share in your business or as a partnership. Carefully consider this option as a breakdown in business relationships that may affect your personal relationships.
- Private investors – also known as ‘business angels’ are generally wealthy individuals who invest large sums of money in a business in return for equity and a share of the profits.
- Crowdfunding – raising capital through the collective efforts of a large pool of individuals, primarily online via social media or crowdfunding platforms. It allows investors to provide large sums of money in exchange for equity, or small amounts in return for a first-run product or other rewards.
- Crowd-sourced equity funding – a way for start-ups and small businesses to raise finance from the public. They usually rely on raising small amounts from a large number of investors. Each investor can invest up to $10,000 a year in business, receiving shares in exchange.
- Government – most government assistance for small businesses is in the form of free or low-cost advisory services, information, or guidance. However, you may be eligible for a grant in certain circumstances, such as business expansion, research, and development, innovation, or exporting.
Why Personal Finance is Important
There is a great need for people to understand and take control of their personal finances. These are some of the overarching reasons for it;
1. No formal education for personal finance: Most countries have a formal education across most disciplines or areas of study.
- Individuals pursue learn in order to earn a livelihood.
- Their pursuit translates to earning tangible outcomes in the form of money.
- Even when we realize the above to be a primary objective, there is no formal education at an elementary level in schools or colleges to learn money management or personal finance.
- Hence, it is important to understand this gap or disconnect in the education system where there is no formal way of equipping an individual to manage his or her own money.
This illustrates the need to learn personal finance from an early stage, in order to differentiate between needs vs. wants and plan accordingly.
2. Shortened employable age: Over the years, with the advent of automation and changing needs; it has been witnessed across the globe that several jobs that require manual intervention, or that are mechanical in nature are increasingly becoming redundant.
- Several employment opportunities are shifting from countries with higher labor costs to countries with lower labor costs keeping margins low for companies.
- In economies with a considerably large younger population entering the workforce who are more equipped with the latest technologies, several employees in the middle management who have not up-skilled are easily replaceable with new and fresh talent that is cheaper and more valuable to the organizations.
- Cyclical nature of several industries like automobiles, chemicals, construction; consumption and demand is driven by the health of the countries’ economy. It has been observed that when economies stagnate, are in a recession, in war – certain industries suffer more compared to others. This results in companies rationalizing their workforce. An individual can lose his/her job easier and remain unemployed for a considerable time. All these reasons bring to the realization that the legal employable age of 60 is slowly and gradually becoming shorter.
These are some of the reasons why individuals should start planning for their retirement and systematically build on their retirement corpus, hence the need for personal finance.
3. Increased life expectancy: With the developments in healthcare, people today are living until a much older age than their forefathers. The average life expectancy has changed over the years and people even in developing economies are living much longer. The average life expectancy has gradually shifted from 60 to 8 and upwards. Increased life expectancy coupled with a shorter employable age reinforces the need of having a large enough retirement corpus and the importance of personal finance.
4. Rising medical expenses: Medical expenses including cost of drugs, hospital admission care and charges, nursing care, specialized care, geriatric care have all seen an exponential rise over the years. Many of these medical expenses are not covered through the insurance policies that might either be private/individual insurance coverage or through federal or national insurance coverage.
- In developed markets like the US, insurance coverage is provided by either the employers, private insurers, or through the federal government (Medicare, primarily for senior citizens or Medicaid, primarily for individuals of lower-income levels). However, with the rising US fiscal deficit and a large proportion of geriatric population it needs to be seen the extent of the Medicare program is sustainable in the long run, therapy exclusions in the coverage, co-pay, deductibles – there are several cost elements that are to be borne by individuals on a continual basis.
- In other developed markets like the EU, most of the medical care is nationally reimbursed. This leads to the national healthcare budgets being very tightly controlled. Many newer therapies that are expensive, many times are excluded from the national formularies. This means that patients may not have access through the government policy and would have to pay out of pocket to avail these medicines
- In developing countries like India, China, most of the expenses are out of pocket as there is no overarching government social security system covering medical expenses.
These reasons illustrate the need of having a medical, accidental, critical illness, life coverage insurance for oneself and one’s family as well as the need for emergency corpus; translating the immense need for personal finance.
Other Types of Finance
Corporate Finance is about funding the company expenses and building the capital structure of the company. It deals with the source of funds and the channelization of those funds like the allocation of funds for resources and increasing the value of the company by improving the financial position. Corporate finance focuses on maintaining a balance between the risk and opportunities and increasing the asset value.
Corporate Finance Includes:
- Capital budgeting
- Employing standard business valuation techniques or real options valuation
- Identifying the source of funding in the form of equity, shareholders’ funds, creditors, debts
- Determining the utility of unappropriated profits for future investment, operational utilization, or distribution to the shareholders
- Acquisition and investment in stock or other assets
- Identifying relevant objectives, opportunities, and constraints
- Risk management and tax considerations
- Stock issuance while going public and listing on the Stock exchange
This type of finance is related to states, municipalities, provinces in short government required finances. It includes long term investment decisions related to public entities. Public finance takes factors like distribution of income, resource allocation, economic stability in consideration. Funds are obtained majorly from taxes, borrowing from banks or insurance companies.
Public Finance includes:
- Identifying the expenditure required by the public entity
- The sources of revenue for the public entity
- Determining the budgeting process and source of funds
- Issuing debts for public projects
- Tax management
How to Manage Personal Finances
Make and Stick to a Budget
Your budget is one of the biggest tools that will help you succeed financially. It allows you to create a spending plan so you can allocate your money in a way that will help you to reach your goals.
You can make your budget as high-level or detailed as you want, as long as it helps you reach your ultimate goal of spending less than you earn, paying off any debts, padding your emergency fund, and saving for the future.
A budget will also help you decide how to spend your money over the coming months and years. Without the plan, you might spend cash on things that seem important now, but don’t offer much in terms of enhancing your future. Many people get caught in this quagmire and get down on themselves for not reaching the financial milestones they want for their family and their own life.
Don’t forget to celebrate small victories along the way. For example, congratulate yourself once you pay off your debt, or reward yourself when you stick to your budget for three months solid, or when you successfully pad your emergency fund.
If you are married, you and your spouse need to work together on the budget. Working together makes it feels fair to both of you, and you both have the same level of commitment towards achieving it. This unity can go a long way towards helping you prevent money-related arguments. Below are some tips for married couples who want to create a budget together:
- Consider switching to an envelope budgeting system that uses cash for spending areas that require more discipline.
- Use budgeting software with a mobile app so you can enter spending in real-time.
- Plan expenses in advance to avoid any overspending.
Write out Your Financial Goals
Take some time to write specific, long-term financial goals. You may want to take a month-long trip to Europe, buy an investment property, or retire early. All of these goals will affect how you plan your finances. For example, your goal to retire early is dependent on how well you save your money now. Other goals, including home-ownership, starting a family, moving, or changing careers, will all be affected by how you manage your finances.
Once you have written down your financial goals, prioritize them. This organizational process ensures that you are paying the most attention to the ones that are of the highest importance to you. You can also list them in the order you want to achieve them, but a long-term goal like saving for retirement requires you to work towards it while also working on your other goals.
Below are some tips on how to get clear on your financial goals:
- Set long-term goals like getting out of debt, buying a home, or retiring early. These goals are separate from your short-term goals such as saving for a nice date-night.
- Set short-term goals, like following a budget, decreasing your spending, paying down, or not using your credit cards.
- Prioritize your goals to help you create a financial plan.
Pay off Debt
Debt is a huge obstacle for many when it comes to reaching financial goals. That’s why you should make eliminating it a priority. Set up a debt elimination plan to help you pay it off more quickly. For example, while making minimum payments on all of your debt accounts, pay any extra money towards one debt at a time. After paying off one debt account, move all the money you were paying on the first debt to the next debt and continue from there, creating a debt-paydown “snowball effect.”
Once you are totally out of debt, commit to staying out of debt. Leaving credit cards at home may be a wise strategy. Save up an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses, so you aren’t tempted to use a credit card to cover them.
Try these tips to help you pay off debt more quickly:
- Sell unused or unwanted items around your home to find extra money to add to your debt repayment plan.
- A second job can help speed up the process and can be necessary if you want to make fast or lasting changes to your situation.
- Look for areas in which you can cut your budget to increase the cash available for your debt payments.
Ask for Professional Advice
Once you have grown your savings and want to begin investing to increase your wealth, speak to a financial planner to help you make wise investment decisions.
A good adviser will share the risks involved in each investment and help you find products that match your comfort level and investing return needs while helping you work toward your goals as quickly as possible. A financial planner can also help you with your budget, which is another plus.
Investing is a long-term strategy that helps you in building wealth. You can also find financial help elsewhere, such as:
- Search for a local church or community center that offers free or low-cost classes or workshops on personal finances and budgeting. Occasionally, banks and credit unions offer courses, as well.
- Find a mentor that would be willing to help you formulate and work through your budget for the first few months. This mentor can help you if you are overwhelmed by the budget process.
- If your parents or other family members are good with money, consider asking them for help, and talking to them about what worked for them financially and what they would have done differently.
Use Credit Cards Wisely
Credit cards can be major debt traps. But it’s unrealistic not to own any in the contemporary world, and they have applications other than as a tool to buy things. Not only are they crucial to establishing your credit rating, but they’re also a great way to track spending, which can be a big budgeting aid.
Credit just needs to be managed correctly, which means the balance should ideally be paid off every month, or at least be kept at a credit utilization rate minimum (that is, keep your account balances below 30% of your total available credit).
Given the extraordinary rewards incentives on offer these days (such as cash back), it makes sense to charge as many purchases as possible. Still, avoid maxing out credit cards at all costs, and always pay bills on time. One of the fastest ways to ruin your credit score is to constantly pay bills late—or even worse, miss payments.
Plan and Save for Retirement
Retirement may seem like a lifetime away, but it arrives much sooner than you’d expect. Experts suggest that most people will need about 80% of their current salary in retirement. The younger you start, the more you benefit from what advisors like to call the magic of compounding interest—how small amounts grow over time.
Setting aside money now for your retirement not only allows it to grow over the long term, but it can also reduce your current income taxes if funds are placed in a tax-advantaged plan fund like an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), a 401(k) or a 403(b). If your employer offers a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, start paying into it right away, especially if they match your contribution. By not doing so, you’re giving up free money! Take time to learn the difference between a Roth 401(k) and a traditional 401(k), if your company offers both.
Investing is only one part of planning for retirement. Other strategies include waiting as long as possible before opting to receive Social Security benefits (which is smart for most people) and converting a term life insurance policy to a permanent life one.
Rules of Personal Finance
There are three key principles when it comes to personal finance, and they are prioritization, assessment, and restraint.
Prioritizing means that you’re able to look at your finances, discern what keeps the money flowing in, and make sure you stay focused on those efforts.
Assessment is the key skill that keeps professionals from spreading themselves too thin. Ambitious individuals always have a list of ideas about other ways they can hit it big, whether it is a side business or an investment idea. While there is absolutely a place and time for taking a flyer, running your finances like a business means stepping back and truly assessing the potential costs and benefits of any new venture.
Restraint is the final skill of successful business management that must be applied to personal finances. Time and time again, financial planners sit down with successful people who somehow still manage to spend more than they make. Earning $250,000 per year won’t do you much good if you spend $275,000 annually. Learning to restrain spending on non-wealth-building assets until after you’ve met your monthly savings or debt-reduction goals is crucial in building net worth.
I am sure money you have been able to learn a lot from this guide. Our focus as mentioned at the beginning is to help you make money online through coupons, paid surveys and gift cards. And after you have made the money online, we also included personal finance tips to help you manage your money better.
These tips and guide might not make you a fortune, but if you put them into proper use, you should be able to make a living out of them. Please feel free to share this guide to friends and experts for better financial literacy.