Saving money is a challenge for a lot of us especially those of us on a tight budget or low income.
And while saving in itself is an incentive, one incentive that would make this even better would be getting paid for saving money.
Thankfully, there are some ways you can actually get paid to save money.
Some services will literally give you cash and prizes when you save, others, like some of the apps we’re going to talk about later, will help you save money when shopping and rewards you with gifts and prizes.
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1. Let your savings earn you more money with Smartypig
- Official site: Smartypig.com
SmartyPig is a free, high-yield savings account that helps you save money towards specific goals – saving for college, buying a new car, vacation, buying a house, etc.
Here is how it works:
- Register for a free Savings account.
- Create your savings goals (vacation funds, new car, etc)
- Contribute to your savings account by depositing money into it either automatically or manually.
- While you continue to save to reach your goal, you earn up to 1.05% interest.
Once you reach your saving goal, you can withdraw the money.
There are a few ways to do this:
- Transfer the balance to your checking account.
- Load a prepaid debit card with the balance.
- Redeem for a gift card from retailers such as Amazon.com.
2. Use all your company’s matching funds
Many employers will match voluntary contributions that you make to your retirement plan.
Sometimes there’s a cap on the amount, say 5%. Nonetheless, it’s free money!
Check what your company does, and make sure that you pay in enough in voluntary contributions to maximize your employer’s match. It’s free money.
3. Get your tax deductions
Make sure you get all the tax deductions you can by contributing to a Retirement Plan as well as a Health Savings Account (HSA).
You will save on federal taxes and, often, on state taxes.
There are some limitations on the amount of tax deduction you can get – mainly to do with your overall earnings and the amounts that you can save in the HSA. But once again it’s free money, which you can get in the form of a greater refund or by paying less tax during the year.
4. Open an Investment Account with a sign up bonus
If you look around, you’ll find that many brokerage firms offer incentives for opening an investment account with them.
And we’re not talking about a free calculator, but additional funds into your account, provided you meet their minimum investment standard.
For example, ShareBuilder offers bonuses of up to $600 for opening an account with them. Motif Investing offers a $150 bonus.
For a list of some of the best bonuses offered by brokerage firms, check out this post on HustlerMoneyBlog.
5. Open a Savings accounts with a sign up bonus
A lot of banks and credit unions will give you cash incentives for saving with them, whether it is a one-off payment or a commitment to regular payments into the savings account.
For example, Chase has a $150 sign up bonus for new savings accounts.
BBVA Compass has a plan called Build My Savings with which you can earn up to $250 a year, based on a percentage of your cash transfers from a checking account into the savings account.
If you have children, look at the College Saver account from Citizens Bank. You can earn a $1000 bonus when your kid gets to 18, simply by making regular monthly deposits into the account.
6. Take advantage of the Saver’s Credit
Also known as the Saver’s Credit, the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit is another way to get paid for saving money.
You simply have to contribute to a qualified retirement account, and the IRS will pay you an additional $1000, or $2000 if you are married filing jointly.
There are limitations on your income, for instance, you can’t have more than $28,750 in adjusted gross income if you’re single, or $57,500 if you are married filing jointly. That might make it hard to save, but the Saver’s Credit should make it worthwhile.
Get paid to save and pay down debt with SaveUp
Update: Site no longer available.
- Official Site:
SaveUp “Makes Saving Money and Paying Down Debt Fun and Exciting!”
SaveUp is an online rewards program that rewards people for adopting beneficial financial behaviors such as saving money and paying down debt.
Here is how it works:
- After registering (which is free), you link your financial accounts – Student Loans, Mortgage, Credit Card accounts, Savings – to SaveUp.
- Then you earn points for taking positive financial actions such as depositing money into your savings account or paying down your debt.
- The points you earn can be used to win prizes through sweepstakes and prize draws.
You can also earn more points by participating in daily challenges, reviewing educational content on the site, as well as doing activities that help other people save money.
The draws at Saveup.com are broadly split into 3 different categories:
For instant wins, your credits are to be spent on various games like scratch-off tickets. If you win, you get an instant prize.
Instant win prizes include:
As the name implies, weekly drawing is conducted every week. The prizes for weekly draws are limited to a cash equivalence of $50.
This is a monthly draw with the big prize $2M. Basically, you have to choose 6 numbers (called “Picks”) and enter them for a chance to win the $2M prize. At the end of the month, 6 numbers (between 1 and 73) are randomly chosen by SaveUp.
If you are one of the lucky ones with the matching number(s), you win.
- 5 Matching numbers = $1000
- 4 Matching numbers = $10
- 3 Matching numbers = 20 credits
- 2 Matching numbers = 5 credits
- 1 Matching numbers = 1 credit
It’s an overall great program that not only incentivizes the process of saving and paying down debt, but it also educates you financially so you can improve your financial life.
Earn Rewards with Money Saving Apps
One great option for saving and earning money at the same time is using money saving apps that help you find deals and coupons while also rewarding you for using them.
Here are some of our favorites:
8. Receipt Hog
- Official site: Receipthog.com
Back to the shopping apps. Receipt Hog is available for both Android and Apple devices, and in a similar way to the other programs, will reward you when you buy certain goods.
All you have to do to earn rewards is take a photo of the receipt.
You earn “coins”, and can get $5 in PayPal or an Amazon gift card when you build up to 1000 coins.
- Official site: Ibotta.com
Ibotta is a shopping app and works in the same way as Saving Star and the others. When you buy certain goods, you are credited with cash back.
To claim your cash back, you can simply snap your receipt with your Smartphone and scan the barcode.
For most stores it also works for you to use the store rewards card, then Ibotta automatically knows what you bought.
You can get paid out when you earn a minimum of $5, and it will go into your PayPal account.
- Official site: Dealspotr.com
We wrote about Dealspotr a while back.
It’s a social couponing and deals site where you can earn rewards for sharing coupons and deals.
Dealspotr wants to help people save money, and any time you do something towards that end, you are rewarded in points.
For instance, in addition to sharing deals you find, you can point out coupons, refer friends, and provide other comments on the site – these things will earn you additional points.
You can redeem your earned points for free gift cards.
11. Saving Star
- Official site: Savingstar.com
Here’s an easy way to get extra money while you shop, and I think it’s one of the best. If you use a rewards card from your local grocery store, you simply link it up to a Saving Star account and carry on shopping as usual.
Saving Star monitors your purchases and gives you money every time you buy something on its list. It’s that simple. And you can cash out money when you have as little as five dollars credit, getting it paid to PayPal, with a bank transfer, or to an Amazon gift card.
Saving Star also lets you save money shopping online, and by scanning your receipt if you don’t have a grocery card.
- Official site: Checkout51.com
Checkout51 is another way to get paid for shopping, by getting cash back when you buy certain things.
You can get it in app form, allowing you to scan the items, or simply go online with your receipt.
You have to accumulate $20 before they send you the money, and they will send it to you as a check.
13. Coupon Chief
- Official site: Couponchief.com
Coupon Chief is not just your typical coupon site. While you can brows hundreds of thousands of coupons, you can also get paid for sharing the coupons you find.
The way it works is that you get 2% of the sale any time another user uses a coupon that you have told Coupon Chief about.
If you find a popular coupon, that could add up to a lot of money.
By the way, make sure you upload the coupon before you use it yourself, then you’ll even get 2% for your own purchase!
The bottom line
Using these options and sites/apps in conjunction can not only make saving money easier for you, but you also get rewarded for doing it.
Again, saving money on its own should be an incentive, but for those of us who need a little more, literally getting paid for saving money should do the trick!