Did your rent just go up? I know mine did.
Holy cow, these rent hikes! How are we supposed to afford this?
Skyrocketing rents, combined with rising prices for basic necessities like food and gas, means tenants are being priced out of apartments and rental houses all over the country.
Rents have gone up by nearly 20% across the U.S. compared to last year, according to a number of different studies and reports. Over the summer, the average monthly rent reached $2,000 for the first time, according to a report from the real estate brokerage Redfin.
What can you do to protect your bank account if you’re feeling the squeeze? We’ve got tips for you. These are ways to make and save more money that you probably haven’t thought of before.
1. Killing Time on Your Phone? Play Bingo for up to $83 Per Win
Our smartphones are the world’s greatest time-killers. Browse Facebook, Twitter, TikTok or Instagram. Watch a video on YouTube. Play some Minecraft or Roblox.
Oh, and there’s bingo. We found a free iPhone app called Bingo Cash that lets you play for real money. You could get paid up to $83 per win.
You might be thinking: There’s got to be a catch. This is definitely one of those spammy apps, right? But there isn’t a catch. Sure, you can pay to play in some higher-stakes tournaments, but there’s no pressure.
The game is based on a classic Bingo format. You’ll battle it out against other players at your same skill level. Everyone gets the same board and sees the same Bingo balls. The top three players in a game can win real money — anywhere from $1 to $83.
Over on the App Store, it has a 4.7-star rating (out of 5).
To get started, just download the free app and start playing your first game immediately.
2. Find Out If You’re Overpaying
Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert when you’re shopping online at Target and are about to overpay?
That’s exactly what this free service does.
Just add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including Walmart, eBay and others to see if your item is available for cheaper. Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price-drop alerts and even see the item’s price history.
Let’s say you’re shopping for a new TV, and you assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop up letting you know if that exact TV is available elsewhere for cheaper. If there are any available coupon codes, they’ll also automatically be applied to your order.
In the last year, this has saved people $160 million.
You can get started in just a few clicks to see if you’re overpaying online.
3. Let This App Pay You up to $83 When You Win Solitaire Games
Lots of us already play Solitaire on our phones for fun or just to pass the time. Want to see if you can win money at it?
There’s a free iPhone app called Solitaire Cash that lets you play for real money. You could get paid up to $83 per win.
With each game, you’ll battle it out against at least five other players. Everyone gets the same deck, so winning is totally a matter of skill. The top three players who solve the deck fastest can win real money — anywhere from $1 to $83.
Over on the App Store, it has over a million downloads and more than 15,000 ratings, averaging 4.7 stars (out of 5).
To get started, just download the free app and start playing your first game immediately.
4. Get Up to 40% Cash Back When You Shop Online
Chances are you do some of your shopping online. Whether it’s pet food from Walmart, a new outfit from Macy’s or even a flight home for summer vacation, you’re probably leaving money on the table.
A free website called Rakuten has the hookup with just about every online store you shop, which means it can give you a kickback every time you buy.
In fact, since Colleen Rice started using Rakuten, she’s earned more than $526.44. For doing nothing. Seriously.
Rice says she uses Rakuten for things she already has to buy, like rental cars and flights.
It takes less than 60 seconds to create a Rakuten account and start shopping. All you need is an email address, then you can immediately start earning cashback at your go-to stores through the site.
Your cash will be deposited directly into your bank account or via a check in the mail every few months. Talk about money for nothing.
5. Get Paid Up to $140/Month Just for Sharing Your Honest Opinion
Brands want to hear your opinion to help inform their business decisions on everything from products and services to logos and ads — and they’re willing to pay you up to $140 a month for it.
A free site called Branded Surveys will pay you up to $5 per survey for sharing your thoughts with their brand partners. Taking three quick surveys a day could earn up to $140 each month.
It takes just a minute to create a free account and start getting paid to speak your mind. Most surveys take five to 15 minutes, and you can check how long they’ll take ahead of time.
And you don’t need to build up tons of money to cash out, either — once you earn $5, you can cash out via PayPal, your bank account, a gift card or Amazon. You’ll get paid within 48 hours of your payout being processed, just for sharing your opinions.
They’ve already paid users more than $20 million since 2012, and the most active users can earn a few hundred dollars a month. Plus, they’ve got an “excellent” rating on Trustpilot.
It takes just a minute to set up your account and start getting paid to take surveys. Plus, right now, you’ll get a free 100-point welcome bonus just for becoming part of the community.
6. Spend 2 Minutes Doing This to Save up to 35% on Gas, Groceries and Going Out to Eat
Your monthly budget is already stretched to the max — but an app called GetUpside wants to help you cut your spending by giving you discounts every time you shop at partner stores.
All you have to do is download the free app, claim an offer and upload your receipts. When you snap a pic of your receipt, you can save up to 25 cents per gallon on gas, plus cash back on your grocery haul (without having to clip coupons).
And at some restaurants, you can get up to 35% cash back on your bill! Just check the app to see what discounts are available near you.
It takes a couple of minutes to sign up for GetUpside. You’ll earn cash, which GetUpside sends you through PayPal, e-gift cards or deposits directly into your bank account. They’ve already paid out $100 million — how much could you earn?
7. Get Paid for Your Opinion (as Soon as Today)
Got opinions? Here’s another good online survey site.
The catch with a lot of these sites is that it takes forever before you can actually get paid. You find yourself taking tons of surveys before you ever see a single cent — if you even qualify for the survey at all.
That’s why we like a website called Survey Junkie. It rewards you no matter what — even if you don’t qualify. And it lets you cash out a lot faster than its competition — you could even get paid today.
You get points for every survey you take, and once you’ve earned 500 points, you can cash out and get your first $5. A lot of sites make you wait until you’ve earned $20 or $25 worth of points before you can claim your earnings.
Most people get their money within seven days of signing up — but the pace is entirely up to you. Plenty of folks cash out the same day. And you can choose to get paid via PayPal or with digital gift cards.
No, you won’t necessarily get rich taking surveys online, but it’s an easy way to make a little extra cash while you’re killing time. Signing up takes about one minute, and you’ll immediately earn points just for creating your account. You’ll be that much closer to cashing out.
8. Earn $300+/Month in Passive Income with Your Extra Space
If you’re like us, your garage probably isn’t doing much of anything at the moment. Maybe you have some tools in there, or maybe it’s home to your boxes of odds and ends, collecting dust.
But with a website called Neighbor, your extra space — whether it’s a spare room, an empty garage or a parking space — could be earning you an extra $300 a month in totally passive income.
Neighbor works by connecting people who need storage space with hosts who have the room to spare. The average host makes about $300 a month, but some people have earned up to $50,000 a year just by letting people park on their property.
It takes less than 10 minutes to get started. Just answer a few questions about your space, take some pictures and set your asking price. Neighbor will recommend a dollar amount based on your location and type of rental, but the final listing is up to you.
Neighbor even gives you up to $1 million in free protection as a host and offers protection plans for your renters, giving you both peace of mind.
Neighbor is an easy source of passive income, and it’s easier than most side hustles. It’s free to list your space, and you’ll only be charged a 4.9% processing fee from the profit you make each month, so there’s no risk to you.
Sign up here and see how much you could earn.
9. Add $225 to Your Wallet While Watching the News
It’s been a historic time for news, and we’re all constantly refreshing for the latest updates. You probably know more than one news-junkie who fancies themselves a constitutional scholar or a foreign policy expert.
That might not be the best news for your dinner conversations — but it’s great news for your wallet. You could add up to $225 a month to your pocket by signing up for a free account with InboxDollars. They’ll present you with short surveys to choose from every day, which you can fill out while you watch tonight’s broadcast.
You just have to answer honestly, and InboxDollars will continue to pay you every month. This might sound too good to be true, but it’s already paid its users more than $56 million.
It takes about one minute to sign up, and start getting paid while you watch the news.
10. Earn up to $69/Hour Working From Home
We get it. There are kids to drop off at school, errands to run and dinner to cook, so the idea of getting a full-time job without any flexibility just doesn’t work for a lot of people.
Truth be told, life would be a lot easier if you could just make money without leaving the house. But that’s not something most employers offer. But have you considered bookkeeping? It’s the No. 1 most profitable side business, according to Inc. magazine.
And you could earn up to $69 an hour by starting your own bookkeeping business, according to Intuit, the creator of QuickBooks.
You don’t have to be an accountant or good at calculus to be successful at bookkeeping. As long as you’re motivated, a company called Bookkeepers.com will teach you everything you need to know. It’s one of the leading training courses in the field, and it even gives you the first three classes for free.
It’s helped thousands of people launch their own businesses, including Daniel Honan, a military veteran and former painter. He never considered starting his own company, but he signed up for Bookkeepers.com, and now he’s making $50,000 a year.
It only took him three months to get started, taking one class a week. Oh, and he makes his own schedule, earns up to $69 an hour and is able to spend more time with his wife than ever.
If you’re just a little curious, you just have to submit your email address here to take the first free class. If you stick with it, you could be running your own business in just a few months.
So, don’t let the rising rent get you down. These are 10 things you can do to protect yourself — and you can start today.
Mike Brassfield (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.
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.