Being unemployed comes with a unique set of difficulties. There are many things to worry about, with one of the most important being how to obtain money while you are looking for a new job. Avenues for making additional money may be limited because you are already working with limited funds, but there are some ways to make money without having to spend a significant amount. One method that many unemployed individuals are turning to is taking online surveys for money.
What You Will Need
Taking online surveys for money is simple. All you need is an internet connection and a computer. In some cases, the survey company will ask you to download a small program onto your computer that can help them obtain information about how you use their program or to anonymously collect information on the websites that you visit, but this is only done with your permission and the company will have a disclosure available that will tell you exactly what the program does and why the survey company is collecting the information that they are collecting. While it is entirely your choice whether to allow the survey company to track your actions in this way, you may not be able to participate in a particular survey panel without allowing their cookies or downloadable software.
To get started, the survey company will have you fill out a profile so that you can be matched to surveys that fit your lifestyle, health, or interests. Some of the companies have a relatively short list of profile questions to answer while some others have multiple pages filled with questions that take a considerable amount of time to complete. Once you have filled out the profile information and confirmed your email address, the survey company will begin to send survey links by email for you to fill out for them.
Things To Consider
Different survey companies have different compensation plans, so it is important to review the compensation plan thoroughly before you decide which survey sites to sign up with. The best companies to sign up with are the ones that provide cash payments for each survey that you take for them. While it is also possible to earn a good amount of money through survey companies that pay for each survey with points that can be redeemed for cash later, it may take so long to build up enough points to cash out that you might as well be working for free. After trying many of these survey sites in the past, I currently only sign up for survey sites that pay a predetermined amount of money for each survey that I take for them.
Its sometimes hard to judge between two potential investments. Well, one way to do it is to use the rule of 72. The rule of 72 says that if you divide any number that represents your investment return into 72 then the result will be the amount of time it takes for your principle to double. For example if you have an investment paying 5%, compounded, then your money will double in 14.4 years.
The math is something like this: 72/5 = 14.4 years.
This is a nice simple way to evaluate the attractiveness of two different investments. Lets say that you have the choice of putting $10,000 into either a bond fund or a stock fund. Assume the stock fund will return 7% and the bond fund will return 6%. That’s only a 1% difference. But lets factor in the time to takes for your investment to double using the rule of 72.
Investment #1: stock fund at 7%.
72/7 = 10.3 years
Investment #2: bond fund at 6%.
72/6 = 12 years
So, the stock investment will double 1.7 years before the bond investment! That’s quite a difference.
The bottom line here is if you are interested in optimizing your finances use the rule of 72 to compare your investment options.
The end of the year is a great time to make sure that you have done what you need to do to minimize your tax bill for the year. By starting before the year is over, you still have time to meet end of the year deadlines and maximize your tax-deductible contributions. There are a number of steps you can take to reduce your tax bill for the year before the year is over. Here are some of the most common actions that provide the most benefit.
Max Out Your Retirement Contributions
One of the best things to do before the end of the year is max out your contributions to your retirement account. If you want to max out your retirement savings, now is the time to start putting more money away. People that have a 401k account can contribute up to $17,500 for the 2013 calendar year. If you are above the age of 50, you can contribute up to $23,000 in 2013. Most people are not contributing amounts that are anywhere close to the limits, making it a great place to park additional money that is not earning a significant amount of interest. You can also ramp up your contributions to take advantage of tax-advantaged individual retirement accounts, including Roth IRAs and traditional IRAs.
Review Any One-Time Benefits Or Deductions Earned
There are many things that you can do throughout the year to earn one-time benefits or deductions for your income tax return. Some people increase their charitable contributions at the end of the year to max out their charitable deduction. Others purchase Energy Star certified appliances, insulation, or new windows and doors that qualify for a federal tax deduction. If you are in the market for a new car, purchasing an eco-friendly model could also make you eligible for a federal tax credit. Details about the tax credits available can be found on the website of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or your state taxation agency.
Estimate How Much You Will Owe
People that wait until the last minute to get their information together for filing their taxes are often dismayed to find out that they have a large tax bill that they were not prepared for. If you received income beyond your usual paycheck because of freelance work or a side business, then you might end up owing a lot of money when taxes are due. It is better to know ahead of time so you can start preparing for the financial blow. There are many people that have expressed regret for their excessive holiday spending when they see how much they owe in April for their income taxes.
Everyone is under a great deal of pressure throughout the holiday season. Our waistlines get thicker while our wallets get slimmer. All this occurs at warp speed as we stress about gifts for friends and family and attempt to cook the perfect feast. Despite it all, the Holidays do not have to be that stressful on you or your pocketbook. With a few helpful tips, you can be well on your way to a pocket full of cash and a few less worry lines on your forehead.
Sell Your Junk
Whether you prefer to use eBay, craigslist, or a good old fashioned garage sale, selling your old stuff is a great way to make room for holiday décor and profit from it too. People will buy all manner of items such as clothes, gym equipment, and books. There is literally a market for everything. If you choose to use a website to post your goods, be sure to title them with something that is attention grabbing. When it comes to the old fashioned garage/yard sale, utilize modern day technology like your local classifieds’ website to advertise the event for a better turn-out.
Utilize Your Talents
It doesn’t matter whether you are crafty, notably intelligent, or gifted with children. All of these are bankable talents. Did you subjects in school easy? Try tutoring students in your local community. Are you a gifted DIY specialist? Make crafts and sell them to your family and friends for their holiday shopping needs. Better yet, you could even host a small Santa’s workshop for the neighborhood kids that get them creating gifts for family members. For this, you could charge a small fee per child. By doing so, you could combine both a knack for crafts and a gift with kids. Advertise such services at the local schools and churches/non-profits.
There are so many great things about donating during the holiday season. Besides lining your wallet a little, you also get that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with doing something good. Whether you decide to donate your blood or your plasma, there are local collection sites and banks across the country. These are excellent resources for quick cash within minutes. Some plasma centers pay as much as $50 for a withdrawal that can take as little as 30 minutes. It is simply a matter of being in good health and meeting primary prerequisites.