Editor’s Note: As of 4/24, I have recovered over $49.50 in bank fees, earned a free stock worth $9.00, and have received $44.22 worth of BTC … for a grand total of $102.72 for about 30 minutes of work.
It’s April of 2020 and we’re living in a strange world. The price of oil fell below zero temporarily and we are stuck in our houses watching Tiger King. The times are changing for sure, but how are you keeping up?
In this article, I will break down a few services (by level of difficulty) that I personally have used and support. The best part? None of these services require any up-front payment or cost. They are designed to FIND, SAVE, or MAKE you money. It’s that simple.
Make no doubt: it will take a little bit of a time investment and effort, but I can almost guarantee you will find, save or make money if you follow this guide. So get ready to flex your financial muscles and let’s dive in. The first step is always the hardest.
Level 1 (Painless): Look for Refunds and Penalties
Banks and financial institutions process millions of transactions per day. From credit cards to brokerage services, money never sleeps.
That said, it’s not easy for the average consumer to comb through their bank statements to look for anomalies, fees, or weird charges that don’t make sense. Have you tried before? I’d rather count grains of sand. Fortunately there are powerful tools available to make sense of all the noise.
At first I was little skeptical of Recoup. I wasn’t familiar with their company and their services seemed too good to be true. Still, I kept researching and dug a little deeper before I decided to try it out.
Ultimately, I was persuaded by the fact that you only pay Recoup if they find you savings. Your payment to Recoup will be a percentage of the savings they find and negotiate on your behalf. So it’s a not a bad deal at all.
In other words, if they can’t find you money, you owe nothing.
Here’s how it works:
Connect with Bank-Level Security
Recoup utilizes the same security that banks use with 256-bit SSL encryption and two-factor authentication in order to keep your data safe. You will need to create an account with Recoup first and then you can connect with your financial institution (Wells Fargo, US Bank, etc.). This took me about 5 minutes.
Uncover Where You Can Save
In a nutshell, Recoup looks through your spending habits to search for ways to negotiate and save you money.
I was most interested in Recoup’s ability to identify ATM fees and some lingering late fees. I don’t use ATMs often, but these charges can add up ($2.50 per transaction).
Looking forward, I intend to switch to a bank that doesn’t charge ATM fees (like Charles Schwab) or be more disciplined and only withdraw cash from my own bank’s ATM to avoid unnecessary fees.
Let Recoup Do the Work
Here is the best part. YOU DO NOTHING. Yes, you read that correctly. Sit back and wait. Recoup will negotiate with your bank and credit card fees. It takes them a few weeks to report back, but they also keep you updated with emails which was nifty.
In addition to identifying fees and negotiating refunds, they also provide email templates to send to companies to ask for loyalty refunds, help cancelling subscriptions, and other resources. I didn’t use these services so I can’t speak to their effectiveness, but worth exploring more.
Level 2 (Medium): Receive a Share of Stock to Hold (or Sell Immediately)
Robinhood itself is an investment platform geared for retail (or entry level investors). As such, this one is pretty straightforward. If you create an account on Robinhood, they will gift you a single share of a random stock. The catch is that you must sign-up through a friend’s referral link.
You can claim your free stock here if you don’t know someone with an account.
From here you have a couple different options:
Sell the Stock for Cash Immediately
If you are after immediate gains and cash, you can sell the share immediately for cash. From there, Robinhood can transfer the money to your bank account. Before you do though, read the next paragraph.
Hold the Stock Long-Term and Sell Later
Because Robinhood grants a randomized stock, it’s hard to say which share you will receive. Once you do receive a share, you will be able to view historical data about that stock’s price. If the share is currently worth less than what it trades for, consider holding it to sell at a later time.
On the other hand, if the share is worth more than it typically trades for, it might make sense to sell it immediately before it depreciates.
Given the economy and uncertainty in the market, it is hard to predict future prices. Either way though, you now have a share of stock you previously didn’t have!
Refer Friends for Free Stock (Unlimited $?)
Perhaps you’re the entrepreneurial type and want to earn some extra shares. Once you’ve created your account, you will be able to refer others with a unique code. If they sign-up under your code, you will receive a free share. As far as I know, Robinhood doesn’t have a cap on the number of people you can refer. If you somehow manage to refer too many people, let me know and I will hire you to work for me.
But the competition is fierce. If you look at a Twitter and search #robinhood, here’s what you’ll see.
Level 3 (Hard): Earn Bitcoin on Select Purchases
Lolli is a really interesting company — basically, they partner with other brands and corporations to help sell their goods or services.
Lolli will pay you a percentage of your purchase back in Bitcoin. So I admit, this one has a catch. Because of that, I reserve Lolli for larger purchases that I know will be making. As you will read below, this has multiple steps, but can pay handsomely if used strategically.
What makes this really interesting is that you are literally being paid in Bitcoin. Now, regardless of what your thoughts are on Bitcoin, it can be held long-term or converted to fiat (cash) for its current market value.
Here’s where it gets a little tough, so if you’re still with me, buckle in. Fortune tends to favor the bold.
Once you create a Lolli account, you will need to install the Lolli extension in your web browser (trust me, it is easier than it sounds). This will allow Lolli to confirm your purchase with their partner organization so you can get paid your reward.
Before you purchase on a partner site, click on the Lolli icon in your toolbar to activate your awards (again, just to make sure you get paid). Or, login to the Lolli.com site, search their partner list, and they will redirect you to make the purchase.
Once you complete the purchase, you won’t immediately receive your Bitcoin. But don’t panic. Understand that there is a waiting period before your reward will be disbursed. This prevents someone from making a large purchase, receiving a % of Bitcoin, then returning their order. So don’t try to do that. I waited about 3 weeks before I received my reward.
Once you’ve waited, Lolli will allow you to transfer Bitcoin from your profile to your Bitcoin wallet.
OK – are you ready for the last part? Because I am.
If you already have a Bitcoin wallet, you can skip this part entirely. If not, then you will need to create one.
I recommend Coinbase. They are an established and reputable cryptocurrency exchange. You will need to create an account on Coinbase (no cost), but you will verify your identify at some point (also no cost). This takes a few days, but is worth the wait. This will give you the ability to connect your bank account to withdraw.
From there, Lolli will ask you for your Bitcoin address. Follow this easy article from Coinbase to grab that information. It’s like a routing number, but for your specific wallet that only holds Bitcoin. You will copy and paste this address on Lolli’s site and confirm the transfer.
After the transaction is complete, congratulations, you just became a financial wizard. Feel free to hold your Bitcoin until your heart desires, or sell it for cash. Just like a stock, the value will fluctuate until you convert to cash.
Putting It All Together
Now, let’s imagine a scenario where we can compound these benefits:
- Sign-up for a free stock from Robinhood, sell it, refer others with your link, sell new share, and so on. Or hold stocks, sell some.
- Use found funds from Recoup to deposit into savings or buy something you usually purchase
- If you decide to purchase, use Lolli.com to buy through a partner like Sam’s Club, Safeway, Overstock, Groupon, etc.
- Send Bitcoin form Lolli.com to Coinbase to save long-term or convert to cash, then to bank.
- Repeat as desired
And that’s where I will end this, for now… I don’t want to complicate it too much. Is it a lot of steps? Yes. Will it make you a millionaire? Probably not. But I personally hate leaving money on the table. And money is money.
Let us know if you have any issues or problems, I will be happy to help out others. Email us at [email protected] if you get stuck or comment below.