Swing For the Fences: 7 Ways to Boost Your Finances During the Ballgame

People sit in the cheap seats during a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game inside Tropicana Field on Thursday, August 25, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida.
People sit in the cheap seats during a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game inside Tropicana Field on Thursday, August 25, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder
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It’s my favorite season. Baseball season!

I know, I know. Not everyone gets it. The average length of a baseball game was three hours and five minutes in 2017, according to Sports Illustrated. For some people, that’s just a little too… oh look, a squirrel!

Not me. Here’s the best part: Baseball is a relaxing game. You can watch every pitch if you want to, or you can have it on while you split your attention with other things — like, say, your finances!

Get a Financial Boost Before the Game Is Over

With that in mind, here’s our lineup of things you could do while watching a baseball game to help boost your finances this season.

1. Score Faster With Fiona

Sometimes it’s a lot harder to score by hitting a bunch of singles than it is to just hit a three-run home run. One swing, and BAM! You make a big impact. What if you could do that with your debt?

You can.

A lot of us are being crushed by credit card interest rates north of 20%. If you’re in that boat, consolidation and refinancing might be worth a look.

A good resource is consumer financial technology platform Fiona, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.

Fiona searches the top online lenders to match you with a personalized loan offer in less than 60 seconds. Its platform can help you borrow up to $100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.

You’ll be amazed at how much damage you can do with a single payment to a low-interest loan versus a whole bunch of payments on high interest cards. You’ll be crossing home plate in no time.

2. Earn Rewards With Your Grocery Receipts

Ibotta is an easy-to-use cash-back app that’s partnered with more than 50 retailers, just about anywhere you’d do any kind of shopping.

Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the app. Strawberries? Check. An ear of corn? Check. Add each cash-back opportunity to your list in the app.

Then shop.

When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes.

Bam. Cash back.

Some cash-back opportunities we’ve seen include:

  • 25 cents back for any item
  • 25 cents back on strawberries
  • 50 cents back on frozen fruit snacks
  • $1 back on a box of tea
  • $5 back on a case of Shiner Bock beer

Notice a lot of those aren’t tied to a brand — just shop for the staples on your list, and earn cash back!

Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $5 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt. It’s the perfect way to lead off your personal finance game plan.

3. Get $5 to Start Investing With Stash

It’s no brilliant secret that investing can be a smart way to make money.

Sometimes, though, it feels restricted to a few wealthy elite, like those guys playing a kids’ game on your TV for millions and millions of dollars. We’re not bitter. Much.

But Stash is different. This app lets you start investing with as little as $5 and for just a $1 monthly fee for balances under $5,000.

If trying to manage your portfolio is about as easy for you as interpreting the third base coach’s signs, Stash could be for you. Stash curates investments from professional fund managers and investors and lets you choose where to put your money — but it leaves the complicated investment terms out of it.

You just choose from a set of simple portfolios reflecting your beliefs, interests and goals.

Bonus: Right now, The Penny Hoarder is teaming up with Stash to fund your first investment — so you’ll get a $5 bonus to get started.

Like a speedster stealing second, you just got something extra!

4. Get Your Utilities in Shape With Trim

How are you watching the game? Chances are, it’s not free.

The price of internet — and cable, if you’re still into that kind of thing — certainly isn’t decreasing. If anything, prices are steadily climbing.

And if you’ve had to chat with a representative from your internet/cable company recently, you know how long you can sit on hold.

That’s why it’s time to call in a robot. A negotiation bot like Trim will negotiate your cable or internet bills down for you.

It works with Comcast, Time Warner, Charter and other major providers.

You can sign up simply with Facebook or your email address. Then, upload a PDF of your most recent bill, and Trim’s AI-powered system gets to work. If at first it doesn’t succeed, it’ll keep negotiating until it can save you some money.

Also, if you have any outages (meaning a power outage, not a rainout!), Trim believes you deserve a credit, and it’ll handle that for you.

Trim takes 25% of the savings tab, and you get the rest. Talk about a utility player! (Groooaan…)

5. Pass Time During the National Pastime With Surveys

Okay, maybe you don’t want to get into anything major while the game is on. You could miss that triple play or your favorite player jacking one to the upper deck. I get it.

If you want a simple way to make a little extra without dedicating large chunks of time or opening new accounts, try doing some surveys during ad breaks or those annoying pitching changes. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Ipsos i-Say: You might recognize the Ipsos Panel name because it’s the same company that does most of the political polling during elections. Some of the top-end surveys can pay up to $95, but those are rare and can take awhile to complete. Most surveys pay a buck or two and only take 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Opinion Outpost offers surveys from all kinds of businesses and organizations. Most of them take around 10 minutes to complete and will earn you points you can redeem for free gift cards to places like Amazon and iTunes.
  • InboxDollars offers several short, daily surveys, and you’ll get a $5 bonus for signing up. Plus, you get to earn cash, so you don’t have to worry about exchanging points. Check out how one college student pocketed $600 with InboxDollars. Her secret? Persistence.
  • Harris Poll:  Most surveys pay between $3 and $4 each for 20 minutes of your time. Larger panels are hosted locally. These usually require two to four hours of your time — and you don’t get to watch baseball while you’re at it — but they pay up to $75.

6. Thin out Your Closet

What could be easier during game time than bringing out the old stuff in your closet and sifting through it?

A lot of websites and apps, like Poshmark, help you sell your clothes that are still in good shape.

That old Mark Prior jersey? Yeah, you had high hopes, but now it’s time to let it go. Do a quick search on the web to find a site that will work best for your clothes. Maybe you just go old-school and Ebay that stuff.

Hint: Don’t forget the shoes! You know you have a pair that you only wore for that one wedding and you didn’t even spill beer — I mean punch — on them!

Challenge yourself to find one item of clothing to post for every hit in the ballgame — then hope you don’t have a pitcher’s duel.

7. Write Greeting Cards

Wait, what?

Think about it. Most of us hate shopping for greeting cards because we don’t like our options. Take it into your own hands, and write the type of greeting cards you’d want to buy. Several companies pay for freelance writing ideas.

The best part? Each greeting card idea is usually just a sentence or two. You could come up with one or two during every break in the game.

You can write funny, sentimental or even bawdy cards if you want. Heck, write sports-themed cards if that’s what you like. There’s a market for all of it. Again, you won’t get rich doing it, but I’ve made over $1,000 in a year writing greeting cards.

The trick is to use that money to pay off some debt or build up your savings. Okay, fine; buy a six-pack for the next game while you’re at it.

It’s a Long Season. Make It a Productive One

The Major League Baseball season stretches for a beautiful 162 games. That’s a lot of pitches, hot dogs and time to make progress on your finances.

The national pastime doesn’t require you to be glued to every single second of the game, so make use of your time. You can root, root, root for the home team while you boost your chances of having a winning financial situation.

As the great Yogi Berra once said, “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. He’s a big fan of the Minnesota Twins and whichever team is playing the Yankees. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.