9 Creative Ways to Pay Rent When the Bank Account Is Near Zero
When you think you’re out of money, you generally assume you can’t spend anymore. Your instinct is to turn super frugal — cut every non-necessity — and maybe even skip a bill or two.
When you think you can’t even make rent, the situation can seem pretty dire.
But it doesn’t have to be. Instead of figuring out what you have to forgo this month when money is tight, find ways to make the money you need.
That doesn’t have to mean a second job or going into debt. There are tons of small, simple ways to put extra cash in your bank account so you don’t feel that panic at the first of the month.
Not all of these tactics will put money in your pocket right away, but we’ll note the ones that will!
1. Let This Organization Pay It for You
If you can’t pay your rent because of unforeseen circumstances, look into applying for a grant. Take, for example, Modest Needs grants, which are designed for workers just above the poverty line who are ineligible for most other forms of social assistance.
It provides small grants to deserving, self-sufficient individuals who are usually capable of paying rent and other expenses, but can’t cover expenses for the month because of surprise costs, such as medical emergencies, a death in the family, loss of a job or a large utility bill.
Modest Needs accepts applications from anyone in need, with a priority for people living alone, public school teachers and first responders.
2. This Bank Will Let You Borrow $100 for Free
A bank called Chime will lend you the cash — for free.
Chime will spot you up to $100 at any time. And unlike a payday loan — it’s free.
For this to work, take two minutes to sign up for a free account today. You’ll join four million others Americans that have already switched their bank account to Chime. You also need to set up direct deposit, but Chime makes it easy for you.
Now you don’t have to live on ramen until your paycheck comes.
3. Earn up to $225 to Watch Cooking Videos Online
If we told you that you could get paid to watch videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh.
It’s too good to be true, right?
But we’re serious. A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch someone bake brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.
All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward. Brands pay InboxDollars to get these videos in front of viewers, and it passes a cut onto you.
InboxDollars won’t cover your full rent, but it’s possible to earn up to $225 per month watching these videos.
Unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards — so you can put the money directly toward rent. It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.
It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately earn a $5 bonus to get you started.
4. Ask This Website to Pay Your Credit Card Bill This Month
If you’re struggling to pay rent, we bet your credit card balance isn’t looking so hot, either. So we found a company that’ll help you take care of it. No, like… the whole bill could be paid by the end of this month.
Your credit card company is ripping you off with insane rates, and it’s getting rich off of you. But there are other, nicer companies that’ll help you out, including a website like Fiona.
Here’s how it works: Fiona will loan you up to $100,000 so that you can cover your credit card tab. Use that loan to pay off your debt, then make monthly payments to repay the loan. It could lower your monthly payments and help you pay off that debt a lot faster.
Plus, no credit card payment this month means money freed up for rent.
Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.
5. Cancel Your Car Insurance
If you really want to get the best price on car insurance, experts say you should be shopping twice a year. OK, we can hear you laughing from here. Who has time to do all that?But seriously, insurance companies take a lot of factors into consideration, and they change all the time. Ipso facto — you’re paying too much. Thankfully, a free website called The Zebra will do the shopping for you — in just two minutes.
All you have to do is enter basic information about your car and driving history, then The Zebra compares prices from more than 100 companies to find you the best price.
The Zebra says it saves its users up to $670 a year. If you find a policy you like, you can sign up online instantly.
6. Get Paid to Take a Picture of Your Crumpled Receipts
When the beginning of the month starts creeping up and you realize you don’t have enough money in your bank account for rent, you start cutting every single nonessential.
But before you start reaching for those crusty old cans of who-knows-what in the back of your pantry, try this trick instead: Use a free app called Fetch Rewards to get paid for taking pictures of your receipts.
Fetch partners with tons of brands to give you points for every grocery receipt (from any store!) you share. All you have to do is snap a photo of your receipt through the app, then Fetch does the rest for you. No scanning barcodes or searching for offers.
You can then exchange those points for Visa gift cards, which you can use for whatever you want.
When you download the app, use code PENNY to earn an extra 2,000 points after you scan your first receipt. You’ll be well on your way to your first gift card!
7. Ask for Help
If you’ve really exhausted all your options, try calling a local resource line for help. Seriously, there’s no shame in it.
Start with 2-1-1, a confidential service offered through United Way that’ll help you find the resources you need to find affordable housing, make rent or pay utilities. It’s there for people like you.
To use the service, head to 211.org, and enter your location. It’ll show you services in your community and give you a number to call. It’s a clearinghouse for help with food, housing, utilities and employment. If you’ve never asked for help before, that means you don’t know what kind of help is out there.
8. Have a Degree? Earn up to $20/Hour With This Flexible Online Teaching Gig
If you’re struggling to pay rent, boosting your income will definitely help. But not all of us want to drive people around town or deliver food. Have you ever considered tutoring kids online instead?
Right now, Education First, an international tutoring program, is looking for tutors who’ll teach English online to kids ages 5 to 10. You can work from home, pick your schedule and make up to $20 an hour. Not bad, right?
You’ll need a bachelor’s degree to qualify and, if you’re hired, a 40-hour TEFL certificate. (You can take these courses online; we recommend finding one through Groupon to score a deal!)
You’ll also get plenty of opportunities to earn more money. For example, you’ll earn a surge bonus if you teach classes between 6 and 8 a.m. on weekdays or 9 and 10:30 p.m. on weekends. (Perfect for those with a 9-to-5.) Plus, once you teach 200 classes, you’ll get a $100 bonus.
Applying online is simple; just fill out some basic information (it takes less than a minute) to start the process. You’ll then receive an email requesting a copy of your resume. The Education First crew will review it and get back to you with next steps. Good luck!
9. Get Free Scratch-off Tickets
The odds don’t usually make playing the lottery worth your limited funds. But what if you could get the tickets for free?
Instead of a convenience-store stop, try scratching for free using an app called Lucktastic. Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $1 to $10,000, in cash or gift cards to popular retailers.
The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free. For more info, check out Lucktastic here.
Wouldn’t you like to make your friends jealous by telling them the lottery paid your rent?