4 Easy Ways to Bulk Up Your Bank Account
by Angelica Leicht | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on Feb. 3, 2021
Down to the last few bucks in your bank account? Here are a few easy ways to bulk up your balance.
Let's face it. No matter how dedicated you are to budgeting and saving, there are times when your bank account will end up on empty. All it takes is an expensive home repair or a broken timing belt on your car to wipe out your bank balance in no time flat.
It can be pretty disheartening to open your banking app and find you have a flatlined account balance, especially when you're a few days from payday. Luckily, there are ways to both prepare and recover from these types of money issues when they happen.
Whether you need to replenish your balance after an unexpected expense or just want to prepare for the unknown, here are four simple ways you can bulk up your bank account.
1. Bank your cash rebates
You're spending money every month whether you stick to a strict budget or not. And, since you're already spending, an easy way to bulk up your bank account is by earning cash rebates on what you buy online. Done right, this can add up to hundreds of dollars each year -- or even more if you're an especially savvy shopper.
Coupon and rebate websites may seem gimmicky or like more hassle than they're worth, but these tools really will help you earn money back on your purchases. Take, for example, Ibotta or Rakuten, which are rebate apps that give you cash back offers for online purchases.
You can add these cash back tools as extensions on your browser. As you shop, they will automatically search for rebates and deals on your purchases -- whether it's groceries, workout gear, or even alcohol. From there, you just follow the rebate terms, which the apps lay out for you, and you'll end up with money back from your purchases.
It really is that simple. Once you've earned cash back, don't spend it. Put it in a high-yield savings account to help reach your financial goals. The cash back rebates could add up nicely if you're dedicated to using these tools -- and, in turn, they'll help keep your bank account stacked with extra cash.
2. Do a no-spend or $5 challenge
No-spend and $5 challenges are exactly what they sound like. You challenge yourself to spend little or no money for short periods of time -- except on the bare necessities, of course, but even that can be limited if you plan it right.
There aren't really specific rules to these money-saving challenges -- the only real goal is to challenge yourself to save rather than spend. Maybe you want to limit yourself to $5 for a week, give yourself a small budget for necessities, or only use the items in your kitchen for a week or two rather than going to the grocery store.
The point here is to save money for short stints and help you change your bad spending habits. As you complete these challenges, just be sure to put away the money you normally would have spent during that time. It can be tempting to spend the money you've saved after these challenges, but use it to pad your bank account for emergencies or for important purchases instead.
3. Check for unclaimed cash
When is the last time you checked for unclaimed money that's owed to you? Believe it or not, you may have a stash of cash just sitting there waiting for you to claim it. There are billions of dollars just waiting for the rightful owners to stake their claim, and you won't know if you've got some money in that pool until you check for it.
All it takes is your name and a few identifying details to check for this type of cash. There are a few databases you can check, including:
- Your state's unclaimed property office: Every U.S. state has an unclaimed property program to help connect owners with lost and forgotten assets. You can find yours by searching with unclaimed.org. These funds are generally from bank accounts, insurance policies, or state-related refunds. Be sure to check the databases for other states you've lived in, too.
- Money from former employers: If you think you may be owed back wages from your employer, be sure to search the Department of Labor's database of workers who have money waiting to be claimed. The department holds unpaid wages for up to three years. All you need is your former employer's name to complete the search.
- Money from tax refunds: You may be owed money from an old tax refund that was sent to the wrong address. Find out if the Internal Revenue Service owes you money by visiting the Where's My Refund page and putting in your information.
If you get a hold of unclaimed cash that's rightfully yours, you can easily add a few bucks to your account.
4. Swap out your basic checking account for a rewards account
Another simple way to bulk up your bank account is by opting for a rewards checking account. These types of bank accounts offer more than just a place to store your hard-earned money. They also reward you for your deposits.
There are different types of rewards accounts -- some give cash back for purchases or interest on your money, and others offer sign-up bonuses. Some sign-up bonuses can be as much as a few hundred dollars just for opening an account, which is a quick way to infuse your balance with extra cash while also earning money back on what you deposit or spend. Not sure where to start? Check out some of the best bank bonuses and offers available now.
It is important to note, however, that the fees and requirements for these types of accounts will vary, so make sure you know what you're getting into before signing up. If you open an account for the financial perks without knowing the details, you could end up losing money instead of making it.
The good news is that there are rewards checking account options for a wide range of earners and spenders, so this is an easy way for anyone with a checking account to make some extra cash. Just make sure to find one that fits your financial habits and you'll be on your way to bulking up your account in no time.
These savings accounts are FDIC insured and could earn you up to 12x your bank
Many people are missing out on guaranteed returns as their money languishes in a big bank savings account earning next to no interest. Our picks of the best online savings accounts can earn you more than 12x the national average savings account rate. Click here to uncover the best-in-class picks that landed a spot on our shortlist of the best savings accounts for 2022.
About the Author
We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.