Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are coming closer to an agreement about a second set of stimulus checks, although who will get them, and when, is still being debated.
Democrats and Republicans have both called for $1,200 payments in their legislative proposals but, for millions of Americans, that may not be enough.
“There are over 3 million people who have requested mortgage forbearance, millions who have asked for credit card deferments and more than 30 million people receiving unemployment benefits,” said Bruce McClary of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, which has counselors available for free for those facing financial hardship. “There’s a tremendous need for another stimulus payment … but whether it’s $1,000 or $2,000, it’s still not enough for all of their needs.”
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Many advisors suggest people also look for ways to make extra money to ease their financial strain.
“We’re trying to encourage people to use what they have to earn extra money,” said Brooklyn, New York-based investment adviser Gamal Walker of 4Sight Advisors. “There are all kinds of creative ways right now that can facilitate bringing incremental income.”
Here are a few options financial experts say could help you craft your own stimulus check:
1. Sell your stuff online
Collect items around your home that are in good condition that you no longer need or want. Furniture, top-brand clothing, household appliances, laptops and tablets may be some of the best sellers right now.
Try selling those items on an online marketplace, such as Decluttr, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Mercari or Poshmark.
2. Rent out your car
Angus Mordant | Bloomberg | Getty Images
You may not be comfortable taking on a part-time gig with Lyft or Uber driving around other people in your car. But would you consider renting out your own vehicle?
If it’s just parked on the street or sitting in your garage or driveway, consider letting someone else use it and paying for the privilege. Check out peer-to-peer car sharing apps like Getaround and Turo.
3. Review car and home insurance policies
4. Sign up for a cash-back credit card
Compare cash-back credit cards, especially if you’re someone who likes to be rewarded for your spending. You’re less likely to rack up air and hotel points or use those points during this pandemic, but you could earn some extra cash based on your purchases.
With cash-back cards, you’ll generally get back 1% to 2% of what you spend. Some let you earn more for purchases in certain categories, like groceries and gas.
Plus, if the card issuer has a bonus offer, you could earn another $100 or more depending on how much you spend within the first few months of having the card.