So, 2020 was a really bad year, am I right? This pandemic has robbed us of all kinds of things. It took millions of jobs, hundreds of thousands of American lives, and countless hours of classroom teaching. It emptied our bank accounts and tore apart our peace of mind.
How about 2021? Is 2021 coming for us too?
When it comes to money, we firmly believe that it is better to be safe than sorry.
Here are five ways 2021 will try to trick you — and five ways to fight back.
1. Watch out for high car insurance rates
Prices don’t usually go away Under. But in 2020, car insurance companies lowered their rates because the market demanded it. Customers who were quarantined in their homes thought they should pay less because they were driving much less.
Ah, but it’s a whole New Year. And as Americans return to their old driving patterns, auto insurance rates are expected to rise again, according to industry watchers.
You don’t have to take it! That’s why 2021 will require you to shop for car insurance like never before.
A free website called Savvy will help you find the best price – in just 30 seconds. In fact, it saves people an average of $826 annually.
All you have to do is plug in your existing insurance, then Savvy searches hundreds of insurance companies to get a better price on the same coverage. This will also help you cancel your old policy and get your money back from your current insurance company.
If you find a better deal, you can switch right away and not have to wait for the next renewal or even the next payment.
2. Stay tuned while shopping online
The pandemic has changed the way we shop, and that is expected to continue into 2021. Many of us are shopping online now — including nearly 70% of Americans, according to a new survey by NPR. Of those, more than 90% have bought something from Amazon.
Sure, it would be fitting to have boxes of the stuff pop up on your doorstep throughout 2021. But no matter what you buy online, you may be paying a lot for it. In many cases, there may be a better deal elsewhere. It’s just a pain to look for.
Wouldn’t it be useful to receive an alert when you are about to overpay? A polite little tip, not obnoxious. That’s exactly what this free service does. These free alerts can be added to your browser.
Before checking out on Amazon, Target, or Best Buy, they’ll check other websites, including eBay, Walmart, and others to see if your item is available at a cheaper rate. It will even apply any available voucher codes to your order automatically.
So far, this free tool has saved users more than $160 million in the past year. You can get started in just a few minutes and see if you are overpaying online.
3. Watch out for high food prices
Some purchases are optional, but food is not. Unfortunately, food prices are expected to rise in 2021, according to the USDA.
The USDA expects grocery prices to rise by at least 1% to 2%, and restaurant prices to rise by 2% to 3%. It might not seem like much. But over the course of an entire year, that would really add up.
We have a way for you to get some money back. A free app called Fetch Rewards will reward you with gift cards for any of hundreds of items at the grocery store. Right now, it’s offering shoppers a $10 gift card when they spend $30 on dozens of Unilever products at the grocery store. You can do this five times, or up to $50.
Here’s how it works: After you’ve downloaded the app, just search for products labeled Unilever “U.” Then take a picture of your receipt showing that you purchased an item from one of the participating brands. For your efforts, you’ll earn gift cards to places like Amazon or Walmart.
You can download the free Fetch Rewards app here to start getting free gift cards. Over a million people already have them, so they must be onto something.
4. Don’t Pay More for the Mortgage
Home prices these days are very high, and they are only rising so far in 2021.
The median price of homes sold in January 2021 was nearly $304,000, up 14% from January 2020, according to the National Association of Realtors. This is the highest price in January that brokers have ever recorded.
If you want to buy a home in 2021, do everything you can to save money on your mortgage. A good credit score will make a big difference to the amount of interest you will pay on a mortgage or car loan. This can easily add up to tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage.
Try using a free site called Credit Sesame. Within 90 seconds, you will be able to access your credit score and personal tips to improve it. You’ll even be able to spot any bugs holding you back (one in five reports has one).
Want to check for yourself? It’s free and only takes about 90 seconds to sign up.
5. Beware of Exorbitant Credit Card Debt
Credit card debt is the most expensive type of debt due to the high interest rates. Unfortunately, the pandemic, shutdowns and job losses have forced more Americans to fall back on their credit cards to pay their bills and pay for essentials like food. This continues until 2021.
Can you imagine waking up without credit card debt? A free website called AmOne can help you get rid of your credit card debt faster.
AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan to pay off all of your credit cards at once. Interest rates start at 3.99% – well below the 20% or more you’re likely to pay your credit card company. It can save you thousands in the long run. Plus, you’ll be debt-free faster.
It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $50,000.
In short: Hopefully 2021 will be better than 2020. At least, you’ll likely get a COVID-19 vaccine at some point.
Just watch out for all the other ways 2021 will try to speed you.
Mike Brasfield ([email protected]) is a featured writer for The Penny Hoarder. After 2020, fear 2021.