Here are some other ideas:
I put some of my cash in peer-to-peer lending with Lending Club, starting with a couple hundred dollars at first in 2009 and now up to about $12,000. Returns have been all positive, more than standard savings rates, return is running now about 8%. I could sell notes on secondary market or withdraw the current cash return of principal and interest, which is about $400 per month. I currently am reinvesting the returns in new lending notes. Lending Club is offering $300 to each new investor that I can refer. So if you are interested trying out Lending Club with $300, contact me. You have to meet the following requirements to be a Lending Club lender: “ I currently reside in one of the following states: CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, KY, LA, ME, MN, MO, MS, MT, NH, NV, NY, RI, SC, SD, UT, VA, WA, WI, WV, or WY; I have an annual gross income of at least $70,000 ($85,000 if residing in CA) and a net worth (exclusive of home, home furnishings and automobile) of at least $70,000 ($85,000 if residing in CA); or a net worth of at least $250,000(determined with the same exclusions) ($200,000 if residing in CA), OR, if I live in Kentucky, that I am an "Accredited Investor" as determined pursuant to Rule 501(a) of Regulation D under the Securities Act of 1933, AND, I will not purchase notes in an amount in excess of 10% of my net worth, determined exclusive of my home, home furnishings and automobile and if I live in California and do not satisfy any of the above tests, I will not invest more than $2,500 in Notes “
I did have a small account with Prosper (also peer-to-peer lending) that did OK, but took money out when they stopped lending for a while back in 2009?. I may get back in now that business looks better for them.
I just put $4500 into a savings account attached to Paypal Prepaid debit card. It is supposed to pay about 5% for up to $5000 max. I think I will avoid the $5 per month debit card fee if I keep no balance on the debit card. The only way to get the money out is by using the debit card. Or you can close the whole account for a $10 fee, I think and they will send you a check.
I am in the process of doing the similar thing with the Mango prepaid debit card. I can get 6% interest up to $5000 on a savings account attached to the card. There is a $5 fee per month for the card, which is charged whether or not there is a balance on the card, unless you direct deposit $500 per month which I am trying out. I am supposed to get a $20 bonus for signing up for direct deposit. I plan on getting the $500 out of the account every month by buying a money order at the post office for $1.90 (cheaper than the $5.00) and depositing money order into my checking account at another institution. Both of these prepaid cards can be funded from my PayPal account.
There is a third prepaid debit card with savings account at a good rate that I might go for, once I see how these first two work out.
I also have a rewards checking account with a credit union that started out at 4% a few years back and is now down to 1.5%. I can get that rate up to $25,000 if I do direct deposit, electronic statements and make 12 debit purchases a month.
I am willing to jump through a few hoops and do some work to get extra cash.
I have cash in T Rowe Price Virginia Tax-Exempt Fund, Vanguard Intermediate Term Tax Exempt and Vanguard Intermediate Term Investment Grade. Also bought $10,000 worth of I-bonds per year for the last three years.
I also have an American Express (online only) savings account that is paying 0.9%