Sunday, February 2, 2014

January side hustles

While many people are simply content working 5 days a week, I’ve always been motivated to generate extra income with side hustles.  I’ve shared some of the side hustles I’ve done in the past in a previous post where I thanked my mother for giving me the drive to succeed.    

The great thing about generating extra income with side hustles is that you can hustle on your own terms.  The more work, time, and creative effort you devote, the extra money you can bring in.  You can hustle as little or as much as you want, whenever you want.  It’s your money, and you can choose to spend it with purpose, or without.

Side hustles can be active or passive ways of building wealth.  They can be done in your spare time.  The money that comes from side hustles can be used for little things, such as free movie and television shows streamed to your television with Amazon Instant Video to big things, like purchasing shares of your favorite Vanguard mutual fund or ETF.  Money coming in from other sources beside your main job can help accelerate your wealth accumulation towards financial freedom.

This year, I am going to share some of the ways we have been bringing more money in on the side.  This will help keep me motivated to continue to hustle and continue to make hay while the sun shines. 

By posting monthly updates, this will help me keep track of our progress.  To keep myself honest, I will only post the income from side hustles that I have already received, and not income that I am expecting to receive.  Sides hustles performed today may be rewarded weeks later.  I will refrain from posting any regular points and miles earned through normal or manufactured spending, since unused points are worthless.  I’ll share our redemption of points and miles for free travel as we make travel plans.  

Now on to the January side hustles!

Cash Back
While there’s no doubt I love earning points and miles over cash back, I won’t say no to an excellent cash back opportunity. 
  • On 1.14, we redeemed 45,600 Barclaycard Arrival miles for $456 worth of free travel for yet another free flight to Portland to visit my wife’s parents.
  • On 1.27, I received a $300 check for cash back purchases made with my Citibank Dividend credit card.  This involved buying $6,000 worth of Vanilla Reload cards at CVS, and getting 5% cash back for my purchases due to this credit card’s 5% cash back promotion.  I have detailed the process here.  Next month, we should be receiving my wife’s $300 check for purchases made with her Citibank Dividend credit card (we have to wait for her statement to close first). 
Website Income
I earn income on the side from this website.  Income comes from viewing advertisements, as well as signing up for certain products that I recommend which I have an affiliation with.  I never recommend any product that I don’t use, and I always try to apply for every offer that I recommend.  After all, why would I recommend a product that I won’t personally use?  I’ve made a couple thousand from this humble website and I’ve never shared my monthly revenue.  Sometimes I have great months, sometimes I don’t receive any side income from this site.  Either way, the income is passive and I don’t depend on it.  Most of the income goes towards our savings and investments.
  • January’s website revenue has totaled $400.08
Search and Win
There are several sites out there where you can earn points that can be redeemed for Amazon electronic gift cards (and other rewards) just for doing normal internet searches and / or small tasks.  I currently use Bing, Swagbucks, and iRazoo.

Bing Search

To entice users to search with Bing, Microsoft will reward you 1 credit per 3 searches, up to 15 or 30 credits a day, sometimes more.  475 points can be redeemed for a $5 Amazon gift card.  Each Bing point is worth about a little over 1 cent.  When you redeem for a reward, it usually takes 1 day to get your gift card.  Hint: Use this Bing Rewards Bot to help you with automating your searches.  Sign up for Bing Rewards here
  • On 1.6, I received a $5 Amazon gift card from Bing
  • On 1.11, my wife received a $5 Amazon gift card from Bing
  • On 1.21, I received a $5 Amazon gift card from Bing
I find that earning points with Bing is the easiest, with the help of the Bing Rewards Bot.  I set it, then let it search for a few minutes, and then collect my daily points.  It’s usually enough for us to earn $5 to $20 Amazon gift cards a month.

Swagbucks is a online rewards program that allows users to earn virtual currency called “swag bucks” for performing various tasks such as: searching, watching videos, doing surveys, shopping, playing online games, looking at advertisements, and more.  Swag bucks can be redeemed for practically any type of gift card, such as American Airlines gift cards, Target gift cards, and Amazon gift cards.  

450 swag bucks can be redeemed for a $5 Amazon gift card.  Each swag buck is worth a little more than 1 cent.  When you redeem your reward, it usually takes about a week to receive your gift card.  There are no limits to how many swag bucks you can earn in a day.  Hint: Refer to the Swagcode Spoilers site for free swag codes to earn free points.  Sign up for Swagbucks here. 
  • On 1.21, my wife received a $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks
  • On 1.22, I received a $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks
Earning swag bucks can be tedious at times.  I usually just do some quick daily tasks such as vote in a poll for 1 swag buck, flip through some advertisements in the NOSO (No Obligation Special Offers) for 2 swag bucks, perform a few random searches for some bonus swag bucks (1 to 1000), and watch a few random videos like movie trailers for 3 swag bucks per 10 videos.

iRazoo is another online rewards program similar to Swagbucks in that you can earn points for performing various tasks such as: searching, shopping, doing surveys, playing games, watching videos, and more.  These points can also be redeemed for gift cards.  It takes 3,000 points to redeem for a $5 Amazon gift card.  I usually do a few random searches a day to earn bonus points.  Hint: Refer to the Swagcode Spoilers site for free iRazoo “Treasure Codes” to earn free points.  Sign up for iRazoo here.
  • On 1.11, I received a $5 Amazon gift card from iRazoo

Since iRazoo points are worth so little, it definitely takes longer to redeem for rewards.  I usually just perform a few random searches until I earn some bonus points, then move on.  It takes about 30-45 seconds to plug in some random searches before I win some points.

Paid Surveys
For as long as the internet has been around, I’ve always been a fan of doing paid online internet surveys.  Online surveys on random topics provide me with a way of sharing my opinion about certain products.  The surveys are often very quick and pay in real rewards.  Companies sometimes send me sample foods and household products to try out and review.  Here are the survey companies I work with for cash back and Amazon gift cards.

E-rewards Medical  
You need to be some type of medical professional to sign up for this program, so this may not be applicable to everyone. 

  • On 1.15 I received a $25 Visa gift card for finishing an online survey

Opinion Outpost

I’ve only recently started using Opinion Outpost.  It is a reliable online survey company that rewards you for completing short surveys.  You earn anywhere between 5 to 20 points (or more), per survey, depending on the length of the survey.  Once you earn 100 points, you can redeem for a $10 Paypal credit, which surprisingly gets deposited to your account instantly. 
  • On 1.20, I received my first $10 Paypal payment from Opinion Outpost   
Ipsos i-Say

I’ve been with i-Say for about 1 year and they’ve always paid me consistently.  You earn around 10 to 90 points for each survey you complete.  Once you earn 1,000 points, you can redeem for a $10 Amazon gift card.  You can also redeem for other rewards such as Paypal cash deposit: 1,500 points can be redeemed for a $15 deposit. 
  • On 1.15, I received a $10 Amazon gift card from Ipsos i-Say 
PineCone Research

Currently membership is closed for PineCone Research, a group that I have been with since my college days.  I’ve made hundreds of dollars from them over the years, and they’ve always sent me fun products to test try, such as new snacks, shavers, shampoo, and more.  They reward a $3 Paypal deposit for each survey completed.  I’ll update this post when they open up an invitation to join.
  • On 1.16, I received $3 Paypal deposit from PineCone Research
  • On 1.23, I received $3 Paypal deposit from PineCone Research
Work on the side
I love teaching and usually once a month I will teach a course at a local college as a substitute teacher.  This is something I enjoy doing and getting paid for it is the cherry on top.  Do you have any passions that can help you earn work income on the side?
  • On 1.18, I received a $275 check for one day of teaching on 1.4.14
Company Wellness Program
Many companies want their employees to be happy and healthy, and they may offer incentives to do so.  Many insurance companies also offer some type of reward for staying healthy by doing tasks such as online learning or seeing your primary care doctor to get an annual physical examination
  • On 1.30, I received a $100 American Express Prepaid card as a reward for completing: my annual physical check up with my doctor, my free annual check up with my wellness coach, and my free annual financial check up
Rental Income
Our four bedroom home is currently empty as we don’t have children (yet).  Previously, we have been renting out two rooms in our home for an extra side income of $1,150 a month.  Everyone’s living situation changes, and in the month of January, we have found ourselves without two housemates. 
  • On 1.6, I received a $210 check payment for our last housemate’s pro-rated rent
We have recently found a unique opportunity to rent out two rooms starting end of February and early March for a period of only 3 months.  Our housemates will be very respectful graduate school students that only need temporary housing.  This should bring in an extra $1,150 each month of side income. 

Choosing to let others share space in your home can be a difficult decision, but at the same time, it can be lucrative and a great way to generate some decent side income.  While you lose some privacy in common areas, the extra income can definitely be put to good use.  Utility usage is expected to go up, but it is offset by increased rental income. 

This rental income helps us live a comfortable life and increases our ability to invest more money towards long term wealth.  We won’t always be renting out space in our extra rooms, especially when it comes time to start a family.  For extra income, we will look into investment rental properties in the future.

Job Promotion

While I won’t get into details about my recent job promotion, suffice it to say that a bump in pay, a bump in paid time off, and more job stability makes me one very happy employee.  My best new benefit is that I now get to shave off 4 hours from my work week, with no penalty in pay.  I now get every Monday afternoon off.  My new schedule is now 36 hours a week instead of 40 hours.  This is equivalent to a 10% increase in salary! 

I will be gaining an extra 16 hours a month and 192 hours a year, which adds up to 24 extra work days off!  This time gained is truly priceless, and I will use it wisely: catching up on errands, reading more, writing more, and working on more side hustles!

January Savings

While extra savings isn’t exactly a side hustle, finding ways to cut back on spending definitely helps.  Any chance I get, I usually try to figure out ways to decrease my rates with my utility companies.  Sometimes this can be done with a simple phone call.  A lifestyle change of less wasteful behavior also helps.
  • Our electricity bill continues to be low, due to the way we conserve electricity.  Our January electricity bill came out to be only $36.15.  
  • Our low flow shower heads have decreased our most recent water bill by $6.65.
  • Increasing our Geico car insurance deductible from $500 to $1,000 saved us $32.70 off our insurance bill.
  • A simple phone call saved us $30 off our monthly cell phone bill, and gave us an instant $115 statement credit to our account.  This new change will save us $475 off our cell phone bill over the upcoming year.
What keeps us motivated? 
  • Looking back, January was a pretty productive month:
  • We earned $756 in straight cash back
  • I earned $400 in website income 
  • We earned $40 in Amazon gift cards by doing searches and tasks from Bing, Swagbucks, iRazoo, and i-Say
  • We earned $41 in cash from paid surveys
  • I earned $275 for teaching students for a day
  • I earned $100 for completing my annual company wellness program
  • We earned $210 from rental income, which will increase in the next few months.
  • We saved plenty of money off our bills, and I get to save an extra 4 hours a week off my work schedule
This totals $1,822 this month for our side hustles!  While this is great, I know that we can do better, much better.  There are plenty of people out there that are making over $1,000 a month or more doing side hustles.  Reading threads like this one and this one about Fatwallet Finance "Heavy Hitters" continue to give me creative ideas on bringing in extra side income.

Is there anything that you are good at?  Are you a good writer?  Can you babysit?  Can you tutor?  Can you dog sit?  There are plenty of ways in which you can turn your skills into money.  As I’ve demonstrated, some side hustles don’t require any skill, only time.  I’ll keep you all updated with our monthly side hustle reports.

Do you have the motivation to hustle on the side?

1 comment:

  1. I must say i have always followed your website and advice. They are amazing. Never realized such small things can make big difference to life. Thank you friend for this service and free advice. You are making a difference. :)


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