Saturday, September 26, 2020

FWOTW: free roadside treasure

I was walking my dog around the neighborhood earlier this week and stumbled upon a battery powered Lightning McQueen car that one of my neighbors had left on the street. Attached to the mini vehicle was a piece of paper with FREE written on it. I didn’t hesitate to pick it up and bring it home. 

The car had few dents and scratches on the paint, some missing stickers and a missing exhaust pipe but overall it was in good shape. We wiped the car down with sterilizing wipes and charged the battery. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the vehicle ran smoothly without any issues! Our kids have been so happy taking turns driving this car around the neighborhood and local elementary school! 

Picking up this car for free allows another family (ours) to put this toy to good use without it going straight to a landfill. Picking this item up also saved us $149 from buying it at a store. Picking up this roadside treasure allows us to be frugal and environmentally conscious. And when our kids are no longer entertained, we will be sure to pass it along. I think Frugalwoods would be proud of us.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Side hustles August 2020

The great thing about doing side hustles to generate extra income is that you can hustle on your own terms.  The more hard work, time, and creative effort you put in, the more extra money you can make.  You can hustle as little or as much as you want, whenever you want.  It’s your extra money, and you can choose how you want to spend it.  Instead of focusing on what ideas don’t apply to you, try focusing on different side hustle ideas that you can implement to work for your situation.

Once a month (usually on the 1st), I like to post a short summary of our personal and financial situation for the previous month.  While I don’t often post articles, I am committed to documenting all of my side hustle income.  Here I’ll share some of what’s been going on with our lives and our side hustles. 


Welcome to September! Did you have a good August?  With all the fun venues like zoos, aquariums and playgrounds still closed, we are doing the best we can to keep our kids entertained.  Inside the house they are building forts with the couch cushions and are also enjoying hide and seek.  The kids are drawing with crayons and painting with watercolors.  We continue to check out a ton of books from the library for free. 

Our son got his first real Lego set and is quickly learning to follow directions and build his own creations.  He loves building something and then immediately having us help him take apart all of the pieces so that he can build something else.

It’s been pretty hot all month so we haven’t been able to go for family walks or spend too much time outdoors.  Looking forward to getting the kids outside more once the weather cools down.

Here’s our monthly summary of side income that we have generated in the previous month of May.

Cash Back

On 8.6, I received a $10.47 PayPal deposit from Mr. Rebates cash back shopping portal.
On 8.14, my wife received a $5 statement credit on her AMEX Gold card from AMEX Offers.  This was a deal for $5 cash back on purchases of $10 or more at local small businesses. 

On 8.16, I received a $0.64 statement credit on my AMEX SimplyCash business card from AMEX Offers.  This was a deal for 10% cash back on purchases made at Staples.  I needed some pens.
On 8.21, I received a $0.83 statement credit on my AMEX SimplyCash business card from my monthly cash back distribution.
On 8.22, my wife received a $5 statement credit on her AMEX Gold card from AMEX Offers.  This was a deal for $5 cash back on purchases of $10 or more at local small businesses. 
On 8.26, I received a $2.54 statement credit on my AMEX SimplyCash business card from AMEX Offers.  This was a deal for 10% cash back on purchases made at Staples.  I shipped a package through UPS from the Staples shipping department.


Rental Income

On 8.5, we received a net profit of $550 from our rental property.  Our tenants income situation has improved and they were able to make a full rental payment this month.

Survey Income

On 8.4, my wife received a $20 Amazon gift card from Amazon Preview for watching a movie and completing a survey about it.

On 8.21, I received a check for $30 from M3 Global Research for completing a medical survey
On 8.21, I received a check for $35 from E-Rewards Medical for completing a medical survey. 
On 8.26, my wife received a $3 Amazon gift card for finishing a review with Amazon Preview.

Miscellaneous Income
On 8.24, I received a check for $1,000 for consultation work that I do on the side.


Monthly Totals:

We earned $24.48 from cash back income

We earned $550 from rental income

We earned $88 for completing online surveys
I earned $1,000 of miscellaneous income


All of this totals $1,662.48 from our side hustles for the month of August!  How are your finances holding up?  I hope you have been able to continue saving and investing.  This stock market recovery has been nothing short of amazing.  We have already recovered from all of our stock market losses from the crash in March 2020 and are close to hitting new financial milestones.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

FWOTW: disputing a medical billing error

This is the first year that we have signed up for a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) to take advantage of a Health Savings Account (HSA).  HDHPs have great benefits if you don’t usually have a high amount of medical expenses (such as someone with a chronic condition).  The downside of having a HDHP is that it covers just one wellness visit each year.  Other medical visits are not covered until you meet your deductible ($6,000 for our family).  An HDHP is pretty much a catastrophic plan.

HSAs offer tax advantages by allowing for pre-tax dollars to be contributed into the account.
  For 2020, the maximum contribution amounts into an HSA are $3,550 for an individual and $7,100 for families.  This amount directly reduces taxable income.  You can choose to invest the money you have inside an HSA.  We are investing our balance in the Vanguard Total US Stock market index fund (VTSAX).  Withdrawing money from an HSA is also tax free for qualifying medical expenses. 

An HSA has no time limit for when you must use your account to pay for medical expenses – you can save all of your medical receipts and pay yourself back anytime later.
  This essentially allows an HSA to act like a “medical expenses” savings account.  There are no taxes on the money you contribute and no taxes on the money you take out.  The Mad FIentist calls the HSA the ultimate retirement account.    

So far we have been enjoying our HDHP and HSA.
  It’s nice to have another investment vehicle.  Imagine our surprise when we received a bill for $148.20 from our son’s pediatrician after his annual wellness visit! 

It can be difficult to make sense of all the random jargon that comes with a medical bill.  Instead of paying our bill right away, I decided to call our health insurance to find out why our son’s wellness examination was not covered.  A very nice customer service representative looked into the medical claim and discovered that the office had incorrectly billed the visit as an urgent care visit instead of a wellness examination.  Our claim was adjusted and now our balance due was $0.  

I’m glad I made the 5-minute phone call and saved $148.20!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...