Monday, February 11, 2019

Legoland and Legoland Hotel


My family just returned from a 3 day visit to Legoland Park and hotel.  We had such a great time!
Legoland during off-peak days is such a wonderful place to be.  The place was like a ghost town with almost no wait for every single ride.  The longest we had to wait was probably 10 to 15 minutes.
Legoland had something for everyone.  There are plenty of rides at Legoland for kids and adults of any age.  Our kids especially loved the slow moving boat rides, Fairy Tale Brook and Coast Cruise.  
We rode the Legoland Express train ride several times.  Our son loved the Deep Sea Adventure submarine ride.
Scattered throughout the park are Lego blocks for kids of all ages to play with.  There are regular sized Legos for the older kids and big foam Lego pieces for the little ones.  Our son loved playing with the build-your-own Lego boats.  Miniland is an awesome area full of Lego replicas of famous US landmarks and there’s even a Star Wars themed Lego section full of scenes from the Star Wars movies.  
It’s fun to look at the intricate details of all the Lego models.  The Duplo Playtown has little mazes and slides for the kids to run and play around.  Kids can let their imaginations run wild with the different activity play sets and Lego pieces here.
Located right next to Legoland is the Sea Life Aquarium.  Since our first time at Legoland a few years ago, the aquarium has been revamped and updated.  There are plenty of fish, corals, stingrays and sharks here for visitors to enjoy and see up close.   There’s also a new interactive shark experience where visitors can learn about sharks up close on a touch projector screen.
We love going to Legoland so much that we purchased season passes.  For our most recent trip to Legoland, we decided to spend 2 nights at the Legoland Hotel, giving us 3 full days to visit Legoland.  I get 20% off hotel stays at the Legoland hotel through my corporate account.  And my Chase Sapphire Reserve gave me a $300 statement credit towards our hotel stay.  The hotel is located within walking distance to the front entrance of Legoland
Legoland hotel is such an awesome place to stay.  Guests of the hotel can choose between 5 different themed rooms (Ninjago, Pirate, Friends, Kingdom, and Adventure).  We picked the Pirate themed room.  
Inside each room there are custom Lego creations designed to match the theme of the room.  Our room had skull and crossbones sheets, decorative wallpaper, and even a treasure box filled with a new surprise each night of our stay!  The hotel provided a bucket full of Legos to play with in our room. 
Legoland hotel guests have other great benefits such as early access (30 minutes to 1 hour) to the amusement park.  Breakfast buffet was free for every day of our stay.  Breakfast items included bacon, sausage, waffles, potatoes, muffins, chocolate chip pancakes, freshly made omelets, French toast, smoothies, coffee and more.  Everything was very tasty and we did not have to wait long to get seated.  Free coffee and water is provided in the hotel rooms.
The hotel offers plenty of fun little touches.  The main lobby has an indoor castle play area, pirate ship and pool of Legos to play with.  
By the main elevator, there is a big whoopee cushion on the ground that can be activated by stepping on it.  
When the elevator doors close, the room is instantly turned into a disco party, complete with dance music and a disco ball up above.  Every night, kids can enjoy a live dance party with Lego characters.
While 3 days at Legoland was pretty tiring, we all had a blast.  The Legoland hotel has definitely been the most fun hotels we've had the chance to stay at.  We are looking forward to heading back to Legoland in a few months!  

Friday, February 1, 2019

Side hustles January 2019


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 February!  Did you have a good start to 2019 in January?  It seems like this month has just flown by. 
As I’ve mentioned before, this year I want to focus more on being in the moment and practicing more gratitude.  I want to appreciate all the moments and free time I can get with my family.  I’ve already started scheduling a bit more time off from work each month, reducing burnout from work.  I’m taking about 2 random days off each month for me to unwind and relax. 
Our family just returned from a 2-night stay at Legoland Hotel in Carlsbad, California.  We went to Legoland 3 days in a row and had a ton of fun!  It was also very exhausting, but totally worth it.  The hotel offered a great experience for all of us.  We all had a great time and I’ll write a longer article detailing our experience later.  The best part of our trip was that Legoland was pretty empty all 3 days.  There were barely any crowds and the longest we had to wait for any ride was only 15 minutes.
Here’s our monthly summary of side income that we have generated in the previous month of January.
Cash Back
On 1.2, I received $10.23 deposit in my Discover Cashback Checking account.  This is 1% cashback from paying our rental property with my Discover debit card.
On 1.2, I received a $300 statement credit on my Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card.  This is the annual Chase Travel Credit that comes with the Sapphire Reserve card.  This credit offsets a purchase I made for a stay at Legoland California Hotel. 

On 1.30, my wife received a $100 statement credit on her AMEX Gold card.  This was for the airline fee credit that she used to buy a Southwest Airlines $100 gift card.

Survey Income
On 1.4, I received a $60 Amazon gift card for doing a medical survey with M-Panels.
On 1.5, I received a $10 check for doing a medical survey with E-Rewards Medical.
On 1.11, my wife received a $100 Amazon gift card for doing a research study.
On 1.15, I received a $5 check for doing a medical survey with My Impact Network.

Rental Income
On 1.5, we received a net profit of $430 from our rental property.

Side job income
On 1.25, I received a direct deposit of $187.50 for teaching at the local university.  Teaching continues to be one of my favorite side hustles.

Miscellaneous Income
On 1.16, I received a $400 bonus on my new Citibank Checking account.  This was a bank sign up bonus; earn $400 bonus after depositing $15,000 into a new Citibank account.

On 1.25, I received a $10 MasterCard gift card from P&G as a rebate for purchasing an electric shaver.
On 1.26, I received a $5 Amazon gift card from MyPoints.
On 1.29, my wife received $60 cash from selling an older car seat on Facebook Marketplace.
On 1.29, I received a $50 Costco cash card from a previous Costco promotion.  When we switched our cell phone provider from AT&T to T-Mobile, we brought a paid off phone to the network.  Since we didn’t need a phone through T-Mobile, we earned this $50 gift card.

Monthly Totals:
We earned $410.23 from cash back
I earned $175 from survey income
We earned $430 from rental income
I earned $187.50 from my side job teaching
We earned $525 from miscellaneous income

All of this totals $1,727.73 from our side hustles for the month of January!  We are off to a great start for our side hustle income for 2019!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019: Happy New Year, December side hustles and year end summary!


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.  
Happy New Year! 
Did you have a good December?  It was quite a busy and fun month for us.  Life has definitely become more hectic with 2 kids.  In December, we attended several holiday parties, ate lots of delicious food, and hosted family members for a week during Christmas.
Our daughter turned 1 year old this month! I can’t believe how fast she has been growing and how fast time flies.  She just started talking, eating regular foods, and is close to walking.  To celebrate, we had a small party with close friends and their children at a local children’s gym. 
We gifted my sister in law’s family tickets to Legoland and we all enjoyed a great day at the park.  Since my work offers significant discounts, we decided to purchase annual passes to the park for our family.  We will definitely be back.  Legoland has a new Deep Sea Adventure ride, an interactive submarine ride through an underwater habitat full of sharks, sea creatures and Lego characters.  
Our son loved the ride so much that it was the only attraction we visited.  We probably went on the submarine ride over 20 times!  Thank goodness Legoland wasn’t crowded and we didn’t need to wait long between rides.
Our kids received a lot of Christmas presents from family.  Yet it’s so funny that they like simple household items – they really don’t need fancy gifts at their ages.  Here’s a picture of my son having tons of fun with a paper towel cardboard tube:
We took my sister’s family to the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, one of our son’s favorite places to visit.  He is becoming quite the sea creature expert!
Here’s our monthly summary of side income that we have generated in the previous month of December 2018.
Cash Back
On 12.2, I received $10.23 deposit in my Discover Cashback Checking account.  This is 1% cashback from paying our rental property with my Discover debit card.
On 12.2, my wife received a $5.03 statement credit on her AMEX Gold card.
On 12.3, my wife received a $7.25 statement credit on her AMEX Gold card for 20% statement credit on all dining purchases up to $100 in credits made within the first 3 months.
On 12.3, my wife received a $15 statement credit on her AMEX Gold card from AMEX Offers.  This deal was $15 off $49 at Chewy.com, a website where we purchase our dog food and supplies from.
On 12.9, I received a $1.54 statement credit on my AMEX Blue Cash Everyday card from AMEX Offers. 
On 12.19, my wife received a $32.42 statement credit on her AMEX Gold card for 20% statement credit on all dining purchases up to $100 in credits made within the first 3 months.
On 12.29, I received a $5.23 statement credit on my AMEX Blue Cash Everyday card from AMEX Offers.  This was for 10% cash back on cell phone bill payments.
American Express has been very good to us with all of their cashback offers!

Survey Income
On 12.15, I received a $25 check for doing a medical survey with E-Rewards Medical
On 12.17, I received a $75 Amazon gift card for doing a medical survey with M-Panels.
On 12.20, I received a $20 check for doing a medical survey with E-Rewards Medical.
On 12.22, I received a $20 Amazon gift card for doing a medical survey with My Impact Network.
On 12.29, I received a $30 check for doing a medical survey with M3 Global Research
On 12.29, I received a $7 check for doing a medical survey with M3 Global Research
Doing medical surveys doesn’t take much time and they pay very well.

Rental Income
On 12.5, we received a net profit of $430 from our rental property.  Our rental income has been consistent without any hiccups in 2018.

Miscellaneous Income
On 12.2, we received a $83 account credit to our T-Mobile account.  This was a device trade in credit.
On 12.31, we received a $667 Mastercard debit promotional gift card from T-Mobile for device trade in credit.  Since my work reimburses my cell phone purchase and expenses, this was just free money! 

Monthly Totals:
We earned $76.70 from cash back
I earned $177 from survey income
We earned $430 from rental income
I earned $750 from miscellaneous income

All of this totals $1,433.70 from our side hustles for the month of December!  It was great earning money on side during this busy and expensive month. 

2018 side hustle totals:
We have earned a total of $14,802.47 in 2018!  While this is the lowest amount of side hustle income we have generated, we still feel very accomplished for the year.  We have been trying to balance earning more income with enjoying family time.  We have now been tracking our side hustle income for 5 years! 

In 2018, we earned $14,802.47
In 2017, we earned $15,307.76
In 2016, we earned $24,195.44
In 2015, we earned $19,178.54
In 2014, we earned $28,633.42

I am excited to see what 2018 brings for our family.  I will continue to post updates on our financial situation.  This keeps us accountable and also helps us track our financial progress.  It’s amazing that I have now been blogging for 7 years.  Last year, I focused on eating healthy and keeping our grocery costs down.  Doing all of our grocery shopping at Aldi and buying in bulk at Costco has helped cut our grocery expenses.

For the last 6 months, I have been practicing Intermittent Fasting (IF).  With IF, I have made my life simpler, healthier, more energetic, and I hope to live longer as well.  Fasting also gives me a much better appreciation for food and helps me be more thankful when I get to eat.  You can read a beginner’s guide to intermittent fasting written by James Clear here. 

This New Year I want to focus more on being in the moment and practicing more gratitude as I continue relentlessly improving every aspect of my life.  Our kids are our greatest motivation for working towards financial freedom.  At the same time, we want to appreciate and relish all the moments we can get with our family.
 
Let’s make 2019 another fantastic year together.  Thank you for joining me on this journey.
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