It’s that time again where I post my ride along on how I scrounged together some extra money during the month via savings or extra income. I like to go from mid-month to mid-month because that’s when a couple things happen: my credit card statement from Chase is available, so I’m able to withdraw the rewards cash I accrued and my interest earnings become available as well.
Unlike most similar list articles that give you ideas on how to save or earn extra income, these monthly ride-alongs show you exactly how I obtained the extra cash to prove to you that it is real, and so you can set some realistic expectations when trying out these methods. I try to use a “Pics Or It Didn’t Happen” (POIDH) style in these posts whenever possible for your benefit.
1. Sprint’s “Love My Credit Union” Program
My wife and I had the opportunity to move back to the United States after I was stationed in Japan for a couple years, so we were in the market for a new cell phone plan. I decided to give Sprint a shot because they had some pretty decent unlimited talk, text and data plans. I’m not here to rate Sprint as a carrier, just explain to you their “Love My Credit Union” Program.
When you sign up with Sprint, you get $100 for every line you sign up with. Additionally, every year you get $50 for every line that you have active. So my wife and I got $200 total this year, and we will get $100 annually. The catch is that the rewards need to be deposited at a Credit Union, so if your bank is a Credit Union then you are in luck. It did take about eight weeks for us to get our reward after signing up though. Just a heads up.
If you want to sign up with Sprint, you can use my referral link here. We both get a $50 pre-paid visa card. Every penny helps!
Probably the most dependable rebate apps. Of course, only buy what you need otherwise it’s not worth it. I also usually stack Ibotta with Checkout 51, Fetch, Receipt Pal and Receipt Hog. If you want to use Ibotta too, use my personal referral code: epkgpnv
$20.69 on March 18, 2018
$22.05 on April 16, 2018
3. Checkout 51
This is my vote for the second best rebate app. Especially since I’ve used the Nissin Noodle money maker frequently with this app. Even though they claim to send out your cash via PayPal, I’ve only ever been able to get my payments via mailed check. It sucks, and takes a while, but still dependable.
4. Fetch Rewards
Another favorite app of mine. It usually only accepts grocery receipts, but is easy to use and even makes suggestions for future purchases that will yield more rewards.
Earnings: $3.00 Amazon Gift card redeemed on April 4, 2018
5. Receipt Pal
This app takes any receipt, and you can just take one picture of the receipt rather than having to do up close and in sections.
$1.00 Amazon Gift Card on March 19, 2018
$1.00 Amazon Gift Card on March 27, 2018
6. Google Rewards
Ballpark guess, I’d say I reach the payout threshold ($2.00) after taking five to eight surveys. And every survey is only three to four questions, multiple choice and can be done in less than 30 seconds total.
Earnings: $6.43 (Less accruing)
7. USAA Brokerage – Dividends
I have two brokerages set up apart from mine and my wife’s retirement accounts. One with USAA and M1 Finance. After building up your emergency savings, I suggest putting whatever you can into investments. You can either keep your dividend earnings or reinvest them to get more shares. I’ve decided to reinvest them for now since I don’t have an immediate need for the cash.
April 13, 2018: $0.66 from O Realty Company
March 29, 2018: $2.12 from VNQ
March 29, 2018: $0.21 from UITB
March 29, 2018: $0.03 from QCLN
8. M1 Finance – Market Gains and Dividends
I recently opened an account with M1 Finance and also started posting ride alongs for it. Check out my posts to see if it’s for you. But in short, M1 charges NOTHING for buying and selling (although the SEC does charge sell fees which are unavoidable, but it’s very minimal). Also M1 lets you invest in ‘pies’ to keep your portfolio balanced the way you want it. Click here if you want to sign up. We both get $10 when you make an account. Instant gains! 🙂
Earnings: $16.38 (both market gains and dividends)
9. Chase Credit Card Rewards
So in my previous post I mention that you get a 5% cash back bonus on approved quarterly categories. This is on top the 1% cash back bonus that you always get, and since I only use this credit card on these special category purchases, I get a total of 6% cash back on my purchases. For quarter 2, groceries was the bonus category and honestly, who doesn’t buy groceries.
I only use this card when I know I can get 6% cash back. If you want 6% cash back as well, click here and you can get a $150 sign-on bonus!
10. USAA Credit Card Rewards
I use this for all my general purchases and NEVER pay a cent of interest. They provide 1.5% cash back, and I’m sure you could find better ones out there.
The only reason I have a huge sum of cash in my savings account is to put a down payment and pay closing fees for my house. My APY is 0.30% even with USAA’s premium savings account. You can get better accounts out there, but right now the convenience of quick access with USAA is worth it. Also this will obviously yield less once I make the down payment on my house.
12. Society 6 – Original Art and Affiliate Sales
I learned about Society 6 by listening to ‘Side Hustle School’ on Spotify. It’s also available on iTunes. I signed up to be a ‘curator’ and promoted art with my own special link that they provide me. I also made some of my own art and promoted that as best as I could on facebook and instagram. For some reason I had a $30 coupon for promotions, so that definitely helped.
Earnings: $3.20 (combined from affiliate and earnings from original art)
13. Amazon Affiliate Sales
So I’ll be transparent here and show what my affiliate sales are like. It’s not much, but I do disclose that I am an Amazon Affiliate on my side bar, and the affiliate sales help pay for web hosting. I recommend starting your own blog and becoming an Amazon Affiliate if you are looking for some extra cash. You definitely get what you put into it.
This month was considerably higher than last month, but here are some things to consider: the earnings from Sprint are annual, and most dividends are paid out quarterly so that explains the spike this month. However, money is still money!
Opportunities to make and save money are everywhere. I collect my own personal data so that I can continuously improve and I post it to help others out there. I’m sure that you could make a lot more than I did using these methods as I did not put a whole lot of effort into it.
Total Earnings: $380.82
Aside from the Side Hustle School podcast, the other resource that’s really helped me learn about platforms to make some extra cash is this book by Chris Guillebeau, Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days.