Get Up To A $5 Bonus For Signing Up For Swagbucks In December

We’ve reached the Holiday season, and if you haven’t begun already, now’s the time to start shopping for the Holidays! Since this time of year in particular is a good one for having some extra money, Swagbucks is offering a $5 bonus to people who sign up through me this month!

Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for all sorts of things you’re probably already doing online, like shopping, discovering deals, taking surveys, watching videos, and more! Then you can turn your gift cards in to PayPal cash or gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, and more!

Here’s how you get your bonus:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 11/1. You’ll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!

3. When you do your holiday shopping, spend at least $25 through Swagbucks Shop* and you’ll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus on top of the cash back you’ll get from shopping.

That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I’ve earned well above $1,200 from Swagbucks since signing up, and I’ve used it on buying dividend paying stocks over the past year. I get PayPal cash and then buy companies with it. This is a great way to build wealth over time.

November 2016 Passive Dividend Income

Another month is in the books. November 2016 has come and gone. While I’m not terribly happy that the wind is kicking up from the north and bringing cold weather, I am happy that some great companies continue to provide me with money from dividends that I can deploy to buy more income. Over time, I hope to build a nice stash of dividend-paying stocks that could take care of a nice portion of my expenses each and every month.

One of the greatest things about dividends is the fact that they come in whether I work or not. I had a few days off for Thanksgiving, but the companies that I own continued to do their thing, earning revenue that will hopefully be turned into profits, that will in turn come my way in the form of additional dividends. I have made a few sales to pay off some debt over the past couple of months, so I did not get as many dividends as I would have expected in November.  Additionally, Starbucks, which usually pays out in the second month of the quarter, is going to be paying off in early December. I’ll still get paid, just in a different month than usual. In spite of these facts, I busted through the $20 number in a month for the very first time since I started this journey last year. Here are the two payments I received in November 2016:

Taxable accounts:

AT & T (T)                                                                    $7.01

IRA

Omega Healthcare Investors (OHI)        $18.30

TOTAL for November:                                   $25.31

As you can see from the listing above, I not only smashed through the $20 mark, I received a Jackson and a Lincoln along with some change (that’s a $20 and a $5). My $25.31 set a new record for my dividend growth investing history. It now brings my total dividend income for the year up to $141.48, which is well above the $15.08 that I had earned at this time last year. Additionally, I only earned $5.41 in November 2015, so I earned nearly five times the dividend income that I earned in the same month just one short year ago. That’s a pretty impressive increase, from my standpoint, as I would have to earn about $125 next year if I were able to duplicate this jump for 2017. I don’t think I’ll quite get to this point, but it would definitely be nice to achieve.

My estimated dividend income for the next 12 months is now at $252.49. This is more than $20 a month on average, which would allow me to take off slightly more than an hour a month with my estimation that I’d need to replace $20 an hour if I were to live solely off of dividend income.

How did your dividend income shape up for the month of November? Did you have a year-over-year increase? Let me know in the comments.  I have updated my monthly dividend page to reflect these payments.  Also, if you’d like to follow my progress on a monthly basis, be sure to sign up to get updates.

Disclaimers: Long OHI; I am not a financial professional. Information listed in this post does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell. It is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Equities can increase or decrease in value, and losses up to and including all money invested can occur. Consult with a licensed professional before making an investment decisions. 

Visiting Multiple Cities On One Award Flight

I recently had an epic fail when it came to getting the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.  I obviously wanted to earn the 100,000 point bonus in the Ultimate Rewards program. I was fortunate, however, in that my spouse was not over the 5/24 limit. After she secured the bonus, I started checking on some options for a vacation next year. I found that there was pretty wide open availability on a number of United Airlines flights to Europe, Australia, and Asia. The availability included the summer months, to my surprise. I finally decided, with the wife’s approval, to take a trip to Europe, specifically Prague, Czech Republic, and another to-be-determined city (which turned out to be Lisbon).

How is it possible to visit more than one city on one trip, you might ask. I’ve already written about my recent trip to Madrid and Paris last spring.  I utilized a routing option that’s called an open jaw on this trip. This means that you can fly into one city and then fly out of another back to the city you originated from. Think of it this way. A normal trip would be City A to City B, with a return to City A to complete the round trip. An open jaw flies from City A to City B. Then there’s a trip by another airline, train, or rental car to City C. Then there’s a return to City A from City C. The only question that comes up is how to get from City B to City C. There is some pretty impressive public transportation within Europe, but I’ve found that commuter flights are really cheap between cities. My flight from Madrid to Paris earlier this year was a whopping $69 on Iberia Airlines. I’ve also seen flights from London to Paris from as low as $53 in recent searches. This is on Air France, not on a low-cost carrier that charges for breathing, either.

For my upcoming trip next year, I decided to again utilize the open jaw. I found availability for both of the main cities that I wanted to visit on a multi-city itinerary. Prague was my main goal. I was there a few years ago, and I loved it. My wife did not make this particular trip, so I want to share my love of the Czech capital with her.

Jan Hus Memorial
A memorial to Czech hero Jan Hus, photo taken by me on a previous visit to Prague.

I first tried to book a multi-city itinerary, and the results were not as robust as they were when I looked at each individual leg. Here’s a dummy multi-city search originating from Chicago and going to Prague with the outbound flight:

United Multi-City Search: Chicago to Prague

 

Note that there is only one page in the search results with 18 flights returned, starting at 30,000 Mileage Plus miles for this leg of the trip. I then decided to make the trip two one-way award flights. Note what happens when I go to a one-way search for the same dates (I plugged in June 13-20 for this dummy booking).

One-way flight: Chicago to Prague

We’ve gone from one page with 18 possible flights to seven pages with 152 possible flights, again starting at 30,000 Mileage Plus miles for this leg of the trip. This means more options. There is the greater possibility of adding more than just the two main cities with an itinerary like this.

If you start looking for flights at your desired level of seating (coach, business, or first class) and low-level mileage requirements, you can actually look for flights that will take longer to visit an additional city or two during layovers.  I went to page 4 of my actual search (not the dummy search shown here) to find an 11-hour layover in Munich on the way to Prague. This should be plenty of time to hit the local public transportation network and see a couple of sites within the city, extending my trip to three actual cities visited in a single one-week trip.

I did the same process for my return trip, and found a lengthy flight that allowed for an overnight layover of 15 hours in yet another European city, bringing the total number of cities that we should visit to four in one single trip. All I have to figure out is what flight I want to take from Prague to Lisbon. My two one-way flights to and from my main destinations in the Czech Republic and Portugal came to 60,000 United Airlines Mileage Plus miles per person or 120,000 total (most of which came from the wife’s Sapphire Reserve bonus) and around $165, which I put on my Chase Sapphire Preferred to earn 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar for the purchase. These points will go to a later trip that is not yet determined.

By taking the time to play around with the United Airlines booking site, I was able to set up a trip that visits four major European cities. Most people would only look for a round-trip that visited one. Most of my recent trips have been a result of my philosophy of earning money in pajamas. I’ve looked at ways to maximize credit card rewards to save money on things that I’d prefer to spend money on anyway. Have you had any success with similar bookings? If so, feel free to share in the comments.

 

Get Cash Back on Black Friday Shopping with Swagbucks

Looking for the best deals on holiday shopping, especially with Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up? Swagbucks is offering increased cash back from stores like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, or Target and get cash back or gift cards to your favorite stores! Swagbucks will also offer amazing one-day deals to try out new products and services, earning you even more free gift cards.

This page has everything you need to take advantage of some great “shopportunities” for Black Friday and Cyber Monday and the entire week leading up to them! The page will be updated each day with new deals and opportunities to get free gift cards.

If you haven’t heard of them, Swagbucks.com is an easy, quick way to earn cash back and gift cards by shopping online or doing other everyday activities like taking surveys or watching videos. When you do those things, you earn points (called SB) that you redeem for PayPal cash or gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Starbucks, and more!

Just for signing up through me, you can earn a $3 (300 SB) bonus if you earn 300 SB before December 1st – if you spend at least $25 shopping through Swagbucks during that time, you’ll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus!

Take advantage of these great deals – sign up now.

Help Your Holiday Travel Budget Stretch Farther With Swagbucks

Now that the holidays are in full gear, a lot of you likely have travel on the horizon. If you’re in that same boat, you can get great deals and cash back for shopping through Swagbucks! Just go here and see all of the great cash back you can get from some of your favorite stores. Here’s how it works:

1. Click here to see the stores offering deals and cash back.
2. Click through to the store(s) of your choice and do some shopping!
3. Get cash back in the form of points (called SB) that you can redeem for free gift cards so you can stretch your holiday (and decorating) budget even further!

As an extra bonus, if you’re not a Swagbucks member and join through my link (or you’ve joined through my link this month), you’ll get an one time 200 SB bonus when you spend $25 or more in any of the Swagbucks Shop stores before December 1st! Swagbucks is a great site where you earn SB points for doing every day things online like shopping, discovering deals, taking surveys, watching videos, searching the web, and more. The SB you earn, the more gift cards you can get, which are a HUGE help this time of year.

I usually cash out my Swagbucks for cash via PayPal. However, you can also use your earnings through the site to get free gift cards with some great companies like Southwest Airlines, Hyatt, and Delta Airlines. Sometimes, I’ve seen Marriott gift cards on the site as well. The options for spending your Swagbucks are pretty impressive.

Get a Free Book and up to $8

World Book and Swagbucks have the perfect gift for the little reader in your life – a free book that makes history come alive! World book has a great assortment of vibrant, fun, and informative books about a variety of different historical events, people, and legends that are perfect for grades 6-8. This offer gets you a free book (you pay $1 in shipping) AND you get $5 (paid in Swagbucks’ SB Points) for doing it, plus a bonus $3 (300SB) for signing up for Swagbucks through me first. Here’s how you can get your free book and $8:

1. Click here to get to the offer. When you get there, if you’re not already a member you’ll be prompted to create your Swagbucks account – it takes less than 30 seconds.
2. Click the blue “Continue” button
3. Order your free book – that’s it! The 500 SB will credit immediately, and if you’re a new member signing up for Swagbucks through the above link, you’ll get another 300 SB in the first week of December.

So, what’s this Swagbucks I’m talking about? It’s the site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re already doing online, like shopping, watching videos, discovering deals (like this one!), taking surveys, or even searching the web! Then you take your points and redeem them for PayPal cash or gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Starbucks, and more! In fact, for signing up through me, you can actually get ANOTHER bonus $2 if you spend $25 or more on holiday shopping through Swagbucks this month!

I’ve personally used Swagbucks to make more than $1,000 since I signed up. I earn enough to cash out $25 in PayPal cash at least once a month. I then use that cash to pay for some stocks that pay me dividends. Swagbucks should literally pay me for life in that instance. It’s a pretty good deal to be sure.

Book Review–Your Money Map

A few months ago, I was in a Christian bookstore and I decided to check out the personal finance section. Some of the books appeared to be from health and wealth guys who encourage you to “sow some seed” to benefit their ministries. I’m not into that by any stretch. I then happened upon a book titled Your Money Map: A Proven 7-Step Guide to True Financial Freedom. The author of the book was Howard Dayton, and it was published in 2006. The publisher was Moody Publishers, which is pretty far removed from the health and wealth scene. I then decided to pick up the book to see if it was the same as Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, which has seven baby steps. It did not.

Rather than just giving seven “baby steps” that are singular in purpose and that have to be followed in order religiously, this book shows more of a lifetime journey that a person might take. Both Ramsey and Dayton argue that financial freedom is a process that could take quite a bit of time.

Your Money Map is distinctively Christian in its outlook. Therefore, those who operate from a more secular viewpoint might be more interested in other personal finance books. This book follows a couple that Dayton counseled regarding personal finance and the advice that he gave them through each step of the way.

The book starts out by arguing that all wealth comes as a stewardship from God. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that we are effective stewards with the money that we’re entrusted with. Dayton argues that one of the first steps that anyone should take when getting their personal finances in order is to begin charitable giving toward religious purposes. This is one of the areas that nonreligious people might disagree with Dayton, but starting to give is part of Destination 1 on the money map that’s included in the chapters of the book, as well as the schematic money map at the very end of the book.

Other goals involved in reaching Destination 1 include the obligatory budget and $1,000 emergency fund. These two steps seem to be pretty standard among the community of personal finance gurus. Both are pretty good ideas. Budgeting ensures that you can avoid spending more than you bring in. If you spend more than your income each month, you’ll wind up with a negative net worth if you’re not already there. If you spend less on a monthly basis, you’ll build up a solid net worth over time. It’s pretty simple, actually. Also, stashing $1,000 allows you to pay for any unexpected expenses that might come up–like the busted radiator I had to replace a couple of months ago. Definitely not cool, but necessary. Learning to handle money God’s way is a little outside the realm of personal finance gurus who are not tied to Christianity or another religion.

Steps 2 and 3 on the money map are where Dayton is a bit different than some of the other personal finance books and websites that I’ve read. Most of these other books emphasize paying off debt at the expense of savings. Your Money Map argues that people should build up a larger emergency fund (for one, and then three, months of expenses) while simultaneously paying down credit card debt and all other consumer debts. This blended approach is refreshing to me, because cash flow is important. Having more money available at any given time can help people avoid building up additional debt should an unexpected job loss or other catastrophe occur.

Earning money in pajamas can help you achieve financial freedom.

A possible destination after reaching Step 7on Your Money Map.

Step 4 is related to saving up funds for major outlays like a home or retirement (childrens’ education is optional here). Dayton recommends saving up a substantial down payment for a home so that a downturn in the local housing market does not get a buyer upside-down on his or her mortgage. This is generally sound advice (although I didn’t follow it personally because renting in the markets I’ve lived in has been more expensive than buying–I took advantage of loans with low down payment requirements).

Steps 5 and 6 deal with actually buying the house, paying it off early, and investing additional money outside of retirement accounts, working toward the multiple goals at the same time. Step 7 is financial freedom. The goal of financial freedom is retiring and actually having something to leave as a legacy, be it through an inheritance to your children or some nice gifts to organizations that you feel strongly about. Retirement also means that you have more time to give to endeavors that you feel really, really passionately about.

The story of Matt Mitchell, the car salesman that Dayton counsels, is woven throughout the book. Dayton himself has basically donated his time as a personal finance coach for decades, so he discusses how he walked his pupil through the steps toward financial freedom. I liked how this book showed that you can focus upon more than one thing at a time because compounding is an important and powerful aspect of investing. This is actually not as common in personal finance advice as you might think. Those who start with just saving a few bucks regularly early in life will actually be better off than those who save up more of their income later in life.

I also liked the argument for having a single earner for many couples. After paying for child care and additional clothing, food, and transportation expenses, Dayton shows how one working wife earned an effective wage of $0.64 per hour on $18,000 of gross earnings over the course of a year. Many people don’t look at it this way, but it’s the rationale we used when my wife decided to stay at home with the kids. Low real earnings like this are also all too common. Overall, Your Money Map did a good job of showing how disciplined people can achieve financial independence over time.  If you’d like to check out this book and read it for yourself, I’d encourage you to scroll up and click the link near the top of the page

Disclaimer: If you decide to sign up for various programs or buy products from my referral links, I may receive compensation. You can get the same great benefits from just going to the websites themselves, but I definitely appreciate your support. It’s one of the ways I’m able to earn money in pajamas while helping others do the same. 

Earn Money in Pajamas While Shopping with Swagbucks

Now that the holidays are in full gear, a lot of people are already getting started on decorating their homes for the season. If you’re in that same boat, you can get great deals and cash back for shopping through Swagbucks! Just go here and see all of the great cash back you can get from some of your favorite stores. Here’s how it works:

1. Click here to see the stores offering deals and cash back.
2. Click through to the store(s) of your choice and do some shopping!
3. Get cash back in the form of points (called SB) that you can redeem for free gift cards so you can stretch your holiday (and decorating) budget even further!

As an extra bonus, if you’re not a Swagbucks member and join through my link (or you’ve joined through my link this month), you’ll get an one time 200 SB bonus when you spend $25 or more in any of the Swagbucks Shop stores before December 1st! Swagbucks is a great site where you earn SB points for doing every day things online like shopping, discovering deals, taking surveys, watching videos, searching the web, and more. The SB you earn, the more gift cards you can get, which are a HUGE help this time of year.

I’ve personally been able to earn more than $1,000 through Swagbucks. You can use the Swagbucks that you earn for PayPal cash, Amazon gift cards, or gift cards to a number of retailers or travel providers. I highly recommend this method of earning money in pajamas.

October 2016 Passive Dividend Income

Well, another month is nearly in the books. We’re now at the end of October, and now less than two months from Christmas. The market has been up and down over the course of the year, but most people have been able to make money if they’ve stayed invested in dividend-paying stocks. This is the type of investment that I’ve decided upon, as these companies actually pay me to own a part of them.

October was a pretty good month for me, going well in excess of my dividend income from the same month last year.  My dividend income should go up over time, but in the short term, it will probably go down a bit, as I’ve decided to sell most of my taxable holdings. I’ll probably explain this further in another post at a future date. I’ve rolled over a tax-deferred account from a previous employ into a traditional IRA, and I will be putting more money toward that in the future year after reading some really good information on tax-deferral from the Mad Fientist’s web site.  You can look at some cool stuff from the Mad Fientist regarding taxes and super charging your retirement portfolio here and here.  Basically, the less that you pay in taxes means more capital for saving for retirement. Therefore, I’m going to shift my focus up a bit and use my taxable account as more of a (hopefully) growing emergency fund that pays out a growing stream of dividends while I wait to need the money while leaving my IRA (and possibly other tax-deferred accounts) to grow until retirement.

Overall, I had four great companies that paid me over the course of October. Three of these should continue to pay me into the future. I trimmed Coca-Cola, but I completely sold out of Bank of Nova Scotia, although it will be on my radar for future purchases in a tax-deferred account. I’ve decided to utilize Loyal3 for my taxable purchases because of the low (i.e., free) transaction costs. I will also up my average purchase through TradeKing, which charges only $4.95 per purchase, to between $500 and $1,000 per transaction to keep the fee below 1%. You can sign up for TradeKing here and possibly get a $50 bonus after meeting some funding and purchasing requirements. I use TradeKing for my non-Loyal3 purchases.

Without stringing you along, here are the great companies that paid me during the month of October. I’ve broken them down by taxable and retirement accounts.

Taxable Accounts

Coca-Cola (KO)                                       $4.19

Kraft-Heinz (KHC)                                $0.34

Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS)               $5.11

Retirement Plan Dividends

General Electric (GE)                            $4.60

TOTAL Dividends for October       $14.24

These dividends bring my total dividend income for 2016 up to $116.17, and my $14.24 for the current month showed a 144 percent growth rate on a year-over-year basis. I should be ahead of this next year at this point again, if all goes as planned and I am able to continue putting more capital to work over time. Because of the stock sales that I noted earlier, my estimated dividend income for the coming year dropped to $130.31, but again, this should go up and exceed where it was as I make periodic purchases within my IRA. I plan to purchase between $500 and $1,000 a month until my transfer amount runs out. If the market crashes and burns before that, I’ll accelerate the purchases, as the best time to purchase stocks is the same as most as just about any other purchase–when they are on sale.

How did your dividend income look in October? Let me know in the comments.

If you’d like to keep up with my dividend income over time, feel free to go to the top of the page and follow me. You’ll only get emails when I actually make a new post, which is usually around five times in a month. In other words, your inbox will not get inundated with random emails.

Disclosure: I am long all stocks mentioned with the exception of BNS, which I sold in October.

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed financial professional. Be sure to do due diligence before investing in securities. This article is not a recommendation to buy a specific company. It is only for educational/entertainment purposes.

 

 

Making Money without Leaving the House