April 2017 Passive Dividend Income

Passive Dividend Income Builds Up Slowly But Surely

The month of April is not quite over yet, but my passive dividend income for April has all arrived in my accounts.  The end of the month is one of my favorite times, because I get to tally up the passive income that I earned from dividends over the previous 30 (or so) days.

April was the first month of the second quarter. This means that fewer companies tend to pay out, which hurts my income from my 401k fund. Regardless, all of the companies that I own continued to work making money for me.

Every share that I own is an ever-so-small slice of the company that issued the shares. In effect, I own 0.0000000001 percent of these companies (or some other such minuscule number). Regardless, I love the fact that they work on the other side of the world while I’m sleeping to make me money.

Regardless of what I do in a given month, I get paid. Of course, I have a regular job and work hard to supplement that income, but it’s good to know that I have a growing stream of passive dividend income. Here are the companies that paid me in April:

Passive Dividend Income For April 2017

Taxable Account:

Coca-Cola (KO)                                                                           $3.24

Traditional IRA:

Realty Income Corp (O)                                                          $2.11
General Electric (GE)                                                                $9.60

401k

JP Morgan Equity Income R5 (OIERX)                        $0.01

TOTAL DIVIDENDS FOR APRIL 2017:                         $14.96

Yes, I earned a whopping penny from my 401k. Not terribly impressive, but better than nothing, I suppose.

Year-To-Year Comparison

Admittedly, not even reaching $15 might cause frustration for many people. However, when I look at this amount and compare it to the same month last year, I earned only $8.90 last year. This means that I increased my dividend income by 68% in just 12 months.

Increases of this size will not continue indefinitely, but they are pretty cool. They also help me build up my passive dividend income. They are important building blocks toward my goal.

I’ve now earned $105.31 so far in 2017. At this point last year, I’d earned only $33.27. This means that my passive dividend income is up 217% in just a year’s time. Pretty cool. Onward and upward.

I have to point out one thing, however. I sold all of my taxable investments over the past month, because, as I noted  previously, Loyal3 is shutting down. As this was my taxable investment vehicle of choice, I sold out and put the money into my Traditional IRA, hoping to cut my taxes for 2017 in the process.

This means that you’ll no longer see some of the common dividend payers on my reports previously. I wanted to let you know why.

I replaced my taxable holdings with more AT & T. This brings my estimated dividend income (not counting the 401k) to $398.90 for the next 12 months. I’m only one more purchase or one more dividend raise from crossing over the $400 mark. Again, pretty cool stuff.

How was your dividend income for April? Let me know in the comments. I’ve also updated my passive dividend income page so you can see the growth of my income over time.

If you’d like to keep up with my progress, be sure to sign up for updates in the email signup box near the top of the page. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional financial advisor. I intend this information for informational and educational purposes only. Perform due diligence before investing in any equities. See my disclosures page for more information.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Top 5 Ways To Redeem Swagbucks

Some of my online earnings from searching the web that allow my to redeem Swagbucks
I got some online income from searching on Swagbucks.

I’ve recently been tracking my online earnings on this site, and if you’ve noticed, one of my top earnings sources is Swagbucks.  When I started this site, my first post detailed how to earn and redeem Swagbucks.  I’ve continued using Swagbucks since then, and I’m now up to nearly $1,600 in lifetime earnings.

You can read the review above or check out this e-Book to learn more about the part about earning Swagbucks. The earning process is only one part of achieving success with Swagbucks.

The digital currency, made up of points known as SBs, can really pay off with some great redemption options.  Here are five of the best options when it comes time to redeem Swagbucks.

5. Charitable Organizations

When you’re ready to redeem Swagbucks, you can put your SBs toward a few charitable organizations. It’s possible to donate 5 SBs (essentially $0.05) to great works like Doctors Without Borders or the Wounded Warrior Project.

There are other options for charitable contributions. Additionally, you can save up 2,500 SBs and get a $25 e-gift card that you can designate to one of about 150 charities.

4. Department Stores

Some of the leading retailers in America, like Kohl’s and Macy’s offer e-gift cards through Swagbucks. You can redeem Swagbucks for these gift cards that range from $10 all the way up to $250.

If you’re looking to earn a bit to offset the expense of Christmas and birthday gifts, Swagbucks can really help you out. These gift cards from leading retailers are just like cash, and you can earn them in your spare time.

Wal-Mart and Target are also great options for redeeming SBs. About 90% of Americans live within 15 minutes of a Wal-Mart. And Wal-Mart sells just..about…everything! Saving even $10 or $25 a month on groceries can really help your budget out.

Taking surveys earns Swagbucks
Earning from surveys allows me to redeem Swagbucks for PayPal cash.

3. Airline Gift Cards

If you like to travel without spending money, Swagbucks can help you out. You can redeem Swagbucks for e-gift cards on airlines like Southwest and Delta (currently offered at this writing, although American Airlines has also been featured as a reward option on the site).

2,200 SBs will get you a $25 e-gift card that can offset your expenses on a flight. Wait until you get up to 25,000, and you’ll be able to get a $250 gift card.

I’ve seen flights from Denver to LAX on Southwest for as little as $40 one-way during one of their famous fare sales. Throw in a few Hotels.com gift cards, and your trip to Disneyland could be quite a bit cheaper than you’d expect.

2. Amazon

Need I say more? AMAZON. You can literally get just about anything you want on this website. Auto parts? Check. Clothing? Check. Collectibles? Check. What started out as an online bookstore is now so much more.

When I first started earning on Swagbucks, I usually cashed out for $5 Amazon e-gift cards. These are still available, as well as higher denominations, and they can really help you out on Christmas presents.  However, they’re not my favorite redemption for my hard-earned SBs.

1. I Redeem Swagbucks For PayPal Cash

My favorite redemption option now is straight up cash. I have to take a couple of steps to convert my SBs to money in my checking account and then to my investment accounts, but it’s worth it.

I use my Swagbucks as soon as I can redeem for $25 in PayPal cash. This then ultimately ends up buying dividend stocks.  Hopefully, these dividends will go to buy more dividend stocks, so the money I earn with Swagbucks today will hopefully contribute to my income stream for the rest of my life (and possibly the lives of my kids and grandkids in the future).

If this all sounds too good to be true, it’s not. Like I said above, I’m near $1,600 in earnings with the site. You can sign up for Swagbucks here, and start earning today! If nothing else, you can earn from easy tasks like your Internet searches all without leaving the comfort of home.

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. I obviously appreciate any support you choose to give. You can just go to Swagbucks and earn as much, but I appreciate if you decide to click on my link. 

Be sure to sign up for my mailing list or to follow me via Twitter if you’ve found this article beneficial.

Swago For April: It’s Like Swagbucks Bingo


Swagbucks has one more bit of April fun – it’s the return of Swago! It’s just like bingo, but in this case you’re filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online.

The best part is that the points you get can be used to get free gift cards to places like Amazon, or PayPal cash!

Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points – if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 700 SB ($7) bonus!

Click here to sign up and get started! If you sign up through my link and earn 300 SB before May 1st, you’ll get a bonus 300 SB!

Loyal3 Is Shutting Down

Prioritize Your Finances to wind up with a suitcase of money
You won’t be maximizing your money with Loyal3 any more.

Back in 2015, I learned about a relatively new investing platform that allowed users to invest in increments as low as $10 per purchase. Additionally, you could buy partial shares, which made the opportunity even more attractive. This platform was Loyal3.  This actually got me to start investing. Unfortunately, after having used this online brokerage for about two years, I got an email that Loyal3 is shutting down.

Loyal3 Is Shutting Down

This email that I received from the company was a bit of a surprise, but not too big of one. The company did not charge any fees, claiming to make money from marketing the stock of the 60 or so companies that it provided for investors as well as the interest from holding onto cash that was not yet invested in an interest-bearing money market fund.

Loyal3 is shutting down.
Loyal3 is shutting down.

This did not seem like the most sustainable of business models, but because Loyal3 was a member of SIPC, I figured at the time that my investments were safe. I enjoyed the chance to build my investment holdings in small increments over time.

Many in the investing community advocate buying stock in increments of $1,000 or more because of fees that hurt long-term returns. This can make it difficult for small-time investors to begin the process of investing. It can also make diversification a very slow process. With Loyal3, I had as many as eight holdings at one time, built up with purchases that ranged between $10 and $200 for any single transaction.

This was a pretty cool deal.

But now it’s done.

What To Do Now?

Now that Loyal3 is shutting down, what is the small-time investor to do? There are some investing options that might work. RobinHood is one that comes to mind. I’ve not used this platform, but I’ve read about it. RobinHood requires investors to buy full shares, which makes the minimum investment a bit higher.

The email from Loyal3 indicated that those who choose to leave their holdings alone would automatically have them transferred to a new brokerage called FolioFirst. This new brokerage, according to the email, is just for Loyal3 clients. The offerings for FolioFirst accounts will grow to around 200 companies and funds, which is good. Then comes the bad news.

There are still free trades( at least up to 2,000 a month), but the new outfit is going to start charging a $5 monthly fee per account. The minimum investment will now go up to $25 from $10. $5 a month might not sound like much, but it would add up to $60 a year.

Let’s say that a new investor has $50 a month to invest. This fee would mean that the investor would go from paying $0 with Loyal3 to paying $60 with the new FolioFirst platform. That’s a fee that would take up 10 percent of the total investments for the first year. Admittedly, the fee would go down over time as more money gets invested, but it would slow down the growth process quite a bit.

Investors with Loyal3 also have the option of instigating an account transfer to the brokerage of their choice. Option 3 involves selling all shares and then cashing them out.

What Am I Doing?

After getting the email that Loyal3 is shutting down, I decided that I’d opt for the third option. My account has some modest gains. I figured that my $100 in gains would cost me about $20 in taxes at most. Not too bad.

Furthermore, I also took into account the fact that I’m investing for dividend income. With the current size of my account, I’d have to pay about 4 percent of its value in account fees over the next year. That’s more than the roughly 3 percent yield that I’m earning on my holdings.

I’m planning to take the proceeds and invest them into my IRA account with TradeKing. This will provide a positive tax effect because I’ll be able to cut my current-year income by the amount I invest and then save 15 percent of the investment in deferred taxes.

I am planning to make one major purchase or two smaller purchases with the proceeds. This will not have me as diversified as I was, but it will cost me a max of $9.90 in trading fees, which is much less than the $60 I’d lose when looking at the monthly fees that FolioFirst would charge.

I can also buy REITs, telecoms, and utilities that pay higher dividend yields, so my overall dividend income for the next 12 months will probably go up with the purchases.

Conclusion

Loyal3 is shutting down. This is sad in one regard. Small-time investors who are getting started will have one less option when it comes to making small purchases and not having to pay major fees.

I’m cashing out and cutting my current-year taxes by putting the proceeds into a traditional IRA. I should also see a bit of a bump in my annual dividend income as a result.

Get 15 Percent Cash-Back on Steak ‘N Shake

Steak ‘N Shake is one of my favorite restaurants. The food is done pretty quickly, it’s pretty tasty, and it’s a good value.

If you love Steak ‘N Shake, you can get a 15% cashback when you purchase Steak ‘N Shake gift cards from MyGiftCardsPlus, which is a site that gives you cash back when you buy gift cards to your favorite retailers.

The cash back is paid in the form of SB points on Swagbucks, which you can turn into free gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, or PayPal. You can take advantage of this deal by clicking here, and if you don’t already have a Swagbucks account, you can create one there so you get your SB points for your purchase!

This is a limited time offer that’s good through this April 30th or until supplies run out, whichever happens first!

How To Free Up Money To Start Your Side Hustle

A side hustle can help you make more money.
Photo Credit: FirmBee via Pixabay (public domain)

The following post has been contributed by Drew Cloud of the Student Loan Report.

Debt has become a way of life in the United States, with the average household now owing more than $100,000 in debt. From credit card balances to mortgages, car loans and student loans, Americans are taking on more debt than ever before. It often leads to issues in setting your priorities straight. Owing money can be incredibly stressful — and it can also make it hard for people to get out of debt. One method that many people may want to use to dig their way out of a financial hole is through a side hustle.

Those looking to start a side hustle may want to start driving for a ride sharing company, like Uber or Lyft, or perhaps they want to start selling their crafts online. Whatever their side hustle may be, they need the cash to start it up — but how is that possible if they are already in significant debt?

Freeing up money to earn money can be incredibly challenging when you are already carrying large amounts of debt. For example, the average American household has nearly $17,000 in credit card debt, over $176,000 in mortgage debt and almost $50,000 in student loan debt. With numbers like this, it can seem impossible to put together enough money to start up a side gig. But there are ways to start chipping away at that debt — and free up money to start your side hustle.

Refinancing Can Free Up Money For A Side Hustle

When it comes to mortgages and student loans, refinancing may be the right choice to help you lower your monthly payment and reduce the total amount of interest you pay over the life of your loan. A refinanced loan will typically have a lower, fixed interest rate and potentially a shorter repayment term.

When you refinance your loan, you are applying for a new loan that will be used to pay off the old loan (or in the case of student loans, multiple loans). The interest rate for this new loan will be based on a number of factors, such as your credit score, income and history of making on-time payments. If you initially applied for your mortgage or student loans when you had a lower income or credit score, refinancing can be a great way to get a lower interest rate — and to lower your monthly payments as a result.

Online repayment calculators can help you figure out if refinancing will save you money. For student loans, several sites such as my own website (studentloans.net) allow you to compare rates from a number of lenders so that you can be sure that you are getting a great deal.

Personal Loans

For credit cards, you can apply for a personal loan to pay off all of your debts with one loan. This could include medical bills, balances on credit cards and more. Credit cards tend to charge high interest rates, with compounding interest. This means that the interest charges are added to the principal amount owed and any accrued interest, so that you will be paying interest on top of interest. Credit cards may also have variable interest rates that could go up significantly based on a number of factors, like if you miss a payment.

A personal loan with a low, fixed interest rate can help you get a handle on your credit card debt, making it far easier to pay off your credit cards. Loan interest rates are determined by your credit history and whether the loan is secured or unsecured, and are usually fixed for the life of the loan. If you are approved for a debt consolidation loan, you’ll make fixed monthly payments for the loan term (usually two to five years). Making a single payment each month may be particularly helpful for anyone who has a hard time keeping up with multiple payments on different debts.

Refinancing your mortgage and student loans and using personal loans to pay off your credit cards are two ways that you can reduce your debt to help free up money to start your side hustle. Once you have paid down your debt, you will then be able to more fully commit to your side gig, whether it involves setting up your own crafting business, driving on the weekends, or any other type of work.

Drew Cloud started The Student Loan Report when he found it difficult to find student loan information in one place. He now regularly writes about the latest student loan news as well as advice articles for those in college as well as for graduates working to repay their debt.

The April Swagbucks Team Challenge


Easter is bringing with it another fun team challenge to help you earn SB from Swagbucks! For those of you who don’t know what Swagbucks is, it’s a website where you can earn cash back on everyday tasks you do online like shopping, answering surveys, discovering deals, and watching videos. You can even earn for searching the web!

If you’ve never tried Swagbucks before because you didn’t know where to begin, their Team Challenges are a great way to learn the ropes! Their latest, the “Egg-cellent” Team Challenge, begins Monday, April 17th.
Here’s how you can join the challenge and the site:

1. Click here to join the challenge and be assigned to a team. Pre-registration is going on right now! If you don’t already have an account, you can sign up on this page as well.

2. Starting April 17th at 8am PDT, in addition to earning SB you’ll contribute points to your teams total as you complete different activities on Swagbucks.

3. Check back on the page often to see the scores and what you’ve contribute so far.

All members who participate and contribute at least 400 points to their team’s total will receive a SB bonus in the form of a SB Swag Up Rebate on their next gift card!

Not only that, but if you earn 300 SB before May 1st, you’ll get a 300 SB bonus (as long as you’ve signed up under me)!

Members of the 1st place team will receive a 50 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 25 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 3rd place team will receive a 10 SB Swag Up Rebate. Your SB Swag Up Rebate will be made available on Friday, April 21st and will expire on Sunday, May 7th 11:59pm PT

Big Cash Back With Swagbucks Shopping Through Easter


Spring has sprung and at Swagbucks, the deals are in full bloom. They’re giving back BIG Cash Back on your favorite merchants. If you haven’t heard of Swagbucks, when you shop there you get cash back in the form of SB points for every dollar you spend. Then you redeem those points for gift cards to places like Amazon, PayPal, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, and more! Sign up here to get started

The weekend is upon us and the weather is warming up, so now’s the perfect time to do a little shopping! Need to update your wardrobe for the new season? Check out all the great Cash Back deals you can earn at:

JCPenney – 15% Cash Back
Nike – 20% Cash Back
Macy’s – 12% Cash Back
Gap – 8% Cash Back

Looking to do some spring cleaning and organizing? Check out great deals at these retailers:

Home Depot = 3% Cash Back
Target = 4% Cash Back
Walmart = Up to 8% Cash Back
Lowe’s = 3% Cash Back

Plus, if you’ve signed up through my links at some point this month (or do it now), you’ll get a $2 (200 SB) bonus added to your account when you get your shopping SB!

You can earn SB in all sorts of ways, including discovering deals and trying new products/services, watching videos, taking surveys, or just searching the web!

Hurry though, because this deal ends on the 16th!

Online Earnings for March 2017

Many, if not most, Americans live on a paycheck-to-paycheck basis. This makes it hard for most people to build up wealth. When you spend pretty much every penny that you make, it’s hard to build up a nest egg. This is where online earnings that can supplement the money you get from your regular job.

Prioritize Your Finances to wind up with a suitcase of money
Online earnings can build up a nice nest egg over time.

While many people do quite well financially, there are more that have a job that pays little. These people frequently look to the side hustle. This is the reason I started to look for ways to make money online about a decade ago.

It’s definitely helped improve my financial position over what it would have been had I not started. My online earnings have increased over time. Some months’ I’ll do pretty well; others, I’ll make less. The way I look at it, though, any extra money that I can bring in will help me build wealth over time.

Back in February, I made just above $200, which was less than the $334 that I made in January. Now it’s time to check my online earnings for March.

Online Earnings for March 2017

Freelance Writing:                   $241.55
Swagbucks:                                  $75.00

TOTAL for March 2017:       $316.55

While this amount of online earnings was less than it was in January, it was more than I earned in February. I earned from two freelance sites. I usually write about finance, but will occasionally take a job for a different topic like travel.

I’ve also gone over $1,500 lifetime earnings on Swagbucks. If you’ve not yet signed up for Swagbucks, you can do so by clicking on the previous link. You can also learn about some of the methods that I use to earn money on Swagbucks and how this could build up to a nice chunck of change over time from this short and relatively inexpensive book on building wealth with Swagbucks:

How To Earn Money With Swagbucks In Your Spare Time To Build Wealth

I’m keeping up with my online earnings to show you, my readers, how it can be done. I started making money on the Internet nearly 10 years ago, and I’ve increased this over time. You’ll probably not get rich over time, but you can earn money and supplement your income. You can make this money in your pajamas without leaving home, and it can really go a long way to helping you improve your personal finances.

March 2017 Passive Dividend Income

Passive Dividend Income Builds Up Slowly But Surely

Yet another month has come and gone. I don’t like new months for one reason, as they seem to be coming more quickly as I get older. I do, however, enjoy them for another reason, because they give a great chance to look back. One of the best things to look back over is passive dividend income.

As you might already know, I’ve decided to embark upon a path of building a growing stream of passive dividend income. The strategy involves buying stock in a few high-quality companies. These companies have many employees who work hard every day.

They also tend to make lots of money, and part of the money that they make comes back to me in the form of dividends. These are cash payments that I can use for pretty much whatever I want. At this point in life, I’m using them to buy more stock. Which leads to more dividends. Which leads to more stock. And on and on this virtuous cycle should go.

Passive Dividend Income for March 2017

March was a great month for earning dividends. I had several companies and funds that paid out in the month. One was even unexpected. Kraft-Heinz switched up from paying out in the first month of the quarter to the third month. It’s no big deal, but it does make my first month income look smaller. Oh well, first world problem, for sure. Here are the great companies that paid me passive dividend income during the month of March:

Taxable Account

Unilever (UL)                                                                           $0.33
McDonald’s (MCD)                                                             $2.79
Kraft-Heinz (KHC)                                                               $1.72

Traditional IRA

Southern Co. (SO)                                                             $16.80
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)                                               $8.00
Realty Income Corp (O)                                                   $2.11

401k

JP Morgan Equity Income R5 (OIERX)                  $2.23
Cohen and Steers Realty Shares (CSRSX)            $8.18

TOTAL FOR MARCH 2017:   $42.16

Year-to-Year Comparison

When adding up all of these dividend payments, they come up to $42.16 for the month of March. This is an increase of nearly 210 percent over the $13.62 of passive dividend income that I received in the same month last year.

My dividend income  for 2017 is now up to $90.35 for the year. I was at a little less than $25 at this point last year. My $42.16 in dividend income would have bought me just north of 2 hours of freedom in March, based upon my estimate of needing $20/hour of passive income to keep up my standard of living without full-time work. My monthly passive dividend income page that tracks my progress over time has an update with this information.

How was your dividend income for March? Let us know in the comments.

If you’d like to keep up with my progress, be sure to sign up for updates in the email signup box near the top of the page. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional financial advisor. I intend this information for informational and educational purposes only. Perform due diligence before investing in any equities. See my disclosures page for more information.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

Making Money without Leaving the House