$8 and 2 Free Books


Swagbucks is running a great deal where you get 800 SB (equivalent of $8) when you get two free Puzzle Buzz books for your kids from Highlights! You pay $2.98 in shipping and handling, meaning that you walk away with a $5 gift card of your choice. This deal is running through the rest of March and is perfect for the little readers in your life. Even the youngest child learns to tackle activities independently — and puzzle-solving skills grow.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Click here to get to the deal and create your Swagbucks account if you don’t have one. You’ll be my referral!

2. Click “Continue” and complete the offer. Your SB will be credited almost instantly!

3. If you’re signing up as my referral, you’ll get an additional 300 SB bonus for completing this offer, meaning that you’ll net $8:

Complete offer: $8
Bonus: $3
Shipping and Handling: -$2.98
Net bonus: $8.02

If you’re not familiar with Swagbucks, it’s a rewards site where you earn points called SB for discovering deals (like this one), online shopping, taking surveys, watching videos, and even searching the web. Then you can turn those points into gift cards from places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, PayPal, and more!

Free Honeymoon With Two Credit Card Bonuses

Weddings can be a pretty expensive proposition. The average cost of a wedding in the US is more than $26,000, although most people spend less than $10,000. I guess the multiple Kardashian weddings skew the number up. After spending all of that money on a wedding, who wants to spend lots on a honeymoon? Yet many Americans do. They don’t have to, as there are ways to get a free honeymoon.

I Did Not Get A Free Honeymoon

I recently wrote a post related to how I got involved in travel hacking.  It was quite eyeopening to learn that I could travel for pennies on the dollar. However, this knowledge came a bit late for my own honeymoon. My honeymoon was probably the last major trip I took at full price. Had I known about the ease of scoring frequent flyer miles, my trip to Cancun would have been quite a bit cheaper.

A free honeymoon to Puerto Vallarta is possible.
A view of the pool and ocean and the Puerto Vallarta Marriott, photo by author

You Can Get A Free Honeymoon

Through the use of travel hacking, you can get a free honeymoon. All that it takes is a couple of strategic credit card signup bonuses. I do want to note that by free, I’m referring to highly discounted flights and hotel rooms. Food, ground transportation, and attractions would require more than the two signups that the title suggests. There are taxes on any flights that you can’t get around easily without certain credit cards that give credits for purchases. Additionally, there is the possibility that the hotel will charge a resort fee.

Get The Starwood Preferred Guest Card

Until April 5, 2017, the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card (link with higher signup bonus good until April 5, 2017) is offering a 35,000 point signup bonus with 25,000 paid out after spending $3,000 within three months and another 10,000 paid out after spending an additional $2,000 in the first six months on the personal version. You’d need to spend $5,000 and $3,000  over the same time frames to get the same bonus on the business version. **Please note that you cannot get this bonus if you’ve ever earned it before.

This 35,000 bonus is the highest that anyone has ever seen for the great card. With the recent merger between Marriott and Starwood, it may disappear in short order, so the time to apply is now.

While this number of points might not sound as impressive as some other cards that might be offering 50,000 or even 100,000, it can actually provide even more value.

When I first started reading travel hacking websites a few years ago, this card was the number one recommendation for everyday spending. Users of the Starwood Preferred Guest (personal and business versions) can transfer to just about any airline that has a frequent flyer program. These points transfer at a 1:1 ratio in most, but not all, instances.

A Room at the Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino in Oranjestat
You could use your points for a room like this one that I enjoyed at the Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino.

Transfer Starwood Points To Marriott

Those who transfer in 20,000 point batches get a 5,000 mile bonus. This results in what is effectively 1.25 miles per dollar spent, which is a pretty good deal.

However, for the strategy that I’m recommending, you’d want to transfer these points to Marriott Rewards. Marriott recently bought out Starwood, and those who have an account with both programs can link and transfer back and forth between them. Starwood points are worth 3 Marriott Rewards points each.

If you spend the required $5,000 to get the 35,000 bonus points, you’d also earn at least 5,000 additional points at one point per dollar of spending. These 40,000 would then equal 120,000 Marriott Rewards points.

If your spouse-to-be has not earned the bonus before and you still have some wedding expenses coming up, you both could possibly get the bonus by applying before April 5. These two bonuses would equal 240,000 Marriott Rewards points, and you’d be set. I’ll show you how below.

Sign Up For the Marriott Rewards Card

If you’ve only signed up for one of the Starwood cards, your second application should be the Marriott Rewards Premier card (sign up the the highlighted link–I may receive bonus points if you do, and I’d definitely appreciate your support–this is the highest offer currently available so you lose nothing by using my link).

This card offers an 80,000 point bonus after spending at least $3,000 in the first 90 days after your application. This will result in at least 83,000 points. 80,000 of these points will come from the bonus, and the additional 3,000 Marriott Rewards points will come from meeting the minimum spend.

You’ll earn one point per dollar spent on everything outside of restaurants and travel. These purchases earn two points per dollar.  Additionally, purchases at Marriott properties earn five points per dollar.

If the Marriott Rewards Premier Card is your second card, you’d now have at least 203,000 points after transferring the points from the Starwood card. If you both decide to get a Starwood card and then get the Marriott card, you’d then have more than 320,000 points should you be able to meet the required spend.

This is where it gets really, really interesting and where the free honeymoon comes into play.

Get A Marriott Vacation Package

Marriott is pretty unique among loyalty programs, because it provides the option of getting a week at a hotel AND frequent flyer miles. For 200,000 Marriott Rewards points, you could stay a week at any of their category 1-5 hotels and get 50,000 miles in most domestic airline programs (as well as a few international ones).  These miles could get you to many places throughout the continental United States, including California and Florida.

The 320,000 points that you could get should you choose to get two Starwood cards (one for you and your significant other) and a Marriott card would get you 7 nights in a category 6 hotel and 120,000 miles. This would be enough miles for a trip to Europe for both of you in economy class. You could also get 7 nights in a category 7 hotel and 100,000 miles, which would be enough for a trip to Hawaii if you can find availability.

If you both got a Starwood card and a Marriott card, you’d have more than 400,000 Marriott Rewards points available, and that would score you a week at just about any Marriott property in the world and some lower level Ritz Carlton properties.  You can search the various Marriott vacation package options at the Marriott site.  These options open the possibility of a free honeymoon to just about anyone who has solid credit.

March Swagbucks Team Challenge

Here’s 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 Spring Reading Team Challenge, begins Monday, March 20th.

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 March 20th at 8am PT, 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 April 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, March 24th and will expire on Sunday, April 9th 11:59pm PT

Online Earnings For February 2017

Some of my online earnings came from Swagbucks
I earned some of my online earnings from Swagbucks.

I’ve decided that it would be a good idea to track my online earnings this year. I used to do this when I started my site a little more than four years ago, but dropped out of the habit. I’ve since started tracking passive income from dividends. I believe that passive income is the best income, and that dividends are the best form of passive income.

Passive Income Does Not Build Itself

However, to build up passive income, I need to earn income from active work. This is necessary because passive income does not create itself. It’s a function of earning money off of capital invested in anything from pork bellies to gold to stock in great companies.

Starting around 2008, I began earning a bit of extra money online. I took a big pay cut to start a job that I really wanted. There was the possibility of this job becoming a great career, and it did. However, the financial remuneration at the time was not the best. I had a new and growing family, and I had no desire to work retail if I could avoid it I therefore started to focus on online earnings so that I could make money without leaving the house outside of my day job.

This effort started to pay off nearly immediately, and I’ve not had to go back to working in retail or fast food to make ends meet since. Some months I make more; some months I make less. Regardless, the additionally money outside of my day job has really helped my standard of living. I made money online via two different avenues during the month of February 2017.

Online Earnings For February 2017

Swagbucks:                                                               $25.00
Freelance Writing:                                               $176.87

Total Online Earnings, 2/17:                          $201.87

This was less than the $334.60 that I earned online in January, but it was still a nice little bit of income that helped me toward my overall financial goals of building up passive income. Part of the money that I made in February went toward buying quality dividend stocks that should pay me passive income for years into the future. Hopefully, I’ll make more in March that can help propel me further. I’m hoping that both my online earnings and my passive income will snowball in the future.

March Bonus for Signing Up for Swagbucks


March is here, and it’s bringing you the chance to get a $5 bonus from Swagbucks! Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a $5 bonus! Here’s how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 4/1/17. You’ll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!

3. If you spend at least $25 through Swagbucks Shop* you’ll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus on top of the cash back you’ll get from shopping. If you have some shopping to do online, just go to Swagbucks first and visit the store through them. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but you’ll get SB points for every dollar you spend (on top of the bonus)!

That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I’ve earned more than $1,400 from doing easy tasks like watching videos and searching the web. I use most of my earnings to buy dividend stocks that then pay me over time. The best part about these cashouts is that they will pay me well into the future. It’s really easy to earn.

Passive Dividend Income for February 2017

Passive Dividend Income Builds Up Slowly But Surely
The month of February is not quite up, but I’ve already gotten all of my passive dividend income payments for the month.  I always enjoy looking back over the month that was and add up my dividend earnings. Dividends are my favorite form of passive income because they come in whether I have work or not.  As I’ve said many times before, passive income is the best income.

I own some great companies that pay me on a regular basis. These companies sell their wares around the world every day. They have workers who are dedicated to serving their clients, and I’m not one of them.  These workers show up to do their jobs when I don’t have to. I have weekends off, but companies like Starbucks (SBUX) sell coffee each and every day in just about every time zone known to man. This is a really cool concept that allows me to build wealth.

Passive Dividend Income For February 2017

I earned multiple payments in February 2017. Three companies and one fund paid me basically for existing. Without holding you in suspense any longer, here is my passive dividend income for the month that was:

Taxable Account:

Starbucks (SBUX)                                                   $1.12

IRA

Realty Income Corp (O)                                      $2.11
Omega Healthcare Investors (OHI)         $31.00

401K

JP Morgan Equity Income RF (OIERX)     $2.33

TOTAL dividends, 2/17                                   $36.56

By looking at my passive dividend income for February, I was able to earn $36.56. I like to compare my income on a year-over-year basis, and in February 2016, I earned $6.27. This was more than $30 less than my earnings just one year later, which means my passive dividend income grew by more than 500 percent in just one year. I have to say I’m happy with this result. However, I don’t assume that this will continue indefinitely.

It’s evident that OHI was my biggest payer for the month. I don’t really like the outsized income that I get from one company, so I’m hoping that I can diversify more so that my income is not so dependent upon one company.

When I add my January income to my income from February, I’m now up to $48.19 in passive dividend income for 2017. It was June before I passed this amount of income in 2016, so I’m definitely thrilled with this progress

Hours of Freedom Earned

I like to track how much freedom my dividend income provides me each month. I have a forward estimated dividend income of $322.95 for the next 12 months. This means that I now have about 16 hours of freedom built up for the next 12 months.

I argue that I would need to earn $20 an hour to maintain a similar standard of living to what I currently have. This figure is arrived at with the assumption that I would not be paying toward retirement or Social Security. Additionally, I would have fewer expenses associated with work like an occasional meal out and commuting.

16 hours of freedom is the equivalent of 1 hour, 20 minutes a month. If I look at my income from February only, it would have nearly bought me 2 hours of freedom. It’s not quite the 170 hours that I’d normally work for a month, but it’s a start.  I enjoy looking at the upward trend, however.

How was your passive dividend income for February? 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

 

Get Paid To Try Hulu


If you’ve been thinking about trying Hulu, this is the time to do it. Thanks to an offer through Swagbucks, you get $25 (paid in the form of points called SB) for trying Hulu for a month. That will cost you $7.99, so you’re making $17 on the deal!

Hulu has tons of current and classic programming, movies, brilliant original series, and more. Here’s how you do it:

1. Click this link.
2. Create your Swagbucks account (takes 30 seconds)
3. Click “Continue” and sign up for Hulu
4. Enjoy Hulu! You should have your points within 30 minutes.

Haven’t tried Swagbucks yet? They’re a site where you earn points (called SB) for doing things like online shopping, watching videos, taking surveys, and discovering deals and services you might like to try (like Hulu!). You then take those points and turn them into free gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

This is a great time to join because when you sign up through the link above and get your 2000 SB, you’ll get a bonus 300 SB at the beginning of March. So that’s $25 (2500 SB) for trying Hulu plus your $3 (300 SB) bouns, which gets you 2800 SB, which means you make $20 total just for watching TV!

Online Earnings For January 2017

The title of this site is Earn Money In Pajamas. I like earning money while sitting at home and watching TV or hanging out  with the family. I can earn money at home at just about any time that I’m not at my day job. The money that I earn online goes toward investing and toward paying bills. It also goes toward paying off debts.  I’m again tracking my online earnings.

Online Earnings Can Add Up
A $500 bill, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

I used to keep up with how much money I made each month. I set online earnings goals for the first couple of years that I kept this site up. The past couple of years, however, I’ve slipped up on this process. I’ve been focusing upon earning money online, but I’ve been reporting on the money that I’ve made from dividend income.

Dividend income is a great method of earning money in pajamas. I own teeny little slices of companies that pay me a portion of their profits. All I have to do is wake up and get the notification that I’ve earned a dividend.  This is an example of passive income, which I firmly believe is the best form of income.

Online Earnings For January

I’ve also been involved in active income in the past couple of years, and one of the methods that I’ve continued to earn money is via online activities. After giving it some thought, I decided that I might give regular updates to show you that it’s possible to earn money online (in your pajamas) in 2017. Here is what I earned via online activity in 2017:

Swagbucks:                                      $75.00
Freelance Writing:                      $259.60

Total Online Earnings 1/17:  $334.60

I can’t complain. The money that I’ve earned with Swagbucks has gone toward purchasing stock in high-quality companies. The rest of the online earnings that I’ve accumulated over the month have yet to be spent on anything. I would like to invest them, but I need to build up some emergency savings. How did you do via online earnings last month?

Top 8 Ideas To Stay On Top Of Personal Finances In 2017

The following was contributed by Amy Nickson:

Many people ignore their personal financial health because they know fixing the problem is not an easy task. However, many people don’t even know where to start. Most of them ignore the idea of staying top of their personal finances, but instead of ignoring, you must take care of your personal finances to see good results in the coming year.

If you’re not sure where to start, this article may help you. Read carefully:

1. Keep Your Household Budget in Order

Once you create a budget system according to your financial ability, you can manage emergencies, save money for the future, and make some additional expenditures. A budget also teaches you how to overcome bad financial habits as well. Once you start following a suitable budget, you’ll be able to know the amount you spend and the amount you save. Thus, you can seek to save more after meeting your daily necessities.

Be Sure to Balance Your Budget
Be sure to balance your budget

2. Take Advantage of Free Budgeting Tools and Apps to Create Your Budget

Budgeting is not as scary as many people think. Many budgeting tools and apps are available online. If budgeting sounds dull, then install a free budgeting app on your smartphone and start using it. Soon you can see the positive results in your personal financial health.

3. Save More Money Than the Previous Year

Saving money is the only way to stay top of your finances throughout the year. If you have saved 15% of your income as of now, then try to increase your savings percentage in this year. Set aside 20% of your monthly income to save more than before. Don’t use the savings account for day to day purchases. Allow the money to grow and keep saving for a longer time. Thus, you will be able to build up a solid financial cushion.

4. Manage Your Debts to Stay on Top of Your Personal Finances

If you are carrying high-interest credit card debts, then you can consider a balance transfer to a credit card that offers low-interest rates. Try to find out a credit card that doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee. Don’t miss any monthly payment to avoid charges.

You may not be able to pay off all of your personal debts (credit cards debts, student loan debts) within few months, but you should start making extra payments towards your debts to pay them off as early as you can. Save money every month to make some extra payments toward your highest-interest debts.

For example,

If you’re planning a splurge of $100 this weekend, then use the money to make extra debt payments instead of splurging on something you don’t need.

This way strategy will be more beneficial in the long run by allowing you to be a debt-free person.

5. Start Funding a Retirement Account

If you don’t have a retirement fund yet, then open an account and start funding. If your workplace has a 401 (k) plan or an IRA, then take advantage of them to get the tax benefit as well. Remember, there is no particular time or age to invest money for your retirement years. The earlier you think about your retirement, the sooner you secure your financial future. Try to put money into a retirement account as soon as possible to take advantage of compounding.

6. Ask for a Raise

If you’re working hard and performing well in your workplace, then this is the right time to ask for a raise. Approach to your employer to attempt to get paid according to your capability. You can also consider a side hustle to boost your income. Go online to get a sample of ideas.

7. Financial Trouble? Seek Professional Help

Knowing the exact solution for each personal financial problem is not possible for most people. To get proper guidance and solutions, seek professional help. A financial advisor can help suggest the right option that helps you make the right decision.

For example:

Consider professional help before investing money, making a will, and taking out a loan.

8. Utilize the Internet and Subscribe to Coupons

Couponing is one of the most effective ways to save money in your daily life. It helps to save money on groceries and other household expenses. If you have a smartphone and an Internet connection, then you can sign up with many manufacturers’ websites to find branded coupons. Many companies offer coupons on a regular basis on the Internet so you must keep eyes open to grab some great deals on regular purchases.

Finally, setting financial goals is important, but set realistic and achievable goals. Don’t imagine yourself as a multimillionaire at the beginning of your personal financial career. There is no such shortcut to becoming rich. You must earn money and save money with determination. Research well and read more to invest your money for the best return. Thus, you can ensure your personal financial health in future.

Author’s Bio: Amy Nickson is a web enthusiast. She works for Oak View Law Group, a leading consumer and bankruptcy law firm based in CA and operational across US. She loves social media, as it gives her endless opportunities to reach out to a larger audience in a more unbiased way.

Image Credit: stevepb via pixabay

Earn From Swagbucks Local

You’ve probably heard me talk about Swagbucks before. It’s the site where you get points (called SB) for doing things like shopping, discovering deals, watching videos, taking surveys, and searching the web. Then you turn those points in free gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Target, and PayPal cash.

Swagbucks is at its best when they’re paying you to do something you’d already do online, and now they’re taking that concept into thousands of restaurants around the country with the SB Local app for iOS and Android. Starting on 2/2 and running through Sunday, 2/5, they have a killer deal running – here’s how you can take advantage of it:

1. Click here to download the Swagbucks Local app. You can create your Swagbucks account if you’re new to it.
2. Sign in with your Swagbucks account information.
3. Link your first debit/credit cards to your Swagbucks Local app and get an instant 100 SB!
4. Use your linked card to pay at thousands of participating locations! If you spend $20 or more before Monday, February 6th, you’ll get a 300 SB bonus! That bonus will be paid out by 5pm PST on February 10th.

If you’re also signing up for Swagbucks for the first time and use my link, that means you’ll get another
300 SB bonus. We’re talking about $7 plus for going out to eat!

Some more info about SB Local:
Soon after paying with your linked card, you will see the transaction show up in your Swagbucks Local Activity ledger. Your SB earned will be calculated on the transaction amount before taxes and tip. Swagbucks Local is currently supported in the following metropolitan areas: San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, Ventura County, Dallas, Atlanta, Washington DC, Phoenix, Houston, Denver, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Cincinnati, Seattle, Fort Lauderdale and Chicago. New cities added on a regular basis, and you’ll get the 100 SB bonus for linking your first card even if you don’t live in one of the cities listed above!

Making Money without Leaving the House