Money August 2017

August Team Challenge on Swagbucks–Luau Theme

The following is a sponsored post.

Put on your lei, enjoy some Slack-key guitar, and get ready to eat some Kalua Pork, because Swagbucks is holding a Luau Team Challenge to help you earn free gift cards! 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! The challenge, begins Monday, August 14th at 8am PT, but you can pre-register starting on Friday, August 11th!

Here’s how you can join the challenge and the site:

1. Click here to join the challenge and be assigned to a team.

2. Starting August 14th 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 600 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 sign up under me this month and earn 300 SB before September 1st, you’ll get a 300 SB bonus!

Members of the 1st place team will receive a 100 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 50 SB Swag Up Rebate, and members of the 3rd place team will receive a 30 SB Swag Up Rebate. Your SB Swag Up Rebate will be made available on Friday, August 18th at 2pm PT and will expire on Thursday, August 31st at 11:59pm PT.

Money August 2017

5 Reasons Why You Need An Emergency Fund

This site uses affiliate links. I may be compensated should you sign up with one of these links. I appreciate any support that you might provide in this manner. 

5 reasons why you need an emergency fund
Photo via Pixabay, CCO, edited by author.

 

You need an emergency fund. A recent study showed that a majority of Americans,  57 percent in fact, cannot handle an unexpected $500 expense. That’s a pretty sobering statistic.

This means that nearly 3 in 5 Americans lack a savings account with at least $500 in it. If you’ve already saved this much, you’re actually ahead of the masses.

Keep in mind that the median household income is about $53,000 and the 60th percentile for income is around$66,500. This means that people who earn more than $60,000 quite possibly have less than $500 easily accessible for an emergency.

Reason #1 Why You Need an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund can take care of unexpected expenses.

Unexpected expenses happen. No one really likes a busted radiator or a leaky pipe. However, these problems are likely to happen at some point in our lives. If you’ve not had one of these issues arise yet, you’re likely to experience them in the near future.

The problem with unexpected expenses is the fact that they’re…well…unexpected. You can’t figure on your sewer pipe collapsing today. It’s actually happened to me, and since it was outside the walls of my house, insurance didn’t take care of most of the expense. Had I not had some money stashed away, this could have been an even bigger problem.

If you have an emergency fund, you’ll be more likely to be able to handle these problems when they arise. Many financial experts, like Dave Ramsey recommend that you start with an emergency fund of $500 to $1,000.

Reason #2 Why You Need An Emergency Fund

An emergency fund can keep you out of debt.

I hate debt. Unfortunately, I’ve been in debt to some degree or another for a while. Of course, most of this is related to purchasing a house. I don’t want to go into debt for everyday purchases like food.

When the radiator busts, you need to fix it or have your car blow up. You probably need a car to get to work. You also need to eat. The physical necessity of food does not go away just because your refrigerator decides to die.

If you have $500 or $1,000 saved up for emergencies, you don’t have to go into debt to get a serviceable refrigerator or fix a radiator while also eating. Which logically brings us to the third reason why you need an emergency fund.

Reason #3 Why You Need An Emergency Fund

An emergency fund can minimize stress.

Have you been in a situation where you had a financial need and a lack of cash to pay for it? I know I have. This typically leads to debt. If you look up to reason #2 above, you’ll see that I HATE debt. I want it gone.

If I can easily take care of a $500 or $1,000 expense with some funds that I’ve set aside t o deal with the unexpected, I’ll probably have less stress in my life. The reasons for this are related to the stress that financial catastrophes bring.

People who are living paycheck-to-paycheck are more likely to have marital problems. They are more likely to have short tempers with their kids.

If you have an emergency fund built up, the little unexpected expense can roll off you like water off a duck’s back.

Reason #4 Why You Need An Emergency Fund

An emergency fund can help you through a job loss.

The fourth reason why you need an emergency fund is the fact that it can help you through a job loss. Dave Ramsey calls the $1,000 emergency fund a baby emergency fund.

After you’ve built up the $1,000 emergency fund, most financial gurus recommend that you save up between 3 and 6 months of expenses. Why? Job losses happen, and they’re one of the biggest financial catastrophes that most people can experience.

Usually, some unemployment insurance will kick in, but it will be far from enough to meet your expenses in most instances. This is where the 3- or 6-month e-fund can bridge the gap between jobs, which will help with reason 3 above–cutting down on stress!

I would point out that there is an outlier when it comes to amount you need. Suze Orman actually recommends having 8 months of expenses squirreled away in an emergency fund. Regardless of whether you stick with 3 months or 6 months or 8 months, if you have a nice emergency fund set up and you lose your job, you’ll be happy to have the money!

Reason #5 Why You Need An Emergency Fund

An emergency fund can help you build up financial confidence!

I can remember the first time I went golfing. Hitting the links used to be one of my favorite hobbies. Today, I rarely play, but the first time I went to hit the ball, I completely missed it! When I finally hit the ball, I actually hit what is referred to as a worm burner. The ball scooted a few yards along the ground before settling in the rough. Not good.

On that first time out, however, I was able to hit one really good shot. It was enough to get me to come back. I played quite a bit in college and into my mid-20s, and I got pretty good and got to where I could usually beat all of my friends. I even broke into the 70s for a couple of rounds.

So…I say that to say this–a little bit of success can usually lead to enough confidence to lead to bigger successes. Once you’ve saved up $500 for an emergency, you now know how to succeed on a small level.

You can then use that knowledge to build up the next $500 in savings. You can then build up to a month, then two, and so on. If you never get started saving toward an emergency fund, you may never build the discipline and the confidence to achieve financial success, much less financial freedom.

If You’re Ready To Start An Emergency Fund

Looking to start an emergency fund? It’s probably a good idea to start a budget (AKA a spending plan). It’s also a good idea to start looking for additional ways to make some money.

If you’re looking to build up some additional income, you might want to check out these ways to make money online without spending a penny. Even $20 a month could add up to nearly $250 a year. This could go a long way toward building your up your e-fund.

Do you have any other reasons why you might want an emergency fund? Let me know in the comments!

If you’d like to follow my progress each month, be sure to go to the top of the page and sign up for updates. You can also follow me on Twitter.  I’m now above 300 followers, and I’d like to get more than 400 by the end of summer. You can help!

Also, if you could share this latest update below via Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, it would be much appreciated. I want to inspire others to improve their finances and show them some easy ways that they can do so. Just click on the “Share This” link at the bottom of this post!

Disclaimer: This site has affiliate links. If you decide to sign up with one of these affiliate links, I may be compensated. I appreciate any support you might provide.

Money August 2017

Online Side Hustle Income From July 2017

The following post includes affiliate links. Should you sign up using one of my links, I may be compensated. You’ll earn the same benefits without my links, but I appreciate any support that you choose to give.  The month of July is now past, and I spent some time in Europe during the month. I also spent some time trying to earn some online side hustle income and had some decent success in spite of doing very little work during my time in Europe.

Why Earn Side Hustle Income?

online side hustle income
How I earned $300+ in online side hustle income in July!

You might be wondering whether starting some side hustles would be worth the effort. Why start a side hustle? Currently, you might have enough to pay your bills and save a bit. That’s great, but you can still earn money from hustling on the side. Some of the money might even be pretty passive.

I’m currently using my side hustle income to pay down some debt and invest for the future. I could probably survive with only my current income, but my life would be very bare-bones, and it would take me many years to pay off debt with little extra saving for retirement. Instead, with my side hustle income, I can use the extra money to improve my finances more quickly than I otherwise could.

I decided several years ago that earning money online was preferable to earning it from a second job. I worked two jobs for a while back in my single days, and I was hardly ever home. With a wife and kids, that’s not a great idea.

I can make some money online after the kids go to sleep. I can also earn some of it while watching TV with them or a football game by myself. There are tons of ways that you can earn money online in your spare time. Some of them pay a few cents with little thought; others can pay between $20 and $30 an hour.

Online Side Hustle Income For July 2017

Here are the ways that I earned money online in July:

This income added up to $327.19 for the month. This was about $15 more than I earned in June, and I was on the road for much of the month so I’m pretty happy with it. My freelance writing comes from some writing on Textbroker and some articles I’ve written for Seeking Alpha. I could ramp this up a bit if I needed to.

I must also inform you that my income from Swagbucks includes some money that I’d let accumulate in this account during May and June. Otherwise, my June income would have been about $50 more and this report would be $50 less. Swagbucks is my favorite online survey site that I use for searching the web, watching videos and answering surveys. I’ve done a review of Swabucks here, and I definitely recommend it.

I noted my new strategy for using my online side hustle income in June. By the end of July, I’d paid an additional $105 toward my debt. from what I’d reported in June. I’m hoping to put some more toward this debt to get it paid off in short order. After the $89 annual fee posted and a $5 payment I made today, it’s now sitting at $8,404.

Blogging Can Help With Side Hustle Income!

Some of the income that I’m able to make comes via this blog. Some is referral income, and some is from advertising that builds up over time. If you’re looking to start earning additional income from affiliates and referrals, a blog of your own is the way to go.

There are some free blogging platforms, but I was never able make much money from a free Blogger blog. Getting a self-hosted blog can really help with your reach. One of the top blog platforms is WordPress, and WordPress recommends Bluehost as a hosting agency. You can sign up to start your own blog with Bluehost here.

Some Reviews You Might Find Helpful

If you’re looking to make some income on the side with sites that allow you to make a few bucks (or a few hundred bucks) each month, here are some reviews that I’ve posted on this site that might help you.

  1. EarnHoney Review
  2. Swagbucks Review
  3. GiftHulk Review
  4. CashCrate Review

Obviously, I was able to make a few hundred dollars in July. This helped me toward my ultimate goals of paying off debt and investing for the future. I’m hoping that as my income goes up over time that I’ll be able to build up some passive income and become even more successful.

How did you earn extra money online during July? Do you have any other options that worked? Let me know in the comments.

Keep Up With My Progress

If you’d like to follow my progress each month, be sure to go to the top of the page and sign up for updates. You can also follow me on Twitter.  I’m now above 300 followers, and I’d like to get more than 400 by the end of summer. You can help!

Also, if you could share this latest update below via Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, it would be much appreciated. I want to inspire others to improve their finances and show them some easy ways that they can do so. Just click on the “Share This” link at the bottom of this post!

Disclaimer: This site has affiliate links. If you decide to sign up with one of these affiliate links, I may be compensated. I appreciate any support you might provide.

Money August 2017

July 2017 Passive Dividend Income

Passive Dividend Income Builds Up Slowly But Surely
My dividends continue to build slowly, but surely.

 

Disclaimer: This site includes affiliate links. Should you choose to sign up for any program with my referral links, I may be compensated. July is now winding down, and with it, summer. I’m always kind of sad to see this season waning although I like the weather in the fall more. With the end of another month, it’s time to review the passive dividend income that came my way in July.

July 2017 marks the end of two years since I started tracking my dividend income. I own shares of several different companies and funds that pay me one a monthly or quarterly basis. These companies sell their wares around the world, 24 hours a day. Therefore, a portion of their profits accrue to my account.

I love getting this income. I was in Europe last month visiting Prague and other cities. While I was there, my broker sent me an email that told me I’d received a dividend.

Whether I’m asleep or working hard, companies that I own pay me. The same goes for what I’m wearing. It doesn’t matter to the companies that I own. I earn some money in pajamas. I earn some money while I’m dressed in business casual for work. Right now, my passive dividend income is pretty small. I’m expecting that it will grow over time to be a nice snowball with its own mass that increases largely on its own.

Passive Dividend Income For July 2017

Today, I have to periodically add capital to get the snowball started. Without further ado, here is where my income for July 2017 came from:

Traditional IRA:

Realty Income Corp (O)                                                          $5.29
General Electric (GE)                                                              $9.60

401k

JP Morgan Equity Income R5 (OIERX)                           $0.44

TOTAL DIVIDENDS FOR APRIL 2017:                           $15.33

The first month of each quarter tends to the smallest for me in terms of dividend income. October is likely to see a smaller payout for me in terms of dividend income, as I just sold my stake in General Electric (GE) in the last week.

Year-to-Year Comparison

My $15.33 in dividend income that I received in July brings my total for 2017 to $221.97. At this time in 2016, I’d earned $69.77 in dividends. Therefore, I’ve increased dividend income to this point in the year by 218%. My dividend income in July 2016 was only $8.50, so my year-to-year increase for July was just above 80%, which wasn’t quite as good as my year-to-date cumulative increase.

With my sale of GE, the estimated dividend income that I expect to receive from my IRA dropped to $427.57. I track my dividend income in terms of the number of hours of freedom that it will buy me. This income should buy me about 21.5 hours of freedom each year, which is just less than 2 hours a month. I estimate that every $20 of dividend income would replace one hour of working income when accounting for taxes and work-related expenses.

I’m happy with the progress that I’ve made over the past couple of years. I’ve added this income to my Monthly Dividend Income page. How was your dividend income for July? Let me know if the comments.

Disclaimers And The Like

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 or via the popup that asks you to sign up. 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. I’m long O and OIERX.

Money August 2017

How To Get To Prague With Miles And Five Great Things To Do Once There

How to get to Prague with miles and five things to do when there!
How To Get To Prague–It’s Actually Pretty Easy

 

Disclaimer: This site contains affiliate and referral links. Should you choose to sign up with these links, I may be compensated. I appreciate any support you choose to give.  Late last year, I discussed how I’d snagged some great (and cheap) tickets to Europe for this summer thanks to frequent flyer miles.  My main goal was to take my wife to Prague, Czech Republic. I’m now going to discuss how to get to Prague and then give five recommendations for sites to visit once there.

Prague is one of my all-time favorite cities, and there was quite a bit of availability on United Airlines for this summer when I booked the flight in October. The link above gives the general process I used to book the flight (and a trip to Lisbon with lengthy layovers in Munich and Geneva).

How To Get To Prague With Miles

To make a long story short, I used the 100,000 point signup bonus from my wife’s Chase Sapphire Reserve card along with some Ultimate Rewards points that I already had to book two one-way tickets from Cleveland to Prague and then two one-way tickets from Lisbon to Cleveland. I purchased a flight for cash on CSA Czech Airlines to get from Prague to Lisbon.

In addition to the two main cities, we had an 11-hour daytime layover scheduled for Munich, and a 15-hour overnight layover scheduled for Geneva, Switzerland. The layover in Munich actually turned into an overnight stay after Lufthansa canceled our flight.

Credit Card Signup Options

The big 100,000 signup bonus for the Sapphire Reserve is no longer available. You can still get 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points for signing up and meeting the minimum spending requirement. This minimum spend is currently $4,000 over three months, but there’s a hefty $450 annual fee.

If you’re looking for other options, the Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with less bells and whistles. It does, however, come with the same signup bonus for the same minimum spend. The $95 annual fee is actually waived the first year, so this might be a bit more palatable for those who want to avoid the fee. You can sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred here.

The signup bonus for each of these cards will come close to allowing you to snag a round trip ticket on United. It will totally get a low-level round trip ticket via Flying Blue. This program is a venture of Air France and KLM. Using Flying Blue, you’d only need 50,000 miles. This latter program is a partner of Delta. Both United’s Mileage Plus Program and Air France/KLM Flying Blue are transfer partners for Chase. You’ll get one point per mile that you transfer to these frequent flyer programs.

These are just a couple of the options that are available when thinking about how to get to Prague on miles. You might also look at co-branded cards for the airline you’d like to fly, as well as American Express cards that offer Membership Rewards.

Five Things To Do Once In Prague

Now that  you’ve figured out how to get to Prague, you might wonder about the great sites and activities the city has to offer. If you’re into traditional European architecture, you’re in for a treat. If you’re into history, Prague has you covered. I cannot stress that I really enjoy spending time in Prague. Here are five things you might want to check out on a visit.

1. The Astronomical Clock/Old Town Square

Prague has the oldest astronomical clock that’s still in operation. It’s located on the facade of the Old Town Hall building. Unfortunately, on my most recent trip, this was about the only part of the facade that was visible. The city had the rest of it covered up while they performed renovations.

The Astronomical Clock chimes every hour, and there are doors that open while the Twelve Apostles (or at least an artist’s rendition of them) rotate through the open doors for visitors to see. There is also a skeleton, representing Death, who rings a bell while this presentation goes on.

Additionally, there are museums and art galleries to visit in the Old Town Square, as well as a monument to Jan Hus, one of the biggest heroes in the history of the Czech Republic. The Church of Our Lady before Tyn is also a prominent feature of the Old Town Square.

The astronomical clock on the facade of the Old Town Hall in Prague

 

The Church of Our Lady before Tyn

 

2. Take a Walk Over the Charles Bridge

The Charles Bridge is one of the more iconic sites in Prague. There can be hundreds of people walking it at any given time. The Bridge is the site for many street vendors and artists. It provides great views of the Prague Castle, as well as of the Vlatava River.

On the Old Town side of the Bridge, there is a Museum of Medieval Torture that is quite interesting.  This museum has lots of instruments of torture, as well as woodcuts that depict exactly how they were used, sometimes in graphic detail. Those bringing kids along should be forewarned.

 An old gate on the Charles Bridge

3. Visit The Prague Castle

A visit to Prague would not be complete without a trip to the castle. There are several sites within the walls of the castle that are worth viewing. The first image in this article at the top of the page depicts the front of St. Vitus Cathedral, which dominates the hill that sits opposite Old Town.

In addition to visiting St. Vitus, there is another church that’s open for viewing. This is the Basilica of St. George. One of the more interesting parts of this church is a reliquary that holds actual bones.

The Basilica of St. George in Prague

 

 A reliquary with human remains at the Basilica of St. George, Prague

 

In addition to these churches, one of the more interesting things to visit within the Prague Castle is the Golden Lane. I had not visited this on my previous trip to Prague, but I’m glad I got to this time. There’s a hall with quite a bit of medieval armor and some weaponry. I was even able to try my hand at shooting a medieval crossbow and hit the bullseye on two of three shots. This was a well-spent $2 or so.

If you’ve not already visited the Museum of Medieval Torture at the Charles Bridge, you can check out some instruments of torture on the Golden Lane. There’s a torture chamber set up, as well as a dungeon. One of the more interesting parts of the Golden Lane was the apartments and businesses that are set up for viewing as they were in the nineteenth century. They are really, really small. Some of the rooms on the Golden Lane are pretty hard to access from spiral staircases made of stone. Some of the steps are really narrow.

Medieval weapons from the Golden Lane in Prague

 

 A tavern on the Golden Lane–All of it!

 

4. The Jewish Quarter

There was, as there was in many European cities, a Jewish Ghetto in Prague. This is definitely a spot most will want to visit. There are multiple synagogues that are open to the public. One has the name of each of those lost during the Holocaust painted onto the wall. One of the buildings has an interesting display that describes Jewish funeral practices.

These funeral practices would likely end with a burial in the Jewish cemetery. This portion of the ghetto was the only place that Jews could bury their dead for centuries, and the oldest grave goes back to the 15th century. This portion of Prague gives some understanding of how European Jews lived.

 

5. The Museum Of Communism

This particular attraction was a bit difficult to find. What I’d read before arriving said that this museum was above the McDonald’s just a few meters from the Mustek Metro station off of Wenceslas Square. It turns out that there were two McDonald’s within a few meters of the Mustek station.

We went to the wrong one first.

Then we found the right McDonald’s and promptly learned that the museum had moved that very day. It was a 10-minute walk from the old site to the new address at Republiky Square , but it was worth the trek. 

One of the darkest periods in Czech history was the Communist era. The Museum of Communism seeks to commemorate this chapter in the history of the Czech people. There are displays in both Czech and English, as well as subtitled videos of those who went through the Communist period, that describe the horrors that people endured.

Vaclav Havel, the playwright turned dissident turned first democratically elected Czech president is given a prominent place toward the end of this exhibition. For those interested in history, it is definitely well worth the visit.

Vaclav Havel commemorated at the Museum of Communism, Prague

 

There you have it: tips on how to get to Prague using frequent flyer miles and some spots that you might want to visit once you’ve arrived. The city is amazing, so much so that this was my second trip. If you have any questions, be sure to let me know in the comments. I’d love to answer any that I can.

If you’d like to follow my progress each month, be sure to go to the top of the page and sign up for updates. You can also follow me on Twitter.  I’m now above 300 followers, and I’d like to get more than 400 by the end of summer. You can help!

Also, if you could share this latest update below via Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, it would be much appreciated. I want to inspire others to improve their finances and show them some easy ways that they can do so. Just click on the “Share This” link at the bottom of this post!

Disclaimer: This site has affiliate links. If you decide to sign up with one of these affiliate links, I may be compensated. I appreciate any support you might provide.

 

Money August 2017

Get Excited About Pennies

It's time to get excited about pennies!
Pennies add up to build dollars, and dollars add up to build wealth

My kids get excited about pennies. If they find one on the ground, they are sure to pick it up. I think that most kids are like this. I know that I was when I was their age.

As we get older, however, that excitement tends to fade. A penny by itself will buy pretty much nothing. Most adults tend to think of pennies as being pretty worthless. They are anything but. I’ll admit that pennies still excite me!

Disclaimer: This site has affiliate links. If you decide to sign up with one of these affiliate links, I may be compensated. I appreciate any support you might provide.

Pennies are important building blocks. Five of them make a nickel. Ten make a dime. 100 make a dollar. When we get to dollars, we’re talking real money. Each and every penny that we find and pick up or earn in some manner is building block towards a better financial state of being. That’s why it’s important to get excited about pennies.

Think Of Pennies As Stepping Stones

I’ve already noted that pennies are building blocks. They can be important stepping stones to getting where you want to be. A while back, I read an article that got me thinking in this direction. Rather than pennies, it stated that millionaires are made $10 at a time.

Sometimes, we can make lots of pennies really quickly. This happens when we’re at work. When I started working, minimum wage was $4.25. I had it figured out that I made about 7 cents a minute at that rate. This meant that I earned a penny about every 9 seconds. I’d annoy some of my co-workers by stating things like, “I just made $0.21” after three minutes on the clock.

While $0.21 is not much to get excited about, the addition of many $0.21s over time started to build up. So much so that I had about $7,000 in the bank after a couple of years of working at a minimum wage job. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I was in college and living at home. Still 7 grand for working part-time for minimum wage at McDonald’s wasn’t bad.

Many of my coworkers complained about the poor pay, and it was poor. However, I looked at my income in an optimistic manner. It gave me some freedom to do the things I wanted to do. It did’t take much for me to get excited about pennies.

The more pennies we make, but more pennies we can save. It was Ben Franklin who said that a penny saved is a penny earned. While pennies were worth more in Franklin’s day, the basic premise still holds true.

Get Excited About Pennies: They Help Build Passive Income

I’ve stated many times that my favorite type of income is passive income. I think this is the case because passive income comes to me whether I put in any effort or not. It’s just keeps rolling in.

Passive income trickles in whether I’m sleeping or working hard. My passive income from dividends started out at $0.02 a day when I first started tracking it. Rather than get frustrated that I only made $0.64 in a month, I looked at the $0.02 a day that I made as the start of something great.

Now, I’m making much more in terms of passive income, even a dollar or two a day in most months. It takes time and, yes, pennies, to build this passive income. My passive income growth is documented by my monthly dividend income posts. It’s been growing at a good clip.

Dividends are usually stated in pennies. With the exception of companies with really high stock prices, most quarterly dividends come in at less than $1 a share. As an example, I own some shares of AT & T. These pay me $0.49 a quarter. That’s 49 pennies, quarter in and quarter out.. The dividends from one share won’t pay for much, but if reinvested, these pennies can start to build momentum into something pretty amazing.

Those who own as few as 180 shares of AT & T could pretty much pay for the lowest priced cell phone plan from Cricket Wireless (owned by AT & T), which is $30 a month. That’s a pretty awesome concept, if you ask me. This would effectively constitute free cell phone service, all from a buildup of pennies.

Over time, enough pennies could actually fund your entire lifestyle. That’s really something exciting.

How To Make A Few Extra Pennies

Now that you’ve read up on how pennies are important stepping stones to the life that you want, you might wonder how you can make even more. There are pretty easy ways that you can make a few extra pennies online in your spare time if you don’t want to get a part-time job flipping burgers.

I’ve written several articles for the online freelance site Textbroker. For most of these articles, I’ve earned 1.4 cents a word. These pennies have added up to several thousand bucks over the past five years or so. Many times, I can average more than $20 an hour if I find jobs that I can complete easily.

Not everyone can write coherently though. I also have recommendations for these folks. There are many ways that you can make money online. Two of my favorites are Swagbucks and EarnHoney. I can earn by searching the web and answering some easy surveys on Swagbucks and by letting videos play passively with EarnHoney. It’s a few pennies here and there, but I cash out some of these pennies each and every month.

With the money I’m bringing in from letting videos play, I’m buying shares in stocks like AT & T that pay me even more pennies. I’ve also put this money toward paying off debt in a more accelerated fashion. This is what allows me to get excited about pennies. I’m improving my financial situation with each and every penny I get.

I’d urge you to get started looking for ways to pick up a few dollars worth of pennies each month. How much could an additional $25, $50, or even $100 each month help you out? It takes a new mindset to think of pennies as worth the trouble. Get excited about pennies!

Be Sure To Follow My Updates

If you’d like to follow my progress each month, be sure to go to the top of the page and sign up for updates. You can also follow me on Twitter.  I’m now above 300 followers, and I’d like to get more than 400 by the end of summer. You can help!

Also, if you could share this latest update below via Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, it would be much appreciated. I want to inspire others to improve their finances and show them some easy ways that they can do so. Just click on the “Share This” link at the bottom of this post!

Disclaimer: This site has affiliate links. If you decide to sign up with one of these affiliate links, I may be compensated. I appreciate any support you might provide.

Money August 2017

Splitting Funds For Paying Debt And Making Investments

I’ve frequently argued that passive income is the best income. I’ve attempted to build it up extensively over the past couple of years. One of the best methods for building up passive income, in my opinion, is through dividend-paying stocks. However, when building up passive income, paying debt aggressively can take a back seat.

Disclaimer: This site uses affiliate links. Should you sign up for many of the programs promoted, I may receive compensation. 

I had some debts that built up from graduate school, and I’ve made quite a bit of progress over the past four years or so. Most of these debts arose from basic living expenses. I really hate this debt, even though many people argue that it’s “good” debt. There is no doubt that these debts allowed me to increase my earnings capability, and my income has gone up.

However, I still don’t like these debts. I’ve consolidated the debts into 0% interest credit cards, finally getting down to one. Until the last month, I’ve been paying slightly more than the minimum each month after having the debt drop to about $8,600. This is not a huge debt when compared to the debt that other people have, but it’s still an annoyance.

Paying debt needs to be a priority!
Erasing debt is a goal.

Investments Can Pay More, But…

One of the reasons I was paying so little each month was the fact that investments generally pay more than 0% in dividends. Therefore, I thought that paying debt down aggressively would keep me from increasing my passive income. I was right. However, watching this debt go down by a whopping $100 a month did not seem like much progress to me.

Additionally, there’s a 3% to 5% balance transfer charge every time that I make a transfer (about once a year). This is effectively a once yearly interest payment that would add between $30 and $50 per $1,000 to the balance each and every year.

At this rate, I figured that I’d have the debt paid off in somewhere between 8 and 10 years, and the balance transfer fee would actually add back 2 or 3 months of payments that I’d already made in the earlier years of the process. I really hate having this debt, even though I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made thus far.

Paying Debt Is A Priority

I believe that cash flow is even better than cash, and debt takes part of my cash flow every month without giving me anything in return. Because there is some opportunity cost in paying debt, I’ve decided to take a hybrid approach. Whereas I was putting more money toward investments each month, now I’m splitting up some of my side hustle income into both the investing bucket and the paying debt bucket.

I figure that if I can put an additional $50, $100, or $200 a month into paying off my debt, I’ll pay it off in less than one-half the time that it would take by paying a minimal amount. Then, my cash flow will increase by the amount that I was putting toward paying it off. This is exciting.

If you’d like more advice on how to accelerate debt payments, I’d refer you to Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. You can purchase this great resource by clicking the image of the book below.

So Is Investing

I still want to build up my investments, however. Therefore, I’m splitting up the side hustle income that does not go toward bills between paying debt and investing for the future. This allows me to build passive income while also cutting the interest that I’ll pay. Additionally, I’ll improve my cash flow more quickly.

I can invest my side hustle income and get dividend income that will probably yield between 2 and 5 percent. I can also pay down my debt and get a “dividend” of between 3 and 5 percent. The dividend that I get from paying down the debt is the interest that I will not have to pay.

While this strategy is not going to maximize my success in either the area of passive income or debt repayment, it will hopefully allow me to make some solid progress in both areas. I’m happy to live with this compromise.

In the first month of this strategy, I was able to double up the credit card payment that I’d made for the past few months. My debt dropped from $8,600 to $8,400 in the first month as a result.  I made a few smaller payments rather than one big payment to see the progress come more quickly. I hope to keep this up in the months to come so that I can aggressively cut down the debt.

The closer I get to paying the debt completely off, I’ll be more likely to become more aggressive in paying it off as opposed to saving. I realize that paying debt is a good investment for the future. However, I still want to see some passive income and take advantage of the power of compounding.

What strategies have you used for paying down debt?

Other Posts That Might Help

Earn Money From Home To Pay Off Debt
Ways To Make Money Online Without Spending A Penny

If you’d like to follow my progress each month, be sure to go to the top of the page and sign up for updates. You can also follow me on Twitter.  I’m now above 300 followers, and I’d like to get more than 400 by the end of summer. You can help!

Also, if you could share this latest update below via Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, it would be much appreciated. I want to inspire others to improve their finances and show them some easy ways that they can do so. Just click on the “Share This” link at the bottom of this post!

Disclaimer: This site has affiliate links. If you decide to sign up with one of these affiliate links, I may be compensated. I appreciate any support you might provide.

Money August 2017

Earn Bonuses On Swagbucks With July Swago


Swagbucks is holding their Swago promotion starting Monday, July 24th at 9am PDT! 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. If you’re thinking of trying Swagbucks, this is a great chance to learn all about how the site works and earn bonus points while doing it.

The best part is that the points you get can be used to get free gift cards to places like Amazon, or PayPal cash! I generally choose the PayPal cash, which I transfer to my bank account to use for just about anything that I want, including investing.

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 500 SB bonus! That’s enough for a $5 gift card in our Rewards Store.

Click here to sign up and get started! If you sign up through my link and earn 300 SB before the first of next month, you’ll get a bonus 300 SB!

I’ve earned more than $1,700 via this great site for doing things that I’d generally do anyway. It’s a great way to supplement your income in your spare time, and I highly recommend it!

The preceding was a sponsored post.

Money August 2017

Online Income For June 2017

Every month, I put in some effort to earn money online. This online income helps me balance my budget and do things that I would otherwise be unable to do. As I’ve noted before, I started looking for ways to make money online after my first child entered the world. I did not want to spend countless hours at a fast food joint or at Wal-Mar or some other such retail establishment.. Maybe I could’ve been able to make ends meet, but I’d miss many hours that I could have been with my kids.

I had Internet access, and I started to research. Some of the options that I came across over a few months and years of looking were blogging, surveys, and freelance writing. I’ve utilized many of these options, and I’ve even reviewed some here. I continue this process each and every month. My goal is to pay myself first. Other goals relate to paying off debt and making up shortfalls that might arise in any given month.

Hopefully, if I can continue to earn money each month and build it up, I’ll be able to have a solid retirement in a few years. I also track my passive income on this site so that I can keep myself accountable and encourage others.

Why Track Online Income

When the Internet first became popular, I heard about people making money. I figured that these people had computer engineering degrees and lots of skill. My experience with computers included failing to get my programs to print to the print server in my one and only computer class. I did not have any interest in learning about these cantankerous machines that did not work when I wanted them to.

Keep in mind, this was in the days of MS-DOS. One mistake in a long line of code totally destroyed anything that you hoped to accomplish. It totally frustrated me and made me hate computers.

Online income can help you fill up a suitcase full of money
I didn’t make a suitcase full of money, but I did make some.

As the Internet gained in popularity, and I found myself in need of more cash, I started searching. My first attempt to earn money was a blog. It did not make much in the way of money. In fact, it took more than 5 long years to get paid from my ad network. I quickly looked to other options.

However, that first blog was a great learning experience. I figured out the fact that you do not need to have a great deal of computer knowledge to start a blog. This blog, Earn Money In Pajamas started about 3 years later, and I started making a bit of money almost immediately.

I track my online income for two reasons, and they are much like the reasons I track my dividend income.

  1. It keeps me accountable and moving toward the goals I have.
  2. It might benefit others by showing them how to do the same, as many of the options are not zero-sum games where you earn and I lose. You can earn while I earn, and vice-versa.

Online Income For June 2017

I had several different income streams during June. Many of these were the same methods I used to earn money online in May.

The grand total of my online income for June came in at $312.94, which was just below the $355.22 that I earned in May. I’m still happy with this total, though. It allowed me to put away some into a retirement account. Some of the income also went toward paying down my mortgage, although I’m going to change that strategy a bit going forward as I’l elaborate below.

Notes On Online Income For June 2017

My earnings from Swagbucks were a bit skewed this month. I intended to save up for a large gift card for Southwest Airlines for a vacation. Therefore, I did not cash out as much as I could have. July’s total will be the biggest so far from Swagbucks because of this.

I decided that I should probably just cash out my Swagbucks earnings with PayPal so that I could earn some interest after transferring the funds to my bank. Future months should be more like normal. Swagbucks is my favorite site to use. I earn through my own work. I’ve also earned from referrals, and you can too.

If you’d like to start a blog to start building up referral and affiliate income, it’s pretty easy to do so. I’d recommend your using a self-hosted blog, which will take a bit of money to start and maintain. Free blogging software generally will not allow you to market as easily, though. I make a few bucks a month from referrals, and it’s grown over time. One of the best deals if you’d like to start your own self-hosted blog is through BlueHost. BlueHost has a great reputation, and the sites are among the most affordable to operate (only $3.95 a month for new users). If you’d like to start a blog with BlueHost, be sure to click the banner below to get started (affiliate link):

More Notes On Online Income

Another note that I’d like to point out on the earnings for the month is the fact that I just started using EarnHoney toward the end of the month. This site allows you to earn passively by just letting videos play, even while totally muted. This is something that’s pretty unique, and I anticipate earning some money from the site each month going forward.

Finally, I’m loving Ibotta. I cashed out again in June, and I paid the $25.75 as an accelerated mortgage payment. I’m looking to put it toward some debt from grad school from now on, and some additional income toward debt will hopefully help me pay it off faster and faster. I really recommend this app, because everyone has to buy groceries. Ibotta basically gives you a rebate on these purchases. Score! You can sign up for Ibotta with my link here.

My New Strategy For Online Income

Most of my online income has gone toward investments in the past couple of years. I’m still going to pay some of it to my future self, but now, I’m planning to use some of the excess income I bring in toward paying off debt other than my house. My mortgage is the only debt that I can hold that gives a tax break. Therefore, it benefits me more to pay off other debts first.

I still owe a bit on my education. If I kept up the current payment rate that’s just above the minimum, I’d take about 8 or 9 years to pay it off. I’d like to pay it off in a fraction of that time. Therefore, the early mortgage payments will stop. The investments will slow down. I’ll keep up with how much extra I put toward debt as a result of my online income from here on out . I already put $25 extra toward it in June. 

Some Reviews You Might Find Helpful

  1. EarnHoney Review
  2. Swagbucks Review
  3. GiftHulk Review
  4. CashCrate Review

How did you earn extra money online during June? Do you have any other options that worked? Let me know in the comments.

If you’d like to follow my progress each month, be sure to go to the top of the page and sign up for updates. You can also follow me on Twitter.  I’m now above 300 followers, and I’d like to get more than 400 by the end of summer. You can help!

Also, if you could share this latest update below via Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, it would be much appreciated. I want to inspire others to improve their finances and show them some easy ways that they can do so. Just click on the “Share This” link at the bottom of this post!

Disclaimer: This site has affiliate links. If you decide to sign up with one of these affiliate links, I may be compensated. I appreciate any support you might provide.

 

Money August 2017

Dividends: Passive Income From June 2017

The month of June 2017 is over. The summer is about half over. That’s not cool, but what is cool is the passive income that I get from dividends each and every month.

The end of the month is a great time to look back and assess where I am. I look at my dividends and where they stand in relation to the same month last quarter and the same month last year. This gives me a good idea if I’m making progress toward my goal of building up passive income. As I’ve noted many times, passive income is the best income.

I like dividends because they come in whether I’m at home or at work. They come in whether I’m awake or asleep, which means I can really earn money in pajamas. At home or on the road? It doesn’t matter. This passive aspect of dividend income is one that I really like.

I own some great companies, and these companies sell goods or serve clients around the world on a daily basis. I can take Christmas completely off, and I’ll still have dividends rolling in from these companies. In June, I earned from several companies and a couple of funds. Here are the dividends that I earned during the month of June.

Dividends For June 2017

Here are the specific companies and funds that paid me a dividend during the month of June 2017:

Kroger Co. (KR)                                                                                                 $2.40
Southern Company (SO)                                                                            $17.40
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)                                                                              $8.40
Realty Income Corp. (O)                                                                                $5.28

Total Dividend Income From IRA                                                            $33.48

JP Morgan Equity Income R5 (OIERX)                                                   $1.96
Cohen and Steers Realty Shares (CSRSX)                                          $21.79

Total Dividend Income from 401k                                                          $23.75

Total Dividend Income for June 2017:                                            $57.23

This dividend income is the highest that I’ve earned thus far this calendar year, and I must say that I’m pretty happy with it. Of course, this much passive income would not go far, but it is another step in the right direction.

Year-To-Year Comparison

I like to look at my monthly dividend income and then compare it with the amount that I had a year previously. Again, this is a great way to show me if I’m on the right track.

In June 2016, the companies that I owned at the time paid me $18.82. It’s pretty evident from a comparison that I more than trebled my dividend income over the past year. I’m thrilled any time that I see such large increases on a year-over-year basis.

Passive Dividend Income Builds Up Slowly But Surely
My dividends continue to build slowly, but surely.

The companies and funds that I own have now paid me $206.64 for the year. This compares with the $61.60 that I had earned at this point last year. My passive income has increased by more than 200 percent in just a year.

Furthermore, I’m now on track to earn $454.05 over the next 12 months in my traditional IRA account. This would buy me about 22 hours and 45 minutes of freedom over the next year without taking into account the dividends I earn from my 401k funds. I track this based upon having to replace $20/hour. I’m getting up close to the two hours a month level.

I can’t believe how far this has come from the $0.64 I received from Apple back in August 2015. This was the first of the dividends that companies have paid me, and the amount has only gone up from there. How was your dividend income last month? I’ve updated my monthly dividend record to reflect my dividends from June 2017 if you want to check out my progress.

Disclaimers And The Like

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 or via the popup that asks you to sign up. 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. I’m long KR, O, SO, JNJ, CSRSX, and OIERX.