It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We’re about halfway between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m thankful for many of the blessings that I have in life. This year has been pretty good so far, and I’ve been able to take a couple of trips that were enjoyable cultural experiences. I’ve also seen my dividend income grow exponentially.
In keeping with the season of giving, I’ve decided to give a $10 Amazon e-Gift card to one lucky winner. This can be used toward a present for yourself or someone else. I’m actually going to be cashing in some of my earnings from Swagbucks, and you can earn e-Gift cards or cash by signing up at the site and completing various easy tasks like using their search engine or playing videos while you’re watching TV in your pajamas (or a business suit if that’s how you roll). You won’t get entered into this giveaway by signing up for Swagbucks, but you can start earning points toward other e-Gift cards or PayPal cash if you do decide to sign up. Please note that if you sign up with my link, I may earn a commission on your earnings.
Entering the actual contest is going to be pretty easy. All you have to do is sign up to get updates from the website via MailMunch. This is the pop-up that asks you to sign up after you’ve been on Earn Money in Pajamas for a few seconds. I’ve you’ve already X’d out of the pop-up, you should be able to leave the site and come back to get another chance. Sign up. That’s it. Here are the rules for the giveaway:
The contest will run until 12/24/2016 at 11:59 pm GMT. Anyone who signs up before this deadline will be eligible to win.
One Amazon e-Gift card code that’s worth $10. The total value of the prize is $10. The winner will be responsible for putting in the code on their own Amazon.com account.
Odds of Winning:
The odds of winning are 1 in however many people sign up for my email list via Mail Munch before the deadline.
How will the winner be selected?
I will count up the number of entries received by the Christmas Eve deadline. Then I’ll input the number of entries into an online random number generator. The first person to have signed up on Mail Munch starting today will get assigned number one. The second will get assigned number two, and so forth. The person whose number comes up will get an email from me informing them that they’ve won. If they do not reply within 48 hours after I send the email, I’ll get another number from the random number generator and repeat the process until I get a winner who responds.
What will you do with my email address (AKA privacy)?
By signing up, you agree that you give Earn Money in Pajamas permission to use your email address for two possible purposes. The first is to get updates from Earn Money in Pajamas. The second is to put you into contact with opportunities to earn money and/or travel/cash back points (for example Chase or Amex referrals). Names and email addresses are all that might be shared under this arrangement. I appreciate your support.
Another month is in the books. November 2016 has come and gone. While I’m not terribly happy that the wind is kicking up from the north and bringing cold weather, I am happy that some great companies continue to provide me with money from dividends that I can deploy to buy more income. Over time, I hope to build a nice stash of dividend-paying stocks that could take care of a nice portion of my expenses each and every month.
One of the greatest things about dividends is the fact that they come in whether I work or not. I had a few days off for Thanksgiving, but the companies that I own continued to do their thing, earning revenue that will hopefully be turned into profits, that will in turn come my way in the form of additional dividends. I have made a few sales to pay off some debt over the past couple of months, so I did not get as many dividends as I would have expected in November. Additionally, Starbucks, which usually pays out in the second month of the quarter, is going to be paying off in early December. I’ll still get paid, just in a different month than usual. In spite of these facts, I busted through the $20 number in a month for the very first time since I started this journey last year. Here are the two payments I received in November 2016:
AT & T (T) $7.01
Omega Healthcare Investors (OHI) $18.30
TOTAL for November: $25.31
As you can see from the listing above, I not only smashed through the $20 mark, I received a Jackson and a Lincoln along with some change (that’s a $20 and a $5). My $25.31 set a new record for my dividend growth investing history. It now brings my total dividend income for the year up to $141.48, which is well above the $15.08 that I had earned at this time last year. Additionally, I only earned $5.41 in November 2015, so I earned nearly five times the dividend income that I earned in the same month just one short year ago. That’s a pretty impressive increase, from my standpoint, as I would have to earn about $125 next year if I were able to duplicate this jump for 2017. I don’t think I’ll quite get to this point, but it would definitely be nice to achieve.
My estimated dividend income for the next 12 months is now at $252.49. This is more than $20 a month on average, which would allow me to take off slightly more than an hour a month with my estimation that I’d need to replace $20 an hour if I were to live solely off of dividend income.
How did your dividend income shape up for the month of November? Did you have a year-over-year increase? Let me know in the comments. I have updated my monthly dividend page to reflect these payments. Also, if you’d like to follow my progress on a monthly basis, be sure to sign up to get updates.
Disclaimers: Long OHI; I am not a financial professional. Information listed in this post does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell. It is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Equities can increase or decrease in value, and losses up to and including all money invested can occur. Consult with a licensed professional before making an investment decisions.
I recently had an epic fail when it came to getting the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. I obviously wanted to earn the 100,000 point bonus in the Ultimate Rewards program. I was fortunate, however, in that my spouse was not over the 5/24 limit. After she secured the bonus, I started checking on some options for a vacation next year. I found that there was pretty wide open availability on a number of United Airlines flights to Europe, Australia, and Asia. The availability included the summer months, to my surprise. I finally decided, with the wife’s approval, to take a trip to Europe, specifically Prague, Czech Republic, and another to-be-determined city (which turned out to be Lisbon).
How is it possible to visit more than one city on one trip, you might ask. I’ve already written about my recent trip to Madrid and Paris last spring. I utilized a routing option that’s called an open jaw on this trip. This means that you can fly into one city and then fly out of another back to the city you originated from. Think of it this way. A normal trip would be City A to City B, with a return to City A to complete the round trip. An open jaw flies from City A to City B. Then there’s a trip by another airline, train, or rental car to City C. Then there’s a return to City A from City C. The only question that comes up is how to get from City B to City C. There is some pretty impressive public transportation within Europe, but I’ve found that commuter flights are really cheap between cities. My flight from Madrid to Paris earlier this year was a whopping $69 on Iberia Airlines. I’ve also seen flights from London to Paris from as low as $53 in recent searches. This is on Air France, not on a low-cost carrier that charges for breathing, either.
For my upcoming trip next year, I decided to again utilize the open jaw. I found availability for both of the main cities that I wanted to visit on a multi-city itinerary. Prague was my main goal. I was there a few years ago, and I loved it. My wife did not make this particular trip, so I want to share my love of the Czech capital with her.
I first tried to book a multi-city itinerary, and the results were not as robust as they were when I looked at each individual leg. Here’s a dummy multi-city search originating from Chicago and going to Prague with the outbound flight:
Note that there is only one page in the search results with 18 flights returned, starting at 30,000 Mileage Plus miles for this leg of the trip. I then decided to make the trip two one-way award flights. Note what happens when I go to a one-way search for the same dates (I plugged in June 13-20 for this dummy booking).
We’ve gone from one page with 18 possible flights to seven pages with 152 possible flights, again starting at 30,000 Mileage Plus miles for this leg of the trip. This means more options. There is the greater possibility of adding more than just the two main cities with an itinerary like this.
If you start looking for flights at your desired level of seating (coach, business, or first class) and low-level mileage requirements, you can actually look for flights that will take longer to visit an additional city or two during layovers. I went to page 4 of my actual search (not the dummy search shown here) to find an 11-hour layover in Munich on the way to Prague. This should be plenty of time to hit the local public transportation network and see a couple of sites within the city, extending my trip to three actual cities visited in a single one-week trip.
I did the same process for my return trip, and found a lengthy flight that allowed for an overnight layover of 15 hours in yet another European city, bringing the total number of cities that we should visit to four in one single trip. All I have to figure out is what flight I want to take from Prague to Lisbon. My two one-way flights to and from my main destinations in the Czech Republic and Portugal came to 60,000 United Airlines Mileage Plus miles per person or 120,000 total (most of which came from the wife’s Sapphire Reserve bonus) and around $165, which I put on my Chase Sapphire Preferred to earn 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar for the purchase. These points will go to a later trip that is not yet determined.
By taking the time to play around with the United Airlines booking site, I was able to set up a trip that visits four major European cities. Most people would only look for a round-trip that visited one. Most of my recent trips have been a result of my philosophy of earning money in pajamas. I’ve looked at ways to maximize credit card rewards to save money on things that I’d prefer to spend money on anyway. Have you had any success with similar bookings? If so, feel free to share in the comments.
A few months ago, I visited a Christian bookstore and I decided to check out the personal finance section. Some of the books appeared to be from health and wealth guys who encourage you to “sow some seed” to benefit their ministries. I’m not into that by any stretch. I then happened upon a book titled Your Money Map: A Proven 7-Step Guide to True Financial Freedom. The author of the book was Howard Dayton, and it was published in 2006. Moody Publishers published this book, and it’s pretty far removed from the health and wealth scene. I then decided to pick up the book to see if it was the same as Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, which has seven baby steps. It did not.
Rather than just giving seven “baby steps” that are singular in purpose and that readers must follow in order religiously, this book shows more of a lifetime journey that a person might take. Both Ramsey and Dayton argue that financial freedom is a process that could take quite a bit of time.
Your Money Map Is Christian In Outlook
Your Money Map is distinctively Christian in its outlook. Therefore, those who have a more secular viewpoint might have more interest in other personal finance books. This book follows a couple that Dayton counseled regarding personal finance and the advice that he gave them through each step of the way.
The book starts out by arguing that all wealth comes as a stewardship from God. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that we are effective stewards with the money that God entrusts with. Dayton argues that one of the first steps that anyone should take when getting their personal finances in order is to begin charitable giving toward religious purposes. This is one of the areas that nonreligious people might disagree with Dayton, but starting to give is part of Destination 1 on the money map that’s included in the chapters of the book, as well as the schematic money map at the very end of the book.
Other goals involved in reaching Destination 1 include the obligatory budget and $1,000 emergency fund. These two steps seem to be pretty standard among the community of personal finance gurus. Both are pretty good ideas. Budgeting ensures that you can avoid spending more than you bring in. If you spend more than your income each month, you’ll wind up with a negative net worth if you’re not already there.
If you spend less on a monthly basis, you’ll build up a solid net worth over time. It’s pretty simple, actually. Also, stashing $1,000 allows you to pay for any unexpected expenses that might come up–like the busted radiator I had to replace a couple of months ago. Definitely not cool, but necessary. Learning to handle money God’s way is a little outside the realm of personal finance gurus who are not religious in nature.
Your Money Map
Steps 2 and 3 on the money map are where Dayton is a bit different than some of the other personal finance books and websites that I’ve read. Most of these other books emphasize paying off debt at the expense of savings. Your Money Map argues that people should build up a larger emergency fund (for one, and then three, months of expenses) while simultaneously paying down credit card debt and all other consumer debts. This blended approach is refreshing to me, because cash flow is important. Having more money available at any given time can help people avoid building up additional debt should an unexpected job loss or other catastrophe occur.
A possible destination after reaching Step 7on Your Money Map.
Step 4 relates to saving up funds for major outlays like a home or retirement (childrens’ education is optional here). Dayton recommends saving up a substantial down payment for a home so that a downturn in the local housing market does not get a buyer upside-down on his or her mortgage. This is generally sound advice (although I didn’t follow it personally because renting in the markets I’ve lived in has been more expensive than buying–I took advantage of loans with low down payment requirements).
Getting Closer To Financial Independence
Steps 5 and 6 deal with actually buying the house, paying it off early, and investing additional money outside of retirement accounts, working toward the multiple goals at the same time. Step 7 is financial freedom. The goal of financial freedom is retiring and actually having something to leave as a legacy, be it through an inheritance to your children or some nice gifts to organizations that you feel strongly about. Retirement also means that you have more time to give to endeavors that you feel really, really passionately about.
The story of Matt Mitchell, the car salesman that Dayton counsels, appears throughout the book. Dayton himself has basically donated his time as a personal finance coach for decades, so he discusses how he walked his pupil through the steps toward financial freedom. I liked how this book showed that you can focus upon more than one thing at a time because compounding is an important and powerful aspect of investing. This is actually not as common in personal finance advice as you might think. Those who start with just saving a few bucks regularly early in life will actually be better off than those who save up more of their income later in life.
Some Jobs Aren’t Worth It
I also liked the argument for having a single earner for many couples. After paying for child care and additional clothing, food, and transportation expenses, Dayton shows how one working wife earned an effective wage of $0.64 per hour on $18,000 of gross earnings over the course of a year. Many people don’t look at it this way, but it’s the rationale we used when my wife decided to stay at home with the kids. Low real earnings like this are also all too common. Overall, Your Money Map did a good job of showing how disciplined people can achieve financial independence over time. If you’d like to check out this book and read it for yourself, I’d encourage you to scroll up and click the link near the top of the page.
Disclaimer: If you decide to sign up for various programs or buy products from my referral links, I may receive compensation. You can get the same great benefits from just going to the websites themselves, but I definitely appreciate your support. It’s one of the ways I’m able to earn money in pajamas while helping others do the same.
I’m generally a fan of Dave Ramsey. However, I don’t agree with everything that he writes. His absolute opposition to credit cards in all circumstances is one of those areas where I have a bit of a disagreement with him. There are ways to use credit cards to get some extra cash or miles and points to travel to exotic locations. I’ve written before of how you can actually save money with credit cards. Recently, I saw several travel blogs like Million Mile Secrets advertising for the American Express Blue for Business. I’m a huge fan of Chase Ultimate Rewards, but the possibility of earning 10 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants over the next six months intrigued me.
Many people wonder if they can get a business card. There are lots of activities that can qualify people for getting a business card. For example, if you sell items on eBay or Amazon, you could qualify for a business card. I do this occasionally. I also do some freelance writing. Furthermore, I make a few bucks from this web site. These are all business activities that allow me to get a credit card intended for businesses.
I decided to go ahead and apply for the card, which would be my first business card. I applied with my SSN, and I was approved. You can also use a business tax ID to apply. The American Express Blue for Business currently offers 10,000 Membership Rewards after making your initial purchase in the first 90 days. There is no annual fee, so there’s no cost as long as you pay off your bill each month. This link will get you 10 points per dollar on the first $2,000 you spend in restaurants over the first six months. I will not earn anything from your using the link. The 10 points per dollar could wind up adding up to 20,000 points on top of the 10,000 bonus after the first purchase. Additionally, the first $50,000 that you might spend on the card will also earn 2 points per dollar over the first year. Then each year, you’ll get a 30% annual bonus on all of the spending that you put on the card each year. That’s an opportunity to get around 140,000 on this one card sign up if you max out all of the spending categories. I won’t spend nearly that much, but I should still get a nice bonus of a few tens of thousands.
For every 10,000 Membership Rewards points that you earn on the Blue for Business, you can trade them in for $100 in gift cards or $60 off your bill, among other redemption options. This is not my goal, however. I’m planning to get another card that will allow me to transfer my points in the future. There are other Amex cards that allow users to transfer Membership Rewards points to a range of travel partners that include several US and foreign airline frequent flyer programs. Here are a few of the 17 different airlines that you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to:
You can also transfer points to three hotel programs: Choice, Starwood, and Hilton. Most of the transfers are 1 Membership Rewards point turning into 1 airline mile or hotel point. This is where I intend to get the best value for the points that I earn. This is my first opportunity to earn Membership Rewards, and the best thing about some of these business cards is the fact that they do not appear to count toward the infamous 5/24 rule that led me to get denied for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which I still hope to get at a future date.
My hope is that I can earn enough Membership Rewards points to take a nice trip or two to Europe, the Caribbean, Asia, or someplace else that would be good to visit. Already this year, I’ve been able to take a couple of great vacations, all because of my frequent flyer miles and hotel points that I earned from co-branded cards bonuses or from transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest Airlines. What type of trip would you like to take or have you taken with frequent flyer miles?
Well, another month is nearly in the books. We’re now at the end of October, and now less than two months from Christmas. The market has been up and down over the course of the year, but most people have been able to make money if they’ve stayed invested in dividend-paying stocks. This is the type of investment that I’ve decided upon, as these companies actually pay me to own a part of them.
October was a pretty good month for me, going well in excess of my dividend income from the same month last year. My dividend income should go up over time, but in the short term, it will probably go down a bit, as I’ve decided to sell most of my taxable holdings. I’ll probably explain this further in another post at a future date. I’ve rolled over a tax-deferred account from a previous employ into a traditional IRA, and I will be putting more money toward that in the future year after reading some really good information on tax-deferral from the Mad Fientist’s web site. You can look at some cool stuff from the Mad Fientist regarding taxes and super charging your retirement portfolio here and here. Basically, the less that you pay in taxes means more capital for saving for retirement. Therefore, I’m going to shift my focus up a bit and use my taxable account as more of a (hopefully) growing emergency fund that pays out a growing stream of dividends while I wait to need the money while leaving my IRA (and possibly other tax-deferred accounts) to grow until retirement.
Overall, I had four great companies that paid me over the course of October. Three of these should continue to pay me into the future. I trimmed Coca-Cola, but I completely sold out of Bank of Nova Scotia, although it will be on my radar for future purchases in a tax-deferred account. I’ve decided to utilize Loyal3 for my taxable purchases because of the low (i.e., free) transaction costs. I will also up my average purchase through TradeKing, which charges only $4.95 per purchase, to between $500 and $1,000 per transaction to keep the fee below 1%. You can sign up for TradeKing here and possibly get a $50 bonus after meeting some funding and purchasing requirements. I use TradeKing for my non-Loyal3 purchases.
Without stringing you along, here are the great companies that paid me during the month of October. I’ve broken them down by taxable and retirement accounts.
Coca-Cola (KO) $4.19
Kraft-Heinz (KHC) $0.34
Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) $5.11
Retirement Plan Dividends
General Electric (GE) $4.60
TOTAL Dividends for October $14.24
These dividends bring my total dividend income for 2016 up to $116.17, and my $14.24 for the current month showed a 144 percent growth rate on a year-over-year basis. I should be ahead of this next year at this point again, if all goes as planned and I am able to continue putting more capital to work over time. Because of the stock sales that I noted earlier, my estimated dividend income for the coming year dropped to $130.31, but again, this should go up and exceed where it was as I make periodic purchases within my IRA. I plan to purchase between $500 and $1,000 a month until my transfer amount runs out. If the market crashes and burns before that, I’ll accelerate the purchases, as the best time to purchase stocks is the same as most as just about any other purchase–when they are on sale.
How did your dividend income look in October? Let me know in the comments.
If you’d like to keep up with my dividend income over time, feel free to go to the top of the page and follow me. You’ll only get emails when I actually make a new post, which is usually around five times in a month. In other words, your inbox will not get inundated with random emails.
Disclosure: I am long all stocks mentioned with the exception of BNS, which I sold in October.
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed financial professional. Be sure to do due diligence before investing in securities. This article is not a recommendation to buy a specific company. It is only for educational/entertainment purposes.
Debt is NOT cool. It can strangle the life out of people. It basically makes you a slave to your lender. Staying out of unnecessary debt is one of the most important steps to take toward financial freedom, because debt brings interest payments that hurt your cash flow. If you pay cash for the things you buy (or pay off the credit card bill in full each month), you’re automatically saving any interest you would have paid had you gone into debt.
Some debts are better than others. For example, a home mortgage can be a “good” debt because buying a home on credit with a mortgage can actually cost less on a monthly basis than renting in many markets. Every dollar that you pay toward the principle of the home loan will also build up your equity, which is a major component of net worth. Student loans can be a “not-quite-so-bad” debt, as long as it is manageable because a degree can lead to higher earnings over time. Most other debt is pretty crummy because it forces you to pay more than you would normally pay for the items you buy on credit.
The Christmas Debt Trap Is Super Not Cool
One of the absolute worst sources for major debt is Christmas debt. Christmas doesn’t really sneak up on people. It shows up at the same time every single year. It’s always on December 25, year in and year out. It should not be a shock. Americans (and people of other nationalities who celebrate Christmas) tend to spend lots and lots of money at this particular time of the year for just about anyone that they come into contact with.
Of course, this is a slight exaggeration, but the average person who goes into debt for Christmas presents takes until April until the debt is paid off. Instead of paying the retailer for the full price of these presents, lots of Americans tend to also pay a nice little chunk to a bank for the privilege of using the bank’s money for the presents. The bad thing about the Christmas debt trap is the fact that many kids will play with the boxes and other wrapping for as long as they do the toys that are within the packages.
Avoiding the Christmas Debt Trap With Online Earnings
One of the major purposes of this site is to get people (AKA you) to think about ways to increase your earnings so that your financial situation will be a bit less constrained outside of self discipline. One of the benefits of earning more money is more flexibility. Earning extra money before Christmas should allow you to pay off the bill for presents before the credit card comes due, which is a good thing. If you have any left over after buying for everyone on your Christmas list who’s avoided getting on Santa’s naughty list, that’s a great thing.
The first step in avoiding the Christmas debt trap through online earnings is setting up some goals for actually earning the money. This will require investigating some of the leading places for making money online. If you’re just a few weeks from Christmas, sites that allow for instant or near-instant redemption of funds would be preferable. If you have longer, you can also start looking into sites that pay once a month to maximize your earnings. Here are some of the top options that can allow you to earn some money for Christmas (and all year ’round, for that matter).
The second step in avoiding the Christmas debt trap because of Christmas gifts is actually signing up for some sites that allow you to make some money pretty easily. Here are some sites that I’ve used to some success over the past few years. I’ve even earned more than $1,000 on a couple of them in my free time, much of it while I’m watching TV in my recliner.
Sign Up For Swagbucks
My favorite site is Swagbucks. There are several options to earn money pretty quickly here, and you can cash out when you get up to 500 SBs (the digital currency on Swagbucks) for a $5 Amazon.com gift card. I usually save up for a $25 redemption in PayPal cash. You can read my review of Swagbucks here. I’ve earned more than $1,300 from this site. Kids as young as 13 can start earning money on Swagbucks.
View Webpages For Money On Clixsense
I’ve also been using a site by the name of Clixsense recently. I’ve already redeemed three times, and you can earn money pretty quickly by just clicking on links and viewing the website for 15 or 30 seconds. I actually view the TV while I’m clicking. I’ve not reviewed the site on this blog yet, but I can say that it definitely pays. The first payout has to be by check and reach $10, but subsequent payments can go on PayPal after reaching $8 and take only 2-5 business days to go through. You can sign up for Clixsense here. You have to be 16 years of age to set up a Clixsense account.
I’ve earned more than $1,000 from CashCrate. This is one of the oldest websites that allows users to complete various tasks. This one only pays out once at the beginning of the month and requires $20 in earnings. I’ve done a more in-depth review of CashCrate here. One guy that I’ve seen on another site has earned nearly $160,000 from CashCrate, but that would take lots and lots of referral income. A few bucks here and there each month is more likely.
If you’re looking for more ways to earn money online, you might like my list of Thirteen Ways to Make Money Online Without Spending a Penny, but the three listed above are likely to earn money pretty quickly.
Online Earnings Can Pay As Well As A “Real” Job
Some people will complain that it takes quite a bit of time to earn much money. However, it’s important to remember that there are costs associated with going to a day (or evening job) that quickly cut down on your actual income per hour of work, especially if you’re a mom or dad who only makes minimum wage or slightly higher. I recently read a personal finance book** that showed that a wife with kids who worked at an $18,000 per year job only pulled down $0.64/hour when accounting for additional clothing, transportation, and child care costs.
That’s hardly worth going to an office for 8 hours a day. You can make that much or more online pretty easily without even having to leave the house. That’s why I’ve been into earning money in pajamas for the past few years. It’s definitely been very beneficial to improving my standard of living, and by making a few hundred dollars over the course of the year, you can avoid the problem of getting into the Christmas debt trap from buying presents altogether.
*Disclaimer–I may earn a referral commission if you sign up for some of the programs that I cover on this site. I’ve actually used all of them and have gotten paid. You can still earn from the sites without using my link, but I definitely appreciate any support that you give.
I frequently read travel blogs to keep up with the latest offers to earn points and miles that can supersize my frequent flyer accounts and hotel loyalty programs. This morning, I checked out the Mommy Points blog to see if there was any good information. Apparently, there is an opportunity to earn 20 points per dollar of spending at some 20 or so impressive retailers like Nike. The offer is available at the United Airlines shopping portal.
I dutifully checked out the United Shopping portal to see what retailers were really going to benefit shoppers, and I was hit with a pop-up immediately. It was an opportunity to enter a sweepstakes for 100,000 United Airlines miles and $2,500. Of course, I decided to enter the sweepstakes and clicked on the link. From there, I was asked for my Mileage Plus account number and my password. After entering this information, I got a message that said that I was entered.
Of course, it’s not terribly likely that I’ll win the sweepstakes, but it only took a few seconds to look up my account number and fill out the form. If I do happen to be the lucky winner, I’ll be sure to let you know. The possible pay-off was definitely worth it, as some travel bloggers value UA miles at around 1.7 cents apiece. When added to the cash payout, this could really be a big payoff. I don’t know how long the sweepstakes will be available, so it might be a good idea to head over the the United shopping portal to get your entry in.
If you’re wondering what 100,000 United Miles could get for you, there are several options that include:
4 round-trip tickets in the continental US
1 off-peak round-trip ticket to just about anywhere in the world–as long as you’re OK in economy.
There are also several options for a one-way business-class seat that you could get with 100,000 United Miles
I’m all about earning extra income where possible, preferably while sitting in the comfort of my recliner, and I also like to travel. This is where building up a nice stash of miles and points can come in handy. As I’ve pointed out before, just this year, I’ve been able to take my family of four to a couple of European capitals and Mexico with frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I’d not be able to travel nearly as much without these great benefits, so I’m all about maximizing them when possible.
Do you want the bad news first, or would you rather have the good news? I’ll start with the bad news. Most people in the United States live for today. The average American is deep in debt, and this debt can really lead to many difficulties in life. A person’s savings rate is the leading indicator for future wealth. This indicator reached an all-time high of 17 percent of income back in 1975, but by July 2005, the rate was at an all-time low of less than 2 percent. Today, the savings rate for the average American has reached 5.7 percent, which is three times what it was just a decade ago. The good news is that there are some pretty easy steps to take to improve your personal savings rate and shore up your finances.
The reason for this increase is probably related to what happened between 2005 and today–the Great Recession. People were shaken by the sudden crash of the economy. While a savings rate of between 5 and 10 percent might seem impressive given where it’s come from just a few years ago, it’s still not all that great. The popular site Mr. Money Mustache has a pretty amazing article on “The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement” that looks at how the savings rate can determine how long a person has to work. A person who saves 5 percent a year will have to work about 66 years to be able to retire comfortably. Fewer teenagers are working today, so this means that a 20-something who starts to work today will need to work until about age 90 before they can let someone else take over their job.
This math presupposes that there is no pension waiting on a worker and that the doomsday scenarios of Social Security that claim it will pay nothing at sometime in the not-too-distant future will come frighteningly to fruition. This means that the savings rate of American workers is woefully short of what it needs to be. Even the record savings rate in the post-1959 world that was noted above will require quite a bit of work. A 17 percent savings rate means that a worker can retire right around the “traditional” retirement age after working approximately 40 years, again assuming that there is no pension or Social Security payment coming. Needless to say, this is not a terribly comforting situation.
These numbers are why it’s important to take a long view when it comes to personal finance. Those who fail to plan actually plan to fail, so getting some goals together is a good idea. I don’t know about you, but having to work until 90 would mean that I’d probably be dead before I can afford to quit working on a full-time basis. That does not seem like a terribly enjoyable path to take. The time to start planning for retirement was 10 years ago. However, if you didn’t put in the effort to plan 10 years ago, the second best time is now.
This is where earning money in pajamas proves to be a great idea. If your main gig barely pays the bills, there are exactly two ways to save money (outside of having a long, lost extremely rich uncle give you a massive inheritance or hitting the lottery, which is a losing proposition because the house always has to win). These first of these two realistic methods is cutting expenses. With the number of high-paying jobs not being what most Americans might wish, keeping expenses down is definitely an important step to take to ensure that you can build wealth over time.
The second option for saving more money involves finding other avenues to make money. With the advent of the Interwebs, the opportunities for making more money are quite extensive. Here are 11 such options that I’ve shared before for making extra moolah online . Few jobs require employees to work every waking hour, so most workers will have several hours each week to earn more money. The best part about utilizing the Internet means of making money is that you don’t have to leave the house. You can literally sit around in your pajamas on a Saturday afternoon and make a bit of money while watching football. If you have a connection to the Internet, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t attempt to make more money. The link above has some great ways that I’ve been able to make money. I’ve used a few to make more than $1,000.
It’s important to take the long view of personal finance when thinking about making money online because it’s easy to get discouraged. A few hundred dollars a year might not seem like much, but your future self will appreciate that your current self decided to save some money for the future. I’ve noted before that saving just a dollar a day between the ages of 16 and the “normal” retirement age of 65 will yield an account of around $286,000 if an 8 percent return can be realized. The power of a simple dollar can be quite amazing. If you can raise this amount to $2 a day in additional income that you can save, you’ll have around half a million by retirement. Only $4 a day will lead to a cool million by 65 if you can start at 16. Discipline is important through all of this, and it’s important to stay in the market.
Those who are able to engage in both of the strategies listed above can super-charge their trek toward retirement. Cutting $4 in spending each day and then making just $4 extra per day and then saving the $8 would lead to nearly $3000 in savings after just a year and nearly $2 million over a 50-year period if you were able to earn an 8-percent return. Those who do not have 50 years to play with can still make some major progress with just a few small tweaks. Even if you’re only looking at 20 years until needing the money, you’ll still be way ahead of what you would have should you never have started to begin with. The time to start making some money in pajamas is now. The sooner you do, the sooner you can start saving and taking advantage of the compounding process. Thinking of the long terms is the only way to make this happen, however, so be sure to get started today.
Disclaimer: I can receive compensation if you sign up for some of the programs that I’ve reviewed using one of my referral links. I definitely appreciate the support, but in the interest of full disclosure, you can still get the the same benefits without using my link.
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Yesterday was September 30, which means that today is a new month. Now that it’s October, I can review the month that was and calculate the dividend income that I earned over the course of the month. This is usually my favorite post of the month, because it keeps me accountable and motivated to see a growing stream of passive income going into the future. As I’ve said many times, passive income is the best income. The third month of the quarter tends to be heavy on the dividend side for most investors who focus on income. This has to do with when the companies that pay out the dividends decide to reward their shareholders.
I put $156 of additional capital to work in my Loyal3 account during the month of September. $145 of this was new capital, while $11 was a deployment of accumulated dividend income into Unilever (UL) stock. I noted this small purchase in my post about using dividend income to buy more dividend income. I did not add any new capital to my TradeKing account, but there was a reinvestment, which I’ll get into below. I did make a purchase in an IRA, and I’ll be discussing this new account I’ve opened in future months.
Without further ado, here are the companies that paid me during the month of September:
Wal-Mart (WMT): $3.65
Unilever (UL): $0.17
Kellogg’s (K): $0.75
McDonald’s (MCD): $3.96
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B): $10.34
TOTAL for September 2016: $18.87
This total was a new monthly record, albeit, it was only $0.05 more than the amount I received in June. Part of the reason for this was a strange method that TradeKing used to pay out the RDS.B dividend in June. They paid out in RDS.A shares, but it then seemed that they cashed those out because they went up in value. I earned more than $11.00 in June, when I expected only $10.34. I’m not complaining by any stretch, but it does explain why there was only a small increase. My most recent dividend from RDS.B bought me an additional 0.206 shares in RDS.A through the dividend reinvestment.
With my September dividends, I am now up to $101.93 in dividend income for the year. My forward dividend income for the next 12 months should be right around $228.79, which is nearly $20 per month. That means that I’m just about to the point where I could replace one hour of work each month from my dividend income alone. In the year-to-year comparison, I earned $16.89 more than I did during the same month last year. This was an increase of 853 percent over just one year, not quite as high as my year-over-year increase for August, but I must say that I’m thrilled with this increase. Hopefully by this time next year, I’ll be way ahead of where I currently am in terms of passive dividend income. How was your dividend income over the past year?
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Disclosure: I am long all stocks mentioned.
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed financial professional. Be sure to do due diligence before investing in securities. This article is not a recommendation to buy a specific company. It is only for educational/entertainment purposes.