1 Million Dollars

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Changing our side income strategy

A few years past, once my husband had taken his subsidized student loans out, I looked around for a place to put the money.  High yield savings accounts were only offering me about 1%, was there are better deal?  I found one, a high checking account offer 3%, with only 10 debit purchases, a monthly transfer in and online statements.  That extra cash became our yearly emergency fund (EF).  But as time past the deal got worse and worse.  First they increased the purchases to 15, then made a requirement that the purchase had to be above $5.  All the while, decreasing the interest.  By the time we closed the account it was only 1.85%, where a high yield savings account ranges between .75-1%.  And with knowing that most of our money would be gone come December to pay off the student loans, why should we keep it?  So we closed it and moved all the money to a high yield savings account.  But I will miss the $25/month in interest.

And that is not the only decrease we have had this year.  When we moved my daughter to her new daycare we found out that they did not take AMEX, so we got a VISA, but that only give 1.5% cash back instead of 2%.  But the VISA is better than the discover (the other card we used when AMEX was not accepted) which only give 1% (except for certain categories), so we started using the VISA instead of the discover.  But, we had been using the discover to get about $50 a year in CVS gift cards.  We did not get that this year and coupled with the serious lack of deals we ended up spending part of our food budget on expenses I did not expect to.  That does mean that we need to find extra money somewhere but how?

Normally that would have come from the yearly EF, but now my interest is pitiful and won't cover it. What else to do?  Well my husband and I discussed opening credit cards for the bonuses and we agreed to count this as part the side hustle.  Our agreement is that half of any side hustle money belongs to the person who side hustled and the other half goes towards savings.  We separate the saving as well.  If the money is tax free, like gifts or credit card bonus, half goes to EF and half to retirement savings.  If the money is taxable, all of it goes to retirement.  Right now we are trying very hard to stay within the 10%, and save any additional money in the Roth IRAs.  We are very lucky to be able to stay within it, so I want to get as much out of not needing to spend money as we can.
So what have we gotten so far?  Well my husband opened an account at key bank when they offered $250.  I did the same, but I'm missed the better deal and sadly they only offered me $100.  So far my husband got the $250 and I am still waiting on the $100.  But we need some non-taxable money in here, otherwise how can we fund the EF?  So we both opened credit cards.  He got a $100 bonus offer and I got a $200 bonus offer.  Neither have come yet, but I expect at least the $100 bonus to come soon.  We plan to rotate these offers at least every three month for the credit offers, so assuming we get $100, half to the person who found it leaves $25 for retirement and $25 for EF gives us $100 bonus every year. Not up to $300/year but it is getting there.

Granted I only can do this because we have great credit scores and sooner or later all the hard inquires will hurt that, but since we don't plan to buy another house for at least fives I am ok with that.   The next question is where else can I find money to put in my EF.  Any ideas from my readers?  My motto is to never stop trying to improve and I won't!

What have you changed this year?  How are you trying to improve, financial or otherwise?

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