In the first 40 days of 2020, I have saved an additional $1627. The extra savings mainly came from free money i have found online, and from cutting a few existing expenses. I hope you find this breakdown helpful, that it inspires you to find free money, and to actively save and invest the money found. Here is a breakdown of what I have done:
How I Increased My Income
Keep in mind that you can use other methods to increase your income. You can ask for a raise, pick up a second job, switch jobs, become a freelancer, the possibilities are endless. For the time being, i picked some options that do not take too much extra time.
Here are the methods i used to increase my Income:
- Bank Bonus: As the name indicates, these are signup bonuses offered by banks in an effort to keep you as a long term client. Banks do not pull your credit for banking accounts, so your credit score will not be affected. ( Charles Schwab does a hard pull).
- Chime Bank – Received a $50 sign up bonus, and $50 referral for my wife. To receive this bonus, I signed up with a referral, and had a direct deposit of $200. The Direct deposit can be completely bypassed with a bank transfer from your current bank, send $250 from your current bank, and when the deposit post so will the $50 bonus.
- Varo Money – Received a $75 sign up bonus. Signed up with a referral, direct deposit of $250. (contact me for a referral, Varo does not allow 3rd party links). Similarly to Chime, Varo Direct Deposit can be bypassed with Bank Transfer. The latest data points, show that discovery Savings account triggers the bonus.
- Discovery Savings Account: Received $200 sign up bonus. The requirement for this bonus is a $25000 deposit. This can be cumulative. ( I transferred $8500 from another bank account, then back and forth 2 more times to get to $25000).
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: Received a $200 sign up bonus. The requirement was to spend $500 within the first 3 months ( Medical Insurance bill, Phone bill, and Internet Bill took care of that).
- Chase Freedom: Received $50 from cashback reward. 5% rotating categories.
- Amex Blue Cash Preferred: Received $65 from cashback reward. This is the best grocery card if you spend a significant amount of money in this category. You get 6% cashback. It has a $95 annual fee.
- Webull: Received 13 free stocks for a total value of $133. You can receive 2 free stocks if you sign up with my link. Great platform for day trading.
- Robinhood: Received 6 free stocks for a total value of $30. The friendliest platform. You can trade individual stocks, index funds, and crypto. Quick deposits.
- Acorns – Received $5 for signing up. Acorns invests your change from everyday purchases. Id adds up quickly, you’ll be surprised how fast you get to a few hundred dollars invested.
- M1 Finance: Received a $10 sign up bonus. Great for investing in dividend stocks, and index funds. My go to for long term investments.
- Befrugal: received $15. $10 sign up bonus, and $5 cashback from Gillette razor purchase. Highest cashback rates.
- Dosh: $6 – Link your credit card and get cashback for certain purchases. Good for hotel reservations.
- Ibotta: $6.50 cashback. Great for groceries.
- Items Sold on OfferUp
- Bicycle: $250
- Asus Gaming Monitor: $80
First, list all of your expenses, paying close attention to recurring expenses. Furthermore, this will allow you to identify where your money is going. Sure, some expenses are fixed, and can be a little more difficult to reduce. For example, (housing, healthcare premium, electricity, gas). However, there are discretionary expenses like ( eating out and memberships) that are very addressable, while not giving up a whole lot. Finally, after some analysis, I found out I was spending too much money on lunch, coffee, and I was paying for 2 unnecessary subscriptions.
Money Saved Cutting Unnecessary Expenses:
- Cancel Sling TV: saved $42
75% of the TV time was coming from YouTube, which is free. Another 20% was coming from Netflix membership ($15 monthly). I like to binge watch shows, i don not have enough time to sit through commercials. Above all, I realized I was not watching enough TV to justify the $42. In fact, after some research, it became clear that ¾ of the channels can be watched for free with a Roku device. ( Pluto TV, and stadium for sports, have all the programming i need).
- Cancelled Spotify membership: $10 saved
This was replaced with a 3 month free trial from Amazon Music.
- Stopped buying lunch: $200
Now, I take my lunch to work. Bought 2 stainless steel thermos that keeps my food hot till lunch time. Here is a link to the best one on the market.
- Stopped buying coffee in the morning: saved $150
I bought a coffee Mug, now I brew my own coffee in the morning, and take it to work. Here is a LINK to a great insulated coffee mug.
In conclusion, over the last 40 days i have been able to save an addition $1627. Of this $1627, $402 came from cutting a few expenses, $330 came from 2 items sold, while $845 came from completely free money I’ve found online. At first, i thought i could make a few hundred dollars. Now that i am approaching the $1000 mark, I cannot stop wondering, how much more can i find by the end of the year? In part 2, i will cover how i am investing the free money i have found. Finally, I hope this serves as motivation for some of you, and that you set out to find free money as well.