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When we first started this site, we wanted to document our home renovation and our path to financial freedom. But we also wanted to see if we could make money documenting that journey. After all, we strongly believe and practice that alternative and passive streams of income (aka the side hustle haul) are critical to building wealth. We knew a little bit about how to make money online, mainly via revenue generating referral programs, like Ebates and Mr. Rebates. And since we love those programs, we’ve featured them on the blog. But could we do more without looking like hucksters?
Even before we began bizewife, we began to notice similarities between the successful blogs we loved. Each blogger was able to monetize their site in some creative and non-offensive way. And some of the blogs even pulled back the curtain on how they they were able to turn a dollar. If you follow any personal finance or side hustle blog, you likely will stumble upon what is known as “income reports”. These are pervasive in the blogosphere and are basically brag books about how people monetize their online presence, many mainly through blogging. While we were drawn to income reports like moths to a flame, we always found some of them slightly off putting, in that many of the sources of income of popular blogs seemed to rely on pyramid scheme model of recruiting more people to blog (and buy their blogging courses or sign-up with their server host). Now, there is a ton to be learned from many of these how-to-blog bloggers, but we didn’t really want to join their crew. After all, we a) think that most of our readers don’t have blogs they are looking to start or grow; and b) feel kinda icky hocking any “business of blogging” info, except our fabulous host BlueHost (see pyramid scheme above). Building a blog is a labor of love and there are expenses that go into it. And despite all the noise out there, we don’t believe that you should start a blog with the sole intent of turning a profit. You should start a blog because you are passionate about sharing the things you love. For us, it is sharing our love of design and frugality. Through blogging, however, we’ve learned so much about how not just monetize the site, but also monetize our lives outside of our 9-5s. So, from time to time, we want to share easily implemented tasks that bloggers and “regular” people alike can use to put a few more dollars in their wallets. Hence our Q4 2016 Side Hustle Haul Income Report.
- EasyShift: $292.07
- Field Agent: $75
- Gigwalk: $82.75
- Ebates Referrals: $40
- Ibotta Rebates: $55
- Affiliate Commissions: $50 Amazon Gift Card
- Total: $594.82
Over three months, that’s nearly $200 per month in passive income. Heck, in 4 months we could buy a new pair of Louboutins! Fine, but small potatoes right? Well if we kept socking that amount away in a savings account (let’s use Capital One 360 with a decent .75% rate), after 30 years, we’d net over $80,000 (including nearly $9,000 in interest). Better yet, put your money to work for you in a tax advantaged retirement plan or the market, and you’d be looking at over $245,000, of which nearly $175,000 is interest (assuming daily compounding on a 7% rate). That an insane amount of money for a pretty passive side hustle haul!
So how’d we do it?
EasyShift, Field Agent, and GigWalk:
These phone apps are super easy ways to rack up cash while doing and going places that you would likely do and go anyway. Each of these apps place you in the role of “secret shopper” requiring a “shifter” to enter various grocery, convenience and department stores in search of specific products and displays. Answer anywhere from a couple to hundred of questions and take the same number of photos and you can net anywhere from $1-50 per shop. It was a slow quarter, but the Christmas holidays yielded a several quick and high paying shops to net us . We’ve also started using Mobee to earn gift cards, including MasterCard cash cards. In just a couple of months, we’ve earned $150. Available on iOS and Android, if you sign up using this code CGL7, we will both receive $3 in rewards.
In addition to saving tons of cash on online shopping you already do, Ebates allows you to recruit new team members. For every qualified referral you make (that is, each new person you sign up that makes an online purchase via the cashback portal), you receive $5 (and that person gets a $10 gift card). And Ebates has bonus periods, where you can earn up to $25 on every referral. Last quarter we earned $40. If you don’t yet use Ebates, you can sign up using our link.
We are not a couponers. We just don’t buy a ton of food that is coupon-worthy (convenience foods, brand name household cleaners). Ibotta is couponing-lite. It allows us to save on stuff we would buy at any grocery or liquor store. There are often electronic rebates on fresh fruits and veggies, and on wine and beer brands that we like and buy. Plus the app makes clipping physical coupons obsolete. Our side hustle haul amounted to $55 last quarter on purchases we normally buy, by just scanning our products and receipts into the app. Score! If you don’t have Ibotta, you can sign up with our link and you’ll get a $10 bonus.
Back in October, we wrote this post praising our amazing Casper Mattress and teasing our bedroom reveal. We had had the bed for about 13 months at that point and wanted to provide a comprehensive review for our friends and readers. Casper offers a $50 referral bonus in the form of Amazon credits. And to the lucky purchasers, our referral link gives a $50 off coupon. Win win right? Well the post has gone pretty viral on Pinterest with lots of clicks and bookmarks. And to date we’ve had 2 readers purchase this amazing mattress and their clicks have netted us $100 (albeit only $50 in Q4). It felt really great to create useful information and get paid for it. And with that cash, we bought necessary essentials and some splurges, including bizewife’s Valentine’s Day present to the hubs.
Moral of the story: Every little bit helps and in Q4 16, we set ourselves up to have an additional $225,000 in retirement for a couple hours of work. And we didn’t need a blog to make all or most of this side hustle haul. Anyone can do it.
What is your side hustle haul and how are you getting there? Are you thinking of setting up a blog to make money? What challenges do you anticipate?
This post contains affiliate links. The opinions expressed are always that of bizewife and have not been influenced in any way. As always your support is appreciated.