2016 End of Year Side Income Report



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One popular reoccurring post on blogs, regardless of niche, is an income report. For instance, MyBlogLift has a monthly (well, two) income and traffic report. Cash Flow Diaries has a long list of different income reports.

I really haven’t made anything with my blog, so I figured I’d give an end-of-year report of my side income.

Amazon Mechanical Turk

Amazon Mechanical Turk, for those who don’t know, is a site where workers can perform microtasks for a few pennies. A lot of these tasks are academic surveys that take anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes to complete. It takes awhile to learn how to make any halfway decent money from this site - a simple minimum wage job will pay much more than this site. It’s okay for some side income, or something in between looking for a job if you’re unemployed.

This year, I’ve made $1,194.33 with 912 tasks currently pending approval.

Flipping

Flipping is the idea that I buy something at a low price, and sell it elsewhere for a higher price. A fancier word for this is arbitrage. I wrote about this hobby earlier this year in a post about what supplies you should buy to reduce your costs.

How much I made doing this is more complex than just my sales. I sold $1,769.57 - but that’s not my profit. Of those sales, $112.20 when to eBay, $63.76 went to PayPal, and $367.66 went to shipping.

I’ve also bought $132.80 in supplies (packaging tape, printer ink, mailers, etc). I’ve also driven about 550 miles - at 57.5¢ a mile, that’s $316.25.

Plus, of course, the things I sold weren’t free. What I’ve sold cost me $354.55, and I have another $299.67 of unsold inventory.

And, sadly, I’ve had $124.34 in returns. Most were legit (product didn’t work, such as printer ink was dried out), but I’ve had two cases of buyer’s remorse.

If you add the numbers up, I’ve about broken even. For tax purposes, since I can’t deduct unsold merchandise, I’ve made about $300.

Credit Card Rewards

Credit card rewards is a dangerous game - one mistake, and all of your rewards or more can be lost in interest or annual fees. That said, it can be quite profitable. I’m very lightweight when it comes to credit card rewards - some people do much better than me (check out /r/churning).

Also, while I budget these as “income,” I consider them just as a reduction in the cost of the things I buy.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

This card gives you 1.5% cash back on purchases, plus a $150 bonus if you spend $500 in the first 90 days, and another $25 when you add an authorized user. This year I’ve made $246.55, with $39.55 waiting to be redeemed on my next statement. Of course, I have more things I need to buy before my next statement, so it’ll go up a little before then.

Check out the link below to get yours. It’s a referral link, so I’ll get something, too.

Earn $150 cash back with Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ #sponsored

Chase Freedom

This one is similar to the previous one, except that it is an older Chase product, and gets 5% in a different category every quarter and 1% on everything else. Since 1% is lower than the Unlimited’s 1.5%, I only use this one for the 5% categories. Chase has a calendar each year showing what the categories will be - for 2017, they have the first two quarters announced.

Similar to the Unlimited, this also gives you a $150 bonus if you spend $500 in the first 90 days, and another $25 when you add an authorized user.

I just got it this month, so I didn’t get any rewards this year. I have $252.28 to be redeemed in January, however.

The link below should lead to an application page. Again, it’s a referral link.

Earn $150 cash back with Chase Freedom® #sponsored

Checking Bonuses

I had a previous post this year about checking bonuses. Since then I’ve closed my Fifth Third (on the same day they charged me a $8 monthly maintenance fee!) and opened a Huntington Account.

There’s generally some hoops to jump through to get these bonuses (direct deposit, bill pay, etc.), but they’re not too hard to do.

I’ve made a total of $600 bonuses - $250 from Huntington, $150 from Chase, and $200 from Fifth Third.

Class Action Settlements

Prosper

About ten or so years ago I invested in peer-to-peer lending via Prosper. I lost quite a bit of money. Thankfully I recouped $12.26 with the recent class-action lawsuit.

LifeLock

I never paid for LifeLock, but due to recent data breaches, I received a free year’s worth (free to me, paid by someone else). Because of this, I was qualified for $20 in the class-action lawsuit.

Android Apps

Surveys on the Go

Surveys on the Go (or OnGo Surveys) is just a survey app that pays a couple dollars for each survey. Most of the surveys I get I do not qualify for, but I still get 10¢.

I’ve received $31.10, but also have a $1.30 balance in the app (there’s a $10 minimum to cash out.

Ibotta

Some people do really well with Ibotta. I don’t simply because I’m not going to use a rebate on something I wasn’t going to buy anyway - that’s spending money, not saving or making money.

That said, I have cashed out once at $20, plus have another $14.75 balance in the app.

If you haven’t used Ibotta yet, you can use my referral link to get $10 to start. I’ll get $5.

ReceiptHog

Similar to Ibotta is ReceiptHog - except that you can upload (almost) any receipt, not just ones with certain products. The amount you get per receipt it much lower, but being able to do every receipt makes up for that.

Rewards for each receipt vary, but a typical receipt nets about 5 “coins.” Coins can be redeemed for money at four different cash-out levels. Currently, they are as follows:

dollars coins
$5.00 1000
$10.00 1800
$20.00 3200
$30.00 4500

That means, at best, a coin is worth a third of a cent.

I currently have 2,993 coins, worth about $19.95.

Google Opinion Rewards

Google Opinion Rewards doesn’t give you “real” money - it gives you Google Play credit. While you can’t pay your bills with it, you can buy books and movies on Google Play, or do what I did and get the paid version of all your apps.

I’ve made $42.90 but only spent $16.63, leaving me with $26.27 left.

eRewards

eRewards is actually both an app and a website. It’s also invite-only, and like Google Opinion Rewards, doesn’t give you real money - it gives you eRewards currency, which is almost worthless.

I’ve redeemed $370 worth of the eRewards currency. $70 of it bought a $25 off FTD.com coupon, while $300 bought 90,000 GameStop PowerUp Rewards points. Note that you can only buy GameStop PowerUp Rewards once a quarter.

Savings Account Interest

Not too much here. I used to keep my emergency fund with Capital One 360 (formerly ING Direct), but I moved it over to Ally because of the larger interest rate. Ally gives 1% interest, while Capital One 360 only gives 0.75%.

Which is much better than the typical interest you get anywhere else - normally around 0.1%. Except that my local credit union has a savings account that gives 3% on the first $500 (and then a sucky amount on the rest). Granted, that’s $15 a year, but it’s $15 I didn’t have before.

Plus my credit union gives a patronage dividend, although I don’t really understand how it works.

All in all, I’ve made $39.67 in interest - $7.35 from Ally, $3.71 from Capital One 360, and $28.61 from my credit union.

Other

Okay, so what about the typical blogger income? Well, I haven’t made enough in either Google AdSense ($1.27) or Amazon Associates ($1.28) to get anywhere near the cash out level.

Nothing…

A couple more ways I’ve tried to make money haven’t panned out. First, I have a few t-shirt designs on TeeSpring. No ones bought them yet, but it was zero risk to put them up, and zero to keep them.

There’s also VigLink, which is something of an affiliate aggregator service for blogs and other web pages. It requires some JavaScript, so I’ll probably be removing it soon.

So, how’d you do this year?

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