What It’s Like Driving For Uber

One of Lauren’s biggest complaints is that I come home from work and watch sports for several hours. On Sundays, she commandeers the TV during the most important parts of games because “you’ve been watching football for 8 straight hours,” as if that’s a valid reason. Well, I found an alternative that keeps me busy, entertained, and earns a little cash on the side! It’s not as passive as some other ways to earn money each month, but it is a lot of fun! Uber has everything I look for: super flexible hours (work only when you want), interaction with people, and the more you put in, the more you get out.

The Approval Process

At the prodding of a friend, and after reading a lot about it on The Rideshare Guy, I signed up to be an Uber driver. Or rather, I started the process of becoming an Uber driver. The first step was getting a background check, which took a few days, and once I was approved, I got my car inspected. It took about an hour and cost $20, but it was well worth it. I’m now confident I don’t have any major issues with my car, and am aware of a small one that I should get fixed at some point in the next few months.

I uploaded my inspection documentation, my license and registration, and a few pictures of my car, and waited. And waited. After about a week, I emailed asking about the status, was told it could be a few more days, and waited some more. After another few emails, I finally got approved to take my first trip.

Preparing My Car

I cleaned the inside and outside of the car, brought along some charging cables (iPhone and Android), and hit the road. We just bought a handheld vacuum, which came in handy (and will save me time and money in the future if I drive regularly). There are certain points in life where I consider having “made it.” Having a dustbuster is one of them.

Hitting The Road

My first night (a Wednesday), I left the house at around 7:30, and drove a few blocks away to the restaurant area, hoping to pick up the after-dinner crowd. After about 10 minutes, I got my first ride, from someone not at a restaurant. Go figure. I plugged in her destination (a comedy club), took off, and started to make some conversation. Of all the people I drove the first night, this was easily the best. It was a 15 minute trip, the conversation flowed freely, and we were going to a popular part of town where I was sure to pick up more people.

I’ve read stories about forgetting to start the trip, but somehow, I let it happen to me. I was too focused on the directions and forgot to hit the start button until the very end of the trip. I cost myself $7, but after requesting a fare review and explained that it was my first trip ever, Uber credited me with the difference.

After dropping off the first passenger, I had to wait nearly 15 minutes for my next ride. From speaking to other Uber drivers, that seems like a long wait. A couple of short rides later and some more waiting around, I decided to pack it up and start heading home. Of course, as soon as I did that, I got alerted that there was another ride available, so I took it. 3 drunk people entered the car, I started driving to their place, while one asked if I wanted to rob a bank. I said “not tonight,” and he said, “Of course not tonight!” as if I was the crazy one.

Again, as soon as I dropped them off, I got another ride. I took it, hoping that it would bring me closer to home. Nope, 3 girls were going out to a hotel for a fun night out. Another good ride, and as luck would have it, as soon as I dropped them off, I got pinged that there someone at the hotel who needed a ride. Awesome! They got in and directed me to within a few blocks of home. Amazing!

But there was an issue with that last trip. The total came out to $6.66! I don’t like that vibe, so I contacted Uber and they gladly changed the price to $6.65 for the sake of everyone’s luck. Success!

Lessons Learned

Overall, I had a great time, but did learn a few lessons. Lesson one: Start the trip! This was a dumb mistake but luckily, I got it out of the way early. Lesson two: Get a phone mount. I was constantly looking down and the audio wasn’t working properly the whole time, so I decided to buy a phone mount for the car. This way I just have to glance and I won’t be as distracted. Well worth the money and in my mind, it’s a necessity. Lesson three: Stay in one spot. I got a bit antsy waiting for passengers, so I tried moving around a bit. This didn’t work and cost me gas, so lesson learned. Better to not get a ride in one place than not get a ride and waste gas in the process. Lesson four: Start later in the night. I started way too early and the first hour or so was very slow compared to later in the night. Maybe it was a one-time thing, but I don’t see a reason to leave the house before 8pm. I need my sleep so I don’t anticipate driving until 11 or 12 every night, but I will pick my spots so I’m more profitable while I’m out there.

Overall, it was a great first night and I enjoyed the experience. I will definitely be back on the road soon and will do some lessons learned posts!

Paradigm to Play Bingo Games Online and Plenty of Options to Reward Yourself

If Bingo is a game of gambling, then what is the reason of the endurance of free bingo games? Well, don’t forget that besides getting the opportunity to win the game and roll the pesos, it is all about the entertainment with the single existence of the free bingo games suggesting that you can play them for the sake of fun. Attention to all Bingo admirers! Bingo Mania, an online Bingo gaming site brings to you dozens of Bingo and Bingo related games available 24 hours a day. The extent of entertainment is so high that sometimes you are just addicted to play with bingo numbers and arrays without any motive of making real money.

The best part of this game is that you don’t need to compromise with the fun of bingo. Here you can still asset the bingo cards and can still smear the bingo numbers as you do in real money bingo games. Another best part of this game is that if there is nothing to win, there’s nothing to lose as well. Instead you can earn entertainment on a very high level and at the same time there are small bonus treats to win as well. The online bingo subsistence have thus made it priority to keep in line with modern day technology as well as culture progressions.

If you are a high waver, Bingo Mania is designed just for you. Being a flash online bingo site, it can also be downloaded and installed on your hard drive without any hassles. The site basically offers slots, roulette, video poker, keno, and pull tabs. You can play them in real and free money environments. With amazing prizes, secure gaming environment and first class indulgence, the site continually endeavor to be the best for all bingo lovers.

Bingo Mania has been delivering high end betting games since its inception in the year 1996 which features 75 balls and 90 ball games. Every detail of playing here is entertaining. The live chat satisfies the criteria by keeping the bettors engrossed into the playing experience. The main feature of this site is large number of big jackpot bingo games that are offered for playing throughout the month. The use of free cards for games is an exclusive reward to players who actively use this site. Another way that the players are remunerated is loyalty points for high monthly speculating totals and deposits. The more you enjoy, the more points you receive. As a result, numbers of players are rapidly doubling as being a fun game; it is easy to play at no deposit bingo sites.  Thus, this old and most popular Bingo site is one of the best online sites with number of customer reviews available.

2014 Third Quarter Business and Personal Finance Goals Update

I changed my goals for 2014, going with 3 goals that keep us accountable both on a personal and business level. We’re into the home stretch now, so let’s see how we’re doing and if we can finish the year off strong.

As always, I am leaving out steps on the way to achieving my goals (like fully funding out Roth IRAs and contributing to 401(k)s) because they would have simply been checkboxes. I don’t believe in setting goals that are more of a given than anything else. It’s not impressive to make a long list of achievable goals and when you accomplish 18 out of 20, to claim that 90% were completed when those last 2 might have been the most important.

1. Grow My Blog Carnival Submission Service To Over $500/Month

This has been stagnant, but something I’m ok with. I don’t see a huge opportunity to grow the business, and the time that would be required to grow this to $500/month might outweigh the benefit.I definitely haven’t put in effort to recruit new users, for a few reasons: I have been lazy and haven’t made it a priority, and I don’t want to step on the toes of friends and other bloggers who have similar services. It does seem like a few carnivals have stopped in the past few months, and for some, it’s been harder to find hosts. If I see things go back to normal and bloggers are more willing to host, I will renew my search for new users.

2. Create At Least Two New Streams Of Income That Bring In $100 Per Month.

At the beginning of the year, I said I had an idea for one of these income streams, and in March, I achieved that mark. With a friend, we buy some items in bulk and resell them individually for more on eBay. It worked very well, but due to circumstances outside of our control, we had to shut the operation down. It was a great run while it lasted and netted me more than $1,200 (or $100/month for a whole year), so I’m going to consider that a success. It certainly wasn’t a failure, or if it was, I hope all my ventures “fail” as spectacularly as this one did.

My perk farm is now earning about $150/month, so that is a huge check mark. It involves very little work and has a low barrier to entry (and anyone can do). Check out that post if you’d like to earn that much, too!

Other that that, I’ve got one last idea in the works. It’s no sure thing, but it is something that I want to try out to see if it has the potential that I think it might. Sorry for the lack of details!

3. Keep Discretionary Spending to 105% of 2013 Levels

In the 3rd quarter, our discretionary spending was 22% higher than the first quarter, and a whopping 37% increase over our second quarter of 2013. This was caused by a huge $3,000+ international round-trip flights we booked for November. We’ll be traveling around Italy for a week before heading to Israel for a few more days. It’s a lot of money, but it will be a lot of fun and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. For the year, we’ve spent 22% more than last year at this time, which comes down to less than 4% when that single transaction was excluded. 5% was a stretch considering two international trips, but other than those we’re doing awesome (and we aren’t going to change plans to hit a goal).

As a reminder, our new car is not included in this calculation (we decided to pay it off over 5 years instead of paying in cash). Our typical grocery bill, insurance, charity, tuition and student loan payments, rent, and utilities won’t count toward this goal, but everything else does. We want to see if we can keep our discretionary spending in check, because that’s all we can really control.

I’m not terribly excited that we spent more this year than last, and I don’t think our spending is out of control. Hopefully we can finish 2014 strong (but we still have to book a hotel in Florence and traveling itself won’t be cheap)!

Rating Our Progress So Far

I’m definitely encouraged this quarter by the business progress, having a few extra streams of income, even if they’re temporary, definitely takes the sting out of spending a bit more. We have some room for improvement, so our work is definitely not done. Overall, I’m pleased by our progress and performance, and am looking forward to more of the same!

How are you doing on your goals so far? Where are you succeeding?