The Nearly Passive Way I Earn $100+ A Month

How I Passively Earn $100 Per MonthI love finding new ways to earn money. It doesn’t have to be a lot, and I’d prefer 3 ways to earn $100 per month than one way to earn $300 per month. I like diversifying my income streams, so while I have a day job that provides the large majority of my income, this blog and my blog carnival submission service also help me achieve my high savings goals. I recently found a new way to earn a couple hundred dollars a month, and the reason that I’m so excited about it is that it requires barely any work! To cap it off, the “initial investment” amount can sometimes be a negative number, meaning it costs nothing to start, and you can actually make money just getting the tools ready!

 

How I Earn $100+ Per Month – And How You Can Earn Even More!

Through Reddit, I was introduced to Perk, an application you can install on your phone that displays videos and ads and rewards you with points. It only pays out a few cents per hour per phone, but if you follow along, watch how quickly it can add up.

I don’t use my primary phone for this, rather I bought a phone (no plan required, simply connect to WiFi) specifically designed to run the Perk app. Actually, I bought 4 (so far). I don’t have to pay much attention to it, just reset it every once in awhile or interact with a video or ad. At most, I spend 3 minutes a day on these phones, but most days it’s significantly less, maybe just a minute or two to get the phones optimized for maximum earnings. With 4 phones running, the numbers start to add up. Perk allows each user to have 5 phones, and you are allowed to have multiple accounts per household, so we could potentially get up to 10 phones running Perk.

I tracked my earnings with my phones the past week and I earned about 20,600 points, which translates into $20.60 in Amazon gift cards (I shop there often enough, it’s as good as cash for me). There are lots of other gift card options, but the PayPal option has too many fees that I don’t think it’s worth it. There was one day where I didn’t set the phones to run at all, so it was completely wasted. Typically, I’d expect a bit more, and if I added in a 5th phone (I’ll be doing that soon), I’ll easily earn $100 each month. And if it continues to work as expected, Lauren may get an account of her own.

Sounds Cool, How Do I Get Started?

This is my favorite part. With most businesses or hustles, there are start-up costs that can deter you from starting. But with Perk, you can get phones for free (and sometimes even earn money getting started)! My first phone cost me $20 to buy, but TopCashBack.com had a promotion that was giving $35 back for the purchase (keep reading for instructions on how you can do this, too), so I actually made $10 on that, too! $10, a free phone plus nearly $1 a day from the phone? Score! I’ll update this page with any deals I find. Right now, TopCashBack.com is giving $10 just for signing, up, so you can guarantee a profit before you even receive your phone. Simply sign up through one of my links, and we’ll both be rewarded with $10 for our (lack of) effort.

Current Deal:

Once you’ve registered on TopCashBack.com ($10 credit just for doing so):

  1. Do a search for ‘Boost Mobile’ and you’ll see they are offering $35 cashback for a purchase.
  2. Click the orange buttons until you get to the Boost Mobile homepage.
  3. Search for ‘kyocera hydro pre-owned.’ It should show up as $34.99. That means a free phone to help start your perking!

Next, go to Perk and sign up. Once your phone arrives, connect to your WiFi network, install the Perk app, and you’ll be on your way toward earning $100/month yourself! If you’ve got any questions, drop them below and I’ll do my best to answer them. Happy Perking!

Facing Reality Head On

Facing Reality Head OnLindsay S. Bourkoff is a financial advisor at Shrier Wealth Management LLC, a boutique wealth management firm headquartered in Los Angeles, CA. Read more about Linsday at the end of the article.

As a teenager, my father would tell me stories about how my grandparents went from riches, to rags, and riches again… many times over. My Grandfather Harold passed away a successful entrepreneur, but his road to success was paved with many financial challenges. At the height of his success, he built a mansion in Beverly Hills, only to have to sell it less than 1 year later, when he lost much of his fortune.

I write this story, not to dredge up the trauma that my grandparents faced back then, but to emphasize the importance of taking action and adjusting one’s lifestyle when faced with a prolonged financial change in one’s life.

When my grandfather lost much of his wealth and realized that his loss was not a temporary situation, instead of ignoring his new financial reality, he and my grandmother made immediate changes to their lifestyle to stem further losses. They sold their brand new house, moved to much smaller, more humble home, and made drastic cuts to their spending level.

But while this may have been an extremely difficult choice, their rapid response to their deteriorated financial situation allowed them to preserve the wealth that still remained and helped them to eventually re-build their savings.

A Real Life Example

As a financial advisor practicing in Los Angeles, I advise many clients on wealth building strategies. But all of the investing and financial planning advice is useless if an individual is in denial of his or her financial problems and unwilling to confront a change in that reality.

This week I was reminded of the virtues of my grandparents’ decisive action as I coached a long-time client through a difficult personal financial period. Her income had been seriously decreasing for nearly five years because her industry was in secular decline. For many years I had advised her to sell her luxury home (with a $7,000 monthly mortgage) and use the equity in the home to pay off expensive credit card debt. I reminded her of the necessity to reduce her spending and cut out her exorbitant restaurant bills until her income stabilized. But unfortunately, none of these changes ever occurred. My client was intent on keeping her house no matter the cost and continued spending in the manner in which she was accustomed. This past week culminated in what I would call her financial ruin. She had spent down most of her liquid assets, even taking the drastic measure to withdraw all funds from her retirement account before retirement eligibility age – 10% penalty and all.

Make A Change Before It’s Too Late

Many people in their lives will encounter a stressful financial period such as losing a job, or having a business in decline. But the key to coming out on the other end solvent is foreseeing when the problem may be prolonged and then taking action. That might force someone to make the painful decision to sell a beloved home, sell expensive artwork, or re-train to a different profession.

Part of the difficulty in convincing my client to make the necessary adjustments to her lifestyle was her consistently positive attitude that her “situation would improve soon.” Each day, she hoped that her finances would turn around. For anyone going through financial problems, this mentality is certain to help keep one’s spirits up and prevent a downward emotional spiral. But when it comes to keeping and building wealth, it is crucial that one is not blinded by optimism. Most importantly, confronting financial problems head on and making the necessary lifestyle adjustments gives one a chance at making a come-back some day and leaving a legacy that grandchildren may even talk about.

Mrs. Bourkoff graduated from Columbia University cum laude. In addition to her work as a financial advisor, Mrs. Bourkoff volunteers her time with the SIFMA Foundation dedicated to investment education for children. Lindsay can be reached at lindsay@shrierwealth.com.

Securities Offered Through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments or strategies may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing.

Is Expedia Stealing From Its Customers?

Is Expedia Stealing From Its Customers?This past weekend, Lauren and I took a trip to Las Vegas for a friend’s wedding (they live there, it was not a chapel wedding). We looked at a lot of hotels, trying to decide which would be best for us. We were not going to be having the normal gambling and a show experience as we were only there for one night (the night of the wedding), but we did want to sit by the pool and who can say no to a little craps?

 

 

We Got A Great Deal…I Thought

We found a great price on a hotel, which booking directly would have been about $200, and going through discount sites was $180. But through slickdeals, I found a $25 off coupon when booking with Expedia’s mobile app. I downloaded it to see what the price would be, and to my surprise, it included an additional discount, down to $164! I applied the coupon, which brought the price down to $139 and checked out. This was a great price, especially since it included all resort fees (which were $25 at this hotel). Our other options were around $110 (+$25 resort fee) for a much smaller room at a hotel that was not rated as highly. I was planning on using the $20 trick to get upgraded to a room that wouldn’t have even been as nice as the one we booked.

Expedia Charged Me an Extra $25 Without My Permission!

Expedia Checkout Screenshot

A few minutes after booking, I got an email confirmation, along with a receipt. To my surprise, it showed that my credit card had been charged $164! I knew something was wrong, so I immediately got back on my phone and recreated the purchase, and took screenshots along the way. It looked exactly the same, and I was pissed off! I think it’s awful (and maybe illegal?) for a company to quote you one price and charge you another without your permission. I authorized a charge of $139, the additional $25 was not something I was aware of. And of course, I booked a non-refundable deal, so my next step was to email and call Expedia.

I emailed the company, but got antsy, so gave them a call. It took awhile to get someone on the phone, but finally a woman got on the line and tried to help. The first person couldn’t really help me. First, she told me that the coupon wasn’t applied with my original order. As you can see from the screenshot below, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Then, she offered to cancel the purchase (I thought that couldn’t be done?) and re-book, but the lowest price (after the coupon was applied) she could get it to was $160. Um, no thanks. She transferred me to her supervisor, Autumn, which required a 20 minute wait. She told me that she could credit me the $25 that I shouldn’t have been charged, which was a good start.

creating a plan to get out of debt

Are Others Having Money Stolen From Them, too?

However, my concern isn’t just about the $25, it’s about the process and the fact that this was allowed to happen in the first place. If Expedia was able to charge me $25 more than I authorized, could they be doing something to other customers as well? Probably. So I started asking about that possibility, and they said if it was an issue for anyone else, they could call in and get their purchases refunded as well. But what if people didn’t notice? It’s totally not OK for a company to take customer’s money and only give it back if the customer calls in to complain (and waits on hold for an extended period of time)!

After a 30 minute wait, Kallie, a customer service supervisor in Las Vegas, took my call. When I expressed my concern that Expedia could be stealing from other customers, she said it would have to be sent over to the tech team. I asked that she do that, but there’s really no way for me to know if the issue is being addressed, so hopefully my twitter mentions and this post will be a kick in the pants for them.

Lessons Learned From Expedia

I learned a few lessons from this experience. One, if you have an issue with an Expedia order that can’t be refunded, try telling them that the price is wrong and a coupon was applied but did not count. Those magic words seemed to open a new possibility that was previously unavailable. Two, Expedia, while admitting to a mistake, doesn’t really care about their customers. They made an error, corrected it after 75 minutes, but did not acknowledge that this could have had worse effects on other people. Had I gone over my credit limit and been charged $35, they wouldn’t have done anything else (I asked). Even a $25 credit to my account would have been a nice gesture, even though I won’t be using Expedia again in the future.

Have you ever had such an experience with a company? Does it scare you that this could happen without our knowledge and never be corrected?

UPDATE: I called again to complain the day of the wedding, and after explaining the situation, was transferred to Freddy, who works for the corporate customer service. After threatening to report them to the Better Business Bureau, he issued me a $35 refund, which made all the phone calls worthwhile for me (but this post is still necessary).