Ok, I’ve covered the Big Stuff. I save well over 20% of my income, and it’s already invested in low-cost index funds. But what about the Little Stuff, like making money off bank bonuses? What kind of money are we talking about? Let’s break it down a little and give some annual estimates. I’m going to ignore chasing the best interest rates for now.
Buying things with rewards credit cards: $300-$600
$100+ Credit card signup bonuses: $400-600
Bank signup bonuses (Example): $200-400
Other bonuses and perks (Example): $100-$200
0% APR Balance Transfer offers (How To Do This): $500-$1,500
Bored Money like surveys and stuff: $100-$200
Total: $1,500 to $3,500 a year!
That’s not something to sneeze at for most people. The key is to not spend this money and let it roll straight into increasing your net worth. (Maybe skim off some for some fun things :)) Remember the Big Stuff – Save it! This money is enough to fund a huge chunk of my Roth IRA every year. Save $2,000 each year x 30 years x 8% a year… that’s something like over $200,000.
Don’t forget, this is still ignoring all the other things, like saving money on utilities or other regular expenses, making more money with side projects, or trying to optimize your investment strategy to get the best risk/reward balance.
Now, how much time do I spend on it? I won’t lie, it’s a fair amount. I really kind of see it as a hobby myself. I don’t feel I need to do it. I like to do it. Some people play FreeCell or video games, I look for deals. I do it during my lunch hour, along with keeping up with this site. Honestly, if someone wrote my blog, I’d read it. It would save me tons of time finding and sorting through everything!
Most of the time it takes me longer to make an organized post about a deal than to actually complete the offer. I mean, completing the offer usually just involves filling out an application and maybe moving some money around temporarily or using the card once and then tucking it away. If you are efficient, it’d take maybe 15 minutes in total time. And you can do it without leaving the house or changing out of your pajamas.
But I’m perfectly aware that for each person that likes to do these deals, there is someone who could care less. I actually find it highly amusing. I could tell my wife – “Hey, if you just fill out this form, some guy will walk up to your door and hand you a $100 bill.” And she’d say “Yeah? Nah, I don’t care. That’s too much trouble.” I’d even offer to fill it out for her, and she’d barely look up. I bet some of you know what I mean. 😉
In the end, I accept both and say to each their own. Different strokes for different folks!
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