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Four ways to make money online.

Last Wednesday I posted a few blogging tips. Wednesdays, if you recall, are my days to post about blogging or finance. Today we’re covering something that falls into both categories.

Ever since I’ve been on this debt repayment journey (I’m SO EXCITED about my progress this month!) I’ve been thinking a lot about side hustle. The easiest side hustle gig for me is babysitting, but I’m also trying to figure out ways to generate income online. Right now my monthly financial reports are based on debt repayment but I dream of one day being able to post my income reports. We’ll get there.

Here are four ways to make money online. Note that I did not necessarily include the word “easy.”

4 ways to make money online // stephanieorefice.net

 

ONE: Linqia
Linqia is a pay-per-click campaign site for bloggers. After applying, if you are accepted, you wait for an invitation to a campaign. So far, I’ve done one for Del Monte Juice and Kotex. You are reimbursed for the product, and then you create your story and use your unique link. You are paid per click, so creative storytelling is necessary. In my two campaigns, I’ve made $44. It’s not a lot, but I enjoyed the opportunity to work on my sponsored post content and my social media marketing. The campaign opportunities haven’t come consistently for me, so you might have to wait a bit… but I really have had fun with them!

 

TWO: Swagbucks
I’ve done a whole entire post dedicated to earning gift cards through Swagbucks. One of the options for gift cards is PayPal cash! Which equals.. well.. cash! Some of the ways to earn are SUPER easy and can be done during the time your favorite TV show is on a commercial break.

 

THREE: ShareASale
ShareASale is an affiliate marketplace with TONS of different online retailers you can partner with. You can post ads, create posts around your favorite products and promote sales. For any sales made through your clicks, you’ll earn a portion of the sale. A lot of people say that affiliate programs only work if you have a lot of traffic. I think this is kind of true. The more people that view your site, the more likely you are to have someone click on it. However, if you do a good job of product promotion, you can still make a little bit of money.

 

FOUR: Amazon Associates
Amazon Associates is an affiliate program like ShareASale, but because Amazon is such a popular retailer, there’s a much greater chance that someone will make a purchase after clicking on your link.The great news is that if you promote a specific product and they choose not to buy that but instead stock up on diapers or something.. you still get a percentage of the diaper sale!

 

It’s easier to make money when you have more traffic… just like if you had a clothing store, it’s quite possible that you could have a few people that make huge purchases, but for the most part you want more people to come in and out of your doors because then there’s a greater chance that someone will buy something.

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Debt Repayment Recap #1 (May 2015)

Okay it’s not quite the end of the month but it’s time to be honest and refocus. Even though I don’t spend a lot of money… a lot of money is spent, if that makes sense.

Last month my total debt was  $23,983, divided 3 different ways:

Car: $20,775
Dental Credit: $1,809
Credit Card: $1,399

UNFORTUNATELY, I didn’t factor in the fact that I’d JUST paid for maintenance on my car with my credit card. So as you’ll see in the following numbers, my credit card balance actually increased.

As of May 25, 2015, this is what those numbers look like

Car: $20,426 (-1.68%)
Dental Credit: $1,627 (-10.06%)
Credit Card: $1,668 (+19.23%)

My overall debt ($23,721) is -1.09% from last month.

Debt Repayment Update #1 // stephanieorefice.net

It’s been a HUGE mental struggle, and here’s why.. the problems I encountered in my first month of debt repayment.

  • I often buy things for my programs at church and then later get reimbursed. It makes it hard to feel like I’m not out spending money all the time. I currently have a pile of receipts on my desk and I plan to use the reimbursement check to put towards my debt.

 

  • I buy other people’s coffee. I’d made a goal for May to limit my coffee budget to $80, which is all fine and good until I realize how often I pick up other people’s coffee. I never knew if that counted towards my coffee or not. So then I kind of stopped caring.

 

  • Sometimes I forget to take cash out. I do the very best when I am only spending cash – that way I can basically only spend what I see. Which is a great idea if I remember to actually take cash out. All it takes is one swipe of my card to make me feel discouraged.

Check out my May Goals here and read about this new journey to pay off my debt that I’ve embarked on.

I’m going to try and build a solid foundation for this month so I’m making things even more simple:

June Goals.

  • $150 towards Dental Credit
  • CASH ONLY (unless it includes reimbursement purchases, gas or coffee for other people)
  • Drop my overall debt by 1.5%

 

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Using Swagbucks to earn gift cards.

Last week I wrote about my May goals, and one of them was to figure out how to spend my $120 in Swagbucks gift cards. In my time of using Swagbucks (probably 5 years) I’ve accumulated nearly enough points for $400 in gift cards. What! That’s crazy!

I am CONSTANTLY telling my friends to use Swagbucks. If you get in the habit of using the site, you’ll start earning gift cards while you’re watching TV or doing things you normally do like searching the web or making purchases online. I’m going to walk you through the ways I usually and consistently earn Swagbucks.

Throughout this post I’ll refer to SB (Swagbucks) which is the point currency system on Swagbucks.com.
500 points = $5 gift card.

How to earn free gift cards using Swagbucks // stephanieorefice.net

  • Daily Tasks
    On the home screen of Swagbucks is a daily to-do list. A poll for 1 SB, No Obligation Special Offers for 2 SB (you click through and say “skip” on each offer), daily use of installed Swagbutton (in your browser) for 1 SB and the Daily Crave for 1 SB.These tasks can be completed within the time it takes for a commercial break of your favorite TV show. 5 SB a day. 30 days a month = 150 SB/month or 1,800 SB/year, which is $15 in gift cards.
  • Searching
    Some of you might think “that’s a lot of work for not a lot of payoff.” Do me a favor. Develop this habit. Every time you want to type in a website, first go to swagbucks.com and then type in the name of the website. I do this with EVERYTHING – Google Analytics, Google Adsense, Google Maps… okay, not Facebook or Twitter, but basically any website I don’t know off the top of my head, I type into Swagbucks. Every so often you get a Swagbucks search bonus. They tend to be between 7-9 SB, but I once received 40 SB for searching.
  • Shopping
    Before you buy ANYTHING online, go to the “shop” option of Swagbucks and search for the store you were going to buy from. I never buy directly from Groupon, I always go to Swagbucks and buy through there. There are SB per dollar offers, sometimes up to 8 per dollar, and you can earn large amounts of SB just by making purchases you were planning on making anyway.
  • Videos
    Swagbucks has a variety of videos you can watch – I love the pop culture/entertainment ones – Every 10 videos, you earn 3 SB and you can earn up to 150 a day. If you’re just on the computer and don’t mind background noise, this is a perfect opportunity to earn lots of Swagbucks while you’re going on your everyday life. They even have a mobile app for watching the videos.

 

  • Surveys
    Like with most survey sites, this is hit or miss. Swagbucks offers surveys, but you have to qualify. The payout for surveys you are able to complete is pretty good, and you get 1 SB for being disqualified. Last month I finished a survey and earned 60 SB. Definitely worth the disqualification, and I’m sure I could be earning more through surveys, but it’s not really my cup of tea.
  • Special Offers
    Swagbucks hosts TONS of special offers that hook you up with SB. When I caved and signed up for the Disney Movie Club (which I sadly had to recently cancel because of my new debt repayment journey), I did so through Swagbucks and earned a few hundred points. Same goes for when I signed up for Julep… and Graze. Some of the offers cost money, but others are “Watch a short video” or sign up for an e-mail list or download an app.
  • Referring friends
    When you sign up for Swagbucks using the link I’ve provided, you become my referral. I will earn 10% of what you earn. They don’t take the points away from you, they just kick them back to me. Do you see how brilliant this is? The more people you refer and teach how to use Swagbucks, the more SB magically appear in your account. Once you start redeeming your SB for gift cards, this will become a no brainer.

These are my favorite ways to earn Swagbucks. You might find that some work better than others, but if you get into the habit of making Swagbucks.com a daily part of your life, you’ll be amazed at how the SB add up and you’ll be in the dilemma I’m in now – what to spend my 12,070 Swagbucks on!

I’m torn between Paypal money to put towards my debt (#grownup!) or a Starbucks gift card (to save money on coffee and put more money toward my debt… #grownup!) or an Amazon gift card to splurge on more Instax film (and save money… to put towards my debt… #grownup!). What do you think??

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All about debt repayment

Hey. Let’s have a talk.

You know my friend Ernie? The self-employed musician? The dude can hustle. As I’ve grown closer and closer to the Halters, he’s started sharing his financial advice with me. And I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how smart he is with money and how inspiring that is….

and I decided that I want to be debt free.

Ernie and I were texting the other day. And I told him how I used to think the whole point of getting money was to spend it, and now I see that the point of money is to utilize it. I had this moment where I was looking at a big dentist bill and I thought “I wish I made enough money to take care of this,” and I realized… I DO make enough money to take care of it, the problem is that my money is tied up or spent elsewhere. In my life money tends to be spent instead of utilized.

I’ve spent the past few months reading about debt repayment and passive income. and I’ve decided that I want to embark on the debt free journey and I want to drag all of you along with me. That means I’m going to have to be honest and accountable, right?

I am currently $23,983 in debt, divided 3 different ways:

$20,775 is my car.
$1,809 is my dental credit line.
$1,399 is my credit card.

One big debt and two smaller debts. I know that according to the whole Dave Ramsey thing, I should be paying off the credit card first (hi Travis!!) but the dental credit line has an interest rate of 20%! Yikes! I want to get rid of that ASAP because that is kiiillllliiiinnnnggggg me.

Each month, I’ll post an income report – what I made, where I spent it, and my finance goals for the next month. Since this is my first one, here are my very gracious May budget goals because you have to start somewhere. 

May 2015 Finance Goals // stephanieorefice.net

May Goals

Debt Repayment:
Put $150 of my income towards my dental credit ($75/paycheck).

Budget Limits:
Spend no more than $20 at Target, with the exception of gifts.
Spend no more than $40 on birthday/graduation gifts.
Spend no more than $80 on coffee (summer = iced coffee = buying coffee.. shh)

Side hustle goals:
Try to make $40 on the side to put towards my dental credit.

 

Part of me is so sad it’s taken me so long to get serious about paying off debt and being wise with my money.. but at the same time, I’m just glad something finally clicked and I have people who are wise with their money to look to.

Are any of you on a debt repayment journey? How has it been going? Any tips/pointers/etc you want to pass on?

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How to earn free flights with Southwest Rapid Rewards

How to earn free flights with Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points // stephanieorefice.net

My friends don’t ask me what airline I’m flying anymore, because I always fly Southwest. I usually travel alone, so open seating doesn’t bother me, and I LOVE that bags fly free. Not only that, they offer competitive prices (especially when you factor in the money you save on the checked bags).

As I mentioned in a post last week, Ryan and I are flying to Southern California and it only cost $24 for the both of us. I believe that the way to make rewards/loyalty programs work the best for you is to be 100% completely brand loyal. That said, I’m sure some of these tips would roll over into other air reward programs, but I can only speak confidently on what I know.

First, I’m going to show you my RR (Rapid Rewards) points for 2014 and 2015.

How to earn free flights with Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points // stephanieorefice.net How to earn free flights with Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points // stephanieorefice.net

Let’s discuss the blue items in the list. The blue items are flights. I usually buy two one way tickets whenever I fly anywhere because instead of paying one large sum of money, I’d rather pay two smaller fees. There are three different levels of airline tickets with Southwest: Business Select, Anytime and Wanna Get Away. Business Select is the most expensive and offers 12 points per dollar spent. Wanna Get Away is the cheapest and offers 6 points per dollar spent. I’m cheap; I always travel Wanna Get Away fares.

My account history shows the following flights:

  • January ’14 trip to Nashville (1,061 points)
  • May trip to California (round trip – 926 points)
  • September trip to Nashville (1,820 points)
  • January 15′ trip to Nashville (1,492 points)

Those points alone are 5,299 points. That would most likely get me a one-way ticket on a weekday to a city on the West Coast. But flights aren’t the only way I earn Rapid Reward points!

 

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off to nashville.

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Rapid Reward Dining

Do you have a debit card? Do you ever go out to eat? If you answered yes to these two questions then you need to sign up for Rapid Rewards Dining. You link a debit card or two or three or four or however many you use, and connect it to your RR account. They have a list of restaurants that give you 1 point per dollar spent when you dine. Then if you fill out a feedback survey you get additional points on top of that. I’ve earned 81 points from that. You can see that for awhile I was really consistent in that, and there’s absolutely nothing to lose by being faithful to the Rapid Rewards Dining Restaurants. You just earn more Rapid Rewards!

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big plans for today! 😂😂😂

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e-Rewards

Many years ago I was invited to be a part of a survey panel that eventually became e-rewards, an invitation only survey panel. One of the options on redeeming credits earned is Rapid Rewards. There are other options like iTunes gift cards and Starbucks cards, but I decided that since it’s not actual money, I’d rather bulk up my RR account to get free flights.

InstaGC, Swagbucks, etc.

I swear by Swagbucks (all about brand loyalty!) and once redeemed 10,000 Swagbucks for a $100 Southwest gift card. They currently don’t offer SW gift cards BUT they offer PayPal money which could be used for paying for a flight.

InstaGC is similar to Swagbucks and offers $10 – $500 Southwest gift cards. Southwest limits the amount of gift cards you can use for airfare, so it’s ALWAYS best to get the highest priced gift card you can.

Rapid Rewards Shopping

On the Rapid Rewards website is an option to earn points by shopping online. Each online retailer offers a different point per dollar. I’ve never done this because I prefer to use my online shopping to benefit Swagbucks. If I was really trying to save up points for a big trip, I would definitely use this option. When you shop online, make sure you only stick to things you would have purchased even without the point incentive or else you’re not actually earning a free flight – you’re paying for it with a few dollars here and there in other useless expenses.

Rapid Rewards Credit Card

As you can see in my Rewards history, the most significant point-earner for me is the Rapid Rewards Credit Card. Thanks to a new member incentive, I have earned 27,337 Rapid Rewards this year because of my credit card. Even without the 25,000 bonus points I have earned 2,337 Rapid Rewards points (more than I’ve made on any one trip!) in the past 3 months. I make all of my purchases on my Rapid Rewards Card and make a payment each night I have charged something. That way, I am literally just collecting free Rapid Reward points.

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next stop NASHVILLE! ✈️👯💕

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When it came time to buy our plane tickets, I had 35,691 Rapid Rewards points. Each flight was 12,112. I had points left over and with this month’s credit card points, I’m already back at 11,467 points!

For the most part, when it comes to loyalty/rewards systems, I tend to hoard my points so that if there’s ever a moment when I absolutely need them (like say I want to take my favorite guy to meet my favorite little twins because they’ll be on our coast) I have sufficient resources to do so.

My advice is this: If you are in ANY sort of loyalty program, figure out every way to take advantage of their perks and point-earning. Find the ways your everyday purchases/decisions can help you earn additional points, and STAY LOYAL.

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