Q3 in Phone and Laptop Earning

Hi there income streamers! As I said yesterday, my goal is to eventually reach financial independence, meaning that I am hoping to set up enough passive income to cover my basic needs. Once I do that, a whole world of opportunities will open up to me, as I theoretically won’t have to work anymore; I can work for the sake of fulfillment and growth rather than survival. The main way I will do this is by investing in the stock and bond markets through some tax deferred accounts and some post-tax accounts if I have some left over; I’ll be sharing the specifics of this plan with you all later today!

For now, though, I wanted to talk to you all about some passive income streams that require no invested capital: phone and laptop earning. I first got into the world of passive income and blogging by discovering /r/beermoney and then realising that people could benefit from detailed guides on which services were scams and which ones paid, and on how to maximise earning while minimising effort. Over the past two years, I have tried dozens of beermoney services, but over time few have stuck with me as consistent earners worth the hassle. Here they are below:

  1. I have reduced the number of lockscreens on my phone from 4 to 3, due to SlideJoys decreased earnings. They now include Adme, Smores, and Fronto. I may get rid of Fronto as well, due to their app’s buggy behaviour. Use my Amde code, vPTmE0i4BX, and Smores code U0GZQR, for bonuses. At the moment, the lockscreens earn me about $10 per month – the equivalent to owning $750 worth of stock paying a 4% quarterly dividend! I’ll take that kind of earning any day.
  2. Robinhood is a fee-free stock trading app that is a great way to put those lockscreen earnings to work! I wrote up a brief description of some strategies a few days ago if you’d like some tips to get started. Use my link for a free stock!
  3. Lastly, ebesucher is still chugging away for me, earning $10 a month without any work on my part. It is a surfbar site, where you open a tab in their site and then minimise it and let it run in the background. Ebesucher will automatically visit various paid advertisers who are trying to get their page visits up, but you don’t need to actually look at the sites that the tab visits. Easy passive income!

Those are the earning methods I’ve found useful enough to keep on my phone and laptop lately. How are you all earning side income? Do you know of any apps or sites I should check out? Let me know in the comments, and as always, stay earning streamers!

PS – check out the blog’s new twitter @StevesStreams!

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Time for a Personal Finance Workout!

Hi there income streamers!

As many of you know, I’m a passionate track athlete. One thing I love about track is the permanence of every step forward – if you can run a 60 second 400 in a workout, you can immediately attempt a 59 second 400, and then a 58, and so on. It may take a quite a while to get down to your next goal – and in fact, if things don’t go right you may even slow down before getting there. But mentally, knowing you ran that 60 second lap once, allows you to know you can squeeze just a little more speed out on your next attempt – and that extra push can make all the difference when it comes down to the last lap of a mile.

I also like to push my finances in the same way! I find that issuing myself “challenges”, and then allowing them to become part of my normal routine, and then pushing the envelope a little more on the next challenge, helps me really turbocharge my saving and my earning. As a result, I’ve got a challenge for all my income streamers that starts right now.

Earn an extra $50 this week. I don’t care if you’re already earning $10,000 a week, or are living in your parents’ basement hanging out. I promise there’s some way to squeeze in an extra $50 income, and I will be attempting to do this alongside you guys as well!

For me, I’ve got a couple ideas on how I might make an extra fifty:

  1. I’ve been looking at some of the bank account bonuses at doctorofcredit – this may knock out my entire fifty if I can find one that has a low minimum deposit.
  2. If that fails, I may try to pick up an extra 5 hours at my side job cashiering. But that’s pretty boring, and I like to have creative earning methods to report back on.
  3. Plan C is to combine a lot of the phone and earning methods I’ve recommended – if I can earn two dollars with QMEE, withdraw some of the lockscreen earnings I’ve made, and withdraw some ebesucher earnings, I bet I could knock out about $30 of income right there.
  4. I’ll probably rummage through my room for items I can sell on Craigslist – I doubt I have anything given my generally anti-clutter attitude, but I’ll be sure to look around!
  5. Lastly, I will probably give some survey sites a whirl – I’d love to hear any suggestions on other sites to try!

And what do I want you all to do with this extra income, you may be wondering? Make it work for you! Every dollar you earn can be converted into a little income stream of its own, whether that’s through stock investing like I wrote about two days ago, or by buying items that will save you money in the long run, like efficient light bulbs or a Kindle.

As always, stay earning streamers, and feel free to comment here throughout the week on your progress with the challenge!

Financial Independence – why FI?

Hello Income Streamers!

As many of you know, I have returned to writing more regularly on this blog, and with this return I would like to shift the focus of this site. Traditionally, stevesincomestreams has been about ways to make some extra income – opening up some new income streams. Upon returning, I paused to think about why that was important to me, and why I chose to describe them as streams. That is because, without realising it, my desire deep down is to create automated streams of income rather than “streams” that require consistent effort on my behalf. And why does this appeal to me? Because I want to be free of financial burden. Needing to work to survive limits one’s creative pursuits and forces them to dedicate at least some time each day to fulfilling the needs and wants of others. Personally, I’ve discovered that I really enjoy programming work and computer science, and I don’t regard it as a burden but rather as an opportunity to work in this field. But if I can open up some income streams, it creates options for me that I won’t have if I must depend on actively earned income. What if I wake up one day and decide to switch to a lower paying field? What if I want to risk my livelihood and pursue a startup? What if I want to go into volunteer development or teaching?

As a result, I have been researching those who have developed strong enough income streams to cover their basic needs, and then some. This goal is known as Financial Independence, and the pursuit of financial independence will be the new focus for this blog. As we know, passive income streams either require some dedicated work, or capital, to allow them to begin flowing. Financial independence is the idea that by saving enough capital, one can invest in the general stock and bond market to allow the ultimate form of passive income – investment gains – to sustain your needs indefinitely, even accounting for inflation. Imagine the opportunities being in such a financial position opens up for you. You could keep working, if you really love your job, and continue contributing to your invested capital. You could retire, and have enough to last the rest of your life. You could switch to a lower paying job that covers only your current needs, while allowing the invested fund to compound and net you an even larger passive stream.

But how much is enough capital? The general idea, according to a famous economics paper known as the Trinity Study, is that the stock and bond markets return highly enough on average to both keep pace with inflation and allow a withdrawal of 4% of a fund’s value annually without running out. The study concluded that this annual withdrawal rate would have succeeded during every time period in US stock market history, up to 30 years. “Succeeded” was defined as the fund never running out of money – in particularly bad years, the fund may seriously deplete, but it would regain its value thanks to particularly good years.

Therefore, if you would like to build up enough savings to last a lifetime, the Trinity Study indicates you simply need to save 25 times the amount of your annual expenses. For me personally, I always prefer to err on the side of caution, and will save 33 times my annual expenses, by aggressively investing in pre-tax retirement accounts and investing left-over income in post-tax accounts and in paying down loans. I will post more on the specifics of this plan in the days to come! The gist, though, is that the best passive income stream we can all build is a strong retirement portfolio. If that can be supplemented with the types of income streams I often (and will continue) to try out and report back on here, it will make the journey to Financial Independence that much faster!

Do any of you have experience with pursuing FI? What questions can I answer in coming posts about the concept?

As always, stay earning streamers!

Robinhood: Income with No Fees, No Problems

Good morning income streamers! A while back, I wrote up an article about how to invest less than $50, with some ideas including peer to peer lending and purchases that save you money in the long term. However, as many of you know, the stock market tends to be the most consistent and profitable form of investment, if you can stomach the ups and downs and not attempt to time the market. Unfortunately for many of us income streamers, we are just starting out and haven’t built up the assets to meet a minimum deposit, and even if we could deposit our funds at a traditional firm, the fees would eat up any profits before they got to us anyways.

Luckily, Robinhood steps in for small time investors! This app allows users to deposit any amount, and does not charge fees on their trades. Instead, they make money off of providing tax accounting for users with mid-size accounts of $2500+, which allows them to give users like me and my fat $10 account a free ride. Over the coming days, I hope to grow this account by transferring more money from my free CapitalOne account, which is funded by things like lockscreens and other passive income. I would not recommend putting in more money than you could painlessly lose in Robinhood, since it is a stock-picking app and it is entirely possible to lose money. If you are looking to invest a serious amount of money, such as a retirement account, I would explore options such as tax-advantaged accounts and after-tax brokerage accounts. However, if you have funds from all that extra income we’ve earned so far lying around, it’d be a great idea to get that money compounding early and working while you sleep!

Here are some common strategies to make a few bucks on Robinhood:

  1. Buy index funds. This is the ideal option, allowing you to gain an optimal return without any active trading on your part, but it also requires pretty significant funds since you can’t buy portions of shares on Robinhood.
  2. Buy conservative, high dividend stocks. This is my strategy. I buy stocks with yields of 5% or higher, and share prices in my range, which is $3-5 on a $10 account. You can profit from both price appreciation and dividend payouts with this strategy, which can make for a nice return: I’m up 5.6% in two months. It does require some active management, because when a certain stock rises in price, its current yield lowers, and it becomes a less attractive investment. When that happens, I hunt down my next high yielding stock, and sell the old one to buy the new one. This happens about once every two weeks, and I actually enjoy the search for a new investment. Its become a nice hobby of mine.
  3. Flip stocks based on upcoming news. This is a riskier option than 1 or 2. In this strategy, you snoop around for important news and events that could affect a company’s prospects, like acquisitions, mergers, scandals or clinical trials. Before the event, you buy the stock if you believe the news will be better than anticipated. The reason this option is so risky is that nearly every active trader is trying to do this as well, and they have far more resources, connections, and experience. Its highly likely that the market will account for the news better than you can, so trying to trade against the market will be difficult. But if you have expert knowledge in an industry, it can be profitable. That’s how hedge fund manager and biomedical expert Martin Shkreli made his money; he would scan clinical trial results of biomedical companies for missed details, and trade on whether he discovered good or bad knews.
  4. Bet on penny stocks. This is the riskiest proposition. Basically, there’s two schools of thought with penny stocks: pick a random one and hope that it has nowhere to go but up, or buy a large stake in a penny stock and try to influence its management to perform better. I see this strategy as equivalent to roulette and I do not engage in it.

Do any of you have experience with stock apps? Do you recommend any other apps? Do you have any other trading strategies? Let me know in the comments, and as always, stay earning, streamers!

(PS – that Ultimate Penny Pinching Guide is in the works! Feel free to contact me if you’d like to add something.)

Is This Thing Still On?

Hello Income Streamers!

I’m sure you’ve all missed me dearly in the past several months. Its been an exciting ride for your Dear Author, financially, personally, professionally and athletically. I am eager to update you all with lessons learned and new streams discovered. The agenda includes:

1) Update on phone/laptop earning!
2) Stock market investing with less than 50 bucks!
3) Networking tactics!
4) Blog recommendations!
5) Book recommendations!
6) Side hustle ideas and personal experiences!
7) Cheap hobbies and activities!

And – drum roll please…

I have been compiling an Ultimate Penny Pinching Guide for 2017! I am planning to make a collection of all the money saving tactics I’ve come across, broken down by category, ranging from the practical and even necessary tactics to scoffable but possible ideas. Get excited! I hope to make it an annually recurring post to help all my income streamers set a good budget and keep those income streams flowing to your wallets.

Do you have ideas for upcoming articles? Would you like to write a guest post? What do you guys want to know about my hiatus? Let me know in the comments!

As always, stay earning streamers!

Online Passive Income in 2017

Hey there income streamers! Last year I gave you guys a pretty comprehensive rundown of what I was using to earn income online. Its easy to see that a lot in the world has changed since then – economically, politically and socially. The world of online income is no different. Here are the services I’m using today, and how you can leverage them to your advantage as well.

  1. Lockscreens – As I wrote about last week, lockscreens are the primary way I earn online income. If you’re not interested in reading all of last week’s post, the main takeaway is that using the four most popular ones together (Adme, Smores, Fronto and Slidejoy) can earn you $10.50 a month! Check out the post for special referral codes that will give both you and me a bonus.
  2. ebesucher – ebesucher is a German autosurfing site that allows you to earn money simply for letting the site run in a separate tab. It can earn you as much as $3 a day and it takes no effort! I have found it to be consistent and trustworthy as an earner. Run it on multiple devices to earn even more!
  3. Mobile Performance Meter – Mobile Performance Meter is a data collection app which you install and consent to researchers observing how you operate your phone. It does not affect my battery life and pays a simple 10 cents per day. I enjoy it because its easy money for me, and I do not mind giving up that information, but you should definitely read through the terms and conditions to understand what you’re consenting to!
  4. Panel App – Panel App is an app for your phone which tracks where you travel and what businesses you visit. It will ask an occasional one question survey about your experience at the business. The questions are so easy that I consider this app passive, and I gain $35 a year using it!

Those are all the passive methods I have earning for me now. I’m hoping to explore pedometer apps that pay you to walk around and get fit. Do you have experience with these? What passive earning methods do you use in 2017? Let me know in the comments!

Paid Lockscreens: the Ultimate Guide to Making Money From Your Phone’s Lockscreen

I drive past a billboard on my way to work each morning that always makes me think: who is getting paid to let a sign up? Someone owns that board, and for literally no work, they get passive income for letting an advertiser post on it. That kind of income seems like quite the set-up to me, so I was excited to learn I can do the same on my phone! After seeing articles online discussing this possibility, I decided to create my own comprehensive guide to the best paid lockscreen apps out there.

Paid lockscreen apps are simple: you download an app, and when you unlock your phone, the app shows you an ad which you can easily swipe away. In turn the app pays you on either a daily or monthly basis. Without further ado, here’s the list of one’s I’ve used, and my thoughts on each:

  1. Adme – My personal favourite lockscreen app. Adme shows me one ad on my phone screen, and I swipe right to unlock. Its very simple and pays roughly $3 per month for me. They also have a generous referral program that will give both you and I a bonus-you get to start with a free $3.00 balance! Use my code vPTmE0i4BX for the special bonus.
  2. Smores – Coming in at a close second is Smores! Another simple and profitable lockscreen. Smores pays you ten cents every day you unlock your phone at least once-this is a good advantage to balance out lockscreens that pay you per swipe, since it will pay you ten cents regardless of how much you use your phone that day. They also have a strong referral program that starts you off with $1.50 for using a referral code. Mine is U0GZQR if you’d like that bonus!
  3. Fronto – The third lockscreen app I’ve tried is Fronto. Fronto pays you 20 points-which equates to roughly a cent – every hour in which you unlock your phone. For me, that equates to about fifteen cents a day. Just like the other apps, you swipe right after viewing one ad! I like Fronto because it pays more if I happen to use my phone more that day, but given the nature of my student-employee lifestyle, there can be entire six hour stretches where I don’t use my phone, hurting earnings. They also let you customise your referral code for a personal touch 🙂 Use mine for a free 1250 points! STEVESINCOME
  4. Slidejoy – The last lockscreen app we’ll look at today is Slidejoy. The perks of Slidejoy are a long history of confirmed payments and a trustworthy reputation. Slidejoy invented the paid lockscreen business model, and continues to be one of the first recommendations for a paid lockscreen. Unfortunately, they have also leveraged this high reputation to pay lower earnings than the other three major paid lockscreens. Personally, I average out to $1.50 per month using Slidejoy. Its definitely worth having on my phone, but it’d be nice to be earning roughly $3 a month from each app. Their referral program is also weak. I haven’t seen any reward for referring others.

That’s all for this list. If you were to use all four of these apps, like I do, you could be pulling in $10.50 a month-for zero work! I’m starting to feel like a billboard owner myself.

Do you know any solid lockscreens? Have your experiences with these lockscreens differed from mine? Let me know in the comments section!

That’s all for this week. Stay tuned for more posts on setting up income streams and building your way to financial independence, one trickle of income at a time.

-stevesincomestreams, or @StevesStreams on Twitter!