Saturday, February 10, 2018

My Side hustles

This post is inspired by dividend diplomats monthly side hustle report. Starting January 2018, I have started including side hustle income to my monthly review. This post deals with my side hustle strategies.

Warning: This article contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and sign up for something that I recommended.

Credit cards

Credit cards are an awesome way to get cash backs and other rewards. These rewards are based on spending patterns. However that’s not the only way to maximize credit card benefits. I typically rotate credit cards. I sign up for a credit meet the spending limit get my rewards and close the account. I do this every 6 months so that it does not impact my credit score. I can rotate the same credit card after 24 months.

However, after the breach at Equifax I have frozen all my credit scores. I am no longer able to rotate credit cards. I still get good cash back from my cards. My cards give me 6.0% on groceries, 3.0% on gas and 2.0% on everything else. Try to make a conscious effort to use the right credit card at the right place.


Swagbucks provides umpteen ways to make swag bucks. Swag bugs are converted to dollars at 1:100 rate i.e. 1 Swag buck is 0.01$. Earn Free Gift cards when you Shop online, Watch Videos, Take Surveys, and Discover deals and promo codes.

I found watching videos to be worst. The cash received is very low. I felt the power consumed while watching these videos would probably cost me more than the rewards. It is not something that can be automated in the background. There is a captcha after every video completes.

With searches I have had slightly better luck. Just switch your default search engine to Swagbucks. Swagbucks are awarded after searches. The awards are random and I generally get one per day. However, I have found their search engine to be bad.

My biggest draw is “swag code”. Swag code are available daily and when entered provide a few swag bucks. If you install their browser plugin, you will get a notification when new codes are available.

Swagbucks tends to have deals where you get payed to sign up for an offer. In my opinion they provide the best value. I always use a Visa gift card for the recurring deals. Some deals offer more Swagbucks than the cost associated with the deal. Some of my recent rewards,

I earned 2,825 Swagbucks ($28.25). My total expenses were around $15.00. In addition, I ended up with a year’s worth of supplies. Put cash back in your wallet!


Raise is all about gift cards. How many times have you ended up with a gift card which you are unable to use? Raise provides a platform for buying and selling gift cards (Walmart, Amazon and Southwest to name a few).

I use raise exclusively for buying discounted gift cards. If I am at a Walmart shopping, just before checkout I get out my app and buy gift card for an amount close enough to what I am going to spend. Typically, I get discounts around 2-3%. Similarly, before booking airline tickets or filling gas I buy the gift card for the specific airline or gas station.

The discounts vary based on categories. Restaurants/Home categories tend to be the most heavily discounted. Very useful if you plan on performing home upgrades. The Raise app (android and iOS) makes it easy to buy and spend gift cards directly from your phone! Furthermore raise has periodic sales where it is possible to get an additional 5%-10% off selected gift cards. I saved $10.46 using Raise. It is also possible to stack Raise with TopCashBack (see below). Simply sign up to get $5 off your first purchase!

Total savings: $10.46
Gift Card Savings
Olive Garden $2.12
Walmart $0.78
Speedway Gas $0.27
Aeropostale $1.76
Southwest Airlines $1.00
American Airlines $2.28
Stop & Shop $1.81
Amazon $0.44


Sometimes the gift card you are looking for might not be available on Raise. Another site I frequent is Cardpool. Similar to Raise, Cardpool offers a large selection of discounted gift cards. On occasions Cardpool has offered better discount rates than Raise. Just like Raise, tt is also possible to stack Cardpool with TopCashBack (see below). I use Cardpool exclusively for buying airline tickets. As of today, I have saved $48.00 in air travel. You can get $5 off your first purchase with this special offer!


A TopCashBack website is a reward website that pays its members a percentage of money earned when they purchase goods and services via its affiliate links. TopCashBack was voted Cashback Site of the Year in 2016 and 2017 at the Moneyfacts Consumer Awards. Topcashback can be used with online purchases only. But, by using TopCashBack to buy gift cards (using raise or cardpool) you can extend its rewards to brick and mortar stores. As of today TopCashBack is offering 2.0% cash back with Raise and 1.0% cash back with Cardpool. Sign up to get $5 free cash back!

Total savings: $60.79
Merchant Savings $1.61 $9.66 $49.00 $0.52


  1. A lot of good ways to save money here Mr. Geek. I'm impressed with your cash back credit cards. Raise looks interesting too. Tom

    1. Thanks Tom. Raise is my favorite. I will keep using to maximize my savings.

  2. Glad to see you have a few side hustles going. Every little bit helps. Put that money to good use.

    1. Well every $ saved goes to my investment account. Hopefully, it will compound and be worth a lot more :-)

  3. Really impressed by your cashback rates on the credit card, I don't think we have anything that high here in the UK.

    Keep on hustling, it all adds up!

    1. Thanks RML. Yeah the 6% in groceries is the best I have seen.

  4. It's nice to get some rewards and cash back once in awhile! I hadn't heard of a couple of those that you mentioned. We typically use our credit card points....Also used Bing for awhile to earn free stuff from our searches. Haven't used that for sometime now though. Take care!

    1. I used to have a Bing rewards account. Since they discontinued Amazon gift cards I stopped using it. I have no need for XBox cash :-)

  5. Hey Dividend Geek,

    Like you, my fiance and I love using credit cards to make our purchases. They add up nicely and we get 3% cash back on the Costco card we use when we go to any restaurants :)

    Nice to see that you're keeping track of your extra money. These are great ways to save without noticing.

    1. I have been tracking it since start of this year. I am investing all that in S&P 500 ETF. Let's see where it goes in a few years :-)

  6. Wow 6% back on groceries? Best I can do here (in Canada) seems to be 4% from the ScotiaBank card.

  7. Well there is the 95$ fees to consider. Still good. 4% is not bad either.

  8. GEEK! Yes - just saw this post for the first time. Thanks for the shout out and I'm glad that you decided to put some numbers out there for everyone to see. Those are some great Swagbucks figures. What I like about the videos, while the output can be low, is that they run in the background while I am working or doing other things around the house. So I can earn some Swags while not in front of my computer or while I'm focusing on something else. Great results and I look forward to reading this post each month!


    1. Hello Bert, You're welcome for the shout out. Your strategy for videos is sound ... no doubt. But, in terms of rewards? and amount of power consumed (to run your system). Does it still workout?

  9. Thanks for sharing, DG! I really enjoy posts like this. It's always great to see what's possible. And it's motivating to see what others are doing to save and earn extra money. Keep it up!

    1. Thanks RTC. Inspiration is from the diplomats. It is interesting that my side hustle income outperforms my dividends. :)

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