How I made money last month without a side hustle

Confession: I don’t have a side hustle (this site doesn’t count…yet). I’ve chosen to focus on my main career for now, but that’s not to say I don’t have extra sources of income. Sure, the few dollars here and there I make are nothing like the passive income streams of others, but I think they’re a fun starting point. Let’s go!

Gambling: $700

Ha, I bet you didn’t see that one coming! One day I was chatting to a colleague at work, and she brought up a Super Bowl pool she was running. I honestly still don’t understand how it worked, but for $25 I could pick a number on a big board and if the Super Bowl points matched up I would win. Now, this obviously isn’t a financial strategy and I generally hate gambling, but guess what? Despite only watching the tail end of the game and knowing very little about football, I won $700! The lesson here is you should give yourself some room in your budget for silly fun things. They can pay!

Poshmark: $76

This was from a single sale of Common Projects sneakers. Score! I’m a big fan of Poshmark for both buying and selling.

Ebates: $20.10

Easiest $20 I’ve ever earned! I have a horrible memory, but every time I shop for something on my computer (ie. a new shower curtain, shower gel, replacement makeup), a handy little Ebates reminder pops up saying how much cash back I can get. I click that pop-up, it reconnects me to the site I was on, and I’m on my merry way to making extra money!

Ally interest income: $18.67

I have my emergency fund in an Ally online savings account, and I’m so happy about it. Last year, that money was sitting in my bank savings account making less than a dollar a month. Ally for the win!

Acorns dividends: $0.67

It ain’t much, but it’s something. All dividends are reinvested into my Acorns account.

Credit card cash back: $3.94

This was lower than my cash back from credit cards usually is, and that’s because I just got the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. That card has a 50,000 point bonus if you spend $4000 in three months and while that would normally be hard for me to do on a credit card, it helps that I’m getting married in June! The purchases of my guest book, card box, dress and centerpieces will help me reach that bonus goal- a bittersweet score (#weddingsareexpensive).

IRS refund: $20

I signed up for direct deposit of my tax refund for the first time, and for some reason this $20 showed up in my account from the IRS…even though my refund is supposed to be higher. I’m waiting it out for now, but I’ll take any IRS contributions over IRS debts!

That’s my February! Not bad for not having a side hustle, though obviously the Super Bowl winnings are unsustainable (sigh). How do you make extra money beyond your job?

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Optimizing your phone for personal finance

If you’re like me, you’re on your phone a lot. Why not make it a force for good? You can optimize your phone to help you with your financial goals. Let me show you how!

Don’t judge me for all the notifications, I’m a busy lady okay!

Banking apps: TD Bank, Amex, Capital One, Discover, Chase

I pay all of my bills on my phone and love having easy access to my accounts.

Saving apps: Principal, Acorns, Ally Mobile, Groupon

While I think the Principal and Acorns apps could be better, I do like tracking the progress of my investments quickly and easily. My emergency fund is in an Ally savings account and I like looking at the balance once in a while to remind me of a goal I’ve hit. Groupon is good once in a while for deals on things like haircuts and massages.

Tracking apps: Personal Capital, Mint, Birch

I’m totally obsessed with Mint, though I’m sad the “Goals” feature on their desktop site isn’t part of the app. Personal Capital is helpful for net worth tracking and I like their charts. Birch shows you how to best optimize your credit card rewards, and I find this very helpful as I have five credit cards.

Payment apps: Venmo, PayPal, calculator

While my fiance and I have one joint account for date nights, we largely keep our accounts separate so things like bills and rent are split using Venmo. I personally like this system and would recommend it!

Cash back apps: Ebates, Checkout51

I’m a big fan of Ebates, and I just got my first check for $20! It’s so easy to install into Chrome on desktop and onto your phone, and despite my horrible memory the helpful pop-ups ensure I never miss out on cash back. Checkout51 is hit or miss, but I find that many of the products available for cash back aren’t available at my grocery stores.

Selling apps: Poshmark, ThredUp

I’m obsessed with Poshmark and have successfully sold and bought several items. I haven’t had luck with ThredUp but it may be because I use Poshmark more because I like the interface better.

Job hunting apps: LinkedIn Jobs, Glassdoor

While I like my job, I think it’s important to know what’s out there. Glassdoor is particularly helpful when scouting out organizations or finding out what people in similar roles make in your city.

Information apps: Audible, Apple Podcasts

I love downloading financial audio books to listen to during my commute, and Audible and Apple Podcasts are helpful for doing so. I particularly liked listening to “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” by Ramit Sethi on Audible, but to each their own!

I hope this helps you optimize your phone to help with your finances! Let me know if I’m missing any great apps in the comments below.