My husband and I lived on a strict monthly stipend in gradschool, in addition to his savings. It’s not an extravagant amount of money, and as you can see from my gradschool budget, we lived pretty frugally. I like finding ways to earn a few extra bucks here and there to reach our savings goals faster. Here, I’ll dive in a few ways we currently make extra money, and have made during gradschool.
Bonuses from New Credit Cards and Bank Accounts⌗
I’ve opened up credit cards in order to cash in on their bonuses, either as cash back or travel miles. This is probably the most lucrative way to earn some extra cash. I have to warn you to only do this if you’re disciplined about paying back the statement each month. We put our normal spending or big (planned) purchases on the new card to meet any minimum spend amount.
I have no qualms about opening up new bank accounts in order to get cash bonuses. Look for bank bonuses with easy requirements and minimal or no fees. For example, I recently opened an account with Monifi bank. They will give me $250 for depositing $1000 twice within 90 days of opening the account. That’s a 12.5% return of my “investment”. How crazy is that?
Credit Card Rewards⌗
Again, if you’re disciplined about credit cards, this is an easy way to earn money using these cards. We typically spend about $400 per month at the grocery store. So, I signed up for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card to get 6% cash back on grocery store purchases. It has a $95 annual fee, but we’d get $288 in cash back just from buying groceries with the card. If you’re interested in this card, here is my referral link, which will net you a $300 bonus while I also get a $75 referral reward.
We have a Discover and a few Chase cards, which have different 5% cash back categories each quarter. We also have a Chase Amazon, Costco, Target, and Citi Double cards. Each card has different percent cash back or discounts. I keep track of these percentages with a spreadsheet and I write this info on my Notes app.
High Yield Savings Account⌗
I put most of my emergency fund in my Ally savings account, which earns an interest of 0.5%. This beats interest rates you’ll find at the big banks, where you can earn a paltry 0.01% on your savings. There are other really great online high yield savings accounts out there, such as Marcus, Discover, and Capital One.
Interest Checking Account⌗
Ally also has an interest checking account, where your money can earn a 0.1% on balances less than $15000. It doesn’t have any monthly fees. It’s way better than my previous Wells Fargo checking account, where the money just sat there earning 0% interest. Only issue is that I can’t put cash into the account since it’s all online.
Tutoring and TAing⌗
I haven’t done tutoring for pay myself, but know some people who have. It’s a lucrative, if time-consuming, side hustle. I have done TAing for a professor who needed an extra hand to help with grading homework. He paid me a really great hourly rate. You can ask your grad office if they can advertise your tutoring services, which my grad office did. You can also advertise your services by word of mouth or on Facebook and Nextdoor.
Selling Stuff You No Longer Want or Need⌗
Decluttering is great for your house, and for your wallet if you end up selling the unwanted things. I purchased a MacBook Air, which came with a free pair of AirPods. Since I already had a pair, I sold the new AirPods. I have sold some kitchen appliances I never used, since they’re just taking up valuable kitchen space. I’ve sold games that my husband has played through and no longer wanted.
I recently found this app called Fetch Rewards (referral link), which asks you to scan your receipts for points. Once you reach a certain number of points, you can cash that out as giftcards. I scan mostly grocery store receipts. And I also link my email so it can scan for online purchases. Since we don’t buy much, I’ve only gotten two $5 giftcards, but hey, that’s free money for little work.
We recently figured out that there are tons of giftcard deals out there we can take advantage of. One example is a 10% off Target giftcard. Using the Discover card to get 5% back for Target.com purchases, you can get a $500 Target giftcard for $425. One problem is that you’re tying up your liquid assets into giftcards. Buying giftcards only make sense if you shop at that particular store a lot. Or, you have a large upcoming purchase and can take advantage of the giftcard deals.
There are lots of little side hustles we’ve done to earn a few bucks here and there. While they’re small amounts in the grand scheme of things, they do add up over time. This have enabled us to save more money towards emergency funds and IRAs. I would love to learn more ways to earn some extra cash from ya’ll. So what are some ways you’ve earned extra cash?