January 23, 2017

Swagbucks: Swag Slopes Team Challenge

Pre-register here for the Swag Slopes Team Challenge that starts on Monday, January 23rd – I’m on Team Sledder Shredders!

Anyone who contributes at least 400 points to their team’s total will receive an award of a SB Swag Up Rebate, you’d use this when you redeem SBs.

The 1st place team gets a 50 SB Swag Up Rebate.
The 2nd place team gets a 25 SB Swag Up Rebate.
The 3rd place team gets a 10 SB Swag Up Rebate.

Swag Up Rebates are available by 5pm PT on Friday, January 27th and expires on Sunday, February 12th at 11:59pm PT.

Here’s a handy tutorial if you’d like to join Swagbucks and earn. I track my earnings here.

January 11, 2017

Swagbucks: cell phone earning

We didn’t overspend at the holidays this year, but boy did we overspend in 2016. I declare 2017 the year of not just catching up but getting ahead again, and I scorn sources of income, you know that.

I’ve got the Swagbucks Mobile and SBTV apps on my phone so my spare minutes standing in line can be more fruitfully spent earning SBs, and so can you:

Download free games and other apps through the Discover tab: 20 SB
Take a featured survey or fill out your survey profile: 60 SB
Answer the daily poll: 1 SB
Watch style, tech and celeb news through the SBTV app: 2 SB for every 10 videos
Swagbucks app gives Swag Codes: 3 SB
Swagbucks shop: 100 SB

Here’s a handy tutorial if you’d like to join and earn. I track my earnings here.

November 30, 2016

Currencies Direct – A review for the private investor

This post has been provided by a guest.

Currencies Direct is a UK-based currency transfer company that provides private and corporate clients with access to a variety of foreign currency. In contrast to high-street banks, Currencies Direct’s rates are favourable for their clients as a result of lower spreads.

The firm, which is rated 93.2% on MoneyTransferComparison.com review site, has level 1 credit from D&B, and has won multiple industry awards, is mostly focused on the following audiences: expatriates, overseas property investors and small businesses. Currencies also caters to additional audiences like foreign stock traders and investors.

The process is rather simple for UK-based individuals. A prospective client inputs his or her details on the signup form, and the system will automatically approve the account in most instances (unlike global clients who may be required to send scanned documents as bank account and address proofs). After a client application is approved, he or she can get full access to today’s rates through an online system.

As an additional value to the service, each client who is transferring more than £5,000 can speak directly to a certified FX trader. This enables the client to do two important things:

  1. Negotiate the rates with his dealer. In some cases, Currencies Direct will be able to offer better rates than the ones the client sees on CurrenciesDirect.com. This information is quite unique to this Currencies Direct review, as the company doesn’t admit that openly (the fact prices are negotiable is not highlighted on the company’s website).
  2. A dealer would be able to offer market commentary and guide each client on the best timing to conduct the necessary transactions. As the foreign exchange markets are volatile, this service can potentially save more money than the currency rates which are offered. Also, you can buy hedging derivatives through the dealer.

The derivatives offered are Forward Contract, Put Option, Call Option and Time Option. They prove to be an extremely useful array of tools for investors, as they can help investors who are interested in tapping into foreign markets to neutralise the impact of currency fluctuations.

An example of how it works – Gentleman Joe from London is interested in investing his savings into the booming USA market, and he is looking to cherry pick several particular stocks he fancies. He needs to buy these stocks in US dollars, so he uses Currencies Direct to move the money to his trading brokerage. Then, he wants to mitigate the inherited risk of currency exchange. His best option to hedge and even possibly gain is through buying put options. He doesn’t have to run sophisticated calculations on which option, which strike price and date – the dealer does all of that on his behalf, and all he needs is to sign it off. This way, if the stocks that were picked gained, but the dollar depreciated against the pound, the put option will come into place and compensate the investor for the GBPUSD increase. If the stocks gained, and the dollar also gained against the pound, the investor will earn money on both counts (while, of course, losing on the premium paid for the options that were not executed).

In summary, private investors can benefit from dealing with a currency exchange company like Currencies Direct, both to minimize the spreads paid on foreign currency buying, and as an affordable, easy way to access the fx derivatives market, without having to personally master this complex area.

October 24, 2016

Side money experiment: mTurk

Background: 2 years ago November, J. Money and I had a quick chat that spawned this post on earning side money and then I started tracking our earnings publicly because it’s always more fun that way. PiC is our resident Craigslister and I’m the resident Try Anything Once-er.

As previously mentioned in the May and June monthly reports, I gave mTurk a little test run.

My time was particularly tight in those months so it wasn’t a smart time to be trying new things but I wanted to dip my toes in and give it a wiggle. I think because it was so time-crunchy, my brain really needed to know that it wouldn’t last and the way to give myself hope for that is to do something new that feels purposeful and makes a bit of money.

After a couple months, spending nibbles of time when I was taking a mental break from work, I haven’t cracked any secret codes. Tasks are most available during business hours, and you do better when you spend time on skill-based tasks, I think. The tasks I’ve been qualified for are things like surveys which don’t earn much.

Total earned: $50.95

Whether it’s bad timing or lack of effort, mTurk isn’t for me right now. I’ll put this experiment on hold until I have a bit more time to play with it.

:: Have you tried mTurk or anything like it? Would you use your spare 5-15 minutes a day on something like this?

August 29, 2016

Side money experiment: selling on Poshmark

Side Money Experiment 1: Selling clothes with PoshmarkBackground: 2 years ago November, J. Money and I had a quick chat that spawned this post on earning side money and then I started tracking our earnings publicly because it’s always more fun that way. PiC is our resident Craigslister and I’m the resident Try Anything Once-er.

One of my challenges in the Great Wardrobe Curation has been getting rid of clothes that need to exit stage left. They normally still have plenty of wear in them, don’t fit quite right but aren’t worth the cost of tailoring, or that I can’t tolerate wearing any longer, like heels. It doesn’t make sense to keep them and getting both space and money back would be double the fun.

With plenty of encouragement from Penny to give it a try, even with my decidedly unfancy wardrobe, and armed with her quick tutorial, I quickly made up an account on Poshmark and listed a handful of shoes. One pair of heels I’ll hold on to, for faking professionalism until I get better flats, but most of them can go.

At first it didn’t seem like it was meant to be. It took 4 hours to download the app. First, I never remember my Apple ID so downloading isn’t the breeze that it was from my Android. I mean, sure, security but sometimes you just want to be able to get your darn free app! Then it wanted 3 hours to think about downloading. Awesome.

Once the app was running, it was pretty simple to start listing things. They encourage you to list 10-12 items to start but in reality there was no requirement to do that so it seemed like the perfect way to tiptoe into selling a few things at a time. I just can’t commit to a huge overhaul in one go.

I created an account (I loathe creating usernames) and started snapping pictures. It only took 20 minutes to list four items, and most of that time was spent looking up the information and coming up with useful descriptions.

It was easiest to start with shoes since I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. There was immediate beginner’s luck with a rash of sales, and three sales and three weeks later, I’m still waiting for more real nibbles.

What I learned

Most people want to negotiate so set your prices a little higher than you’re willing to sell for. That way you can compromise more.

You don’t need to bargain in the comments, your potential buyers have the ability to make an offer which you can ignore (it expires in 24 hours), counteroffer, or decline. If you decline outright, Poshmark will send you an email suggesting that you counteroffer so that there’s dialogue. Declining the offer means that attempt at a sale is over.

USPS ships you free shipping envelopes and boxes, as Penny had pointed out in her very helpful post. They’re really slow, though, and only ship in packages of 10 items each, so if you’re not dropping by the post office to pick up a box or two, it’s a bit of a commitment.

I’m incredibly impatient. I sold three items in the first 4 days of selling using existing packaging and then it’s been all quiet. After the first sales, I ordered a few basic shipping supplies from USPS and now I have STUFF sitting around the house, waiting to be used. I knew I should have waited!

You’re encouraged to package your sold items nicely. This means wrapping things in tissue paper, and adding a note for your buyer. As an inveterate recycler, I dug into my abundant stash of used tissue paper, sealed them up with thank you labels from one of my last labeling projects, and shipped in repurposed Amazon boxes while waiting for the USPS shipping materials. All were accepted by the buyers quickly and happily.

Speaking of acceptance, the buyers have 3 days after the package delivery to officially accept your shipped product or to file a report if they feel it didn’t match the selling description. You should be really specific about your items to make sure that your buyers know what they’re getting. I take pictures of any possible flaws for the item profile to be sure.

As a seller, you’re given a week to ship, but they like you to ship sooner. I didn’t have a problem with shipping within 2 days since I’m selling such low volume.

Total earned: $37

I won’t say this is a flop, it’s only been a few weeks, even if it feels longer. The early success certainly raised my expectations unrealistically – I always knew that I didn’t have a ton of saleable items but it was worth the try. Other than the Poshmark fee which I wouldn’t have paid if I didn’t make money myself, and some time obsessing over pictures and listings, I didn’t lose anything.

:: Are any of you successful Poshers? What am I (likely) doing wrong? How long would you list items for before giving up and donating?

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