We can make plans for side-income and income from hobbies all day, but unless we are self-employed full time, our employer is the source of our primary income. Your employer often gives you a lot more than that. Make sure you are taking full advantage.
David Bakke writes about saving money and surviving the journey to financial freedom on the popular personal finance blog, Money Crashers.
The old adage is true: It pays to save. And as today’s economy sputters, it’s never been more important to cut costs everywhere. Beyond that, there are actually household necessities you can get without spending a dime – yes, free. If you pair these things with your overall coupon cutting and deal shopping, you’ll go far toward maximizing your bottom line.
Last week, I had the pleasure of crossing the Caribbean on a cruise ship. My experience on the Carnival Victory was fun, minus some sea sickness, but it opened my eyes to the excesses of our society and how much we do “just because it is free.”
I love getting free stuff. Most of us do. A popular way to get free stuff is through company loyalty programs. Whether you are getting free schwag from the Old Chicago Beer Tour, a gold card from Starbucks, or a free burrito from Qdoba, you could be getting a great deal. However, it is not always as great of a deal as you think.
Lately I have had the pleasure of getting lots of free stuff. It is pretty cool. While some people might think giveaways are luck, but you can get a lot of free stuff if you know where to look and how to connect.
Today I am expecting a shiny new Kindle to come in the mail. I ordered it on Monday afternoon, and it cost me a whopping $17 for the ad free version. If I had wanted the version with ads, I could have gotten it for free. Here is how I did it, and you can too.
I have spent some time over the last few weeks putting together a new and free eBook for Narrow Bridge Finance subscribers. My small business post series was so successful that I decided to package it up into a free eBook.
At some point, almost everyone has an idea for a business. It is easy to get caught up in all of the complicated reasons to avoid it, so I decided to cut through the confusion and give a basic guide to starting a small business. Based on my successful small business post series, this re-packaged and free eBook gives you a quick guide to starting a small business. I have started three businesses myself, and this book outlines what I learned in the process.
Download it free when you join the email list.
What better way to celebrate reaching 200,000 on Alexa than by giving away free stuff? Our friends over at UPrinting.com have offered to give Narrow Bridge readers two sets of business cards! You have one week to enter by commenting below.
To enter, simply answer this question: What is your favorite frugal tip?
There is no right or wrong answer on this one. If you read Narrow Bridge regularly, you know that I am not a fan of using frugal methods to get rich. However, there are some good ones out there. If they are easy things you can do to save money, even better.
So, just comment below and be sure to visit our sponsor, UPrinting, to learn more about their business cards and other great products.
For a bonus entry, follow me on Twitter and Tweet this exact phrase this week:
@DenverEric is giving away free business cards this week at @NarrowBridge! RT and visit http://www.NarrowBridge.net to enter.
UPDATE: The winners are Miss T. and Beating Broke. Congrats!
Also, a quick thanks to My Personal Finance Journey for including Narrow Bridge in this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance.
In Colorado, there is no shortage of gambling opportunities. Just 45 minutes up the road in Blackhawk and Central City, we have large casinos that rival most Indian reservations. We have legalized bingo halls all over town. But the dream is to win the lotto.
Where the Dream Comes From
After recent epic winnings in the Power Ball, I got to thinking about my lotto list.
Dreams of Unlimited Money
If I had virtually unlimited money, what would I do?
I would buy a massive mansion in my hometown, Denver, or a giant Penthouse downtown. I would have a vacation home in the mountains, probably in Beaver Creek. I would buy a beachfront home in Miami overlooking South Beach. I would buy two apartments in the Old City in Jerusalem (one for Passover, one for the rest of the year). Oh yeah, and I can’t forget the Manhattan penthouse.
I always talk about my practical car, which I love, but who would want a McClaren F1? That is the top of my list. I also want a Tesla Roadster, 1968 Camaro, a James Bond decked out Aston Martin, a shiny new Ferrari Scaglietti, and a Bugatti (not too picky on the model).
Honestly, my many homes would be empty most of the year. My real home would be the entire world. I want to travel and see every place that I can safely see that I have never been. I would love to be able to hop on a plane at my leisure to visit the most beautiful and cultured places in the world.
What I Would Really Do
If I really were to win a windfall lottery income, I would probably be a little more thrifty with my money than the list above.
I really would have a comfortable home in Denver and an apartment in Jerusalem. The others are negotiable.
I really would have to buy a McClaren F1 if I had over $100,000,000, but beyond that I would probably stick with a luxury sedan for my daily driving and an SUV for the Colorado winter.
I would really travel the world. I want to see everywhere, and having an extra nine figures in the bank would make that dream come true.
I would also donate generously to the organizations that have given me so much and ones that help people who really need it. I would also make sure my parents and sister lived incredibly comfortably for the rest of their lives.
Most importantly, I would invest and secure my fortune in a way that ensured I would have enough money to live comfortably for the rest of my life.
The Pitfalls of Instant Fortune
I have read stories of people winning $300 million jackpots and struggling with drug addiction and bankruptcy just a few years later.
The best example of this is Jack Whittaker. Whittaker was a successful construction manager with a great family life. One day, he walked into a store for a sandwich, gas fill up, and a lottery ticket. He won the largest lottery in United States history ($315 million) and took home a lump sum of $113.4 million.
Within four years he was robbed several times, arrested, sued, and been implicit in the death of his Granddaughter and two of her friends (separate incidents) related to drug use. After a string of legal problems, nearly ending up in bankruptcy, and burying his grandchild, he said that “if he could do it all over again, he would have just filled up his tank, bought a sandwich and gone on his merry way.”
My Plan to Win the Lottery
I am going to win the lotto, I should probably buy a ticket. Doing the math, however, shows that putting money into an index fund has a much higher rate of return than the predicted average income from the lottery. I will put my dollars into a sound investment instead. I guess this is one dream that will never come true.
Fair Usage Image (c) The Walt Disney Company
Today I finally gave in and started my first travel hack. For those of you unfamiliar, travel hacking is the art of mastering the mileage and point systems of airlines and hotels to get the maximum possible value for the lowest possible cost.
My First Hack
Today, I signed up for the British Airways Visa Signature Card. (Yes, I signed up for a credit card, more on the impacts below.) I have an existing relationship with Chase, so signing up took about five minutes and I was approved instantly.
Signing up for the card gives you an instant 50,000 Avios (the BA version of miles) with the British Airways frequent flyer program. 50,000 miles gets you a free round trip ticket from the United States to any airport in the “Europe Zone One” list, which includes the Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. 60,000 miles or 50,000 plus a fee can get you to Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Gibraltar, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, or Sweden.
If you spend $10,00 in the first year, you get an extra 25,000 Avois. Spend another $10,000 , for $20,000 total, you get another 25,000 Avios. That is another round trip to Europe!
So, to summarize 100,000 Avios on British Airways, or two free round trip tickets to Europe!
This is totally worth it. I am excited to get two free flights to Europe. Flight one is London this summer. Who knows where flight two will take me!
Have you been successful travel hacking in the past? What have you done? Please share your experiences in the comments.