Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tally on this year's bonuses

I finally got my $500 cash bonus on Options Xpress this weekend, as a result of this offer (expired). This is probably the largest cash bonus that I've ever gotten that has cost me nothing. That brings my total on cash and gift card bonuses since January up to about $1,200.

  • $25 on Etrade for opening a new account;
  • $50 bonus for joining the Lending Club and another $50 for signing my husband up. I'm pretty sure they don't allow you to withdraw the $50 anymore...I think you have to use it to fund a loan. We withdrew the cash and closed the accounts;
  • $90 bucks back on Ebates. Note that I didn't buy anything I wouldn't already have bought. Some of this came from referring friends. If you haven't signed up for Ebates yet, I'm not sure why. This is the biggest no-brainer ever. You simply click through the link on their site before you buy something online that you were going to buy anyway and get a portion of your purchase back. And it's real, folks. I get a check every three months;
  • 2 $5 Amazon gift cards on Swagbucks; Swagbucks is actually a fun program. You can earn a reward fairly quickly...45 points gets you a $5 Amazon gift card. You get rewards simply by searching through their toolbar and occasionally, they post free codes on their blog or Facebook page.
  • 2 $25 Amazon gift cards from (plus $25 in free postage). This actually cost me $18 because I allowed them to charge my credit card once but they sent me an extra Amazon gift card as a result; you can read about my experience here. After I closed my account, I signed my husband up, took the additional $5 in free postage and then canceled. We won't be buying stamps for a while.
  • $250 cash bonus for opening an account on WT Direct (expired);
  • 2 $50 Macy's gift cards from MyPoints;
  • $75 voucher on JetBlue for booking a flight that I would have booked anyway. It was actually supposed to be only $50, but since they sent me the voucher a month late and I called and complained, they threw in an extra $25. I put the $75 toward another flight that is going to earn me another $50 voucher.
I know lots of you think most bonuses aren't worth your time, but it's a simple matter to set some alarms in Outlook when you sign up (like "cancel this offer on this date" or "call this number if you don't receive gift card by this date") and have it track your bonuses for you. Bonuses earned through anything but a bank or a brokerage house are tax free, btw.

I spend about 15 minutes a day dealing with my freebies and bonuses. This also includes all the free samples I get, which weren't included in the tally above. The free samples are substantial and in some areas, really money-saving: I haven't bought dog food/treats or shampoo in a few months. I know some of you don't have 15 minutes to spare, but for those of you who do, let me know and I will keep posting offers like these. $1,200 in five months for doing pretty much nothing is a nice little perk, especially in today's crummy economy.

Just a little aside on the new marriage: I used to try to do this sort of thing when I was married the first time to my husband, and he pretty much scorned it. Told me that it was a waste of time and effort and would never amount to anything substantial and that half these offers weren't real. So I stopped pursuing the whole bonus/freebie thing. With my New and Improved Husband in Marriage version 2.0, not only is he proud of me for getting us all this free cash and stuff, he's given me his s.s. number and free reign for doubling our goodies by signing him up whenever I sign myself up. Now that's trust. And it's even more satisfying to share the haul with him because he finally appreciates what I'm doing. What a difference.


mk said...

Really glad to hear that marriage 2.0 is going well, thanks for the update.

Frayda said...

keep posting offers. I hope to start doing them too. thank you!