Friday, October 18, 2013

Warren Buffett: A few simple lessons

Person of the Month: Warren Buffett.

He's from the American midwest, enjoys junk food, and he happens to be one of the richest people on the planet.  Just a quick glance through his Wikipedia page could put you in awe not only of his money making skills, but also the highly intelligent and disciplined way in which he conducts business.  This guy is not a "shark".  He's not a "get rich quick" internet scam artist.  He doesn't even have a computer on his desk at work!

He just buys what he knows, holds on to it, sells when it seems appropriate- and moves on from there.  He still lives in the modest home he bought for $31,000 in his 20's, he drives used cars, and he loves playing bridge with Bill Gates.  I'll take that kind of financial role model over the "4-Hour Work Week" guy or the niche site gurus any day (not slagging those people off, mind- I just like Buffett's tried and true approach).  

Here's a little BBC documentary on the man.  Decide your feelings on his financial philosophy and business practices for yourself:

Meanwhile, my nickle and diming (quite literally) online has been paying out recently.  You can see my Cashcrate earnings in the sidebar, and I encourage you to sign up for InstantCashSweepstakes.  Both are helpful for putting together some money for holiday gifting OR beginning your own investment adventure without risking a lot of your main cashflow.

Want to read the book that inspired Warren Buffet?   The Intelligent Investor: The Classic Best Seller on Value Investing for free (he'd approve!) by signing up for an Audible audiobook trial.  You get one free audiobook to download, so choose that book or ANY AUDIOBOOK to download!

Try Audible Now and Get A FREE Audiobook!

(this is an affiliate link for me, so sign up for free, and either keep with the Audible subscription or cancel without incurring ANY fees.  I've used Audible, and they're excellent)

The Intelligent Investor: The Classic Best Seller on Value Investing

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The proof is in the Dwolla.

Cashcrate has started offering Dwolla for payments.  This is a faster payment method than receiving a check in the mail, it's safer than mailed checks, AND it's a nice way to avoid Paypal if you don't want to give up your bank account or credit card information online.

I recently reached the payout threshold again (you can see the sidebar for my current total), so here's the proof of my payment:

As you can see, the majority of my earnings came from completing offers (easy) and bonuses (even easier).  Care to join?  Please use my referral link!  I'll send you tips for money making on Cashcrate if you sign up as one of my referalls.

Check out the program and join!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Selling on Craigslist: Do's and PLEASE Don'ts

NOTE: This post is an excerpt from a chapter of my upcoming e-book about Craigslist.  Please bookmark this blog to get the book first when it is published!

I'm in the process of moving to a beautiful high rise condo in a fantastic and trendy area of town with my boyfriend.  The downside?  I'm giving up my spacious 2 bedroom condo just outside the city- meaning I am also giving up a lot of the items I've accumulated over the years.

My parents and boyfriend like to tease me about being a bit of a dumpster diver and packrat, but as I tell them- I ALWAYS have a plan for the things I collect (they need to appreciate in value or be easily modified to be salable in the future).

Coincidentally, that's the number one thing for you to remember when buying or selling on Craigslist: ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN.

A picture of the refurbished kitchen table and chairs I recently sold on Craigslist.  It was an old card table that I painted with chalkboard paint, and used chalk for "placemats".  It sold very quickly to a woman who saw it in another state and had her sister come to pick it up!  Very small investment, lots of use, and it sold at a large profit!

Typical Plan:

-Identify items to sell, and look up their possible value online.  You can do this by going to the manufacturer's website, or looking at similar items on ebay or Craigslist.

-Clean up the item and take several attractive, clear photos with no clutter in the background.  Show any flaws with the item in one of the photos!

-Create an email address using a free mail service like Gmail that you will use only for Craigslist listings.

-Post the item on Craigslist: write in the description that you will only accept cash, ask to meet in a public area for smaller, transportable items, and add that you will remove the ad when the item is sold.  Let potential buyers know up front whether you are willing to negotiate (I never accept haggling.  My prices are researched, fair, and firm), and also let them know about any problems with the item to avoid any disappointments upon meeting.

-Only sell to people who use reasonably good grammar, spelling and sentence structure.  I know that's a bit rich coming from me, dear reader, but it's a good way to weed out phishing bots and scammers.

-Do not waste your time on someone who "just wants to look" at your item.  Your home is not a store, and you don't want someone to browse your house for OTHER things.

-Do not give out personal information right away.  I cannot stress this enough.  Do not let yourself become a victim to physical or online crimes.  I usually wait after the first couple of emails to give out my phone number- and even then- I use a Google Voice number.  This may seem like overkill, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

-Meet with the buyer.  Again, I strongly suggest you meet in public and insist upon only accepting cash.  Too many people have been scammed with fake checks and money orders.  Collect your cash, and go on your merry way.

I have never had a bad experience with a buyer by following my plan above, and right now selling off my old furniture and possessions on the site is bringing me money to help offset my moving costs!

Some folks have gone so far as to make a living out of selling on Craigslist!  I've enjoyed reading about how one man provided for his family, cut down on debt, and was even able to afford a vacation by buying and reselling on the Craigslist.  Check out his story at ReCraigslist.

Have good/bad Craigslist stories?  Share them in the comments!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

4 Keys to Earning an Online Income

Over the past year I've earned and used countless gift cards, received checks in the mail, had money deposited into my Paypal account, and it's been pretty freaking sweet.  I've managed to start and maintain a high interest savings account, invest in a few choice stocks, and pay off a considerable chunk of credit card debt- all with online income alone.

Four Ways to Earn Income Online

1. Find Your Motivation:  this doesn't necessarily mean that you shout "WHAT'S MY MOTIVATION!?" into a mirror each morning- but hey, whatever helps!  I have very specific goals I am working toward: completely paying off all credit card debt, paying off my car, investing in real estate, taking a real vacation, and building my one of my saving accounts to a certain dollar amount.  Can all of this be done by clicking surveys, being a virtual assistant, being a game/app tester, providing voice overs, or participating in free trials?


2. Identify a few online money-making methods and stick with them until they stall out:  I like to diversify my earning potential.  Click on the links on the right sidebar to check out and sign up for the programs that I personally use and can vouch for their effectiveness.  If something stops working for me, or if I get burned out on a program, or the earning method isn't rewarding me for my time effectively- I'll move on.  I'll occasionally check back in with these programs to see what (if anything) has changed.

3. Get Organized:  I keep track of what methods I am using, and track their effectiveness.  I also make sure the programs are paying out like they should be!  One particular gift card program was not crediting me for my lunch purchases, so I had to contact customer support and verify that I was following the rules of the program.  It's not terribly hard to organize your earning methods- especially if you just stick to a few at a time.

4. Do NOT pay money to get money online:  Don't think of joining that handbag club as an "investment".  An investment doesn't involve a 30 dollar fee each month with a 4 dollar payout upfront!  Joining clubs and subscription sites just isn't cost effective.  You can try an e-book on the topic of online learning for a fraction of the cost, and/or find plenty of free help and information online.  Don't be a sucker!

Got all of that?  Good.  Now, the fun bit- a look at the programs/methods I've been using.  (Note: none of these are passive income methods.  I find that the time/money spent up front for generating passive income just doesn't work with my current lifestyle.)

Plink:  I love this program so very much!  It's a standard "points for purchases" program, but the amount of points needed for rewards is pretty low, and you can get a wide variety of gift cards.  I love Dunkin Donuts coffee, and buy coffee for myself and a coworker at least a couple of times per week- so I've accumulated many Amazon gift cards over the past year.  (I just logged in to my account to get the link, and noticed I've earned yet ANOTHER gift card!  Yay!!)
Click to check out PLINK.

CashCrate: I've received checks from this service, and the referral program is well, money.  Very effective and many ways to earn.
Click to check out CashCrate.

Swagbucks:  This rewards "points for tasks/surveys/offers" as well as points for just browsing the web or working as you normally do.  This program is very laid back, and I find that the fastest non-purchase method of getting points is to use their search engine.  This is my main source for Paypal and Amazon gift cards throughout the year.
Click to check out Swagbucks.

Voice Acting:  My own voice over site.  I have a few very dedicated clients who request my services every few months, so this is nice.  I'm always looking for new clients, so get in touch!  I can do ads, voicemail services, phone messaging, DJ drops- you name it. My prices are far, far, FAR below market value (since I'm not represented by an agent at this time).
Click to check out my voice over services.

That's what's going on right now!

Other services used sporadically:
Instant Cash Sweepstakes: low payout, but takes less than 5 minutes of your time.
ClixSense: see above.
InboxDollars: Earn .02 per email clicked, or more for surveys.  It adds up!
Sendearnings: see above.

I find that blogging keeps me organized and motivated, so I'm going to give it another try.   I don't want to go another year without posting!  Encouragement from readers will undoubtedly keep me going, so do feel free to leave a comment or five.

Follow me on Twitter: @ThenKaySaid

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Coke Rewards Story or "I'm The Girl Who Goes Through Recycling Bins"

I've been gone for a while, but rest assured- I'm still working on my goals.  To get up to speed, I'll say some things have changed- others have stayed the same:

-ICS : is more of a daily rather than bi-hourly thing now.   I usually only access the site from iPad while in bed early in the morning or late at night when I'm attempting to drift off to sleep.  Those surveys will do that to you.
-Swagbucks: seems to be easier than ever to rack up SBs and trade them in for Amazon and Paypal gift cards.  I'm planning to buy new running shoes with the Amazon cards I've collected over the past few months.
-RadioDaddy clients: more income means more investment in better recording equipment, which then leads to booking more jobs!  This has been pretty steady for quite some time now.
-Facebook/VO website: I created a Facebook page for my voice over work and I use it to retain clients who found me through other "person for hire" sites.  So far it's been an easy and free way to let people know what I'm up to, and if I'm looking for new projects!
-I no longer do Clixsense, CashCrate or Usertesting with any regularity.  The first two were ditched because the hours/payout just was never going to add up in the end.  Usertesting is still fantastic, but many of the jobs are snatched up within seconds, and a lot of the mobile testing is difficult for me because I don't have wifi and the 3G network is incredibly slow in my office.  They did send me a free webcam though- so that's nice.
-I stopped using Fiverr because the site is buggy, $5 for a complex voice over is simply charging far too little,  the website takes $1 from every five I made, and it takes 2 weeks or more for payments to clear.  If you're selling an ebook or something of that nature- go for it, but otherwise- I'm not a fan.

Whew!  Now that we're well acquainted again- I'll tell you about my newest rewards obsession:

My Coke Rewards.

It's obvious, right?  Collect Coke caps, enter the codes, and eventually- you'll earn free stuff.  The exciting part is that the rewards are pretty good.  You have your typical "enter 40 caps, and you'll get ONE FREE COKE" (if someone out there actually drinks 40 sodas to get a coupon for one free Coke, that'd be incredibly depressing) but you can also earn free car rental days, high quality photo prints (good for gifting!), or hotel rewards points.

From now through August 31st 2012, if you enter 5 codes, you earn a free 8x8 photo book ($29.99 retail). That's quite a deal!  I got one for myself, and collected 5 caps to give to my boyfriend so he could start his account and get his own photo book.

So where do you get the My Coke Rewards (MCR) codes?

That's where the title of this post comes from...  I work in a giant building, with many many recycling bins around, and once or twice a week when I'm working late at night, I'll rummage through the recycling (gloved hands- not everyone washes out their bottles and cans) and collect the Coke and Powerade caps.   The caps are worth 3 points each, and boxes of Coke products are worth 10 to 20 points each.  I'm a Fresca addict, so I usually go through a box a week, and my boyfriend loves Diet Barq's root beer, so that's 20 points right away! There's a 120 point weekly limit, so I either dump the overage into my boyfriend's account for him to use as he pleases, or save up the caps for double points days.

MCR double points?

Yep!  Right now when you enter the code from a Coke Zero product paired with the UPC code from certain Kraft snack foods packages, you can get 6 points instead of the usual three, and it doesn't count against your weekly 120 point limit.

So that's what I'm up to.  Yes, my hands are a bit stickier, but I'm collecting lots of cool things, and you should as well.  I did a search for "how to use Coke rewards points", and came upon an interesting thread on the Flyertalk forum.  Many frequent travelers have been using this program for years to score extra reward points so they can get flight upgrades, hotel upgrades, and car upgrades.

After I earn a couple more holiday gifts (never too early to start shopping!) and some magazine subscriptions, I'll start putting away points toward a flight upgrade for my holiday trips this year!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Monthly Income Report (November 2011)

Happy Holidays to my friends in the US! I'm still shoveling down heaps of green bean casserole and trying to combat the variety of pies and meats in my fridge (yay, less grocery shopping!) and I hope you've been fortunate enough to have as happy and fruitful a holiday season as I have.

November has been a month of changes. At my full time job, I have been tasked with a more challenging role, so I've been spending a lot of my free time thinking and working on tasks related to that- and I've also been very active with my voice over work.

That's not to say that I haven't been earning online!! I have- but my goals changed a bit mid-month. I decided that I wanted to get serious about saving money lots of money that I'm earning every week, rather than earning small amounts of money every week, so I got really into couponing thanks to sites like Krazy Coupon Lady. No, I haven't turned into one of those people on TLC's "Extreme Couponing" show who have stockpiled 800 bags of dog food in the basement (and no dogs to feed), but I have learned some very important steps for saving money and have thus slashed roughly 25 to 30% from every grocery bill. That's pretty awesome.

I also decided to spend a lot of time thinking about ways to save money to pay off debts. Thankfully my debts are fairly small, just some extra charges on my credit cards, but I wanted to find a way to painlessly and quickly pay them off. I've found a way, and it's been working- but again, it's taken away from my mindless ad clicking time that I used to do whilst watching movies online or talking on the phone.

I'm telling you all of this so you can keep it in mind whilst looking at this month's earnings total. It's lower than some of the other months, but I'm really proud of what it represents: working toward my voice over business goals, spending time saving money, progressing in my career, and eliminating debt.

ICS: .22
Clixsense Research: ---
Fiverr: $96
Usertesting: $35
Amazon Mechanical Turk: ---
eBay: $26.51
RadioDaddy Clients: $64


Well, well, well.

A peek into how this "blog sausage" is made: I wrote the first paragraphs before actually calculating the final total. I was surprised and pleased to see that I actually surpassed last month's total.

I don't have such high hopes for December, since I'll be visiting family for an entire week and also caught up in other holiday festivities and celebrating my 3rd decade on this planet (whoot!), but I'll continue with what's been working: promoting, providing excellent customer service, saving, and staying positive.

Maybe this is a little hippy-dippy of me, but I think happiness has really helped me with this earning journey. What's worked for you?

Monthly Income Report (October 2011)

Cheers to Phil for reminding me that I've been negligent with my blogging! It's always nice to know that people are reading your words, and even nicer to know that they look forward to hearing about what's new!

I'm writing this income report for October at the end of November for a very good reason- I've been very busy making money! Need proof? Here it is: (the November report is coming soon!)

ICS: 2.00
Clixsense Research: .30
Fiverr: $164
Usertesting: $10
Amazon Mechanical Turk: .75
eBay: $13.59


So clearly Fiverr has taken the majority of my time and efforts. I realized that doing paid survey work and clicking on ads all day was boring, boring, boring- so I do that a bit less and do something I love a lot more. I've gotten a good response rate from my voice over website,, and gotten some good referrals for Fiverr as a result. No, I'm not making as much as I did in say, July- when I had enough to pay for my car payment AND my electric bill, but ultimately- I'm having more fun, and I think that's important.

Next month? Well, it's already happened. (oops!) Stay tuned to learn what I earned and how I did it!

Happy earnings, everyone!
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