Finding a job with decent pay is not an easy task nowadays. Trying to make extra money in your current job can also be a challenge as your job may pay a salary or you may not have the opportunity for overtime pay. Moonlighting or working on a side hustle can take a lot of time and it may affect your work-life balance.
So how do you make money the easy way? The answer is to take advantage of what you are already doing and maximizing the freebie benefits available to you. For this post, I am going to show you how to make money the easy way.
Getting Free Money When You Make Money
For starters, let’s begin with the low hanging fruits, your current employment. If your employer offers an employee share ownership plan (ESOP), where you receive a percentage of your contribution for free if you contribute to the plan, you should take advantage of it.
For example, if I contribute 6% of my salary to my ESOP, I will get a 3% match from my employer. I am getting an extra 3% in pay just for saving money. This is free money that you only need to setup once and will continue to receive the benefit as long as you work there or until your employer stops the plan.
Getting Free Money On Top Of Free Money
For most of the ESOP programs offered by employers, they usually require you to be in the program for at least two years before the matching portion become vested. Since your money is locked up for a while, why not lock it up in a registered retirement saving plan (RRSP). This way, you’ll get to have the contributed amount tax exempted at the highest tax bracket.
For example, if you make $100K in annual income and you contribute $6K in an RRSP designated ESOP account, only $94K of your earning is being taxed. You’ll get a tax refund when you file your tax at the end of the year and your money in the RRSP account gets to grow tax-free until you withdraw. How sweet is that?
What To Do With Your Tax Refund?
So what do you do with the tax refund? Don’t spend it, put it in a tax free savings account (TFSA) and let your money grows tax-free if you don’t have kids. If you do have kids, then use it to further compound more free money.
You can contribute $2,500 per child to your kids’ registered education savings plan (RESP) to get $500 per kid per year in education savings grant from the government. I used these three tricks to increase my net worth and build a healthy education fund for my kids.
Making Money By Not Paying Fees
Sometimes, making money doesn’t mean money flowing into your pocket. It can also mean money not flowing out of your pocket in terms of fees. If you are still paying for monthly bank account fees, transaction fees, chequing fees or having to keep a minimum balance for your bank account, then you should consider banking with Tangerine. There are no account fees, no transaction fees, you don’t pay for cheques, and you don’t need to keep a minimum balance. You also get to use any Scotiabank ATM machine to access your account because Scotiabank owns Tangerine.
Now, I’ll show you how to make money from your Tangerine bank account ($175 to be exact) instead of paying fees. If you use my Orange key, “41183679S1” to open a Tangerine chequing account and deposit $100 into that account, we’ll both get $50. If you also switch your payroll deposit for at least three months, you’ll get an extra $100. Open another savings account, deposit $100 in there, you’ll get another extra $25. To get the free money, you’ll have to open your accounts, deposit the money and switch your payroll deposit by August 31, 2017.
For the savings account, you get a promotional rate of 2.4% interest for six months. If you are looking for a place to park your money temporarily, an interest rate of 2.4% is pretty decent. The interest rate on the saving account reverts back to 0.8% after six months. However, if you just make a phone call after six months and ask if they have any other promotional bonus (they will most likely have it), you can get more than the 0.8% interest on your savings account. I’ve done this a few times (every three months) and each time, I get another 0.8% bonus interest. So I get a rate of 1.6% instead of 0.8% on my savings account. Cha-ching!!!
Making Money By Consolidating Your Accounts
If you have been working for a few years, chances are that you’ve changed employment once or twice. Sometimes, when changing your employment, you may not have moved your investments/accounts from your previous employers or you may have accounts at different institutions. For me, I prefer to be able to manage all my investment accounts in one place.
From now till August 07, 2017, if you consolidate your investment accounts into one or open a new account at BMO Investorline with net new assets of $200K, you get $1,200 in promotional bonus. So if you have money scattered around in different accounts, try to consolidate them and get paid at the same time. Just make sure you read all the fine prints and details to ensure that you meet the requirements.
Making Money When You Spend Money
Now that we have dealt with how to make money with your savings and not paying fees, how about your spending/expenses? I can also show you how to make money when you spend money. For this, I will break it down into four separate parts: paying your monthly bills, getting rewards just for having the credit cards, getting money back when you make purchases on your credit cards and getting money back when you make purchases online. To fully reap the benefit, you’ll have to pay your bills on time and in full every month. No exceptions. If you can’t do this, then there is no point for you to read this section.
For credit cards, there are many sites that will help you analyze which credit card is best for almost every category of spending. However, from my own experience, I think that there is no one universal credit card that’ll give you the most rewards for your everyday spending. You’ll need to use a combination of a few cards to maximize the rewards from your credit cards. Before you even use the card, let’s get some freebies first. The signup bonuses.
Making Money When Signing Up For Credit Cards
A couple of weeks ago, I came across Frugal Trader’s post on Million Dollar Journey that gives you a total of $170 in bonus perks when you signup for the President’s Choice Financial World Elite Mastercard. Though this may not be the best bonus that I have seen, it’s one of the best when it comes to a no fees credit card.
Let’s assume that if you get 2% cash back per dollar that you spend on any no fees credit card, this $170 in signup bonus is equivalent to $8,500 in spending rewards. If I can get the perks without spending much money, then why not? There will be promotions like this from time to time, so why not take advantage of the free money?
Making Money When Paying Your Bills
When you pay bills such as your property tax, utility or gas bills, you usually don’t get anything in return for paying it. If you use a credit card to pay your bills on the vendor’s site, then you’ll most likely be charged a convenience fee of about 2%. However, there is the Canadian Tire Options Mastercard that allows you to pay your bills and earn a 0.8% reward in Canadian Tire money for every dollar in bill payment.
Since you have to pay your bills anyway, why not earn rewards while doing it? Here is how you can pay your bills using the Canadian Tire bill payment site, not at the vendors’ site that sends you the bills.
Making Money From Credit Card Rewards
If you are still using only cash for your purchases, then you are not making any money back when you spend. As I mentioned earlier, if you are disciplined and pay your bills in full every month, then you can receive some serious money back when you spend. So how do I do it? I use a combination of the following credit cards to make at least 1.75% back on all of my purchases. Here’s what in my wallet:
President’s Choice Financial World Elite Mastercard – This card lets me earn 3% in PC points for every dollar that I spend at any Loblaws owned stores like No Frills, Shoppers Drugs Mart, Zehr’s, etc. I use the PC Plus mobile app to get even more reward points on top of the 3% in PC points if the items that I purchased are on the weekly offered list. I can also earn up to 3% in PC points when I buy gas at Esso gas stations. This sort of cover my gas and grocery categories. There are no annual fees for this card.
Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard – The reason that I like this card is for its flexibility to choose the reward category to earn the 2% cash back. Both my wife and I got this card and we opened a savings account to get the extra category and the free $50 in referral fee. We also got a supplementary card for the other spouse, which gave us two Tangerine cards each and we have a total of six categories with 2% cash back.
We chose grocery and gas for the first two categories because we may not shop at the Loblaws chains or buy gas at Esso every time. The other categories that we chose were: home improvements, transportation, dining and drug stores. For these awesome rewards, there are no annual fees to own this card.
Rogers Platinum Mastercard – I use this card for a base to get at least 1.75% in reward points on my purchases when the other cards don’t provide at least 2% rewards. I also get a $25 bonus reward when I make my first purchase within three months after activating my card. The other perk of 4% reward when I make purchases in foreign currencies is just icing on the cake. This card does have a $29 annual fee, but it’s waived for the first year. Since I have a Rogers mobile phone and registered it as an automated bill payment, my annual fee is waived as long as I still have the automated payment.
This is my current lineup of credit cards in my wallet and it will definitely change as time goes by. From time to time, there will be new promotions or cards with better rewards or perks from card issuers. My loyalty to these credit cards will be determined by the optimization of the rewards that I received. If there is a better card, I am always willing to switch to get more rewards and benefits.
Making Money When You Shop Online
I read quite a few other personal finance blogs and noticed that in the U.S., they get extra money back when they start their online shopping trip at Ebates. Let’s say that you want to buy something at Amazon. You just have to log in to Ebates account and click on Amazon’s link on Ebates and you get a percentage of your purchases back. It’s that simple. Just a couple of extra mouse clicks and you get some free money.
Finally, Ebates.ca is here in Canada and we can get similar rewards as our neighbour to the south when we shop online. Right now, if you signup, you’ll get a $5 reward. It’s not much, but it’s still free money. My wife was lucky enough to find a deal when she booked our flight tickets to Boston and get 8% in rewards on top of the 1.75% that we got from our Rogers Platinum Mastercard. We got almost 10% in discounts with very little extra effort.
My Two Cents
Making more money on your current job or finding a suitable side hustle may not be feasible for everyone. However, you can slightly modify your current behaviour to learn how to make money with the easy ways that I’ve shown above. You may not get be rich from doing this, but you’ll definitely have more money in your pocket. If you can’t make money in one way, approach it from another angle. Chances are good if you look hard enough, you can and will find a way to make more money.
So, do you know of any easy ways that you can teach us how to make money? What money habits do you practice yourself?