As I’ve written before, I have been tracking every penny coming into my life (from sources outside of my regular paychecks) for the past 4 years. When I originally published that post, someone reached out to me to see if I would write a follow-up covering all the miscellaneous income sources that I tracked in 2018. Today I’m finally sitting down to cover that request.
$13,955.02. That’s the total cash I earned outside of my day job(s) in 2018. The bulk came from driving Uber in the first half of the year, followed by cash rides from customers who contacted me directly for rides to/from the airport, plus per diem and meal reimbursement for work-related travel, then bank sign-up bonuses and Tradelines rounding out the top five.
Top source of extra income – Uber
I have written plenty about how driving Uber is not worth your time, and I am confident this paragraph will show why. Out of my 356 completed trips on the Uber platform last year, I pulled in a total of $3,557.68. Not quite $10 per trip, before my costs of operation and compensation for my time spent on the road. I also received $20 in credits for signing up new riders.
Income source #2 – Work travel reimbursements
Perhaps my favorite category, these reimbursements for work-related travel arrive in my bank account tax-free! They are not considered income, because I am being reimbursed for legitimate travel expenses while performing my job. This included trips to St. Petersburg FL, Tallahassee (x2), Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa, Phoenix AZ, San Diego CA, and Daytona Beach FL. The grand total was $2,866.12 back to my bottom line.
#3 – Cash rides
The best part about these cash rides was that I already knew the customer, in most cases, and I knew they would be higher-paying fares. I charged as much as $110 for a late-night trip from the airport to a Very Wealthy neighborhood south of Naples, FL. Overall, on 33 direct-paid fares, I earned $2,003.49 after fees from Square for those who paid with a credit card. That’s over 6x the average of my Uber trips calculated above!
Misc. Income source #4 – Bank Sign-up Bonuses
2019 was my high-water mark for signing up for these lucrative bank bonuses. The total of $1,450 came from 7 bank accounts. The top two were a local bank Hancock-Whitney for $300 and a Chase Business Checking bonus of $300. Another local bank, Florida Community Bank paid me $250 but had the most hoops to jump through, and nation brands Fifth-Third Bank and Fidelity both paid $200. The final $200 came in 100 increments from Charles Schwab – one for their High-Yield Checking Account with no ATM fees and no foreign transaction fees, and the second 100 for signing up for their Investor card with American Express. Not a bad card (1.5% earning deposited into your Schwab brokerage account monthly), but the bonus was puny compared to most credit cards out there.
#5 – Tradelines
I’ve written about Tradelines before, and I’ve stopped and started participating in the process a couple times. But it’s the easiest money on this list, at $925 in 2018 for barely an hour of work. The process involves adding an authorized user, using the credit card at least 1x per month, paying the bill in full, and then removing the authorized user after a couple months. It’s very simple and can be a good source of semi-passive income, but the main risk is that your credit cards will be shut down, like Discover did to me in April 2018.
Birthday and Christmas money – since my birthday is the day after Christmas, it is hard for me to keep these two separated: $470
Bank account interest – rates were certainly lower in 2018 than they are currently, but I only earned $122.36 in interest last year.
Lending Club withdrawals – These are a combination of interest payments and the original principal on the loans – $1,471.82. I actually LOST money overall on Lending Club in 2018.
Two class-action settlements – $87.21.
Insurance premium refunds or overpayments (because I try to earn travel points for paying the bill before my Escrow pays the bill) – $617.95
Dosh & InboxDollars – $58.84.
SaverLife.org – $25. Getting paid for making savings a weekly habit is pretty sweet.