Saturday, July 21, 2018

The New Exxon Mobile Rewards

The new Exxon Mobile Rewards is here and is starting off to be a great deal. I just joined and got my few remaining Plenti points matched plus $1 worth of points. On top of that, you can redeem at just $1.

With the new program, you get 3 points per gallon spent on gas and 2 points per dollar for convenience items. I am interested to see what promotions they will offer.

Currently, this program is great and Exxon is the only gas station near me that allows me to buy gas with mobile payments like Apple Pay through the Speedpass+ app. They can even email you your receipt. It's currently not quite as good of a deal as Shells Gold Level FuelRewards where you get an immediate 5 cents of per a gallon, but the convenience and security of Apple Pay is nice.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Rewards Programs: Addictive but Lucrative

Obsessive at First

Whenever I see a new reward program at a place, I am interested in it easy to be obsessed. I try to learn all the details and restrictions. The original Starbuck's rewards program was great for me. It allowed you to get free rewards for buying anything and since I mostly purchased regular coffee while at school it allowed me to accrue rewards for other more expensive drinks. Now the program is based on the amount of money you spend, but I am still hooked. Looking for bonuses and participating to get free rewards although not nearly as lucrative for me.

The Real Draw

The reason Starbucks rewards is appealing is that it offers elite levels like a frequent flyer program. It makes you want to strive to maintain your gold level. It makes you feel like you have joined this elite club which is for the most part artificial. You do receive extra benefits, but you most certainly do pay for it by purchasing things more frequently. Many airlines do precisely the same thing by making you feel less important unless you are a part of their programs. They can be lucrative, but also cause some people to make extra flights just to maintain their level in the program. I still love this programs but also realize you have to look at what you are getting for your efforts.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

3 Ways to Make the Most of your Commute

There are many ways to both make your commute smoother and more enjoyable. There are a few things I like to do during my commute that go beyond having a nice travel mug full of coffee. 

1. Audiobooks

I am a big fan of audiobooks. They can really help make a commute more enjoyable and allow you to learn along the way. I currently use the Overdrive and download audiobooks for free from my local library. This is a great opportunity for anyone who doesn't want to spend the money on Audible or buying audiobooks. The only downside is Overdrive doesn't have a CarPlay app and you sometimes have to get on a waitlist for books.

Some of my favorite reads are the 4 Hour Workweek and the Richest Man in Babylon.

2. Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to learn about any topic or keep up with the news. You can download a podcast app and listen to a virtually unlimited number free of talks. You can even use them to help keep up with your busy career during your long commutes.

Some of my favorite podcasts are Mad Money and Talking Points

3. Music Streaming

I have become a big fan of Apple Music. If you are a student you can get a subscription for $5 (normally $10) a month after a 3-month free trial. The thing I like best about Apple Music is that they curate music you will enjoy into playlists and then update it every week. This is nice because it gives you something you can throw on without having to search. I also like Pandora for this same reason.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Tips for Generating Passive Income

Why generate passive income?

If you have been following my blog, you see I often talk about ways to make more money. Many of my tips require a bit of work and don't always amount to the results I would like. Many blogs discuss setting things up like online businesses to generate income. While this may work for some, they often don't discuss how and even still they require a lot of work continuously. Virtually all passive income streams require something from you, even if they require no work after setting them up. Here I will discuss three legitimate ways you can make more money right now. 

Three Options for Passive Income

Passively Sell your Information

There are a few options to passively sell your information. This comes in a couple of different ways. First, you can passively sell your fitness activity. There are plenty of great options for this including Achievement and SweatCoin. You simply link your fitness and health apps and watch the money roll in. The other possibility is to sell your locations data. Apps like the PanelApp let you share your location and earn money as payment. 

Start an Investment Account and Invest for the Long-Term

Here you have to give up the money you invest. The great thing here is if you pick a good long-term fund you don't have to monitor your investments as much if at all. Personally, I like low-cost ETFs. There are many options out there, and I won't make any recommendations here, but I personally like funds that pay dividends so you can get some compounding. I also like tech stocks, and there are plenty of good tech ETFs. I personally use Stash Invest for my long-term passive investing. 

Earn Money for Things You do Anyway

There are many possibilities here. One thing I like to do is use sites like Swagbucks to earn money for searching the internet. The possibilities here are endless. You can earn money while you shop online. Get paid to watch short videos. Generate income playing games or listening to music. The only downside here is that you won't get paid much for them, but if you are doing it anyway who can complain.

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