How to Save a Million Dollars When Your Job Sucks
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.
So, here's the deal. All of that money-making crap you see on TV about “no money down” real estate, making millions with “candle-stick” stock trading, and free money from the government is essentially worthless. Because, usually the only people making millions from that stuff are the people who are selling it.
The truth is, anyone can save a million dollars and you don't need to buy some informercial's DVD kit to make it happen. In fact, I'm going to prove it to you….
First, the math. To make this manageable, let's give ourselves 30 years to save that kind of money. If you're a little older, this plan might not make much sense, but if you're still in your working years, this should give you a nice little nest egg by the time you reach retirement.
With that amount of time, you would need to save $233.57 per month or $2,802.79/year and you would need to deposit it in an interest-bearing account that provided you with a 14% annual return (more on that in a minute).
Starting to sound a little easier, right?
But, for a lot of us, saving $233.57 every month is still kind of tricky, especially considering that many of us are struggling to make ends meet. So, I'm going to do what we do best at ThePennyHoarder, and show you a few easy ways to make an extra $233/month without having to take another job.
Without further ado, my plan to save $1 Million Dollars by only working part-time….
Step 1 –
My way to saving a million bucks involves lots of little ways to earn a few bucks without having to do much extra work. So, the first thing you need to do is to find a place to store all of this extra cash so you won't touch it.
My advice is to open a free online savings account with a place like Capital One 360 and then directly deposit all of your extra earnings into that account.
Once you get to Step 3, we're going to change this up a bit, but for now just open a free savings account and move on to Step 2.
Step 2 –
Below, I've listed eight easy things you can do to make an extra $233/month. Most of these require little time, so that you can focus on your real job and living your life.
Complete each one and start depositing the extra money in your new savings account.
1. Take a Survey Each Week
Amount earned: $15/month
Time Spent: 2 hours/month
So, I'll admit it. Most survey companies are pretty scammy. They make you fill out tons of questions for a very tiny paycheck.
The reason I like MySurvey so much is that they pay you for even the surveys you don’t qualify for. You see, most survey companies make you take a “qualifying survey” before you are given access to the real survey. And if you don’t meet the qualifications for that particular survey, you earn nothing (despite the fact that you spent 5 annoying minutes answering questions).
MySurvey is different – even if you aren’t given access to the full survey, they will stay pay you for answering the questions in the qualifying survey. The surveys pay different rates, but on average I get about $3 per survey. I fill out a few a month (usually when I'm watching Breaking Bad for the 2nd time on Netflix) and on average I pocket about $15 a month.
If you are interested in giving MySurvey a shot, you can sign up here. (USA only)
2. Fill out Some Forms
Amount earned: $30/month
Time Spent: 2 hours/month
There are a number of websites that will pay you to fill out forms and sign up for free stuff. I’ve tried about a million of them, but really the only one I recommend is Inbox Dollars. They've also got an A+ for the Better Business Bureau and I've personally received about a dozen checks from these guys. Here's how it works.
It’s free to join Inbox Dollars (takes 30 seconds) and best of all, they give you $5 just for signing up. Once you've signed up, you can start completing offers for extra cash. For example, one offer asks you to sign up for an email newsletter from AMF Bowling. That pays 50 cents and takes about 15 seconds. Another offer asks you to sign up for a free account at Turbotax.com to earn $3.50. These are simple and there are nearly a hundred of them to choose from.
I spend about 30 minutes a week filling out these forms and I'm pocketing an extra $30 or so each month. If you are interested in giving Inbox dollars a try, visit the sign-up page here to get started (open to every country).
Amount earned: $8/month
Time Spent: 0 hours/month
Did you know that the average Australian walks 9,695 steps a day versus the average American who only walks 5,117? Crazy, right.
Well, there's a new cell phone app that will pay you to increase the amount of steps you're walking each day. It's called GymPact and basically it works by letting you set a wager with yourself that you will walk 10,000 steps/day or complete any sort of exercise for 30 minutes in a given day. Once you've installed the free app on your phone, you can connect it to a number of apps like RunKeeper which act like a pedometer, keeping track of your steps in a given day.
In order to get paid, you'll need to start a “pact” with yourself. You can wager as little as $5/per workout and you must set your “pact” to at least 3 workouts/week. If you complete your pact each week, you get to keep your wager, plus you get a portion of all the money the company made that week (i.e. the wagers from all of the lazy people who didn't complete their workouts).
I've got my Gympact set at 4 workouts a week and on average I'm earning .50 per workout or $8 month. Just for walking. And since, exercising is something you're hopefully already doing daily, I scored this as 0/hours month.
4. Download This App
Amount earned: $15/month
Time Spent: 15 minutes + 0/hours month
Media Research Panel is a smartphone app that helps media companies better understand how consumers use, view and share TV, social, digital and mobile media. Their app “measures activities conducted on a device, such as sharing, viewing, clicking, chatting, downloading and more. The app also listens for TV shows, and, using technology of Gracenote, Inc., identifies which TV shows was captured.”
If you install their app, they’ll pay you $5/month per device. And you can install the app on up to 3 devices. Plus they’ll send you a $5 bonus after the 12th week. This is one of those things that takes about 15 minutes to set up and then you never have to think about it again. You just get to cash the check every month.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Sign up here.
2. Install and activate the MI Mobile app onto your device(s).
3. Watch your e-mail for important information and instructions on next steps. Also, at no time is a member’s personally identifiable information ever shared or released publicly, nor will they ever interact with you via social media.
Here are the devices that they support:
- Android™ smartphones and tablets that run Android version 4.0 or greater, and are not rooted. We also accept the Kindle Fire HD, but not the first generation Kindle Fire.
- iPhone®5, iPad®, iPad mini®, and iPod touch® devices that run iOS version 5.0 or greater.
***You’ve got be a US resident, 13 years or older, and have a valid email address.
If you're not using a rewards card for all you daily spending yet, you're really just leaving free money on the table.
Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $150 bonus.
There’s no annual fee, and the cash-back rewards don’t expire. We checked Credible’s annual rewards calculator, and it estimates $417 in annual rewards based on our spending habits.* (You can enter your unique spending habits and see what you’d earn, too.)
Get signed up — and 0% intro APR for 15 months — here.
*Annual Rewards amounts will change based on the amounts you enter. The monthly spending category names and definitions may vary among issuers, and categories may not align one-to-one.
The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has been collected independently by The Penny Hoarder. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. The Penny Hoarder is a partner of Credible.
6. Purge Some Stuff
Amount earned: $25
Time Spent: 30/minutes month
If your house is anything like my house, it's full of extra crap that you don't use anymore. Make a commitment to yourself to purge a little bit each month and to earn at least $25/month clearing the unwanted stuff out of your house. Here are a few good resources for selling your stuff….
BookScouter.net – A great site that helps you sell your used books. Just plug in the book's ISBN # or title and Bookscouter will compare the buyback value from more than 20 different sites. Just select the site that's offering you the most cash and send them your books (they pay for the postage).
Ebay Electronics Calculator – This is one my favorite ways to find out how much your old cell phones are worth. You just plug in the model and Ebay will tell you how much you're likely to get for it.
Mystery shopping is one of my favorite ways to make extra money. At one point I was doing more than 200 shops a month and it was essentially my full-time job!
I'm not asking you to do that many mystery shops, but could you commit to doing 1 a week?
One of my favorite mystery shopping companies is BestMark (they pay faster than any of the other companies I've worked for) and most of the shops pay on average $25.
Do 4 of them every month and that's an extra $100 in your pocket.
Okay, this one is super easy. The website Jingit.com will pay you to watch video advertisements on their site. Yes, it's a little boring, but it only takes about 3 minutes a day.
It's free to sign up for Jingit and if you commit to watching all the available videos each week, you can easily earn an extra $4/week. Yes, it's only $4/week, but this is something you can do while sitting on the can or during a TV commercial break. It's that easy.
Step 3 –
Okay, back to the math. So now you've figured out how to make the extra $233.57 you need each month to save a million dollars. And actually, if you're doing everything I listed above, you're going to be pocketing at least $236.11.
So, where should you save the money?
Like I mentioned before, you're going to need to sign up for an account to deposit all of your extra money. For the first year, I suggest you start with a free online savings account. GE Capital has a good one – it's free and they'll give you a .90% interest rate.
Once you've reached a couple of thousands dollars (beginning of year 2), I suggest you open an IRA at LendingClub. LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lender that gives you an extraordinary interest rate and because it's an IRA, you can grow your money tax-free.
I've had my retirement account there for a couple of years and I've had no trouble reaching 14% interest rate or better every year. And I'm not the only one doing it (see others results here, here, and here.).
Keep depositing your money in this account for the next 29 years, and you'll end up with more than a million dollars! And you did it while only working an extra 10 hours/month! How about that?
Good luck Penny Hoarders!