Looking For Some Additional Side Income

Our neighborhood recently launched a new web site for the neighborhood, to inform residents about neighborhood happenings, improvements, news, and anything else worthy.

They have a couple of cool features.  One is an area where you recommend (or warn about) contractors that have performed work that you’d like to spread the word about.  Since so many of these places depend on word of mouth for their business, I like the idea.  It’s like a mini (and free) version of Angie’s List.

The other area that they have is for classifieds.  You can post things for sale or services offered.  One neighbor on the next street over is fairly handy, and has posted a couple of ads about things he can do.  It got me to thinking and I decided to post an ad of my own.

I’ve always been somewhat of a techie.  For a number of years, my job was hands on setting up computers, networks, printers, desktops, servers, and the like and I’ve always been known by my friends as someone they can turn to for advice or help.  While I’ve gotten more into the project and strategic management in my career, and while my own computers aren’t by any means new, I still consider myself fairly adept at being able to handle some of the basics.

So, I put a short ad out there offering basic computer services, things like virus removal, upgrades, wireless network setup, and the like.  We’ll see how it goes, but I found it encouraging that the person that manages the website wrote back and said that, in addition to acknowledging the ad, she needed some work done. So, I already have my first ‘customer’ lined up!

Even a few hours a month would be nice to have a couple of extra bucks come our way.  My wife asked ‘What would you do with the money?’ Honestly, I didn’t have an answer, because I wanted to first see if anybody would even be interested, so I didn’t want to spend money I wasn’t sure would even be earned.

Stay tuned!

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Surveying Things With Opinion Outpost

I saw a few bloggers mention that they earn some money taking surveys through Opinion Outpost, so I thought I would give them a try.

I have been a member of the Pinecone Research Study group for awhile.  They’re pretty cool, though the survey opportunities seem pretty limited.  I think with Pinecone, I average about one paid survey a month, maybe a little higher.  At $3 a pop, it’s nice, but it doesn’t add up to much.  It’s pretty much covered the renewal costs for my blog.

Opinion Outpost was easy to sign up for.  You need to fill out a bunch of informational surveys, the results of which you use to provide information on your demographics, interests, and habits.  This is used to filter out surveys which may not apply.

There seem to be quite a few surveys.  The process is fairly straightforward.  I receive an e-mail anytime there’s a potential opportunity for a survey.  I can either click on the link in the e-mail or logon to the site, and it will list all active surveys that I haven’t responded to yet.  This is useful in the event that you need to do some catching up.

When you get a survey, you are not guaranteed to be a fit for it.  Typically, clicking into the survey will bring up a page where it asks you some basic questions.  Usually within a couple of minutes, it will notify you if you’re not a fit for the survey or if you can take the actual survey.  The ‘approval’ percentage probably varies, but I’d say that so far, I’ve qualified for about 25% of the surveys that I get e-mails about.  That may not sound like a lot, but you will probably find that it’s a pretty good number since I’ve been averaging at least 5-8 surveys per week.

Once the survey starts, they’re pretty straightforward.  The only knock that some might have is that once you qualify for a survey, you typically get directed to a third-party research study website.  This is in contrast to Pinecone, where all of the surveys are operated and run from their own site.  Opinion Outpost ensures that the sites are safe.  So far I haven’t had any problems, and quite honestly, it’s nice to see a different look and feel of a survey.

The surveys take differing amounts of time to complete.  Once you’re done, you are awarded ‘Opinion Points’ that correspond with the complexity of the survey.  The basic formula is that each Opinion Point is worth ten cents.  Of the surveys, I’ve completed, they’ve all fallen in the 20 to 50 Opinion Point range, meaning that the surveys have been worth between $2 – $5.

You can cash in your Opinion Points once you’ve accumulated at least fifty (or the equivalent of $5).  At that point, they will issue a check.  Right now I’ve got 113 Opinion Points.  I like that they give you a choice of when to cash out.  You can choose whether to get little chunks of money or save it up for a bigger reward.  Pinecone issues you payment at the completion of every survey.

Another difference is the payment method.  Pinecone offers to send checks via snail mail, but will also pay you via PayPal.  Since they pay automatically after each survey, the PayPal option is a no-brainer as having to deal with a $3 check each time they send you one is a hassle.  PayPal lets you accumulate your money or transfer it back to your bank account, saving you a trip to the bank.  Opinion Outpost only allows for a snail mail check.  It’d be nice if they hopped on the PayPal bandwagon at some point.  It’s for that reason that I have let my balance accumulate, as I’d rather make a trip to the bank less often with a bigger check than increase my trips to the bank.

All in all, I love Opinion Outpost so far.  You’re not going to get rich from it, but you can make a few bucks here and there, and get exposed to some pretty interesting product concepts at the time.  If you’ve got a few spare minutes here and there, Opinion Outpost is definitely worth a look see.

Click here to sign up (disclosure: if you use this link, I will get 20 Opinion Points once you complete your first survey, for which I would be extremely grateful!) and see for yourself if you like it.  I think you’ll be pleased.  I know I am!

Note: This post was not solicited nor did I receive any compensation for it.

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Book Review: The Spenders Guide To Becoming A Millionaire

I had the opportunity to read The Spenders Guide To Becoming A Millionaire by Ilona Dolinska-Reiser.

Ilona is a native of Poland (I’m of Polish descent so this was of immediate interest to me), and came to America as a young woman with nothing more than $10 and her suitcase. In the roughly twenty years since, she has accumulated a net worth of $1.2 million and shared her story in the book.

I enjoyed the book and thought it was a fun read. The book is divided into chapters, each with it’s own set of financial lesson. The book is very narrative with the author not only going through the main financial points, but discussing how she learned these lessons and how she applied them to her life. Along the way, she is very candid about some of the mis-steps she took along the way, and how she was able to learn from them.

Dolinska-Reiser hits many key personal finance topics, and drives the point home very well by sharing how she came to understand and cultivate what she learned. Some of the topics she covers are:

  • Making savings automatic
  • Paying yourself first
  • Achieving your goals by first defining exactly what you are hoping to accomplish (a step that seems simple but that I know many people often overlook)
  • Staying motivated not just in the short term but for the long haul

For those looking for a simple, outlined ‘how-to’ personal finance book, this probably isn’t the best read for you. For those who are looking for a unique perspective and who can learn and better relate to personal experiences, I would definitely recommend this book.

You can purchase a paperback copy or it can be purchased via e-book through the author’s website.

Disclaimer: I was provided an e-copy of this book for review.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Book Review: Living Trusts for Everyone

Many people are getting a handle on their finances with their day to day activities.  More people are saving money, reducing costs, and making sure that every dollar is accounted for.  Can you say that the same things hold true for your money after you die?

Properly managing your estate is the main focus of the book Living Trusts for Everyone: Why a Will is Not the Way to Avoid Probate, Protect Heirs, and Settle Estates by Ronald Farrington Sharp.

Mr. Sharp is an attorney who has dealt with setting up and managing trusts for many years.  Living Trusts for Everyone is a useful tool in understanding how trusts work, what the comparisons are to other methods of estate handling (such as a will or even doing nothing at all), who benefits from a trust, and some of the things to ensure you look out for when setting up a trust.

The book makes clear very early on that it is not meant to serve as a how-to guide to set up your own trust.  Having a properly setup and maintained trust involves many complexities which are best handled by an attorney.  Setting up a trust costs money and this book will not get you around that, but it can provide checklists, thought starters, and knowledge to ensure the money spent on setting up a trust is money spent wisely.

There are steps on how to make sure that your attorney is properly equipped to handle a trust.  While many attorneys claim to be able to handle a trust, the book illustrates the difference between those who will work with you to set up a trust that works for your situation versus those who will use boilerplate templates, and gives you advice on how to spot the differences.

As the sub-title suggests, a great deal of time is spent outlining the differences between a will and a trust.  While many people think that a will has them covered after they die, the fact is wills often cannot avoid assets having to go through probate, especially if there is property involved.  The book discusses how a trust can be more advantageous in this regard.  This is interesting material that serves to at least give the reader some key points to look for when researching the best method to have their estate handled.

Prior to reading this book, I knew very little about a trust or how they would be set up.  Now that I’ve read the book, I understand the basic elements of a trust, how, if setup properly, they can effectively manage an estate, and key elements to look out for when setting up your trust.  Setting up a trust is something that I would like to do someday, and this book is an excellent primer for anybody thinking about estate planning and who might be wondering if a trust is good for them.

Living Trusts for Everyone is 160 pages long, and is organized into small, concise chapters that walk you through the basic elements of a trust.  It is published by Allworth Publishing and is available in paperback form for a list price of $14.95.

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this book for review.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.