I am pleased that my expectations were exceeded in my Free Money Adventure for 2017. Originally, I believe my goal was to acquire between $1,500-$1,800 in what I considered free money for the year. At about the mid-way point I adjusted my goal to be between $2,000-$2,500. Giving the goal a range instead of an exact number helped me to be realistic and not be fixated on a particular number.
I've attached a snap shot of my excel chart below:
Again, I know that some people may argue that some of these categories aren't actually "free". However, I felt like I included the topics in which required some effort on my part, but where money was actually on the table to receive.
Obviously the largest category of free money was bank promotions. These were easy to find due to websites I had mentioned in my earlier blog, but at times tricky to redeem due to the conditions of the promotion. I also learned that while soft inquiries do not effect your credit score, you may exceed a particular amount of soft inquiries for opening up new accounts which would result in being declined. I kept my new accounts to reasonable amount (6) for the year. I could have possibly gone higher, but I wanted to error on the side of safety.
As I set my goals for my 2018 Free Money I may continue to keep the new accounts I open on the low side. Many of the bank promos have a restriction as to "one redemption per calendar year" or "only open to new accounts within the past 90 days". Currently, I am thinking of a number between $1,500-$2000 because I'm not sure realistically if I can continue to keep up a $2,700 with the avenues I've been pursuing. It's a fun challenge and continues to amazing me how with a little effort there's always money out there.
I've also found helpful the web presence and podcasts of the FI (Financial Indepences) or FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) community. I'll come back and add the links. These endeavors have both been helpful and inspiring. You don't have to be conventional in your thoughts about money and career. Financial independence is not greed, but very much the opposite... freedom.