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My 2012 Miscellaneous Income: $2,460

December 24th, 2012 at 06:57 am

I've started tallying up my 2012 income and expenses. This is when all the meticulous tracking of expenditures pays off. I get to see the big picture and ascertain whether I truly "Save more, spend less."

While I have yet to figure my "regular" income from actual work, here's the breakdown of many of the miscellaneous things I've done during the past year to make money (or gift cards). For fun, I've also indicated what I spent those gift cards on.

Credit Card Gift Cards: $621. This includes $250 from Citi Thank You, $250 from Amex Premier Rewards and 1 year of free Netflix from Citi Forward (a $96 value).

Credit Card Cash Back: $371 (This came from Discover, Citi Dividend and Chase Freedom.) This money just went in my checking account, toward general living expenses.)

Online Surveys: $480. I decided doing these incredibly boring and repetitious online surveys was not worth my time, so except for Pinecone, I won't be doing these anymore.

Online Forums: $545. Unlike the online surveys, these aren't as lengthy or repetitious as those surveys mentioned above. I do 4 of these, each hosted by a specific company that wants to get inside consumers' minds. Once a week there is a discussion activity or survey that takes about 10 minutes to do and in exchange I usually get at least $40 in Amazon gift cards or the occasional gas card from a certain oil company.

Focus groups: $100.

Product testing: $203.

Craig's List: $140

So my total earned from all sources was $2,460; about half of this, or $1,230, was in gift cards. Much of it was Amazon gift cards but when I had a choice, I picked out gift cards for WalMart, Kohl's, Lowe's and Home Depot, Home Goods, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

As for how I redeemed the gift cards, i tried to find a balance between putting themn to practical use for things I know I'd need and allowing myself to indulge a bit. Here's how I spent the Amazon gift cards:

INDULGENCES

1. 12 books. I feel that books are among Amazon's best values, so while I wouldn't be buying these books otherwise, I indulged and felt it was money well spent when I used the gift cards. Cus there are many things that seem higher priced on Amazon than what you can find elsewhere.

2. Dark chocolate

3. 5 lbs of black licorice Scotties Admittedly, a waste of money but I had a craving and 5 lbs was the smallest amount you could buy on Amazon. I ended up using some of the licorice in Xmas goodie gift bags for 2 people at the office, so it did save me money there, at least.

4. BPA-free ice pop molds

5.Nylon concrete fibers to strengthen the hypertufa planters I began making last summer

MORE PRACTICAL PURCHASES

1. Dr. Bronner's soap.

2. Stainless steel brownie pan (Just as I'm getting away from using plastic for food storage, I'm also transitioning from no scratch or aluminum baking pans to stainless steel.)

3. Red and cream flannel duvet cover, which I LOVE and appreciate every night! Probably my favorite GC purchase.

4. Squirrel baffle for my bird feeder

5. Well-designed mouse traps

6. A recipe book stand to replace a plexiglass one I had that melted when i put it too close to the stove.

7. glass pitcher with lid I like this, but I later found I could have gotten the same or similar item much cheaper elsewhere.

8. Bamboo drawer organizer

9. Underwear

10. A set of 4 rubber floor mats for my car

11. 2 small fans that fit inside my 2 attic windows

12. a very nice nickel-plated hanging pendant lamp that i screwed into the recessed light above my kitchen sink.

As far as the other gift cards I got, I am giving a $25 GC for Bed Bath & Beyond to my mother as a Xmas present. I redeemed another $25 Home Goods GC for an Asian looking pagoda that stands in my garden. Also 2 pairs of pants, 3 bras, a sweater, bedroom curtains.

I collected points when buying Lean Cuisine meals to redeem them for subscriptions to Kiplinger's, Country Living, Money magazine and Better Home & Garden.

3 Responses to “My 2012 Miscellaneous Income: $2,460”

  1. rob62521 Says:

    Wow, what a complete list! You rock!

  2. PNW Mom Says:

    I'm really impressed with the list you kept and also how you balanced wants and needs! Very cool!

  3. LuckyRobin Says:

    You did very well for yourself!

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