Each year, I have a side goal of earning the equivalent of the maximum annual IRA contribution limit of $6,000 using the profits from various promotions alone. In 2021, I reached $5,592 in bonuses and $2,500+ in extra interest. If you had put $6,000 into your IRA every year for the recent 10 year period (2011-2020) and invested in a simple Target Date retirement fund, you would have turned small deals into a $100,000+ nest egg. An extra hundred grand can be the real-world result of regularly investing $500 a month into productive assets. A couple could double these numbers.
Ground rules: Real-world results for one real person only. As following with My Money Blog tradition, this will track my personal, real-world results. It would be quite easy to list a bunch of random promotions that add up to $6,000, but these will be promotions that I personally sign up for and complete the requirements (even though I’ve already opened so many bank accounts, credit cards, and brokerage accounts over the years). I will track my individual results only, although my partner does also participate on a more selective basis. Nearly all of them have been documented in real-time in the Deals and Offers category, Top 10 credit cards list, and brokerage bonus list:
2022 bonuses and promotions (so far)
The total tally is currently $2,060, which is almost exactly on pace to reach the $6,000 annual IRA contribution limit from these bonuses alone. (I know I used quarter, but I’m so late that we are closer to about 1/3rd of the way through the year and 1/3rd of the way to the max.)
I don’t do every deal, and it has been harder to find credit cards for which I am eligible that offer points that I can use in the foreseeable future. I’m sure there are many opportunities that might be valuable to you, that wouldn’t work for my travel patterns or personal preferences. For those new to this hobby, I would first grab the low-hanging fruit like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
These numbers ignore higher bank interest APYs from switching banks or buying savings bonds. They also ignore ongoing credit card purchase rewards like 2% to 2.6% cash back on all credit purchases (or airline miles or hotel points) and 5% cash back on specific categories.
This is an enjoyable and profitable hobby for me, but I don’t like to waste my time either. I look for a solid return based on the time commitment required. I tend to avoid speculative bets on magic ponzi boxes backed by other magic ponzi boxes, bonuses that are hard to convert to real money, and anything that requires driving to stores where things may or may not be in stock. The deals that I post usually last at least a few days, but it’s a bit like value investing where you have to be ready to take decisive action when an opportunity shows up, because they won’t last forever.