Posted by Bryan Taylor
Everyone wants free money but I know too many of my peers who don’t care enough about their money to get it.
Yes, it takes time, effort, extensive budgeting- and most importantly discipline, but if you are in control of your money you can truly make it work for you- even without investing it. I know many people who don’t participate in a retirement plan (even if their employer offers a 401k or 403b plan WITH A MATCH!) and certainly don’t have a taxable brokerage account. However, if they plan things right, they can earn free money just by being in control of their own.
For instance, I recently opened a bank account with an online bank that was offering a $300 bonus if I committed to a direct deposit of my paycheck to the account for 3 months. This is FREE MONEY for simply giving my employer a different account number to directly deposit my check into. I don’t have to keep that account open once I’ve received the FREE MONEY (I read the terms and conditions to be sure!).
Another example is properly utilizing credit cards. Yes, credit cards get a terrible rap from millennials, because we grew up hearing the horror stories of the older generation borrowing until their heads turned blue. This nightmare manifested itself in revolving interest payments on credit cards at astronomical rates and in extreme cases to the point of losing their homes and the icky “bankruptcy” thing during the Great Recession. Don’t be scared, be in control.
I technically don’t “borrow” money from my credit card company. I use my credit cards each month on EVERYTHING I can. Why? Because I earn cash back when I pay them off each month. If I can put it on a card, I will, because I am IN CONTROL of my money. I don’t spend more than I receive in income each month (it’s called saving), so I just pay off the card, earn whatever % back as FREE MONEY on the total I paid completely off, and move on.
You may prefer to earn travel miles, gift cards, event tickets- whatever tickles your fancy, but you would be remiss not to take advantage of these free offers. The credit card companies’ strategy is centered around you screwing up and actually “borrowing” from them, at which point you give them FREE MONEY. So don’t be the bug, be the windshield.
There are many other instances when being in control of your money actually gets you FREE MONEY. You just have to stay ahead of the curve, be disciplined in your financial habits and realistic about your capability to do so.