I’ve been a deal hunter for the past year and am continually looking for ways to make a little extra on our cash savings. Through the mail, my wife and I get a ton of unsolicited credit card offers, new savings accounts, etc. Often these aren’t the wonderful one-stop shop panacea of all my financial yearnings, but I’ve been trying to make a more concerted effort to spend a little time for the most results. With that being said, I wanted to highlight the easy way I made $400 in 30 minutes of work from Fidelity:

Step 1: Find the deal

Zen, rocks, beach, financial independence,

This is probably the hardest step, but you need to be looking at for ways you can find deals. There’s a couple of different ways you can go about it (these are by no means exhaustive, but are a couple of ways I’ve done it):

  1. Reddit Churning: This dedicated subreddit is all about the magical ways you can “churn” to profit off credit cards and the like.
  2. There’s a ton of dedicated sites set up for bank account churning. Some of these are a bit dubious (affiliate links galore), but there seems to be (at your own peril) some links that show up in a simple Google search like moneycrashers.com, Bankrate.com, Nerdwallet, etc.

Step 2: Vet the deal

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Magnify that money, baby.

The crucial step is to vet the deal. Do a quick audit and think through some items and questions:

  • Why is the company offering this deal? How do they make money on it? For example, if a bank offers a $200 award, but you need to put down a substantial down payment for a period of time you can deduce they will be investing the money elsewhere.
  • What does the fine print say? Make sure you are clear on loan terms, period, first time customer rules and any other fine print items.
  • What’s my opportunity cost? Hunting for deals is wonderful, but if you’re spending your Saturdays just hunting for deals I might think there are better uses of your time. Today you can invest your money at above 2% interest rate, so your return should be higher than that. My grandma used to drive 30 minutes out of her way to save $1 on a fast food burger. Was that worth her time? Probably depends on this burger.
  • Am I organized enough to do this? This is crucial. One-time offers prey on the uneducated and unorganized. Remember that. If you can make sure you’re on top of these offers, take your money and run!

Step 3: Execute

Yes, do the deal. There’s a magical space between knowledge of something and the ability to execute. It’s in that moment that you need to grit down and do it. Of course, with the caveat that you need to be financially sound in other areas of your life to be executing on credit card or bank offers or lottery whims.

Finally how I did it with Fidelity:

  • I found a deal through Fidelity’s Communications website that offered a $200 deposit when you signed up for a Fidelity brokerage account. The link was on here (since removed).
  • I read through all the fine print. You just need to set up an account, deposit $200 of your own money, and Fidelity would match the contribution within one month.
  • I submitted the deal in June 2018 with my wife and we each received $200 in the account within a month!

So, I was really excited to see something that was: easy, intuitive, and paid off! Looking back, I would definitely do this deal again as it took less than 30 minutes to set up and gave us an extra $400 for the month off a $400 investment (that we recouped).