Summary

Unfortunately March saw continued market uncertainty resulting in investment losses in the Acorns account. This will be the second month of losses in that account. While the loss this month is considerably less than the route which was suffered in February, it is still troubling – each loss requires 100% more return just to come even.

Indeed, comparing monthly results shows that the last two months of stock market uncertainty and volatility wiped out the gains of the preceding two months before them.

Luckily, not all the investments were in stocks and bonds. The Prosper account stayed more or less on track and performed as expected, as did Swagbucks. Perk has, unfortunately, leveled off and is underperforming. While it is still making more than it costs to run, Perk may be phased out if they do not find a way to increase earnings of their members.

Courier services underperformed as well, which may be attributable either to a downtrend in buinesses and business people ordering premium delivery, a glut of couriers, or both. It’s impossible to know but that income stream will continue to be evaluated.

The one clear breakout income stream is consumer testing, lead exclusively in March by UserTesting. The earnings from that site alone were, simply, phenomenal.

Passive Income

In March the only investment income stream which reported was Acorns. While it did not perform as poorly as last month, market volatility and uncertainty negatively effected the account and it lost money again.

As stated previously, the Prosper account performed quite well and as expected. While looking at a comparison of monthly earnings through Swagbucks may show that March was a relatively low point, it should be noted that some Swagbucks earnings are the result of rebates which are not counted in the rebates column, but counted as Swagbucks earnings because Swagbucks-specific rebates are returned within that program as SB’s, not as cash.

The returns are as follows:

  • Acorns: $-16.41
  • Loyalty Programs: $5.85
  • Perk: $5.00
  • Prosper: $37.81
  • Swagbucks: $15.00
  • Total passive income: $47.25

Non-Passive Income

During March, non-passive or “GPT” (Get Paid To…) income came from courier services, Field Agent (i.e. field consumer research) and UserTesting (i.e. online consumer research).

In terms of total take and time taken, UserTesting was flatly untouchable. Where UserTesting brought in ~$1.25 for each minute of work, courier services brought in ~$0.24 without bonuses and ~$0.34 with bonuses.

The returns are as follows:

  • Courier Services w/o bonuses: $119.98
  • Courier Services w/ bonuses: $166.34
  • UserTesting: $480.00
  • Total GPT income: $655.34

Trades

In March, trades on /r/giftcardexchange were, as usual, not numerous, but quite nice in terms of money and percentage return. This month, return over capital was $57.00 in total, which represented a percentage return of 52.68%. You can’t argue with that.

Hourly Rates Comparisons

While no contributor to Easy Beer Money earns money through online surveys, as a public service we do monitor several of survey providers including Vindale, Swagbucks, TellWut and Pollbuzzer. According to their published estimates on the time it would take to complete the surveys, the hourly income rate from surveys during March of 2018 would have been $3.99 – DON’T DO ONLINE SURVEYS.

Hourly Rates By Type:

  • GPT: $44.98
  • Passive: $945.00
  • Survey (inactive): $3.99
  • Trades: $155.45

It should be noted that these earnings number are not net of taxes and other costs and fees, and any potential tax credits from the investment losses.

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