Category Archives: Ways to Make Money

Get Compensated for Your European Flight Delay

This post is in collaboration with Click2Refund.

You know that European vacation you took in 2017?

The one where your journey home turned into a three-day sojourn thanks to flight delays and missed connections?

You might be owed money for that trip thanks to a European law.

No insignificant sum, either. Depending on the length of the delay, you may be owed up to $700.

You can either attempt to claim this money yourself, or enlist the help of professionals like Click2Refund.

What is EU Regulation 261/2004?

EU regulation 261/2004 is a European law that protects passengers against flight disruptions that are the airline’s fault.

When your flight is delayed or cancelled within 14 days of scheduled departure, European airlines or airlines departing from the EU have an obligation to compensate you for your time and inconvenience under EU regulation 261/2004 — except in ‘extraordinary circumstances.’

This compensation can vary from €250 – €600, which is $293-$704USD at the time of writing.

You can also claim this compensation if you are denied boarding when the aircraft is overbooked.

How much compensation can I get?

The amount of compensation you receive varies depending on the length of the flight and the length of the delay.

The delay must be more than 3 hours in order to qualify for any compensation. If your flight is:

  • 1,500 km or more, you may qualify for €250.
  • 1,500-3,000 km, you may qualify for €400.
  • 3,500 km or more, you may qualify for €300.

If your delay was 4 hours or more on a flight of over 3,500 km, you may be entitled to €600.

For reference, it’s about 5,585 km from London to New York City, and a little over 7,000 km from CDG to ATL.

Do airlines have to compensate for cancelled flights?

Yes. Under the same regulation, airlines must provide you with a ticket refund or a replacement flight. They also have to feed you while you’re waiting, and cover your hotel if necessary.

If the cancellation happens within 14 days of your scheduled departure, you may also be eligible for flight compensation as outlined above.

Is EU 261 compensation per person or per purchase?

Per person. If you bought four tickets for your family, each person would be eligible for their own individual compensation check.

Does EU regulation 261/2004 apply during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes and no.

EU 261 still applies during the Coronavirus pandemic. If your flight is delayed or cancelled due to circumstances the airline reasonably could have controlled, you’re still entitled to compensation.

But if your flight was cancelled or delayed due to a travel ban or warning related to the virus, you aren’t necessarily entitled to compensation. The airline must comply with current health and travel guidelines. These qualify as extraordinary circumstances the airline cannot control or predict.

How long do I have to file a claim under EU regulation 261/2004?

It depends on the country of departure.

The EU country that offers the shortest time frame to file your initial claim is Romania. You only have six months.

Other member countries are far more generous with their statutes of limitations.

Here are the EU countries where the statue of limitations extends to only two years:

  • Croatia.
  • Iceland.
  • Italy.
  • Malta.
  • Slovakia.
  • Slovenia.
  • Switzerland.
  • The Netherlands.

If your flight is departing from one of these EU countries, you have three years to file your initial claim:

  • Austria.
  • Czech Republic.
  • Denmark.
  • Estonia.
  • Finland.
  • Germany.
  • Latvia.
  • Norway.
  • Portugal.

Here are the EU countries where you have up to five years to file your initial EU 261 claim:

  • Bulgaria.
  • France.
  • Greece.
  • Hungary.
  • Scotland.
  • Spain.

In these countries, you have up to six years:

  • Cyprus.
  • Ireland.
  • The UK (unless your flight left from Scotland.)

Lithuania, Luxenbourg and Sweden allow for up to 10 years. Amazingly, there is no statue of limitations if your delayed flight left from Poland.

How do I file an EU 261 claim?

There are a few different levels to making an EU 261 claim. The first option is to contact the airline that operated the delayed flight. They should be able to tell you their procedure for submitting a written claim.

If your claim with the airline is denied or not responded to within two months, you can then escalate things to the national enforcement bureau in whichever country the flight departed from.

For example, in the UK, you would contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

At this point, the airline can choose whether or not they want to take the claim to court. This is where things start to get more difficult if your live outside the jurisdiction, as you’ll incur not only legal fees, but also potential travel costs.

Get help filing your EU 261 claim.

If doing all this sounds like a pain, you can use a service like Click2Refund. Click2Refund handles your claim for you, from initial contact with the airline to court — should things go that far.

You only get charged if they win your claim. Then, the fee is 25%.

This fee is in line with what other similar service providers charge, though many competitors charge additional administrative fees in addition to a 25% fee — making Click2Refund one of the best deals on the market.

In this time when work and money is so disjointed, a claim from an old cancelled flight could help smooth out your budget. Check and see if yours qualifies here.

How You Can Make Money as a Broke College Student

The following post is contributed by Martin of Studenomics, where he tries to make personal finance fun since you have enough to stress about. You can click here to check out the wide range of content on everything from student loans to getting paid to drink coffee.

Hundred dollar bill on white background with pink and blue triangles. Text reads, 'How to make money as a broke college student.'

We can all agree that times are tough financially as a student. You don’t have any money since you don’t get paid to be a student. You have all of the energy in the world, but you don’t have much money to do anything. So you feel stuck.

This is why I did everything possible in college to start making money. Your college experience can be much more pleasant with some money to enjoy life more and to avoid racking up massive amounts of debt that will haunt you for decades to come

Let’s look at how college students can start making money…

Continue reading

Your Guide to Deciding on a Real Estate Investment Partnership

This post brought to you and contributed by an outside writer.

Real estate investments tend to have more security than stocks and bonds, as property doesn’t usually have a roller coaster of ups and downs like the stock market and economy.

The housing crisis of 2008 is a pretty big exception to this rule, though the problem originated with the lenders and not with property owners and their companies.

If you have the resources, you have the potential to turn a handsome profit with the right real estate move. However, if you don’t have the resources, you need to think carefully about looking for a real estate investment partnership.

The Benefit of a Partner

Steven Taylor Taylor Equities is a good example of someone who has amassed capital over the years in real estate. Partnering with someone like Taylor could bring cash to the negotiating table. The other party’s investment splits the risk that accompanies a purchase, and if they are already established in the real estate industry, they bring experience to the deal.

If neither of you has the money, you really aren’t going to go far. Lots of money and no experience will turn into more costly ventures that don’t always have the best return. Seek out a partner that will complement the areas where you are weak.

Explore Common Objectives

Real estate investments aren’t a ticket to overnight riches, nor will a basic portfolio be enough to pad your retirement account. When working with a partner, you both need to be on the same page. You don’t want one of you will to play it safe while the other takes a gamble on a high-risk venture.

High-risk situations often lead to bankruptcy for even the best of investors, so stick to the most realistic goals that provide a positive cash flow within the first year of purchase. Decide how long you will be holding on to a property since that influences how long the partnership will probably need to last.

Have the Escape Plan

While two people investing in a property can make things on the front end seem more complicated, the end of the plan becomes infinitely harder to hash out.

What if the partnership isn’t working for either you anymore?

What if someone needs the equity from the property?

You need to have the escape routes clearly defined and in a partnership contract before you move forward. There are really only three good options for when one half of the partnership wants to get out of the deal. You could:

  • Sell the property.
  • Buy the other partner out.
  • Or you could find another partner to buy out the other.

There is a fourth option of giving your partner a loan against their share of the property, but it will be less risky to simply buy them out. Include terms of valuation for the property in your agreement, as this determines the cost of a buyout or a new partner buy-in.

Develop an Equitable Arrangement

Partnerships require a lot of give and take, and successful ones will be fair and balanced in the approach to property investment and management. Don’t land on a potential partner just for the money you think they will be able to put in toward a property.

Anyone who is buying into your idea will want to have some authority over what happens. This is especially true if the partner is investing more money than you into the venture. You need to demonstrate and promote equality in the relationship, by making decisions after consulting with your partner and spending their money even more carefully than you would spend your own. Keep transactions transparent, but strive to under-promise and then over-deliver results.

A partnership could be what you need to get started in real estate investing. It’s a serious, long-term commitment and shouldn’t be done without a signed contract and comprehensive discussion of the working relationship.

Swagbucks Review: Strategize Your Way to Free Gift Cards

What if I told you there’s a way to earn free gift cards simply by changing your default browser? 

It’s true. 

Swagbucks is a platform that turns the money it makes in advertising dollars into rewards for its users. You can then redeem those reward points for prizes like gift cards. 

Using Swagbucks isn’t likely to provide you with the income of a part-time job, but it is a legit way to earn some extra spending money when things are super tight. 

How Swagbucks Works

Swagbucks is a multi-faceted platform that rewards you for engagement. When you engage with the platform, you earn points called SB. 

SB points can then be traded in for various rewards, including but not limited to:

  • Gift cards.
  • Sweepstakes entries.
  • Donations to charity.

How to Earn Points with Swagbucks

To earn SB points, you have to engage with the platform. 

There are many ways to do this, but they do not all reward you equally.

Use Swagbucks’ search engine.

One of the core ways to earn these points called SB is to use Swagbucks’ search engine. 

If you’re a Millennial, you might remember alternative search engines like Ask Jeeves and Bing. Swagbucks’ search engine works in the same way.

If you can’t remember when these search engines were competitive, think of Swagbucks’ search engine as an alternative to Googling things.

You won’t get rewarded every time you use the search engine; the reward points are apparently random using this method. A realistic expectation is 10-20 SBs for every 10-20 searches, though your results may be more or less.

Shop Swagbucks’ affiliate network.

One way Swagbucks makes money is through affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is also one of the ways this site makes money. For example, Swagbucks is one of my affiliates. When you click on one of their links in this post and signup, this site receives a small commission. 

You don’t pay more when you purchase through an affiliate link. The company just uses a portion of the profits they would have made anyways to pay the affiliate commission.

Swagbucks has a shopping portal where you can find many big retailers you probably shop with anyways. When you do this, you can earn SB points. 

Also when you do this, the retailer with whom you shopped pays Swagbucks a commission.

Cashback

Swagbucks sometimes frames its shopping rewards as cashback offers. But what you’re really earning are those SB points. 

To do this, Swagbucks is currently valuing each SB point at $0.01.

So if they’re offering a 1% cashback offer, what they’re really offering is 1 SB point for every dollar you spend.

Keep an eye out for Swagbucks special offers.

In conjunction with the ‘cashback’ offers when you shop with Swagbucks, you will also find special offers. 

During your shopping experience, these offers will look like deals and sales in the Swagbucks portal

There are other areas of the site where you can ‘Discover’ special offers when you download apps advertising with Swagbucks, or earn points for signing up with partner services who advertise with Swagbucks.

Want to earn more with Swagbucks? Watch videos.

You can earn points for Swagbucks by watching videos on their platforms. 

The people I’ve known who have earned a ton of points for SB using this method don’t actually ‘watch’ the videos, but leave them playing in the background while they’re doing something else. 

Take Swagbucks surveys and answer polls.

Another way Swagbucks awards you points for SBs is when you answer polls and surveys. A quick way to get a SB point is to answer the daily poll.

However, surveys are not the best way to earn points. You may get excited the first few days as your queue of potential surveys initially fills, but it is likely to deplete quickly. You may even get part way into a survey only to find out you don’t qualify. 

Earn more with Swag Codes.

You can find Swag Codes lots of places, but the best way to approach this method is to follow Swagbucks on all their social media accounts

Swag Codes typically come and go quickly. While you will very likely be rewarded for watching for them if you’re vigilant, it can quickly become an obsession that’s not worth it if you don’t set boundaries on your time.

Related Post: Money Hacks in a Time of Social Distancing

Refer friends to Swagbucks.

If your friends are uninitiated, there is a lot of point-earning potential in introducing them to Swagbucks.

Swagbucks has a referral program that rewards you with 300 points for each friend you send their way off the bat. You’ll get this bonus after they earn their first 300 SB points. 

After the signup rewards, you also earn 10% of their lifetime points

In month two, if they earn 1000 SB points, you’ll earn 100 SB points without doing anything.

In month three if they earn 800 SB points, you’ll earn 80 SB points without doing anything.

And so on. 

Right now there’s also a 100 SB point bonus when a friend you refer installs the Swag Button. The Swag Button is a browser extension that automatically lets you know when you’re shopping with a Swagbucks affiliate so you can claim your points.

To participate in the referral program, you will be provided with your own, unique Swagbucks signup code. You will be invited to share it via email and social media. The link will then track everyone who signs up using it, crediting you with any points earned on each referral.

Play games on Swagbucks.

Playing games on Swagbucks is not going to make your rich quick. But if you’re sitting around playing games on your phone or other device anyways, you might as well get rewarded for it! 

Complete daily goals to earn points for SBs.

Swagbucks has a daily goal feature you can activate. You start off by getting a few points just for activating it. 

You can earn more by meeting a certain point goal Swagbucks sets for you. For example, your daily goal might be 40 points. If you meet that goal, you might be rewarded with 3 more points. 

Bonuses for cumulative goals like streaks ensue.

Compete with Swagbucks.

Sometimes, Swagbucks will run competitions. 

During these competitions, you’ll join a team with other Swagbucks users. You’ll then collectively work together to try to earn more points than the other team. 

The winning team is rewarded with points for SB.

Download apps to earn SBs.

Swagbucks has expanded its app offerings considerably since the platform began. Today, you can earn SB points on your mobile device

Each app has a max number of points you can earn per day, so using multiple apps in conjunction is the best way to maximize your earning potential.

Plus, you can earn extra points for downloading each app.

  • Swagbucks Mobile. This app allows you to earn points through access to the shopping/affiliate portal, surveys and videos. Though all the other Swagbucks apps are focused on video in select niches.
  • SB LIVE. Swagbucks LIVE is an app setup to operate like a gameshow. There are real, cash prizes in the thousands of dollars, but there are also bonus SB point opportunities just for participating. 
  • Swagbucks Watch. While you can earn points for SBs watching videos in Swagbucks Mobile, Swagbucks Watch is built for the task. Here you’ll mostly find movie and game trailers, along with a few interviews and select scenes. This is the only Swagbucks apps that is only available in Google Play.
  • Swagbucks Answer. If you only want to earn points through surveys, Swagbucks Answer is likely the app for you.
  • MovieCli.ps. MovieCli.ps is very similar to Swagbucks Watch, and allows you another opportunity to earn points.
  • Sportly. Sportly is a Swagbucks app that allows you to view short videos on anything from YouTube-esque fitness tips to interviews with experts in the field. 
  • IndieMusic.tv. This is an app where you can watch music videos from indie artists across genres.
  • Lifestylz.tv. Clips on this app center around celebrities, travel, home decor, food, fitness, family and personal growth.

There are ads between the videos, and you can’t skip them. These ads are another way Swagbucks makes money.

What’s the most effective way to earn Swagbucks?

Most of us search the internet multiple times per day. That’s why one of the lowest-effort, highest-impact ways to earn points is by setting Swagbucks to be your default search engine.

Anecdotally, the Swagbucks users I’ve encountered have used videos as the secondary most effective way to earn points. With all the app options, you might need to spread your watching across Swagbucks platforms to maximize your earning strategy.

If you get a few friends engaging on the platform, that’s another lucrative point stream, as well.

Taking advantage of various partner special offers can be lucrative, but typically requires you to spend cold, hard cash. You’re not optimizing your points if you’re spending money to get them.

What are the least effective ways to earn Swagbucks?

Surveys on Swagbucks can eat up a lot of time — sometimes for zero reward. This method is not the best way to optimize your time.

How to Redeem Swagbucks

Rewards are switched in and out, but the most consistent offerings are gift cards, sweepstakes entries and opportunities to donate.

I don’t recommend using your points for sweepstakes entries. It’s too close to gambling — which is an addiction that affects your personal finances in a very direct way. You may be dealing with SB points rather than dollars, but this is a slippery slope if you have addictive tendencies. 

The conversion rate to donate your points to a charity is $0.01 for each SB point. While it is great to give back, this is not the best way to optimize your Swagbucks time from a pure point-to-value ratio.

How to get the biggest bang for your Swagbucks.

Gift cards are available in denominations as little as $5. We’re talking about retailers you likely spend money with on a monthly basis anyways. Examples include but are definitely not limited to:

  • Amazon.
  • Target.
  • PayPal.
  • Google Play.
  • Sephora.
  • Kohl’s.
  • Starbucks.
  • Sam’s Club.
  • Walmart.
  • iTunes.

If you buy in at the $5 level, though, you’re still only getting the $0.01 per 1 SB point conversion rate. That conversion rate is the same for every gift card level except for one.

To truly maximize your Swagbucks experience, you will want to look at $25 gift cards. These offer better conversion rates than those with both higher and lower dollar values.

Right now the standard conversion rate on many $25 gift cards is between 1.13 cents and 1.14 cents for every SB point. 

How much can you earn with Swagbucks?

The amount you can earn with Swagbucks varies. The people I’ve known that really go at it can consistently come out with up to $250 in gift cards per month, though I don’t know that it’s necessarily worth the time investment. 

Barring some really impressive workflow processes.

If you’re only taking surveys, you’re likely not going to earn very much at all.

Realistically, when I was at peak Swagbucks use, I would earn anywhere from $25-$50 in gift cards per month

This was primarily from using Swagbucks as my primary search engine. Though I did pseudo-regularly play videos and games using the platform, too. 

Is Swagbucks a scam or legit?

Swagbucks itself is safe to use and pays out its rewards promptly. As with any advertisement you find on the internet,  you’ll want to use your common sense when engaging with third-party offers or ads after you’ve left the Swagbucks platform.

Bear in mind that to optimize your points, you need to strategize how you use the platform. If you’re not optimizing your usage, your rewards are going to feel very low compared to your efforts.

But if you optimize your strategy, there are real gift cards on the other side. I’ve cashed in points for them myself.

How do I sign up for Swagbucks?

You can access Swagbucks signup here.

Money Hacks in a Time of Social Distancing

Alright, guys.

The other day I promised I’d share my answers as I found them. That’s what I’m doing today.

If you’re struggling with money right now, as so many are, here are some new, relevant ideas on where you can get more money to get through this as best you can.

Emergency Bills and Social Media

Before we get started, note that there has been stuff moving through Congress that could help you right now. As of this writing, the stuff that has actually passed is a patchwork that leaves a lot of people out. But there is still more in the pipes. Stay up-to-date with this iHeartBudgets resource.

You can also look to social media. Individuals and companies are giving away money in their @s.

This is inspiring to see, and is helping a lot of people. It’s happened to my own family members, and for that I don’t know if I can express the well of gratitude that’s now permanently lodged in my heart. It’s gone a long way to restore my wavering faith in humanity.

It is not a replacement for the safety nets our society so desperately needs, though, and I’m not going to tell you to hang out on social media all day hoping someone will mention free cash.

But while you’re scrolling through your feed anyways, keeping an eye out doesn’t hurt. <3

File Your Taxes from Years Past

If you are low-income and have not filed income taxes for the past few years, one of the best ways to come up with a big chunk of cash is going to be to file your tax returns from the past three years — if you haven’t already.

Here’s the thing: I know so many people who don’t file because they know the amount taken out of their paycheck covers them.

They’re not going to owe money. And while they might want a refund, the anxiety of taking their finances to some stranger at H&R Block who is also their Kmart cashier — aging myself, I know — is just not worth the amount they think they will get back.

But here’s the other thing: When you’re low- to lower-middle-income, there are so many tax credits that can put money back in your pocket. We’re talking about thousands of dollars in some cases on a single credit.

And another thing: You have three years to file your return.

Depending on what you qualify for, you could potentially file a return that would provide you with months’ worth of income to cover basic expenses. And if you haven’t filed for multiple years, you could potentially multiply that over the course of several more months.

There’s also a potential you would get nothing back, depending on your life and employment circumstances over the past three years. I also don’t know how long it would currently take the IRS to deliver your refund.

But it’s one of the biggest potential wins I can think of. If you haven’t filed because you know you didn’t owe, file now because our government likely owes you.

Report Your Lack of Commute to Your Auto Insurer

Sometimes one of the best ways to free up some room in your budget is to cut your expenses. I’ve been keeping an eye out for new ways to do this in 2020 over the past few weeks, and came across a really good idea I hadn’t considered, likely because my own commute hasn’t changed aside from a few cancelled in-person networking events:

When you have to live close to the margin, you know that $21 can be the difference between making a bill or not. And what I loved about this tip was that not only will she save $21 this month, but she’ll be freeing up $21 more in April, May and every month until she returns to her regular commute.

It’s a small amount. But those small amounts add up.

UPDATE: My commute changed enough over time that I did this myself and saved $17/month!

That’s in addition to the blanket discount my insurer is issuing to all its customers. This discount is being applied because with less accidents on the road, there’s less claims for the insurer to pay out.

Make sure to call your insurer and ask about both types of discounts — lowering you mileage and any changes to their actuarial tables/claims payouts during this time!

Earn Free Gift Cards

There are always platforms like Swagbucks that help you earn points for free gift cards. You can then use these gift cards to shop at stores like Walmart where you’re probably already spending money.

The time-to-money ratio is no replacement for even a part-time job. But if you find yourself mindlessly playing cell phone games and scrolling through video feeds anyways, Swagbucks rewards you for it.

Call Your Lenders

Things are real right now. If you’re worried about priorities like keeping food on the table and a roof over your head, debt payments may have to be put on hold. Reluctantly. Out of pure necessity.

That does not make you an irresponsible person.

I’ve actually seen a lot of banks actively recognizing this. Some are even taking initiative and reaching out to some of their most vulnerable debtors to make sure this doesn’t send them into a tailspin from which they can’t recover.

I’m not here to tell you all the banks are suddenly looking out for your best interests with a pure heart, though. Many of them will make more money off of you over the long-term with these new arrangements.

But also you need to buy groceries today, and might not have income from a job anymore. Paying more over a longer period of time may be the only option.

If you find yourself in this situation, call up your lenders. See if you can restructure your debt or defer payments, and ask about the following before making any commitments to a new arrangement:

  • Will this extend my loan term? This might not necessarily be a deal breaker given everything you’re dealing with right now, but it’s still a good piece of information to know.
  • Will extra interest continue to accumulate, even if you’re telling me I don’t have to make my payment this month? At what rate?
  • Will this create a balloon payment at the end of my loan? How do I avoid that at all costs?
  • If you have a secured loan, like an auto loan, at what point do you have to worry about repossession? You’re obviously going to do everything you can to avoid getting to that point, but even the banks are acknowledging right now that this is not your fault. Ask all the questions so you can learn all your options and make the most informed decisions possible.

Take Advantage of Special Enrollment Periods

If you’ve lost your job and live in a Medicaid expansion state, losing your job qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period. You can apply for Medicaid, regardless of the time of year.

Medicaid is free in most states, though premiums may be prorated or require copays in others.

This is much more beneficial than a COBRA plan that may or may not cover everything you need. COBRA can also cost you a ton out-of-pocket while you’re dealing with a serious cash flow situation.

If you live in a Medicaid expansion state, you can apply for Medicaid at Healthcare.gov.

During this time when domestic violence is more than likely to be on the rise, it’s also important for victims to know that leaving an abusive situation qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period, as well. That does not remove the need to be extremely careful as you do so, and to create a 1:1 safety plan with an expert in the field before attempting to make any departure.

If you’re struggling with mental health during this time, maintaining or obtaining benefits will be important, too. Turn to sources like www.betterhelp.com for professional help, even while we’re still at home.

Have more tips on making or saving money during the pandemic?

If you have any new savings tips for this brave new world we’re living in, I’d love to hear them! Leave them in the comments, @ me on social media or shoot me an email. I’ll continue sharing what’s working for readers throughout the pandemic!