The Diplomats’ December Side Hustle Report

The final month of the 2017 year for the Dividend Diplomat Side Hustle Report!  This marks our 7th post on the topic and all have been very consistent with what we write about.  The two of us haven’t had a nice “Board” meeting, where we strategize upcoming themes and articles for the new year, quite yet.  Yes, these board meetings incorporate lots of coffee and pizza, with endless dividend stock discussion.  Our meetup hasn’t occurred due to both of us going through a heft busy season, where the limited “free” time is usually transferred to sleeping.  However, not to go down a never ending hole about the struggles of busy season, let’s crab a fresh cup of coffee and read our FINAL 2017 Dividend Diplomat side hustle report!

The side hustles

Ebates – We’re pretty sure most people are familiar with Ebates, the website that offers cash back and coupon codes for nearly all major online retailers and travel sites.  With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and holiday shopping in full swing right now, the Ebates cash back bonuses have been great!  In addition,  each new user also can receive a free $10 gift card upon sign up (yes an affiliate plug), which is an added bonus.  The two of us always visit Ebates prior to making an online purchase to see if we can earn cash back by visiting the website through Ebates or using one of the listed coupon codes.  It is EASY money for a simple additional step in the online shopping experience that maybe adds 10 seconds to your transaction.  Here is our November summary for cash back earned from Ebates:

Lanny – $21.40 – This area has come roaring back pretty heavily, cannot complain at all.  I wasn’t able to screen shot my “profile” on 1/1, but here it is as of 1/21, which we recall – November’s end month was at $376.64.  Most of my activity was from hotels and rentals cars (small benefit of traveling for work).  In total, I have received over $400, with the $21.40 posted last month and activity this month.  See below’s snip from their website:Bert – $7.38 – Why not purchase your wife’s Christmas present online and receive cash back from Ebates?  Now here is the controversial part in the eyes of some.  I purchased the gift on Groupon and Ebates had some killer cash back promotions for all Groupon purchases.   Some people may think it is cheesy buying a gift on Groupon, but hey, when my wife’s favorite salon is offering a great deal on a massage/facial package, how can I turn that opportunity down?  That’s about as close of a slam dunk gift as you are going to get!  So I only made one purchase this month and was able to receive a ton of cash back from the purchase.  Swagbucks –  One of our longest tenured side hustles. For those of you that are not familiar with Swagbucks, it is a website the provides gift card or cash rewards for performing activities on the website.  The activities include using their search engine, answering surveys, answering polls, watching videos, printing off coupons, shopping (similar to Ebates above), signing up for different offers, etc. Bottom line is that there are a ton of different ways for people to earn!   Here is our referral link if you would like to give it a try as well!  Here is how much each of us earned from Swagbucks:

Lanny – > 3,942 Swagbucks or $39.42 – I was excited to know I kept the trend of over $30 per month alive through this side hustle.  This marks my 6th month in a row over $30, finishing at $39.42.  I was only able to do one cash out during the month, but have already been fairly busy in January.  The way I was able to monitor the total amount earned was take my end of previous month lifetime amount and subtract out my lifetime amount at end of month (found in the activity section of your account).  This number is slightly less, as I forgot to capture the last day’s lifetime total, but was only a few days that I didn’t have updated, that will be reflected in January’s.

Bert –  4,438 Swagbucks or $44.38-  Much like my dividend income totals in December, this was a RECORD setting month in terms of Swagbucks received.   I was able to cash out and receive on $25 Paypal  credit in the middle of the month and was on the doorstep of receiving a second $25 credit.  I should easily hit that mark soon in January! Why was I so successful this month?  Well, each day I focused on hitting my daily Swagbuck goal.  Then, on top of it, I was fortunate enough to have a large variety of opportunities to earn rewards.  There were a ton of great videos and high dollar surveys available for me to complete in December.  One thing led to another and BOOM, you have a Swagbuck record!

Ibotta – Ibotta is one of our favorite apps because it is so easy to use.  It is so easy to earn money that they even give you $5.00 just to sign up!  The app allows you to earn cash back from nearly every grocery store and an expanding list of online retailers (such as,, and so on).   Before shopping, you scan the available rebates on thee app and see which items you are planning on buying.  Some example of rebates that may be available any given week are $0.25 for different fruits/vegetables, $1-$2 off of a certain body wash or shampoo, $1.00 for purchasing a certain type of coffee, $2-$3 back for purchasing beer or wine, or our favorite, $5 off of a plant-based protein shake powder!

One of our favorite things about Ibotta is that the discounts don’t just apply to goods that are impossible to find or are very expensive.  There are always a few name brands to choose from! Ibotta makes it easy to redeem cash as well and the process takes less than a minute after you complete your purchase.  You simply scan the receipt, select the rebates that were purchased during that shopping trip, and then receive the credit within 24 hours.   If you would like to try the app, we included a referral link in the banner below our monthly summary and at the beginning of the paragraph.

Lanny – $2.75 – Sadly I am starting to realize, which may be a good thing, with travel for work – this reduces my iBotta (hopefully this means my groceries are reduces as well though!).  In total, I’ve earned over $188.00 in cash back from the app.  However, I highly URGE you to sign up. Yes, sadly we do get a referral kick back, but this is by far the EASIEST way to get cash back.  Further, the beer, wine categories make it fairly simply to rack up (usually $1.00 – $3.00 for a 6-pack and/or bottle of wine, eh, I’m Italian and Irish).  Additionally – supplements like vitamins are a bigger cash back piece as well.

Bert – $24.50 –  After a slow November (where I only received $.50 Ibotta), I came roaring back in December.  Unfortunately, if you have a high Ibotta reward total, that means that you spent some of your hard earned dollars at the store.  But with the holidays and what felt like a party or gathering with friends every other day, spending on food, wine, and beer was inevitable.  So if I was going to spend money regardless, I might as well try to earn some cash back on some delicious craft brews, right?  Ibotta featured beers such as Fat Tire Amber Ale, Peronis, and the classic, Bud Light.  All of which I purchased at some point in the month of December.  Plus, my wife was pretty successful at maximizing her Ibotta cash back while doing our regular weekly grocery shopping.  Heck, grocery shopping hasn’t been the same since Lanny introduced me to this cash back app!

Selling Household Items

Lanny – $0.00  – After a roaring November, I was weak in this category and never even listed anything.  That’s okay, as the year of 2018 has me building out the list of eBay items and I’m excited for it.  Further, one should see 5 benefits of getting rid of “stuff”, I know I own too much crap in my life that is consuming space, time and resources.  In the end, the idea is that the items sold or donated will add value to someone else’s life, as that’s the purpose of owning something, to add value.

Bert – $36.00 – This was a fun month.  First, I sold two items for $.99 each on Ebay.  After the fees and shipping, I netted, wait for it, $1.00 from the two sales.  The amount is trivial and I was hoping that the buyers would leave me feedback so I can boost my sellers profile; however, that never happened.  So in the end, it probably wasn’t worth my time for $1.   But the sales did not stop there!  My wife and I were cleaning out the attic in December trying to donate everything we could since we were itemizing our deductions in 2017.   We found a few pieces of artwork that we listed on Facebook Marketplace.  Within 2 hours, we sold both pieces for a combined $35!  We have more items listed on Marketplace and a few sales pending, so hopefully this number will be consistently higher for the next several months.

Total Side Hustle Income in November: 

Lanny: $63.57, total of $590.58 since tracking on the blog!

Bert: $112.56, total of $421.89 since tracking on the blog!

Diplomats Side Hustle Total: $176.13, Cumulative Total of $1,012.47 since tracking on the blog!

23 thoughts on “The Diplomats’ December Side Hustle Report

  1. I just finished my coffee. If you are going to spend the money might as well use an app or website to pay you back a little bit of that. This is just like credit card rewards (when used correctly). Who doesn’t want free money?

    • MH,

      Exactly. We aren’t using these shopping apps to change our habits and spend more. We are just using them to save on purchases we were making regardless. Hopefully you can save a lot on your new coffee 🙂


  2. Hi guys. Nice job. I don’t miss “busy season”. It’s not easy being an accountant this time of year. Guess that’s why I am an accounting teacher now. Pretty soon you will have a staff to do all that busy season work for you and you can focus on side hustling. Keep up the good work and thanks for the update post. Looking forward to your new year blogging themes and strategies once you get to them and roll them out. Tom

    • Tom –

      You got that right. Let’s just say my beard trimmer broke and I haven’t trimmed my beard in 2 weeks, it’s getting that intense!

      Congrats on being a teacher – how was that transition? Are you enjoying that a lot more?


      • Oh yeah. I like teaching, Lanny. I paid my dues though. Almost 30 years in public accounting and private industry. I was refreshing on your bio’s just a moment ago, both undergrads in accounting plus graduate degrees. I love it. I teach graduate students, both MBA’s and MS accounting. You guys will be running the world soon. Curious, are you guys auditors, tax or a hybrid of both disciplines in practice? How about this accounting lesson on collecting our dividends:
        Dr. Cash
        Cr. Retained Earnings

        🙂 Tom

  3. You got some hustling done it looks like now where are you going to hustle your stock accounts since capital one sold it’s investment to Etrade? Not sure I want to stay with etrade if they won’t keep the cheap Tuesday trades

    • Doug,

      We are definitely hustling our investment accounts with this big sale. We have been checking out all of our different brokerage options with the sale. What sucks is that I used Capital One for my banking. It was so convenient having banking and investing under the same roof. Now I’ll have to find a different option….oh well. What are you thinking of doing?


      • I’m thinking about switching to Merril edge since I have a checking account with them. 90 day free trades with I think 10,000 new money but if you have a checking account with them and you keep over 50,000 combined you get 30 free trades a month with over 100,000 you get 100 free trades a month
        With a checking account after the 90 days you upgrade to preferred and it gives you all types of perks
        I’ve looked at M1 Finance which is free to buy but has some fees if you sell but it’s not bad and interactive brokers which is free over 100,000 but if we hit a major downturn I’m just barely over and would get with a 20 a month fee minus whatever commissions I traded for looks like they might have higher sell fees though.
        If you go with merril edge you have to send in paperwork for drip and bank transfers though looks like it’s one time

  4. Nice recap – thanks. Overall, a few good things to consider tracking.

    I have a couple side hustles I’ve been reviewing, but haven’t really started tracking yet. One that I’m checking out further is TestBirds.

    Side note: who is “Robert” under the eBates section? 🙂

    Thanks again for the post. – Mike

    • Mike,

      You have figured out my secret identity haha Kidding, kidding. Believe it or not, Bert is short for Robert hahaha You’ll have to keep us updated with what you think about TestBirds. I just stopped by their website and it looks pretty interesting. I would definitely recommend keeping track of your side hustles though.


  5. Great work guys. Every little bit counts. Idea for you. I like that you track total earned individually as well as together. But if you are going to have monthly side hustle reports, why not compare month to month like you do dividends? Tracking helps build growth. Either way, keep hustling!

    • Daze,

      Thank you very much! Very interesting. I like the idea. We are getting close to the one year anniversary of the side hustle reports, so we could definitely consider adding this in at that point. Thanks for the suggestion.


  6. Good job on the side hustle guys. I definitely should get going on something, but will perhaps have more time in the latter half of the year. In the mean time I will just enjoy reading about your side hustles.

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